Richard Connor: Honoring those who help us find our way

Last week, I pondered the importance of mentors in our lives, and on Nov. 8 the point was driven home as the Business Press honored winners of our 2017 Mentor Awards.

The honorees, all outstanding individuals who have made immeasurable contributions to the community, included a number of folks I’ve known for most of the 30 years I have lived and worked in Fort Worth. Seeing them recognized was nostalgic and gratifying, and at the risk of shortchanging those I don’t mention I want reflect on a few of the winners.

Kenneth Barr is the son of a former mayor of Fort Worth who followed in his father’s footsteps after several years on the city council. He followed two tough acts, now Congresswoman Kay Granger and before her a Fort Worth legend, Bob Bolen. As mayor, Barr proved an able leader, building consensus and coalitions to overcome obstacles that could have blocked the city’s bold agenda for the future.

Ultimately, he had to leave City Hall because being mayor is full-time work nowadays and he needed to get back to the family printing business. But he remains a driving force in the city’s economic development.

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As a mortgage banker for over 40 years, Robert Havran has put thousands of people in their first homes. He and his wife Joy Ann have their own foundation, named in honor of their late son, Barrett Havran. Joy Ann is currently organizing a fundraiser in Barrett’a name at Fort Worth Country Day. The Havrans have been resolute and steadfast in turning a family tragedy into good works and providing hope for others.

Pam Minick is a former Miss Rodeo America who has become a role model for young people, particularly women, inspiring them to dream and work hard and achieve business success. She was the longtime marketing director at Billy Bob’s Texas and is a popular and accomplished television personality, now seen regularly on RFD-TV.

A number of things are known about Marvin Girouard, former CEO of Pier 1. He is a veteran of Vietnam, a car enthusiast, and a music aficionado. What many do not know is that long before he became CEO he was the primary buyer for Pier 1, traveling the world searching for and buying the wide range of eclectic and quality home products that became the company’s niche and hallmark. He made Pier 1 successful long before he was chosen to run it.

I’ve singled out these few because I know them best but all of our honorees – and countless other individuals whose guidance and encouragement help so many find their way in business and in life – deserve our gratitude for making our community a better place to live and work.

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Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at