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Opinion InMarket: Graduation advice

InMarket: Graduation advice

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Graduation advice

It’s graduation time and many schools from universities to kindergartens (I kid you not) are holding ceremonies. Many of those ceremonies include speakers, ranging from current, former and future presidents to governors and pop culture celebs.

On Monday, May 18, an executive panel featuring the CEOs of four Fort Worth-based Berkshire Hathaway companies – Dennis Knautz of Acme Brick, Carl Ice of BNSF, Randy Watson of Justin Brands and Paul Andrews of TTI – sat with moderator Matt Rose, executive chairman of BNSF, and discussed working with Buffett. The event, titled Breakfast with the Berkshires, was presented by Leadership Fort Worth at the Fort Worth Club. They also gave some advice for people just entering the business world.

I recently found the program for my graduation from R.L. Paschal High School. As far as I could tell there was no speaker to entertain the 600 or so of us leaving those hallowed halls. So I decided these words of wisdom from the sons of Warren Buffett would be a good replacement, even if it is about 40 years too late.

Rose asked the participants about what advice they would give someone getting into business today.

From Knautz at Acme:

“I think you need to take initiative. It’s one thing to show up for work every day, it’s another thing to become passionate for the business you work for. Learn about your business in every which way you possibly can. You can take the initiative and show you’re interested in the business, and learn how that business works, you can begin to contribute even more as you try to fill your role even more. And you’ll get noticed.”

From Andrews at TTI:

“There were people I looked up to when I was a kid. There was a gentleman around Fort Worth by the name of Jack Roger Williams. For the people that were around Fort Worth a long, long time, there was Jack Williams Chevrolet and Jack used to come out with these little books of all these sayings.

“And it just so happens there’s one that’s pinned on my wall, through all these years and it’s kind of tattered and torn, but it’s something I’ve learned a long time ago that struck me as important.”

From the book:

The Five Easiest Ways to Succeed:

1. Make decisions where you’re going.

2. Earn more money that you can spend. Therefore create margin .

“Easy to say,” noted Andrews.

3. Sell where others are not selling.

4. Do what others cannot do.

5. Be in control.

Watson at Justin had some advice as well that applies to both old and young.

“I’d rather see than read a sermon,” he said.

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