About Us

At The Crossroads. In today's precarious business climate, the leaders are face to face with risk on steroids.

At The Crossroads. In today's precarious business climate, the leaders are face to face with risk on steroids.

The Anatomy of Failed Succession.

True Stories. Read succession case studies.

Private Capital Corporation
#7 Mount Lassen Drive
Suite C 116
San Rafael, California 94903

Ph: (415) 524-8266 ext. 17
Fax: (415) 448-5298

email
info@privatecapitalcorp.com

PCC Advisory Board

Click on a board member name to read bio.

Sixteen years after leaving Utah State University with a degree in business management, Boyd Baugh found himself in his garage. It was 1973. The economic misery index was revving its depressing engine, Watergate was in full flower and an energy crisis was heating up. But this was Silicon Valley and Boyd (and his co-founder) had big plans. The Baugh family garage was their warehouse/workshop and a converted bedroom was the office for Space Designs, Inc.—their school furniture and equipment start-up.

In the mid-70’s, the partners took a decisive step. They became Herman Miller dealers and the garage was history. Twenty plus years later, Pivot Interiors (their new name) was America’s largest Herman Miller dealer.

Born and raised in Logan, Utah, young Boyd worked in various family businesses to learn the ideals of work and business ethics and he broadened that experience by living in Denmark for 2-1/2 years as a representative of his church.

In addition to his degree at Utah State, he was a Distinguished ROTC Graduate, completed an active tour and a seven-year reserve obligation. His first job as employment manager with (then) Thiokol Chemical taught him volumes as the company added 5000 jobs in four years.

He left aerospace and accepted an offer in school furniture sales, became top producer and sales manager. He had found his calling. In succession, he became a planning consultant, then general manager of a large dealer in the Bay Area. Eventually, when the entrepreneurial spirit tapped him on the shoulder, Boyd was ready.

Today, Pivot Interiors remains a leader in facility services and he remains a leader among furniture, civic, university and church associations. It’s a lot to do for a grandfather of 12.

Author, speaker, investor and entrepreneur, Joe Bonocore is founder, Chairman and CEO of Impresa Technologies, and Bonocore Technology Partners.

Before striking out on his own, he held a number of high-level positions in public accounting and business systems technology and communications.

Joe earned his BS in business from Lasalle University in Philadelphia, PA. and served a hitch as an officer in the United States Army before plunging headlong into big business with the likes of Coopers & Lybrand and General Electric. He was well on his way.

He became CEO of NYNEX DPI, helping grow and revitalize the company until its sale to IBM. In 1995, he was president of San Francisco Consulting Group and managed the firm’s sale and merger with KPMG when he was named Partner and National Industry Director of the firm’s communications industry practice.

With his own consulting organization, Joe is busier than ever. He is guest lecturer at the Wharton School, and Stanford and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, University of San Francisco.

A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Joe is author of Commanding Communications: Navigating Emerging Trends in Telecommunications, and Raised Italian-American: Stories, Values and Traditions from the Italian Neighborhood.

The Big Apple gave young Joe Cabral a heavy does of common sense and street smarts that he carried with him to California State University, East Bay.

He earned his BS in business administration and promptly signed on with the audit staff of Arthur Anderson.

Four years later, he was controller of Farinon Electric. When the Harris Corporation acquired Farinon, Joe moved over as controller for the corporation’s Dracon Division, preparing himself for bigger things.

In 1988, he headed up an operating unit for a Fortune 500 company and three years later led 90 employees to orchestrate an ESOP buyout of the unit that became Chatsworth Products, Inc.

The 100% employee-owned company promptly elected him to the Board, and he took office as president and chairman until his retirement in 2004.

Since its inception, the company has grown by 1000%. With his background in an ESOP company, Joe remains active in national ESOP Association activities. He was Chair of the Association’s Board and received the organization’s prestigious Life Service Award.

Raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Bill Dauer witnessed family struggles born from the Depression.

His parents didn’t make it past sixth grade, but economic hardship had no impact on his family’s love, support and sacrifice. And not surprisingly, Bill carried their sense of community into his own life, eventually becoming the influential builder of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. The road to San Francisco presented its own set of challenges.

He was a Marine Raider during WWII, served on the Staff/Command Board in SF and along the way earned his BA in finance and management at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

When Bill took the Chamber post years later, the city sat on the economic development shelf. He organized 27 international trade missions, attracting 18 international banks and a sizable number of headquarter companies. He took top execs to major U.S. cities to sell SF. He attracted some of the nation’s top business leaders to serve on his Board.

When the Dauer dust settled, the Chamber had a 10 department, 55-person staff, increased its budget six times and became the nation’s largest – all accomplished through private funding.

