The McKee File Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2009

Born: St. Louis

Education: Bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University; MBA, Washington University in St. Louis

What was your very first job?

Cutting grass and cleaning the toilets at Paric. I would have been 10 or 11. I knew I wanted to build at a young age. We had a three-story clubhouse and a treehouse, and I was the guy that was always figuring that stuff out and designing it. They were built for real, not like most kids would do it.

It wasn’t just cobbled together; we had stud walls. So I knew I wanted to build, whether it would be an archxqitect, an engineer or whatever. And I always believed that, whatever I did, I wanted to do my own thing and be a leader. I thought it could happen at Paric, but not so much when I was young.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Somebody once told me that as the leader, ultimately, it comes down to your decision. You can either let everybody else tell you what they think you ought to do and listen to them or play it your way and let the chips fall where they may.

Which would you rather do? In the end, if you follow everybody else’s advice and you didn’t do what you thought was right and failed, how would you rather fail? By doing it your way or by what everybody else thought you should do?

Who would you want to play you in a movie?

John Goodman. That’s easy. He’s a St. Louis guy, and he kind of looks like me.

If you could have dinner with any three people from history, who would they be and why?

I’d love to have a good chat with the Lord somewhere along the way. When you get away from there, it would be fascinating, and I’d love to chat with former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I think it would be phenomenally interesting to hear their two points of view.