Ross Perot Jr. Keynotes NE Leadership Forum

Ross Perot Jr. keynotes the Northeast Leadership Forum on Friday, Nov. 6. Courtesy photo

A sold-out crowd of business and community leaders heard Hillwood and Perot Companies CEO, Ross Perot, Jr., keynote the Northeast Leadership Forum at the NRH Centre in North Richland Hills on Friday, Nov. 6 at noon, where the overall theme was “Surviving & Thriving Together.”

Perot detailed how the development of AllianceTexas was an example of the private sector working hand-in-hand with the public sector to create a success.

He shared how companies are moving from California and New York because of over-regulation and, in the case of California, massive wildfires that have shut down manufacturing plants. Perot added that these companies’ employees are finding living expenses costing approximately 35% the cost of living on the coasts, so they can afford significantly larger and nicer homes.

He pointed to the fact that Charles Schwab is moving its 7,000 employees to the Circle T Ranch with a 1 million square foot campus due largely to the relative affordability of land and enhanced quality of life.

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His goal is to be the center of gravity for transportation for the next generation, citing how companies such as Amazon are closer to receiving approval for widespread drone technology than the public thinks.

Perot’s final challenges to the audience were to stay optimistic, to realize that the virus will still be around for a while, to move forward with life and to help Texas lead the way.

JPS CEO Robert Earley opened the conference by sharing how the pandemic has helped some businesses fine tune their operations, saying that his team realized their supply chain had been adequate for normal times but not for major challenges. As a result, JPS reconfigured its supply chain.

Earley said that attendees have two choices: sit and complain, or take action by wearing masks, washing hands and employ social distancing. Since he could not practice his favorite custom of hugging employees during COVID, he bakes pies and invites five randomly chosen employees to join him for pie and ice cream – LOTS of ice cream in case the pie is not that tasty – each Wednesday.

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The private session features two rules: no talking about the hospital and no talking about the pandemic, and the result has been pleasant conversation, lots of laughter, and second servings of pie and ice cream.

TCU Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Michael Sherrod, appeared via Zoom because he had been in contact with someone compromised by the coronavirus late yesterday. He opened by stating that the pandemic will reshape institutions even though the crisis was not caused by any fault in economic structure.

Among his most compelling points were that 64% of employees hate their job, 10% actually work against the goals of the company, 76% would refuse a raise if the action would help get their boss fired. He projected that the best of 2021’s top 100 companies will survive for only 14 more years before they are acquired or fail.

He added that the virus accelerated a trend and that, nationwide, close to 60% of all company employees are now 1099 workers rather than full-time employees with benefits. Also included was that COVID will quicken the pace at which industries will be transformed in the future.

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Sherrod, who was the founding publisher of, vice president at, vice president at and vice president of AMR Information Systems, reported that dramatic shifts will occur in privacy, edge computing, cybersecurity, automation, food security and connection to the cloud.

In his words, the future belongs to those who are resilient, can adapt to change, master change management, perfect critical thinking and specialize in problem solving.

Prior to Sherrod was a panel, “Surviving and Thriving Together in a Season of Change,” that featured two speakers from Deloitte University in Westlake, three entrepreneurs and a retired executive representing 70 volunteers through the Society