Bill’s life after the Chamber didn’t slow a bit. He became a PCC principal for a short while, created an Economic Development Corporation in Springfield, Mo., and co-chaired the move of the Dallas Texans to Kansas City (Chiefs).

Currently, he serves on many boards and foundations, is director of the SF Sports Hall of Fame, and was the first executive elected to the Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

When she plops down a bottle of her favorite pinot noir on the counter of a San Francisco Safeway, Hanna Derry is often required to show ID. Getting "carded" at a food store seems a bit hysterical, considering that Hanna is a Managing Director of BlackRock, the world's largest investment manager. But she's not complaining. Looking young never got in her way.

Born and raised in Oregon, she was graduated with honors at Oregon State in 1997 with a BA in international relations and wasted no time hitting the financial services fast track.

Early experience took her to on-line-retailing, help desk management and software training. She found success at start-up ePIT, Inc., and later at the Pacific Exchange. In 2006, based on her record of turning around floundering teams and projects, Barclays Global Investors (BGI) tapped her to transform a strategic project for an electronic trading system. Subsequently, three short years later, Blackrock acquired BGI and Hanna assumed responsibilities for teams dedicated to the integration of the two firms.

Currently, she's responsible for development and maintenance of systems for the global departments of Index & iShares Portfolio Management, iShares Product Management, Transitions Services and Securities Lending — including platforms that manage over $1T in assets, as well as teams in six countries.

To expedite business, travel demands and personal interests, she plans a second residence in Hawaii where her family roots trace almost a century. Hanna's devotion to her own career is matched by a dedication to mentoring and coaching aspiring women in their careers, especially in the financial services and technology sectors.

Meanwhile, she's a sustaining member of the Junior League of San Francisco, as well as a member of the Business Advisory Council of the Dominican University Graduate School of Business and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Most people spend lifetimes learning how to do one thing well. Others, like Joe Destein, would never risk the boredom. Accordingly, he would travel diverse roads as a business exec, financial consultant, investor, winemaker, film producer, screenwriter and student of foreign languages.

An experienced executive with broad financial credentials, Joe has worked for both U.S. and foreign governments, and has consulted with domestic and multi-national corporations, public and private. Currently, in addition to his role with PCC, he serves as a Chair with Vistage International, the oldest and largest CEO organization in the world. He's also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the Dominican University Graduate School of Business.

Born and raised in "Steeler Country," Joe went to New York where he had to decide between feeding his right brain by attending Lee Strasburg's Actors Studio or his left by pursuing an MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU. His left brain won. He not only earned an MBA in finance, but also completed the course work toward a PhD. in international finance.

He took a break in his studies to satisfy his travel lust and to attend classes at the University of Paris for a year of doctoral studies in international economics and intensive French language training. While there, he was recruited to serve as an economist in the U.S. Foreign Service, assigned to the Embassy in Saigon. He served as a liaison officer with the Vietnam Central Bank, Ministries of Economy and Finance, as well as the banking and importing community. And while in the Far East, he also found time to teach international economics to state department and military officials.

His intense and rewarding experience in Saigon was a hard act to follow. Back in the Big Apple, Joe worked for the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC), a Rockefeller Family enterprise focused on the development and management of new business ventures. His responsibilities included the coordination and implementation of corporate-wide operational and strategic long-range planning methods and procedures, capital budgeting and investment studies.

After years of working for others, Joe and good friend and mentor James Paulding co-founded Anistics Inc., a financial services company that specialized in the application of operations research and financial analysis to the field of risk management. Later, Anistics was acquired by Alexander & Alexander, Inc.(now Aon Corporation). Joe served as president/CEO until 1978 when he left to establish Risk Sciences Group (RSG), a financial consulting and computer software firm specializing in large database systems for Fortune 500 clients. Eventually, Crawford & Company acquired RSG and Joe remained there until 1986.

By 1986, Joe's right brain got its share of the attention. Private consulting and real estate investments occupied some of his time. But there was more to do. He wrote, produced and directed independent feature films, won screenwriting awards and became a Gold Medal award winning winemaker. These were the years when he added Italian to his list of languages; so he could comfortably visit cousins in his grandparents' villages in Calabria.

With deep roots still in a small town in Massachusetts, Curt Ford’s education at Syracuse University and the University of Chicago Law School led him down an eclectic path as a reporter and lawyer before becoming an agent for Northwestern Mutual in 1965.

A well known and well regarded speaker on Family Estate Planning, Curt has addressed such prestigious gatherings as the Million Dollar Round Table, served as a faculty member at five Society’s video teleconferences and Institutes, as past President of the San Francisco Chapter of CLU and ChFC, and as a Trustee of The American College. His ability to understand his audiences and present his message in a relaxed manner often laden with humorous anecdotes helps alter what could be a dry delivery of information.

