The Oaks file Featured

11:10am EDT November 1, 2005
Born: Cincinnati

Education: University of Dayton, degree in finance

First job: Salesperson for the Castellini Co., buying and selling produce

What is greatest business lesson you've learned?
Stick with what you're best at and focus on that. To give you an example, four years ago, we decided to start an actual trucking company, and that ended up being the worst nine months of my life.

In the process, we lost focus on our freight-brokerage business, which is what we do best. We ended up spending so much time on the trucking thing trying to make it work, and we never should have done it.

I don't even know how to change the oil in my car, much less tell a driver how to maintain his equipment. We should have just stuck with what we do best.

What is the greatest business challenge you've faced?
Right now, our biggest challenge is finding great employees. We're able to do it, but we're never satisfied. We always want to raise the bar for hiring employees.

That's the greatest challenge, and we're getting better and better at it. We're hiring higher-quality people every year -- it's actually been pretty cool to look back on.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I'd say my dad. He instilled a really good work ethic [in me]. He taught me to be consistent, honest, always conduct myself with the highest level of integrity.

He always taught me never to put myself in front, as far as the employees are concerned -- the employees and customers come first.