The Laikin file Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2008

Born: Milwaukee, Wis.

Education: Bachelor of science, business, Indiana University

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

David Simon. He is the CEO of Simon Property Group, which is the largest public property group in the world. I grew up with David; he is a couple years older than I am.

He runs his business for his shareholders as the top priority every day and does a great job at what he does. Through organic and acquisition, he has built the biggest company in his space.

What was your first job?

When I was in second grade, my parents got a phone call from the school, and they said, ‘We’ve got a problem with your son. He’s taking a pack of candy and breaking it up and selling it in pieces.’ And they said, ‘You’re calling me because why? My son’s an entrepreneur, and you’re wanting to get him in trouble.’ That was my very first job, if you ask them.

What is the best business lesson you have learned?

Good always overcomes evil. When you compete in any industry and there is a competitor that’s doing business the wrong way and you’re losing business for a while or losing customers or losing suppliers, it’s just a matter of time.

Sometimes, it’s days, and sometimes, it’s years, but companies that do business the wrong way, typically their leadership ends up out of business or in jail. I’ve seen it happen in many industries. It’s frustrating when you have to compete against players like that. But it’s only frustrating for a time.

Favorite movie: ‘The Jerk.’ At times in my business career, I felt like Steve Martin in that movie. It’s probably one of the funniest movies of all time. It’s the story of a guy who has nothing, gets it all and loses it all. Some of the lines are just the best comedy lines of all time.