The Claxton file Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2007

Born: Franklin, Ind.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, economics and business, Franklin College; master’s degree, business, Indiana Central University (now known as the University of Indianapolis)

What is the biggest business lesson you have learned?

It’s been said many times, but it’s a fact: There is no company or no employees without our customers. It is paramount to understand your customers and bring them value. Not just sell them a product but bring them a total gambit of value of all the different things they need. I learn that every day. That wasn’t just something over time. I learn something new every day about what our customers need from us. They are all different. That doesn’t stop.

What was your first job?

When I was about 10 years old, I was mowing a lot of lawns. My dad and I did that together. It made me interested in business. I still remember putting on a little chalk-board at home when I would buy a gallon of gas and have to buy some oil and trying to keep track of whether I was making money or losing money and doing some profit and losses on a very small scale. I was intrigued by business.

Whom do you most admire in business?

My former boss, Robert Britton, who is the past president of Knauf Insulation. He had a tremendous calming ability to evaluate situations, to not panic, but to evaluate the situations clearly and make good, strong decisions based on the facts. That’s obviously very important to be able to do when you’re in some of these positions.