Education: Bachelor's degree in business, Michigan State University
First job: Buyer and department manager, F&R Lazarus
Career moves: Partnered with restaurant developer in 1970; co-founded Max & Erma's in 1972, appointed president in 1977, assumed CEO and chairman roles in 1986
Boards: Boards of directors of Grange Bank, The Ohio State University Medical Center and Experience Columbus
What was your greatest challenge in business, and how did you overcome it?
Trying to maintain a small company culture as our company has continued to grow and spread out around the country. I have tried to do this by spending a great deal of time in the field and resisting layers of structure whenever possible.
What is the greatest lesson you've learned in business?
I am not that smart. How I have been successful is by building an organization of really bright people, getting out of their way, giving them credit for their success and keeping them focused. It's a formula that works over and over.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
That list is long and continues to get longer. There is no one individual for me.