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Tom James On ...

Ron Roberts
"We also believe in growing 20% a year."
[Photo: Bob Croslin]

» Giving Back
“Part of the role of a corporate leader is to give back charitably, to give back civically, and if we do that well, we will be more respected in our locations. We will have better places for our employees to live and work, and we’ll have more opportunity because we have a more successful state than other states, and we’ll all benefit from that.”


» On Politics
“I admire the people who go run for office. ... It’s an immense undertaking. I made a promise to my wife when I was very young not to run for office. The reason for that was she didn’t like the public spotlight. I don’t think Columba Bush (Jeb’s wife) liked the public spotlight either.”

» Presidential Politics
“I actually was favoring Mitt Romney. I was actually looking for somebody with business and civic experience who could run the country. I thought he would be a good candidate to do that.
I was very upset that the religious thing impacted his ability to get elected because he’s got good morals, good values and all kinds of intellect and skill and management.”

» His Role
“You’re the matchmaker. ... You’ve got the money on one hand and the people who need it on the other, and you’re matching it all up, solving the ends of both parties, and I think that’s what we’re about.”

» Having Fun
“The great fun of being a business executive is being charged with the job of making everything better all the time. Part of that is avoiding calamities. So far we have done that well.”

» Humility
“I’ve been through enough bad times to have humility. To know that yesterday’s successes don’t necessarily guarantee tomorrow’s success. And you’ve got to be pretty fast on your feet and very vigilant. I always say all businessmen ought to be a little paranoid, and if you’re not, you’re not vigilant enough.”

» Greed
“What I’ve learned in all markets is that when you see too much excitement and enthusiasm ... when the pendulum has swung back to being too aggressive, that’s a signal to leave the market and leave the remaining profits to someone else.”

» Succession
“I’m not going to be the ultimate decision-maker on my successor. It will be the board of directors of the company. I think it has been my job to build a team of managers that have created a selection of potential successors to me. ... I think there are going to be choices, and I think there will probably be a debate.”