Born: Laramie, Wyo.
Education: BA in business administration, Duke University; MBA, University of Houston
Military service: Naval supply officer aboard the USS Ault, 1969-73
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
Probably something I learned early on in my first job after the Navy: You can’t out-contract a crook. You really want to do business with people who are reputable and companies that are reputable. If you do business with someone who is not reputable and think you can do it without a contract that lays out the terms and provisions, that’s not going to work. Someone can take advantage of you without a contract.
What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?
Business leaders, all the time, have to be ready to make quick decisions. Also, having a vision, being able to look out into the future and having an ability to articulate that vision to people is important.
What are some universal truths you’ve learned about leading a business?
One, the buck stops here, like the famous sign on Harry Truman’s desk. Leaders need to recognize that they are leaders. They ultimately need to create the vision, put it together, and then recognize that if something happens in the organization, the buck stops with you, and you are responsible for dealing with that.
What is your definition of success?
It’s about success in life. The key to success is achieving balance among the key elements in your life, obviously things like business, family, community, spirituality. Oftentimes, we find ourselves slightly out of balance, and part of what I try to do is work myself back into balance, find those key things and throw myself into them. If you spend your time apart from work on things like spirituality and family, you’ll find a good balance and a happier life.