The Flood file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2010

Born: Detroit

Education: Business degree in accounting, Western Michigan University

First job: I was a paperboy for the Detroit News when I was 12. You learn a lot getting up at 4 a.m. on a Sunday to go get a load of papers. Then you have to deliver them around the neighborhood and collect money from your customers.

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

Build trust, and when I say trust, it’s twofold: You need to trust your instincts, and as the business grows, you need to trust the people you have working for you. You hire people for a reason — because they’re good people. So don’t micromanage them.

What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?

I’ve believed it for a long time: You need honesty, integrity, curiosity and enthusiasm. Your integrity, when all is said and done, that’s all you’re going to have left.

What is your definition of success?

Most people think of success in relative terms, but I don’t. If I’m confident, if I have my integrity and enthusiasm, I’m quite happy to leave it up to others to decide whether I’m successful or not.