How did you get from graduation and no job, to owner of your own company?
“When I graduated from Purdue University in 1979, the economy and job market were similar to that of today’s and I was not able to find a job. I moved back home after graduation and began teaching Agriculture at the local high school I had attended. I also helped on our family farm, none of which were my dream during college.
Then, one Saturday morning, a man stopped by my family farm and suggested that our hillsides would make a great ski area. This opportunity resonated with me and the rest of my family; we saw it as a great potential and opportunity. As a whole, our family decided we would give his opportunity a chance. The adventure turned out to be more difficult and complicated than we had expected. It took much longer than we anticipated to turn the hillsides into a ski area and more finances than we estimated. However, after 20 years of investment and commitment, we felt we had turned the corner to success. Now, Perfect North Slopes is in its 33rd season of operation.”
What inspires you?
“I recently had the privilege of being part of the 2012 Old Master’s Program at Purdue University. It was an honor and a great experience to be part of. I had the chance to talk with a number of students in classes, panels, and at events. As I participated in these events with the intent to motivate, energize, and inspire students, they ended up inspiring me with their passions, motivations, and ambitions.”
What advice do you have for students?
“My first piece of advice to students is, “Do what excites you.” There is nothing more thrilling than turning your passions into a future career. Finding the perfect career is a long haul; you need to stay positive and excited an order to make it happen. My second piece of advice is, “Exceed your own expectations.” Make an effort to exceed not only the expectations of yourself but of those around you. My final piece of advice is, “If it was easy, everyone would do it!” Do not become discouraged if the road gets hard, perseverance pays off in the end.
What else would you like to tell students?
“The future is tricky and impossible to predict. You can only influence the outcome of the future by what you do today. Today I run a ski area, own and operate a cinema, dirt track speedway, a restaurant, and a few other businesses. I can assure you I was not planning those ventures in college and I realize in a roundabout way, I was preparing myself for those possibilities.”
Learn more about Perfect North Slopes at their website.