|photography by Douglas Wagenhauser|
Title/Company CEO/Pizza Inn Inc.
Two years; one as CEO, one as CFO
Working in the parts department for TG&Y in Wichita, Kan. It was Wal-Mart before there was a Wal-Mart.
Repossessing furniture for a rent-to-own company. I worked in collections for three months; I didn’t like what it meant.
Best part of your job
I love the restaurant business. I’ve done it most of my career.
Dealing with difficult times, be it the economy today or the competition. With a turnaround, there are days when you have to continuously deal with the challenges of the past.
If you weren’t CEO of Pizza Inn
I’d probably be with some other restaurant company somewhere. I like the interaction with customers; I like the food in general. It’s just a passion of mine. I’ve always been excited about service-based retail.
Gary Kusin, the first CEO at Kinko’s when I was there. Another great mentor was Joe Hardin Jr., a decorated Vietnam vet [who was with] Wal-Mart. There are a lot of people who have influenced my life.
I tend to get frustrated trying to move things along. You could say I’m overambitious.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
My wife and I watch CSI: Miami and Brothers & Sisters, lots of news shows, and I’m a nut for sports.
We bought a 35-year-old home on three acres of land. We’ve been restoring it. It’s very difficult, but you get through it—it’s never as easy as it seems.
People are either eating out less or choosing value over higher-ticket meals. That’s good for us—pizza is a very affordable proposition for people today. Casual dining is going through a big change, but I think we’re well-positioned.
Some companies became overleveraged, and food costs went up. It caused companies to go into a mode to cut costs and cut service and, in the restaurant business, that’s a hard thing to do. If quality and service are there, price is less of an issue. If [they aren’t], price becomes an issue.
Staying married, raising a family, and becoming a CEO all at the same time.
An adviser told me, “You never know what it’s like to have keys to the building. You aspire to be the one with the keys, but you’ll soon recognize what that means in terms of the weight those keys put on your shoulders.”
I golf, I go hunting. I have four children and I spend an amazing amount of time with them.