With the clear direction to “Be Yourself”, his quiet private practice today in tax planning in Marin County affords him the opportunity to continue pursuing his goal to broaden his knowledge base. Whether back packing in the High Sierras or along the Pacific Trails, taking classes at local Universities in photography, Cultural Anthropology, or Chinese Art, living with the Cofan Indians in the Headwaters of the Amazon, white water rafting in Costa Rica, trekking in Africa, or bouncing his grandchildren on his knee, Curt continues to be a vibrant and accomplished individual.

Unlike many corporate executives, Paul Gallagher chose not to play the field.

With his degree from St. Bonaventure, he headed straight for the forest. In a long career with the forest products industry, he served as Senior Vice president and Divisional General Manager of Crown Zellerbach Corporation, as well as President of Texcrom Paper Company.

Paul fueled his career by completing the Advanced Management program at Harvard and by serving as chairman of the St. Bonaventure President’s Advisory Council.

On the industry side of things, he was president of the Tissue Division of the American Paper Institute, and for many years served on the executive committee of the Paper Bag Institute.

During his boyhood in the 50's in Sheffield, Illinois, Con Hewitt was a paperboy, grass mower, window washer, bank janitor, high school football team captain, and polio victim (gratefully, a mild case).

Approximately 60 years later, the boy who learned the supreme value of a penny and the stark lessons of adversity retired as Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The long road to the pinnacle of the accounting world began routinely enough with a BS in finance from the University of Illinois, and picked up speed with a tour of duty in the air force at SAC headquarters where Con immersed himself in auditing and accounting. By then, he was married to a TWA stewardess from Illinois and contemplated accepting offers to return home. But an offer from Ernst & Ernst (later Ernst & Young), coupled with an urge to avoid Midwest weather, motivated the couple to head west and they never looked back.

Con thrived at E&Y. From LA to Hawaii to Washington and San Francisco, he carved an illustrious 33-year career, becoming managing partner in 10 years. There, he developed a strong background as a financial institution regulator, was chairman of 10 audit committees and a director. He also was trustee of two pension plans and a private charitable foundation.

Subsequently, from 1995-1998, Con was California Superintendent of Banking where he created the new Department of Financial Institutions and became its first Commissioner. In these roles, he was responsible for the supervision and regulation for over 1000 various types of financial institutions. In the years prior to his SEC appointment, Con was a financial consultant and corporate director.

Today, he remains active as a director of the Bank of The West, a member of its Audit Committee, and Investment and Loans Committee. In addition, he sits on many other boards, travels internationally, and speaks publicly on a wide variety of financial, accounting and auditing matters. And during this financial bustle, Con invariably finds time to audit as many golf courses as he can reasonably visit.

The road to success is not necessarily paved in a straight line. Just ask entrepreneur and author Leni Miller.

At Columbia University, she was graduated with honors in German literature, surely a degree that would lead her to academia. But no, she decided to devote herself to a nursing career when her road took a sharp turn and she traveled headlong into the recruiting industry.

She co-founded McCall Staffing in San Francisco and currently is president of EA Search, specializing in recruiting and consulting for exec assistants. With over 25 year’s experience, she has a passion to create effective executive support partnerships for well-known CEOs here and abroad.

And that same passion led her to other creative pursuits. She founded and co-produced “Home Sweet Office,” a TV series on the emerging workplace sponsored by Intel Corporation, and is working on a book “Give Yourself Permission: The Five Steps to Finding Right Work.”

Leni’s commitment to “giving back” is apparent through many affiliations, including her roles as a former member of the board for Junior Achievement, National Association of Women Business Owners and the Center for Attitudinal Healing. She is currently on the board of the World Business Academy

She was one of the first women worldwide to be admitted to Rotary as a member of San Francisco Rotary, the second oldest club in the world.

Without question, she’s a handful -- principal of Meyer Family Enterprises and Meyer Oil, partner of Meyer Family Cellars and Gold River Mills and CEO of Pro-Attitude, a former division of the International Center for Attitudinal Healing.

But her star was born when husband Justin and she built the now revered Silver Oak Vineyards from a dream to world-class producer of fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Before they sold Silver Oak after 30 years, the couple started Meyer Family Cellars, with their children as partners.

Bonny oversees investment selection and the management of a number of other business enterprises. She is a recent and active founding member of Charter Oak Bank. An active philanthropist, she is deeply involved in strategic and venture philanthropy. As Director of the Meyer Family Fund and Justin Meyer Scholarship Fund, she invites and assesses grant proposals, a process that extends her involvement far beyond mere funding.

