The Washow file Featured

12:01pm EDT January 31, 2006
Born: Melrose Park

Education: Bachelor of arts degree, communication, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; master’s, business, Northwestern University

First job: Delivering newspapers

What is the greatest business lesson you’ve learned?
Don’t give up. When working on a super absorbent polymer, there were a lot of times when it would have made a whole lot of sense to just give up. But we didn’t let that get to us.

What is the biggest business challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Again, it goes back to the super absorbent polymers. It was a challenge to go from nothing to a business competing against huge chemical companies in the world. How we overcame it was the same way overcome everything, and that’s getting great people on the case.

We have a good team here now as we grow and as new opportunities come about, we will continue to grow the team. You have to get good people who know a lot more than you and let them make it happen.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
A guy who I learned a lot from was my father-in-law. He started his own business when he was 59. He was the guy that absolutely believed that the people that were going to make it happen were there.

If you train them and work with them and let them do what they need to do, you can’t lose. He really believed that in his heart of hearts, and that really had an impact on me. If you don’t have the right people you need to be successful, then whatever I do won’t make a difference.