The Owens file Featured

5:46am EDT December 11, 2003
Stewart K. Owens

Born: March 16, 1955, Richardson, Texas

Education: B.A., business administration, Southern Methodist University, Dallas

First job: Working in the stables at Owens Country Sausage

Career moves: Owens Country Sausage -- office manager, vice president of administration, president; Bob Evans Farms -- group vice president for food products, executive vice president, COO, president, CEO and chairman of the board

What was your greatest challenge in business, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge was integrating my family's business, Owens Country Sausage, into Bob Evans when we were acquired in 1987. It was a big change, going from being a privately held, family run company to being a division of a significantly larger public corporation.

You must quickly adjust to working for someone else, and being the agent at the new subsidiary focused on getting that integration done in a positive manner.

Past or present, whom do you admire most in business and why?
I wouldn't pick out any particular individual. I've been fortunate to have a number of people that have been excellent leadership examples I've been able to learn from over the years, and I think you should strive to pick up positive behaviors wherever you can.

What is the greatest lesson you've learned in business?
I think having a strong set of values and principles is paramount. Being honest with people at all times is key to being able to expect the same from them.

If you're consistent with what you say and do, people come to know what your position is going to be on a lot of issues, even before they ask.