Bonny grew up in Los Altos, California, and earned a degree in Psychology at University of California at Davis, where she also earned both primary and secondary teaching credentials.

Today, she is deeply involved in civic affairs and area education initiatives.

It seemed to just about everyone that Frank Roberts was a money man from the word go.

He began qualifying himself for the part with a BS in accounting and MBA in finance from Berkeley, and advanced management program from Harvard.

Along the way, he completed OCS training for a 4-year hitch in the navy, serving two of them aboard attack aircraft carrier USS Hornet.

In the year of his discharge, Frank became senior financial analyst for Kaiser Industries and ten years later joined Consolidated Freightways – an association that would last 24 years.

He worked his way through the CF’s financial ranks to become VP-Treasurer, overseeing the Emery Airfreight acquisition, and designing and implementing the company’s health plans, retirement plans and corporate investment portfolio.

Although retired, Frank still consults with private companies and remains active in the Financial Executive Institute.

Attorney, investor, entrepreneur and humanist, Paul Temple has traveled far and wide to spread his business and personal influence.

A Cincinnati native, he earned his AB at Princeton, JD at Harvard Law School and was a navy ensign.

In the heart of his corporate career, in a stretch of eight years, he was attorney for both Celanese and Standard Oil. He made a notable jump with successive energy posts in Spain – president of Esso Affiliates and executive VP of Gas Natural SA.

It was about this time, in the early 1970’s, that Paul donned his entrepreneurial hat. He co-founded Weeks Natural Resources followed by chairman responsibilities for a number of enterprises, including Energy Capital of London, Dayspring Mining, Biogenesis Enterprises, Seasoil Ltd., Gaichem Technologies, Organic Trees and Virgin Oil.

To this day, reaching for cultural and spiritual attainment, he co-founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the Temple Award for Creative Altruism and participated in many national and international exchanges – sponsor for Christianity, Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival, master of ceremonies for the US-USSR Summit, and director of the Temple of Understanding.

Paul’s creative side and love for music also found a home as associate producer of the film Born Again and Broadway play Dance a Little Closer.

When the Aurora Colorado Chamber of Commerce named Ralph Christie its “2002 Man of the Year,” nobody was surprised.

Ralph had plunged headlong into serving his community, as he simultaneously held the reins of Merrick & Company, a 450-person engineering, architectural and construction management firm.

Typically, Ralph prepared himself for leadership. He earned his BS in civil engineering at the University of Cincinnati and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. He logged nearly 20 years working in various technical and management posts before joining Merrick in 1992.

And by the time 1997 had passed, he was chairman, president and CEO.

Among a host of community activities, Ralph served as chair of the Aurora Economic Development Council, was a founding member of the Colorado Space Business Roundtable and currently co-chairs the Colorado Space Coalition.

In 2002, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his Cincinnati alma mater; and since 2004, has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Denver Business School.

He was coming off six years as top salesman in a wholesale lumber business when Steve Love decided to quit his job (in 1980) and take a minority interest in a new lumber venture.

He and his partners located the new distributorship in Boise for a single reason --- access to world-class fishing. They weren’t disappointed. The fishing was great, but business proved even better.

When one of the founders opted to leave the firm, Steve and the other partner bought and split his shares. By 1992, annual revenues had reached $36MM. When his remaining original partner sold out, Steve acquired majority interest and CEO responsibility.

In the next eight years, he grew the business to $81MM and achieved his lifelong goal – retire on his 50th birthday. Only he hasn’t retired.

Currently, he is vice president of Innovative Training Concepts and sits on a half dozen business and non-profit boards, working as consultant, executive coach and mentor.

He has remained board chairman of his former company Idaho Pacific Lumber. Two years ago, company sales reached $160MM.

Most accounting majors stress out before taking their CPA exams following graduation. Scott Sangalli avoided the anxiety. He simply became a CPA while he was still an undergraduate at Western Illinois University.

Scott’s hustle was signal of things to come. He worked in public accounting for a couple of years but quickly discovered that “counting” other people’s money put him on the wrong side of the fence.

He jumped over it to become CEO of a mid-size manufacturing and construction company, and two years later hooked up with two partners to start up a pre-cast concrete business in Texas. The partners sold the business and Scott joined wholesale plumbing distributor Morrison Supply.

Despite a good reputation in the early 80’s, the company was failing. But not for long. Scott bought Morrison in 1986. Since then, the distributorship has grown from six to 76 branches in the Southwest and sales rocketed from $18MM to $600MM.

