The Kramer file Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2010

Born: Hugoton, Kan.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in accounting, Kansas State University

What was your first job?

I worked on my parents’ farm and ranch at a very young age. My parents taught me the value of hard work as well as the value of the dollar early on. Even though my parents were upper middle class and fairly well to do, I wasn’t given anything. I had to earn almost everything.

In stark contrast to today’s parents, I had to fight all my own battles. Today, you see kids that have problems at school where parents go running down to the school to defend their child. It happens a lot. My parents never did that.

They would sit me down, and I would walk through the problem with them, and they would give me advice about what I needed to say to the teacher or the other child. But the battles were mine. I had to fight those battles myself. There was no entitlement of who I was born to. I had to earn everything that I got. I try to instill that in my children. It’s just more difficult today.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

Steve Jobs. That man is a true visionary. The thing I love about Steve is his standards are never compromised. More importantly, and this is the difference between him and a lot of other leaders, he knows the areas where he’s an expert. He focuses on those.

Those areas that he’s not, he hires people and gets out of their way and empowers them. Wouldn’t you think somebody like him would get such a big head that they are an expert at everything? He’s not that way. He knows what his passion is and that’s what he goes after.