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Business

Meet the Dallas 500: Barbara Smith

The president and CEO of Commercial Metals Co. on her toughest challenge and her Porsche 911.
By D CEO |
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Courtesy of Company

Education:
Purdue University (B.S.)

First Job:
“Systems analyst at Alcoa. I had no technical training in IT and no idea how to program in Cobol. My degree was in accounting. I went to the library, got a book on Cobol, and taught myself. This taught me you could do any job if you aren’t afraid of learning something new and are willing to put in the extra effort to learn quickly.”

Greatest Inspiration:
“My father, who taught me values and work ethic. My mother, who is a saint for raising nine children. My husband, who is my biggest supporter and fan. My daughter, a gift from God who keeps me grounded and constantly reminded me of my obligations as a mother when my work took me away too much.”

Toughest Challenge:
“Hostile takeover attempt of Commercial Metals Co. by Carl Icahn.”

Lesson Learned:
“Thank you doesn’t cost you anything, but it buys you a lot.”

Fun Fact:
“I was a cheerleader for the University of Colorado in 1978.”

What I’d Tell An 18-year-old Me:
“Never let anyone else define your potential.”

Scary Moment:
“Learning that my husband’s carotid arteries were 50 percent blocked, and he was headed for an event he would likely not survive. My decade-long involvement as a volunteer for American Heart Association was shaped by this experience. By the way, Mike is doing great.”

Funniest Experience:
“I was interviewing for a CFO role and flew into Chicago to meet with one of the directors, who was Canadian. I arrived at the restaurant that he selected only to realize it was a brothel of sorts. Waitresses were dressed in bunny suits, and I was the only female customer in the place. The director was mortified, but I did land the job!”

Car I Drive:
“Porsche 911”

How I Motivate Others:
“Lead by example, give clear direction, encourage, help with resources, but also get out of the way and allow for some creativity.”

Bucket List:
“Dive the Barrier Reef”

Hobby/Passion:
“All things outdoors—golf, hiking, scuba diving”

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