The Emmens file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

Born: Pasadena, Calif.

Education: B.S., business management, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fast facts: Emmens is a self-taught mechanic and private pilot. He began working on cars when he was 15 years old and put himself through college as a mechanic. He currently works on classic cars, including Corvettes. Emmens also flies a twin-engine turboprop Piper Cheyenne. He has been a licensed pilot since 1983.

As a writer: Emmens co-authored the business fable ‘Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business,’ published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers in January.

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

You can’t do it alone. You need a team. You might know what you want to do, but you can’t do it alone. You alone can’t make your career successful. You need help, and that’s a good thing.

What skills or traits are essential for a business leader?

One, listening; two, the ability to formulate provocative questions; three, passion; four, humility.

What is your definition of success?

It’s doing what makes you happy. If you’re happy driving the bus, you can be a CEO. But fulfillment is anything you want to make it. You can be happy selling suntan oil on the beach. You can be happy running the New York Stock Exchange and becoming independently wealthy. But it’s whatever you make of it. It’s not any one thing.