The Blank file Featured

8:00pm EDT March 31, 2007
Born: Queens, N.Y.

Education: Bachelor of Science degree, business administration, Babson College

What has been your biggest business challenge?

The biggest challenge for me was when we [Blank and business partner Bernie Marcus] were fired from Handy Dan back in 1978 and overcame it by starting Home Depot in 1979. That was a political situation and what have you. It was still dealing with adversity — how do you find a situation where the glass is half filled and not half empty, and how do you build on it? We did a good job of that over the years.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?

The single most important thing is surrounding yourself with the right people, and that is people that have a similar set of values and believe in a similar set of ideas as you do and will focus on the business and opportunities in a similar was as you do, too.

What was your first job?

The first job I had was in college. I ran a laundry and dry cleaning service and picked up laundry around the campus and delivered it back to students several days later. That was one part of our business. A second business I had was a landscaping business in college, as well.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

Sam Walton would be a great example. A lot of these things I mentioned are things that Sam lived in his business. The second person, who actually took the business from Sam before he retired, was David Glass. I’d put him up there because David grew the company to proportions that Sam never envisioned and yet maintained the culture of the company.