The Paradies file Featured

12:48pm EDT October 20, 2006
Born: Atlanta

University of Texas - Austin, finance

First job:
I worked at Macy’s for a couple years in their management training program. That’s where I learned the basics of retail management.

What has been your biggest business challenge?
The biggest business challenge we faced was after Sept. 11. Of all the industries in this country, there’s not another industry which suffered as badly as the airline industry.

We learned a lot about ourselves during that period. Traffic was down. Nobody knew what was going to happen to airports. That was a real gut-check for our company.

It’s amazing what great people can accomplish, and we accomplished a great deal after Sept. 11. Our business was back to flat with the previous year by December, even though there were 20 percent fewer passengers. We were doing a much better job.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
People like doing business with those individuals they enjoy working with. The reality is with our company — I learned this from our founders years ago — if they like you, you’re going to have a much greater chance of being successful. People like to do business with people they enjoy being with.

The other big lesson is quality must come first. Don’t do anything halfway. Quality needs to be done first. Everything needs to be first-class.

Whom do admire most in business and why?
My father and my uncle. They obviously established the foundation for our company, and, really, I learned how they handled the good times, but most importantly, how they handled the challenging times.

They always did it in a way in which I respected and knew that’s the way I had to do it as well.