Today, the Morrison group of companies employs over 1200 people and has expanded into utilities, HVAC, appliances, retail showrooms & design centers.

Scott is Morrison’s Chairman and CEO, and is predictably active in local and regional civic, professional and philanthropic associations. And he has every intention to remain on his side of the fence.

In Missouri, they say action speaks louder than words. Jerry Stone would agree.

Born slap dab in the middle of WWII, he joined the National Guard right out of high school, married a year later and got a job as collector for a small loan company. Repossessing cars was no fun but for Jerry it was a priceless education.

His next stop was with a savings and loan bank, and 16 years later he was executive vice president and Board member. Then the Stone road forked.

He attended a seminar to learn how to generate income by marketing tax-deferred annuities and ended up accepting an offer from Marketing One, the firm that conducted the seminar. A top producer, Jerry became national sales manager; and when the company was sold, he became chairman and CEO, overseeing premium income of over $1 billion.

Suddenly, Jerry was a venture capitalist. He decided to back an entrepreneur with unique information technology. Together, they built Claremont Technology, Inc., which, when merged with CBSI, enjoyed a market cap of $280 million.

He retired a few years ago as a Lt Colonel in the Army reserve.

Currently, he is engaged in a number of entrepreneurial activities in his community.

An organizational leader with over 20 years of experience providing corporations with strategic direction, David Binns is a recognized authority on the design and implementation of equity compensation plans. His consulting experience includes work in over 20 countries worldwide.

David calls his defining career move “exquisite timing.” In November, 1984, five years removed from his B.A. at the University of Virginia, he hired on to manage a “small trade association.” This was barely three months after Senator Russell Long had pushed through legislation dramatically improving the federal tax incentives for ESOPs. That small trade association grew like gangbusters and he rode that wave for the next six years, helping to grow the ESOP Association four-fold.

From there David went to the Beyster Institute established by Dr. J. Robert Beyster, the founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) which was a leading exemplar of a high-growth, high-tech, 100% employee-owned company. Today SAIC has annual revenues over $10 billion. For 17 years at Beyster, he provided a broad range of consulting services to companies interested in implementing equity-based compensation programs. He also led the Institute's international development work to promote the growth of entrepreneurship and employee ownership.

Currently, he serves as COO and member of the board of directors of Macfadden & Associates, Inc., a federal government contracting company. Macfadden's more than 200 employee-owners provide a variety of specialized government services related to information technology, financial systems management, homeland security, program management and international disaster remediation.

A published author and frequent speaker related to employee ownership and enterprise development, he is co-editor and contributing author of Employee Stock Ownership Plans: ESOP Planning, Financing, Implementation, Law and Taxation, a two-volume technical reference to ESOPs published in 2007; and Employee Financial Participation: An International Survey, published in 2008.

Kentucky born and D.C. and Virginia raised, David clings to the mid-Atlantic region. By living and working in Silver Spring, Md., he lists his 1.5-mile commute as a personal strategic milestone.

Retirement was never in the cards for “Bodie” Bodenheimer. True, he stepped down as president of First Citizens Bank of North Carolina in 1987. About that same time, he also left the N.C. National Guard as a brigadier general.

But in less than two years, he was back in the saddle, this time as an entrepreneur. He acquired struggling wood flooring manufacturer Zickgraf Industries and orchestrated a complicated, but speedy, turn-around.

In 1991, the company’s 75 employees produced revenues of $8MM; today, over 500 employees generate revenues in excess of $100MM.

Even at a very early age, Bodie was a doer. He enlisted in the navy fresh out of high school and his talent and work ethic quickly earned him an officer’s navigation job. The GI Bill took him to Appalachian State University.

After graduation, he followed his football passion to stay on campus and coach at the university before leaving to become head coach at a Charlotte high school.

Bodie’s military training and coaching skills played important roles in his subsequent rise through the ranks of First Citizen.

The former banker and retired general now commutes weekly from his home in Greensboro to Franklin, North Carolina, where he applies a lifetime of leadership skills to keep Zickgraf on an upward path.

In his diverse career, Gerald has been known as a “change agent.” He operates at every organizational level, including retail merchandising, manufacturing, financial services, technology, franchising, administration and direct response marketing.

Principal stockholder of The Deltennium Group, he has helped organizations achieve peak performance through effective leadership, focused strategy, effective organization and sound financial management.

Before launching Deltennium in1995, Gerald turned around UNC, Inc., a full service aviation company. In 1993, he was a team member recruited to revamp IBM. He had worldwide responsibility for human resources, real estate services, non-manufacturing procurement, aviation and a wide range of other staff functions.

He equipped himself for top management early, earning his BS in economics at Temple, MA from Michigan State and Doctor of Humane Letters at National University. In the meantime, he became a CPA.

