2005 Nuggets of Wisdom

Be impeccable with your word. Always being truthful with yourself and others, always doing what you say you are going to do, and thereby becoming known for your integrity, will result in richly rewarding personal and professional relationships (and true happiness).

David C. Fleig ’78

Access Lending Corporation

When hiring, be more concerned with attitude than aptitude. The individual’s degree is an adequate indicator of their aptitude. It is their attitude that will determine their likelihood for business success. 

Daniel J. Adams ’77

Adams Engineering

As a provider of dental services it is necessary to understand the business side because it dramatically impacts the quality of service. Failure of the business ends service, and profits allow for development: continuing education, new technologies, larger facilities, better trained employees, outside consultation, and personal remuneration (financial and personal gratification).

Justin D’Abadie ’73

Advanced Dental Care of Austin

A business begins with an original idea or thought in a person’s mind, which requires intensive strategic planning and the decision to start. These plans must be properly financed and be able to adapt to a changing business market and therefore the person must be willing to sell the idea and change the plan. Along the way will come defeats and setbacks and difficult decisions that require the person to be strong and courageous. My advice...be creative, plan your strategy, start (even though you may not feel ready), sell confidently, network with others, be flexible and be brave. The rest will take care of itself.

Michael G. Scheurich ’92

Arch-Con Corporation

On important matters, if possible, never make hurried decisions. Carefully consider all your options and all the decision can bring.”

P.R. Arguindegui ‘53

Arguindegui Management Co., LLC

Plan, Plan, Plan!!! They need to write a business plan: marketing, financial, sales, personnel, etc. one year and a five year. Keep them updated and moving forward. They will need to monitor their progress to the plan and make adjustments. This keeps the focus in the right place!

Warren Barhorst ‘88

Barhorst Insurance Group

Surround yourself with smart people who share your values and foster a team-oriented work environment where everyone is encouraged to challenge one another’s ideas constructively and in the interest of making the best decisions possible.

 Michael W. Holmes ’83

Biodynamic Research Corporation

My ‘nugget’ would have to be perseverance. In our case it took us 20 months to put our deal together mostly related to putting the financing together. During that process we learned that we would have many doors closed on us before we found a way to get it done. Similarly, subsequent deals have always taken much longer than one might expect (usually about a year start to finish). Perseverance also plays into the fact that frequently we run into bankers that struggle to understand the plausibility of our deals. Most often you find that, initially, you are dealing with low-level banking reps that have no decision making capability and frankly are under-qualified to understand a complex business deal. That forces you to keep presenting the deal until you get in front of the right audience and once you’re there, you must have all of the answers to sell the deal.

 Jeffrey B. Johnson ’86

Blue Water Ships Stores

Be good to your employees. They are the backbone of any business plus, it sets the tone for your work environment. Calm and relaxed is a much better way to spend your days than stressed and frantic.

 Rami Cerone ’95

Caffe Capri

Do the right thing, always.

Fred Caldwell ’82

Caldwell Watson Real Estate Group

Company leaders should avoid self-imposed ‘loneliness’ by making all ‘major’ decisions. The leader’s alternative to one-on-one management is to establish and develop an executive team where all key department heads work together to run the business. Transitioning to team orientation and including this team on major decision making encourages them to look to each other to solve issues. Confiding in the team should create a much more human and connected experience.

Vito Cangelosi ’61

Cangelosi Company

It is impossible to do it alone. Seek out mentors early and often and truly listen to their advice. Involve your family in the experience. It will help them to appreciate your struggles and will yield a stronger family unit.

Wesley D. Millican ’92


Never underestimate the value of hard work and tenacity.

Bill Carter ‘69

Carter Financial Management

As an entrepreneur, the most important decision you will make (over and over again) is not what business you are going to be in, but rather who you are going to be in business with. This applies to partners, employees, and customers.

Sam T. Goodner ’90

Catapult Systems, Inc.

Be committed to your company, your vision and have faith in yourself. Be willing to take educated risks and be willing to work long hours for little pay. Be patient.

