In case you haven’t been following my blog, one the organizations I endorse is the Rice Alliance for Innovation and Technology. I have been an active member of the Rice Alliance since its inception in January of 2000. Today, I also serve on the Advisory Board for the Rice Alliance and my firm is also an active Platinum Sponsor of the Rice Alliance. Brad Burke and the staff of the Rice Alliance do an outstanding job. Last week was their kickoff event for the 2009-2010 year and its featured guest was George Foremen, former 2 time Heavyweight Champion and Successful Entrepreneur.
I listened to George being interviewed by another friend of our firm, Russ Capper for his Business Makers radio show. During this interview I gained some insight in George’s thinking, his experiences and his advice for folks of all ages. Some takeaways I garnered from my seat were:
As an entrepreneur it’s a good idea to have lots of friends…And friends with money is OK too.
Later George addressed a packed house at the Shell Auditorium in the Jones School. I was taken by his humility and ability to speak candidly about his background and where he was headed as troubled youth in the mid 1960s. He talked about how the Job Corps saved his future and got him focused into boxing. Many young people today only know George as the Foreman Grill CEO, but George was the 1968 Heavyweight Gold Medal Champion of the Mexico City Summer games. And for those of us who can remember, George saluted the crowd with an American Flag after knocking out the Russian competitor he faced that day. George recalls that one of the things he is most proud of is that he was called an “American Winner”.
Recalling his time through the boxing times George was successful, broke and then regained his financial freedom along his way. His story is one of self-accountability and steadfastness. He looked only to himself to help his family and himself get to where they are today.
As a two time Heavyweight Champion, he called how at 45 years of age, he was forced to get back into boxing to get himself financial secure. He indicated later in his life that Muhammad Ali and he become good friends, even though Ali took the title from him the first time.
He also recalled the story of how the George Foreman grill came to be and gives his wife all the credit for telling him to get behind the product. Today it has sold over 110 million units and is the Number 1 selling appliance in the US.
George was accompanied by three of his children this evening. In his own words his greatest accomplishment is his wife of 25+ years.
George has a new book out called “Knockout Entrepreneur”. I have read the first few chapters but I am already very impressed with his comments re business success. As many of my readers know, we are champions of free enterprise and free markets. We believe in entrepreneurs at PKF Texas I can tell that many of friends and followers will like his book.
After reading the first few pages of his book, I think George Foreman, a native Houstonian, is also an “American Legend”. Thanks for a great evening George, we wish you and your family the best.