Born: Hamilton, Ohio
Education: Technical associate degree, biomedical engineering, Ivy Tech; bachelor’s degree, business, Indiana Wesleyan
What was your very first job?
Baling hay on a farm when I was 14. I went from baling hay to being a general farmhand and driving the wagons and doing all that kind of stuff. To be able to work and see what you do and produce, I wanted to be a farmer for years. When I was getting toward the end of my high school years, I graduated in 1975, home loans were about 16 percent. You had to have a farm to be a farmer, so I didn’t become a farmer.
I learned a good work ethic. Farmers can sit around and teach you all kinds of things if you sit and listen to them. Working hard and the reward of that and the feeling of sitting on the porch and drinking an iced tea at the end of the day after you’ve worked hard all day long (is a good feeling). There’s a lot of people that you find through casual conversation that worked on farms, too, and they usually have incredible work ethics.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
He was an ex-GM senior HR person who came back to work for us. It was maybe two years into the company’s national development. I was sitting at my desk one day, and he was sitting in here with me, and I was just going on about all the problems we were facing and why this was happening and why that was happening.
He looked at me and said, ‘The bread crumbs come back to your desk.’ That was probably the most eye-opening thing anybody has ever said to me, because it does end right here. It made me take ownership and start to see what I needed to do and change to deal with this stuff.