Joann Bouse ’80

Coastal Surveying of Texas

Be committed to your venture; it has to be a full time job. Don’t try to start a business "on the side".

John Lines ’89

Cole & Ashcroft, Inc.

Persistence. Key to success: good help and support. NOBODY knows it all...or knows all the answers, you need people you know to help you, and I was lucky to have that.

Elizabeth M. Drake ’87

Compliance Strategies & Solutions, Inc.

Your reputation is the most important thing you have to offer others. Preserve it by building long-lasting relationships rather than trying to make the most out of each situation. Do not sacrifice your morals, principles, ethics, reliability, honesty and integrity for the sake of short term profits.

Dennis Corkran ’77

Corkran Energy, LP

STICK WITH IT...it’s one of those things...anyone who wants to give up early on will not succeed. Starting your own business is not as risky as people think...any company can fire you just like you can go out of business. You are your own best investment.

Matthew Michaels ’93

D2C Solutions LLC

Take the risk. If you win, you gain wealth; if you lose, you gain experience–and that’s not really a loss.

Rob Roberts ’94

EnterSys Group, LP

Pursue your new business venture with passion, knowing there must be a market for your idea, a return on your investment and a goal in mind.

Creed L. Ford, III ’75

Fired Up, Inc.

You’re human so you’re going to make mistakes. It’s how you remedy those mistakes that will differentiate you from your competitors. If you’re wrong, put your hands up, admit it and fix it. The amount it costs you to fix the mistake will be repaid many times over by loyal customers who appreciate your honesty and integrity. People do business with people, not companies, and they do it with people they trust.

Andrew Townend ’88

Flexible Lifeline Systems

People make the difference; always hire talented and motivated individuals who are all smarter than you.

Craig Clark ’79

Forest Oil Corporation

There is one common denominator among all successful entrepreneurs; each of them gets up every day and does things that they may not what to do, but know that they must do in order to be successful. Get up every day, do what you have to do, be honest, work smart, and never quit...success is a factor of tenacity and hard work.

William Mark Rand ’80

Gulfstream Holdings, Inc.

Malcolm Forbes once said, ‘Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.’ However, ability without persistence will never meet the demand. So do not fear either failure or change...rather embrace them and fear complacency.

Fred Heldenfels, IV ’79

Heldenfels Enterprises, Inc.

Have a dream–a ‘pie in the sky’–but focus on the now to get you there.

Uri Geva ’98

Infinity Pro Sports

Maintain a clear vision of what you wish to achieve, surround yourself with intelligent and driven individuals, and never give up.

Douglas Maxwell ’98

Insala, LL

Don’t worry, just wonder. Worry sinks you into inaction and wondering allows you to see new opportunities.

Jill Cowley Garrett ’92

Jack Cowley Supply Co., Inc.

Go into it knowing the hours are going to be more than you ever imagined, but have persistence to stick through good and bad in order to reach your goals. Persistence and perspiration!

Shan Jenkins ’88

Jenkins Custom Homes

Don’t expect to work a 40-hour work week.

John D. Huntley ’79

John D. Huntley, Inc.

The #1 factor for success is finding the right people.

Douglas Kaspar ’80

Kaspar Ranch Hand

Maintain your perspective with integrity: tell the truth, don’t take things personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. Be thankful, be graceful, and enjoy the ride; nothing is permanent.

 Jennifer Appel ’91

Landsculpture & Design, Inc.

You have to be able to do CRITICAL THINKING ...analyzing a problem, taking it apart, and solving it...If you don’t have that, I don’t care how educated you are, you won’t succeed.

Carolyn Turk ’84

MacResource Computers

Be accessible. Be flexible. It is not about always being right, it is about winning.

John McNair ’76

McNair Custom Homes L.P.

There are many descriptions for success, and the common denominator for all paths is to treat each person you encounter with fairness and respect.

Robert Waggoner ’76

Nodus, Inc.

