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Interview with Julia Piccioni, and Heather LoPresti – Co-chairs of Focus 2040
Julia and Heather are both students at MG DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University.
This is the fifth year for the Focus 2040 competition. This program is open to college and university students across Canada from any field of study. No charge to register.
Students are challenged to envision and predict then convey their thoughts about the workplace of the year 2040.
Description from the Focus 2040 website…
“It’s 2040. As you’re getting ready for work, you glance out your bedroom window and you ask yourself, “Who would have ever predicted the world to look like it does now?” The answer? You. You are the business leaders of tomorrow. You have the imagination to bring forth new ideas. You have the potential to change the world. Together, we must focus… because you are the future.”
Prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 for the top three winners.
Corporate internships will be offered.
Additional benefits to students:
Opportunity to develop and demonstrate their abilities to think creatively, research, support their ideas and convey those ideas in writing and orally before a group
Connecting and networking with students, professors and corporate representatives
A bonus differentiating item for your resume
Deadline for this year’s competition to register is January 31, 2014
The final phase along with the announcement of the top contestants will take place at the Burlington Convention Centre on March 20, 2014.
Register or learn more at www.Focus2040.ca
Learn more about the founding partner, The Strategic Capability Network at http://www.scnetwork.ca/
Learn more at DeGroote School of business at
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Insights from this inteview with Ron Foxcroft
About Ron Foxcroft
Wears at least three hats
Chairman & CEO Fluke Transport
Chairman, CEO and Founder Fox 40
Professional Basketball referee
Kicked out of high school
Trained to become a basketball referee
Paid 75 cents to referee his first game and told that he was lousy and would never make it as a referee.
Ten years later he refereed the basketball Olympic game
If you want to be respected, learn to listen.
Fluke Transport is the most challenging hat he wears. Trucking is not for the faint of heart. It is high volume with low profit and fraught with complications. It depends on people and trucks – both which occasionally break down.
I knew nothing about trucking before I bought the trucking company
How did he buy Fluke Transport with no money?
How did he add 20 trucks with no money?
Everybody has a hot button – a deal making button. It’s something other than money.
Entrepreneurs and Business Success
I didn’t want to work for a dumb boss.
Hire people smarter than you
No such thing as raw inborn talent. Entrepreneurs learn and grow. They are built.
My entrepreneurship qualities:
Drive to success
Fear of failure
Challenges are speed bumps. I had to practice overcoming speed bumps
Failure is a learning experience
My business approach was simple – revenue must exceed expenses
I’m 68 years old and work 100 hours a week. But it’s not work because its fun.
Contacts are everything. That’s why community involvement is important. Every person I meet is smarter than me in something.
When you work 20 hours a day it’s amazing what good luck comes your way.
You can buy a business even if you don’t have any money.
You need a business plan and a plan B and Plan C
You need a stable of mentors
You can’t be a winner without a team
Sometimes you have to have Onions
About Fox 40
The Fox 40 whistle is sold in 140 countries
The Fox 40 whistle was conceived out of frustration with the existing product
In Canada they don’t like change. We were selling in 35 countries before we sold any in Canada. The first Canadian customer commented that “I read about you in Sports Illustrated. If the Americans like you, it must be good.”
The whistle is sold in sports, marine and personal safety markets
More information about our guest
Click below to listen to or download this audio file
Stephanie McLarty is CEO and Founder of REfficient
Insights from this interview with Stephanie McLarty
There was a problem that launched this new business
Reduce, Reduce, Recycle
An online marketplace for companies to buy telecom and AV equipment
They can shop for deals in the excess inventory of other corporations
Benefits to participants
Buyers can buy equipment at reduced costs
Sellers free up storage space and gain income
Useful resources are kept out of landfill
Sellers receive certified statements about their environmental performance
Most equipment comes with warranty
About Stephanie McLarty
Graduated from an Arts & Science program – that taught her to connect the dots
Masters in Peace and Conflict with intention to work for UN but that training helps manage people in business
Got first job because a friend on the inside recommended her
Asked lots of questions to learn the job
Enjoy speaking with customers
Working and travelling in Thailand and India challenged her to think differently
Continues to take courses on personal and professional development
Other Insights from this interview with Stephanie McLarty
Shipping was a problem so we introduced Shimple – Simple Shipping – we learned how to ship and calculate all costs – and we make money with this service
Learned how to run a business and to market and that is more important than the technical part
Trend in business of being a good company – sustainability is important
Key for startup business is deciding where to focus your limited resources
I was afraid
Excited and nervous in early state – suffered at least five nights of no sleep
In early days – fake it till you make it
Don’t try to get it perfect before you launch
Media attention was a nice to – not a must do
Tips for others
Grow yourself – that will help you grow your business
Try – in spite of your fears
Put support structures around you
Sleep, eat well, and connect with friends and family
Learn more about the company – REfficient
Read about REfficient in Business Week
Watch video interview with Stephanie McLarty on NewsClip TV
Click below to listen to or to download this interview with Stephanie McLarty on Business In Motion.
