The Allen file Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2010

Born: I was actually born in Salt Lake City, Utah, raised in Las Vegas, Nev., and I’ve been in Texas for 30 years.

Education: Graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a master’s degree in accountancy

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

I threw newspapers in Las Vegas to about 400 houses and condos all wrapped around the Las Vegas Country Club and learned that, man, some people live really well. I also learned that getting up at 2 in the morning to fold papers was not something I wanted to do the rest of my life.

Whom do you admire most and why?

I probably admire my wife the most. I’ve known my wife since I was in the eighth grade, so we go way, way back. She was a young lady of uncompromised standards. She knew who she was. She never wavered and has been that way throughout her life. I have nothing but respect for her.

What’s your definition of success?

Living a virtuous life and making a difference in the world around you, especially within the walls of your own home.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is making decisions that can change my world and the world of other people around you. It’s fun to create and implement a plan.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever received was, ‘Don’t be afraid to fire your biggest account’ — which we did, and our business has probably grown from $18 million a year when we did that to close to $400 million a year.

What’s your favorite stress relief?

I usually come home pretty late and I’m a little spent, so I don’t want to use much mental capacity, so I’ll watch a little ESPN, get my sports fix for the day. When I was younger, of course, I used to play a lot of basketball. But I’m a little older now and don’t get up and down the court quite as easily.

I don’t find a lot of time to relax in my life. I’m busy with work. I’m also a lay minister in my church. So between the two of those, that keeps me pretty busy. Fishing is a great way to relieve stress. I did buy a boat recently, but it keeps breaking down on me, so it’s not a stress-reliever; it’s a stress-causer.

On growth: Quite frankly, you do reach a point as an entrepreneur where you just don’t have the time, the energy, the resources to do everything that’s required. You can get stretched so thin that you become an impediment to the very organization that you’re trying to grow. If you don’t surround yourself with people that have incredible talent — but more importantly, share your passion — then you’ll always only be a small little company.