Be mentally prepared for a VERY long haul. That includes being prepared to make very hard decisions to keep your idea and company alive as well as making the necessary personal sacrifices which are rarely asked of those in a traditional corporate career. Despite the false hope of a quick victory, most successful and sustainable businesses will take 5-10 years to reach a point of stability.

Dan Parsley ’85

SalvageSale, Inc.

Have passion for what you do...

L.C. “Chaz” Neely ’62

San Antonio Steel Co. LTD

Simply follow Cowboy Ethics–know right from wrong–follow the Golden Rule and be willing to work hard. Combined, the above will take you a long way to becoming a success.

Darby Strickland ’59

Shipper’s Warehouse, Inc.

Be honest, focused and hard working–every single day. Do things that directly support your goals–leave other things behind. Don’t get caught up in politics, as politics are a destructive distraction from everything that will bring you success.

Fred Ablon ’56

Soil Building Systems, Inc.

The people that you select to work with will make or break your success.

Ed H. Moerbe ’61

Stanton Chase Dallas, Inc.

1. Pick a business where the basic economics are good and you can have a competitive advantage. 2. Treat employees and partners well. The costs (both financial and of your time) of recruiting, training, and dealing with unhappy associates are very high.

 Joe R. Fowler, PhD ’68

Stress Engineering Services, Inc.

High odds of success in business can many times be measured by how much you learn along the way. Your university success is the first major step in a life long learning process. Learning must never stop if you want to have high odds of long term success, because: The business environment, trends, and technology never stop changing; Your competitors never stop learning, thus it is easy to fall behind; You will make mistakes, so you must learn from them quickly; In business, more often than not, the race is won by the most knowledgeable business person. Add hard work, focus, and integrity to the above and you will be very, very likely to be successful in whatever business endeavor you choose.

Charles Ansley ’67

Symon Communications

Pride, passion and persistence are essential for success.

J.S.B. Jenkins ’65

Tandy Brands Accessories, Inc.

An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do. The first part of the Aggie Honor Code is the easy part; we can control our own actions more readily than those of others. The difficult but absolutely necessary part is to strictly adhere to Part II: we do not ‘tolerate those who do’. A leader who observes the first part and does not strictly adhere to second part risks compromising his or her integrity, credibility and effectiveness as a leader.

Jeffrey R. Odom ’84

TCS Corporate Services

Faith is all that dreamers need to see into the future.

 Jim Stovall

Submitted by The MedLeh Group

Regardless of the size or scope of your business, someone has to be in charge; setting long term vision, providing resources and support, managing outcomes and providing leadership on difficult issues. I call this person the ‘Head Hog At The Lick Log’. Like their compatriots, feeding from the same trough, but clearly in charge.

 Robert G. Gootee ’73

The ODS Companies

Don’t make excuses or give up! Any goal can be achieved through persistence!

Jon Klement ’85

Valley Garden Center, Inc.

The greater amount of talent you’ve been blessed with, the greater responsibility you have to do something with it. Use all your talents to the fullest, always work hard no matter what the job is and never accept failure as an option, but as an opportunity to learn something new and succeed next time.

Debra Robinson ’80

Wood County Electric Cooperative

Think big, it takes the same effort, but the results are much better. Expect ‘no’ when you ask for the chance, then ask again. Treat everyone, from the top of the highest to the bottom of the lowest, in a company the same, as you never know when a good gesture will be repaid many times over by someone you have touched. Enjoy what you do, not just for the money, but for a chance to do something that makes a difference. And, most importantly, give back to those who helped you get to where you always hoped to be.

Tom Yantis ’78

Yantis Company

The Aggie Network is very strong in numbers and respect. No matter where you go in life the Aggie Ring will always attract friends with a common ground–A&M. Treat them with courtesy and respect...they’ll do the same. Always remember "Aggies don’t lie, cheat or steal".

Glen E. Kusak ’83

Yoakum Packing Company

Find something you love to do and find a way to do it better, cheaper or faster than anyone else.

Thomas Zais ’97

Zice Companies, LLC