A frequent speaker on corporate governance and leadership, he authored the book: You’re In Charge. What Now?

Gerry serves on a host of public and private boards, committees and non-profit associations, notable among them Junior Achievement Worldwide, and is currently serving as the President & CEO.

In 1990, the faculty of Harvard Business School asked MBA student Mike Durham to tutor first-year students. Their decision was a sure thing because they knew Durham was no tenderfoot business scholar. He was fresh from a seven-year stint with The Proctor & Gamble Company where he vaulted through company ranks to manage dozens of people and complex system operations.

It was this practical corporate experience that led Durham to Harvard, realizing he needed a broader foundation if he expected to realize his business goals. He didn't have long to wait. He immediately connected with Burlington Industries. In 1993 he was named National Sales Manager; 1996 became Vice President of sales, and in 1999 led the Upholstery Division as its Executive Vice President. In 2002 his entrepreneurial attitude and management style landed him as Group President of Tietex Interiors, to start up a new division for Tietex International, Ltd. In spring, 2009, he partnered with Burlington Manufacturing Services to purchase Interiors from Tietex and launch Se7en, a new textile venture that he leads as CEO.

Durham's penchant for achievement and leadership surfaced early at N.C. State University. He earned his BS in industrial engineering, cum laude, and became a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Pi Mu engineering honor societies. He won in the state, district and national engineering technical paper competition with A Quantitative Model Applying Queuing Theory and Statistics: Case Study in Textile Environment.

Durham has been a Boy Scout leader and enjoys team sports, as well as tennis, golf and snow skiing. He is a member of Sedgefield Country Club and Oak Grove Baptist Church. He and Karen live with daughter Raleigh and Labrador retriever Hunter in Greensboro, N.C.

His earliest memory was sitting at his immigrant grandmother’s knee. There he listened to her recite Robert Burns poetry and there he learned many of life’s lessons – ideas he kept close at heart in his rise through the corporate landscape.

Now a retired chairman of Rolls Royce, North America, Sam took those early lessons and worked his way through Columbia University, earning tuition loans, scholarships and other financial assistance until he received his engineering degree. Ever since, he has been a dedicated alumnus, eventually serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

He joined the army in 1942 as a private and was promoted to Captain before he was mustered out in 1945. He then began his career with TWA and rose through the ranks to a senior level.

At 42, he jumped ship for competitor Eastern as head of engineering and maintenance and was named COO eight years later.

But philosophical differences with the CEO about how to revive the struggling carrier drove him in three years to leave the airline industry and begin a new journey.

He taught briefly at Miami University’s Graduate School of Business before being recruited to help reorganize and rebuild Rolls Royce.

Subsequently, Sam became CEO and Chairman of the North American company and the first foreign director of the parent company that had 30,000 employees when he retired.

When he was nine, Bob McKinnon was mowing lawns and helping farmers harvest their crops.

His little community near Burlington, N. C., was the kind of place boys became men quickly – through hard work, family values and spiritual influences. In high school, he excelled in sports and academics, all the while juggling work at a service station and a gristmill.

He worked his way through nearby Elon College, becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree. Five weeks after graduating from the Army’s OSC, at age 24, Bob became a company commander and a year later was a battalion executive officer.

Arming himself for the civilian world, he completed a year of postgraduate work in human resources and industrial relations. Barely 30, he landed a senior industrial relations post in the 2600 employee division of Burlington Industries.

Success rewarded Bob a promotion as labor relations director, and quickly he assumed the biggest challenge of his career – managing union negotiations that were in turmoil. In eight months, he cleared up 15 arbitration cases and 50 unresolved grievances. He later accepted an offer to be director of human resources and eventually a division head for Riegel.

When he was 38, Bob became president of Valdese Weavers and in 16 years presided over a 1700% increase in profits. Bob mentored his successor at Valdese and left the company in 2001 to establish Mckinnon, Land and Moran and Basofil Fibers LLC. He is currently a major shareholder in those companies.

At the McShane household in 1951, two cataclysmic events shook their South Bronx neighborhood. Brian was born and Bobby Thomson hit “the shot heard ‘round the world” that won the National League pennant for the New York Giants. Six years later, the Giants moved to San Francisco.

But Brian learned to appreciate baseball, when on summer nights his Dad would take him and his brothers on the roof to listen to the raucous cheers from nearby Yankee Stadium. Although the family eventually moved to Long Island, Brian would never venture far from the Big Apple.

He earned his college degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, recently named one of the “hottest 25 schools in America.”