About Alan Bottomley
Alan graduated with an Engineering degree in Geo-physics then obtained his CA which led to a 31 year career as a partner with Price Waterhouse Coopers. With a solid education in working with “things and numbers” Alan reached an epiphany when he started to manage and lead people. He discovered his passion for working with people.
That same analytical mind that enabled him to understand the intricacies of engineering and accounting helped him address the challenges of understanding, managing and leading people.
Insights from this interview
Ownership Thinking is a methodology of encouraging employees to think and act like owners.
Compare the list of things that owners think about to what employees think about. They are different but not in conflict.
Implementing OwnerShip Thinking in a company results in both dramatic culture change and improved profitability within two to four hours.
The first major obstacle is for the business owner to give up control and reveal important information to the employees.
The second major obstacle is for the employees to realize that they aren’t being punished. They are simply invited to identify problems and opportunities.
Most problems are caused by management.
3 criteria for a company owner to participate in OwnerShip Thinking
- The owner must be a caring person
- The owner must be able to recognize the potential within others.
- There must be discipline within the company to implement.
Advice for startup entrepreneurs
- Be caring because this sets the culture
- MUST have fun (This one is critical for the next point)
- Establish highly visible expectations of performance
Click below to listen to, or download the audio file.
David is an entrepreneur who has started at least six businesses. Many of them were successful – yet he learned most from the ones that failed.
He opened a restaraunt because he loves to cook – but that wasn’t enough to succeed in that business. There’s a world of difference between cooking for a bunch of friends and cateering a wedding.
Insights from David Wojcik
Started his first business at age 15 because he was too young to get a job
Do something that no one in your neighbourhood is willing to do
You might need to wash your hands of bad staff and bad clients
Successful people don’t know how to give up
The business is the baby for the entrepreneur
Research your competition
David Wojcik is host of Biz TV Canada
David Wojcik is host of In Business on Rogers TV
Listen to or download this interview below.
Interview with Ray Simmons, President of CableTest Systems Inc.
CableTest Systems tests the wiring systems of military jets, high speed trains and the Space Shuttle (the exterior fuel tank has 8,000 connenctions). They provide a complex version of an electritian’s multi meter.
Ray Simmons has been the president and owner of CableTest Systems for the past nine years. Previously he was President of CRS Robotics. After a two year “retirement” he got edgy and longed to get back into business so he bought CableTest Systems.
Insights from this interview with Ray Simmons:
“Going public with CRS … was not me. That’s why I retired.”
“Retirement was quite challenging. I felt like I was disconnected.”
“55% of our business last year was in Europe. Asia is our next frontier. We like India.”
“I think that in a technologly company a president that is totally focussed on technology is dangerous.”
“We’re on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.”
Click below to listen or download this 30-minute interview.
Interview with Evan Carmichael
, founder of EvanCarmichael.com – the online magazine for entrepreneurs. The site receives nearly 600,000 visitors per month. It has the world’s largest collection of interviews and stories about famous entrepreneurs.
Insights from the interview with Evan Carmichael:
“Donald Trump was our biggest target.”
“Entrepreneurs are arsonists, they like to light fires.”
“If you only had 24 hours to work on your business – don’t spend it all in one day. Instead spend one hour a day for 24 days.”
“If you check email in the morning, it ruins the rest of your day.”
Click below to download or listen to this interview.