Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ken Hendricks - Create Jobs, Eliminate Waste, Preserve Value

I had never heard of Ken Hendricks before the announcement of his death on Friday.
"Two point six billion," says Hendricks, shaking his head. Then he chuckles. "It's not even real," continues the CEO, chairman, and sole owner of ABC Supply. "The money doesn't mean a damn thing."
Following up on a tip from Belling caller "Brian in New Berlin" I searched out the article that accompanied the naming of Mr. Hendricks as Inc.'s 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year. What a contrast to this story.
Bonuses on Wall Street surge 14 percent

NEW YORK (AP) -- This might have been one of Wall Street's most dismal years in a decade, but that hasn't stopped bonus checks from rising an average of 14 percent.

Four of the biggest U.S. investment banks - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. - will pay out about $49.6 billion in compensation this year. Of that, bonuses are traditionally estimated to represent 60 percent, or almost $30 billion.

But that might not sit well with investors who held on to investment bank stocks this year - and watched them plunge by up to 45 percent. Investment houses have been slammed by the credit crisis, and top executives this past week said they've yet to see a bottom.

It is clear from the article that Mr. Hendricks was from the old school of business, the one where people worked for the love of accomplishment, that being reward enough. He was certainly wealthy, but he was not about huge bonuses or selling out for that big payday. He created his wealth as a byproduct of creating jobs for the people he could see that needed them. He didn't pinch pennies to put in his pocket, but to keep his many businesses running to pay his employees.
In Hendricks's worldview there are two unalloyed blessings: family and a good day's work for a good day's pay. "My whole life is about trying to treat the working man fairly and give him a good opportunity," he had said the day before while driving me past the packed parking lot at one of his plants. "If you've got a job you have pride. You can dream. You can go home and talk about your kids going to college."
What a difference from those in the Wall Street bonus article. People who have never put anyone to work, but skim billions off the top of our economy.

This country needs more Ken Hendricks. What a huge loss to his family, his employees, and the Beloit area.

Read the article.

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