Out of school, he dipped his feet into entry-level jobs and then made two life-changing decisions – simultaneously. He married Eileen and joined the Advertising Checking Bureau in 1979. Today, both unions thrive.

He began his ACB career as a research sales rep and in succession became national sales manager, VP, Board member and President, CEO (1996).

Brian’s rise to the top was rocky. He reached it by guiding ACB through a restructuring and then by building the team that turned things around.

Now the largest company of its kind, ACB has approximately 400 employees working in N. Y., Arizona and Tennessee. And, true to his roots, Brian takes great satisfaction serving on the SUNY at New Paltz Foundation Board.

They call him “Nick.” He’s chairman of AC Corporation, a manufacturer/contractor with specialized divisions: air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and process controls.

His son David runs the show but Nick is still active, wearing his signature bow tie and sporting a penetrating wit, now legendary among generations of fellow workers.

Unlike many corporate kingpins, Nick didn’t travel through an MBA factory; rather, by way of his father’s coal and ice business and later a 30’x 60’ tomato canning factory the teenager built with his bare hands. When he wasn’t shoveling 10 tons of coal a day, he helped the elder Nickell make ice and learned the basics of refrigeration by the time he was 14.

A Bosch & Lombe high school science award led him to a University of Virginia scholarship, and his penchant for physics qualified him to teach naval students during WW II.

Ensign Nickell served in the Merchant Marines before returning to college with the help of his wife Del.

In 1948, degree in hand, he joined the Air Conditioning Corporation and his boyhood lessons immediately flowered. Western Electric Company selected Nick to design and construct the world’s first production-size ‘clean room.”

His career flourished. He and three other senior people acquired company stock from the founder and Grason Nickell was on his way to lead an employee-owned company to new levels of achievement and prosperity.

The streets of Brooklyn will prepare anyone for anything. When his family left N.Y. for the tough mill town of Gastonia, N.C., and forced their 3rd grader to wear sissy short pants to school in the winter, character was born out of necessity. Many bloody noses later, barely 17, he took an academic scholarship to Duke University and promptly flunked out. That failure was the beginning of success.

After one aimless year, Toomey finally grew up in the military and made his most important decision -- marrying Nancy. Six years later, the couple had two sons, and Toomey had a degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina. A year of graduate school and teaching assistantship motivated him not to teach and it was off to be public relations director of what today is Eckerd College. Between 1964-1978, he pulled corporate communications duty with S.C. Electric & Gas, the State-Record Company and Duke Power. And, in this interim, became a father twice more.

In 1979, Toomey decided to pursue honest work in sales with The Alderman Company in High Point, N.C. Three years later, in a mid-life panic, he and two partners founded Tatum Toomey Whicker, a marketing agency specializing in advertising, location photography and sales promotion. The company perished in 2006 and Toomey founded Steam Marketing LLC. (www.steammarketing.com)

A life-long sportsaholic, he still concentrates on physical fitness, golf, tennis and seven grandchildren. When he’s not hitting a ball, he’s taking shots in Fodder, a web site dedicated to cynical commentary of the world at large. (http://home.triad.rr.com/fodder/).

Hawaii

Investor Paul DeVille operates his commercial real estate company Transpacific from its home base in Honolulu.

Aptly named, his firm targets properties and opportunities on the Islands as well as in the U. S, Northwest.

Paul has been entrenched in Honolulu business circles for years. He was president and COO of Persis, a corporation that owned a chain of newspapers on the mainland, as well as the Honolulu Advertiser, the city’s leading daily paper.

He coordinated the sale of the newspaper business in 1991 and moved it into commercial real estate.

Paul later became president and CEO of Hilo Hattie, the dominant purveyor of fine Hawaiian wear on the Islands. He was responsible for the strategic direction of 13 retail stores in Hawaii, California, Florida and Nevada, as well as their E-commerce, wholesale and uniforms businesses.

He left Hilo Hattie recently to devote full time to expanding his Transpacific operations, and spending more time with his family.

