The Huff file Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2010

Born: My father was in the Navy so I was born in Yokosuka, Japan. My family and I moved around. We lived all over the world until I was, I think, 12, and then we settled in southern Indiana. That’s where he retired.

Education: Purdue University

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

I was really fortunate to work at NCR when a guy by the name of Chuck Exley was the chief executive officer. I remember Chuck telling me one time that he can always go out and find a salesperson or an accountant or a marketing person, but it’s much more difficult to find businesspeople. I asked him what the difference was in his mind. He said businesspeople are people who can apply all of those disciplines and make them work together and create value for investors, and I tell you, that had a big impact on me. I think the best advice was to develop yourself into a businessperson.

I asked him, ‘How do I do that, Chuck?’ and he said, ‘Get out of headquarters and go take care of customers.’ I said, ‘Great, I want to do that.’ About a month later I was transferred to Oslo, Norway, to run operations in Norway. I was the only non-Norwegian there. But it was an incredible experience for me, and it absolutely did develop my business acumen, because all of a sudden, I had engineering and salespeople I was trying to lead, and I was a finance person, so I certainly wasn’t going to be able to out-engineer them or outsell them, so I needed to blend their skills in a way that our company was better for. It was great experience. The one thing I figured out a long time ago is that successes like this are driven by getting the right people together. I always try to get people that complement what I am and what I’m not.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A pilot. I thought it was an incredible thing to be able to fly.