Tom Driskill literally jumped his way through college. But he had some qualified help – the muscular horses he rode to multiple state jumping championships in North Carolina. The horses earned most of the admiration and Tom financed his way through Wake Forest, earning his own reward with a degree in business administration. Raised in the Old North State, he was destined to leap over his own obstacles before landing halfway around the world. The stops along the way honed his credentials. From Wake, he went straight to the US military. In Vietnam, as combat medic, he ministered to individual soldiers. And somebody noticed. He became executive officer to the US Army Surgeon General, responsible for a worldwide healthcare delivery system. While on active duty he completed his MBA at DePaul as well as military leadership training to include a sabbatical at the US Army War College. What followed were successful tours of duty as Medical Battalion Commander, Medical Brigade Commander, Community Hospital Administrator and Medical Center Commander. Major healthcare challenges became his way of life -- system reorganizations, budget reductions, RIF, forced salary cuts, mass casualties and even a 21- alarm hospital fire. The intensity and the scrutiny weren't wasted. Tom's three decades of military service easily transitioned into the public/private sector. Just recently, he completed 13 years as leader of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC), a major public benefit organization composed of 14 hospitals and one assisted living center. As President & CEO, he was the sole employee of the Board of Directors. Some 4000 employees operated in a heavily politicized environment. Year after year, Tom carried the system forward through upheavals in Medicare, Medicaid and 3rd party insurance. The key to success, he says, was being able to in lead an institution that was both culturally and geographically diverse. Relying on adaptability, he created 501c3 foundations to support the hospitals and used video-teleconference/telemedicine technology to maintain synergy – keeping key organizational elements functioning as a team. That experience behind him, Tom's still not through with healthcare. As a disabled veteran, he's active with federal healthcare throughout the Pacific Rim, taking him throughout Hawaii, and to Samoa, Guam and the Marianas. Planted firmly in Hawaii with his wife Bonnie and three boys, he also finds time, in partnership with his oldest son Tommy III, to serve as CEO of Dotodo, LLC, a business that serves the entertainment industry.

Once Mike May started traveling west he didn’t stop until he touched down in Honolulu.

Born and reared in Newport News, Va., he turned left to earn his BS in industrial engineering and management at Mississippi and then detoured back east to Williamsburg for his MBA at William and Mary.

The journey west began as controller of the Power Tool Division of Rockwell in Pittsburgh, followed in succession by top posts with Gould, Inc., in St. Louis and Caterpillar in San Diego.

In 1989, he founded Management Assets Group and three years later left the mainland to join utility Hawaiian Electric as senior vice president.

In 1995, he was named president and CEO. As head of one of Hawaii’s most influential corporations, Mike has immersed himself as a leader in many civic and healthcare enterprises and continues an active role in the Edison Electric Institute and Electric Power Research Institute.

Since moving further west is no longer an option, Mike is an avid backpacker, having hiked the Milford Track in New Zealand and the Cinque Terre and Tuscany in Italy.

The name doesn’t look or sound it, but Bob Midkiff is Hawaiian through and through.

His Father was an educator from Illinois and his Mother was a Kamaaina descendant of Amos Starr and Juliette Cooke who came to the Islands with the seventh group of missionaries in 1837.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Bob grew up on a school campus, graduated at the head of his class and eventually was Phi Beta Kappa at Yale.

At 23 he joined the Army, completed OCS, returned to Yale for Japanese studies and ultimately became aide to the military governor of Japan.

But Hawaii beckoned. He signed on with Hawaiian Trust Company and by the time he was 32 became one of the nation’s foremost authorities on profit sharing plans. Within the next decade, Bob had installed over 1000 plans throughout the Islands.

His reputation and further experience in corporate profit sharing plans prompted the native son to launch American Trust Company (later named American Financial Services). Over a 20 year span the firm grew from three employees and private investment of $550K to 300 employees managing $4 billion in assets.

The Bank of Hawaii (now Pacific Century) purchased AFS for $53 million -- shared with employees, management partners and founding shareholders.

What has been called “Midkiff’s Aloha Spirit” now has him busier than ever with a number of philanthropic foundations.

But his great passion is serving as president of “Good Beginnings Alliance,” an enterprise that builds a constituency for young Hawaiian children.

Few secondary school students were more traveled. Before he was through high school, Robby jumped back and forth from his Miles City, Montana birthplace to Honolulu to Kauai. Alternating spring and fall semesters in three places, he received his high school diploma from Honolulu’s noted Punahou School.

He spent his high school summers on Kauai working in his father’s electrical construction business; and when time came to choose a college from those that accepted his application, he picked a most distant location from Hawaii – Notre Dame.

Following four South Bend winters and with his BA in hand, he chose a law school based on the warmest climate – Loyola, New Orleans. He passed the bar, took a position as a trial attorney with the EEOC.

By this time, he had met Pamela in law school and they married a year after he began work. In 1989, the couple returned to Kauai to run the family businesses that included R Electric and Rasco Supply.

But first things first, Pamela and Robby passed the Hawaii bar exam in 1989. Robby and brother Randy acquired the assets of their father’s original companies and managed to survive very lean times, keeping three business afloat.

By 2005-07, the companies had rebounded, and achieved record growth and profits.

With his daughter’s acceptance at Punahou, Robby moved the family to Honolulu in 2005, where he manages the companies in both Kauai and Honolulu.