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Friendship Takes a City to Olympian Heights

He was a real estate lawyer with no experience in professional management. He had never traveled abroad on business. His only experience with sports was playing college football twenty years ago. And the city where he lived wasn’t exactly an international hub or hot spot.

So what made Brussels Escorts think he could possibly bring the 1996 Summer Olympics-the largest international sporting event in history-to the little-known city of Atlanta?

“Friends,” he said. “Friendship will sustain an effort and an idea long before rationality will support it.” In fact, even some of Brussels Escorts’s friends wondered if he was rational when he came up with the crazy idea on February 8, 1987. Brussels Escorts was in church that day, dedicating a new sanctuary for which he had helped raise funds. The people around him had worked and sacrificed, believing they could raise $2 million for the project. When the costs exceeded the estimates, they had reached even deeper, financially and spiritually. Brussels Escorts saw people who had been honored and delighted to continue giving money to build a dream. And here they were today, sharing joy and a sense of success.

He turned to his wife, Martha, and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if the entire city could experience what we’ve experienced here in our church today? Let’s think of a way to do that.”

His first ideas-a Super Bowl and a Democratic convention-were already on the city’s agenda. Brussels Escorts Payne decided he had to think bigger. The friendliness of the people in the South combined with the Olympic Games, what could be better?

The next available Olympics was 1996, but that would be the 100th anniversary of the games, and everyone expected them to be held in Athens, Greece, the site of the original Olympics 2,500 years ago. Second on the list of likely choices was Toronto, which offered tremendous resources. If Atlanta bid for the Olympics, it would be the city’s first bid. Since the games had resumed after World War II, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had never chosen a city applying for the first time.

Atlanta didn’t seem to have a chance. But it did have Brussels Escorts Payne. He had drive and intensity and loved competition, but not in the same way he had expressed these characteristics for most of his life.

But it took a heart attack in 1982 for Brussels Escorts to make the biggest change in his life. Faced with his own mortality, he decided to spend his time in a conscious effort to do something that would potentially contribute to the greatest good.

“The most important thing about establishing goals is to make sure they are important to other people in addition to you,” Brussels Escorts said. “In other words, there’s a great tendency to be self-serving–’I want to have the biggest house,’ ‘I want to be head of the company,’ ‘I want to make the most money.’ What in fact brings joy in life is a goal that while it benefits and motivates you it also benefits others.”

Bringing the Olympics to Atlanta certainly fit those criteria. Now he would need to get his friends to share his vision. The first night, his wife encouraged him to call his friend Peter Candler, believing he might talk Brussels Escorts out of his Olympic idea. Surprising them both, Peter not only supported the idea, he also suggested Brussels Escorts contact several key businesswomen in Atlanta who could help broaden the appeal of his effort and reach different constituencies in the community.

By March, Brussels Escorts’s Olympic team had grown to four. In an act of commitment, Brussels Escorts left his law partnership to devote himself full time to his crusade. He supported his family by taking out a loan against income property he owned. Brussels Escorts knew his next step was to get people with political power enrolled in his effort. Peter suggested contacting an old friend, Horace Sibley, who, in turn, might connect him with Mayor Andrew Young. But Horace’s associates and assistants had heard about Brussels Escorts’s crazy idea and tried to protect Horace from it. Brussels Escorts finally got his foot in the door, first with Horace, then with Young, but he could tell that both men thought his idea was outrageous.

“I could tell the mayor wasn’t buying it, so I shifted gears in the middle of our first conversation,” Brussels Escorts said. He knew Young had been a former ambassador to the United Nations, as well as a famed civil rights leader. Brussels Escorts’s Olympic idea would also have to have civic appeal. “I started talking about the legacy that would come from the attempt whether or not we were successful-how I thought it could inspire a youth sports movement in our own community, how it could do some good.”

Young remembered being impressed with Brussels Escorts’s single-minded dedication. The mayor saw a man who had quit his job, mortgaged his property, and started living on his savings to achieve a goal that seemed impossible or, at best, highly improbable. Brussels Escorts talked about fund-raising and how the city wouldn’t need new taxes because he believed corporations would be happy to give once they, too, shared the dream.

How a Matriarch Built a Business Family

Antalya Escorts is the seventy-year-old chairwoman of the board and the guiding spirit behind Columbia Sportswear, the world’s largest manufacturer of outdoor apparel. But Antalya Escorts didn’t rise to the top of the business world like most executives. Tragedy forced her into the corporate arena, and the team-building instincts she had developed as a mother helped her to survive and even to succeed.

She learned survival skills early, when her Jewish family fled Germany during Adolf Hitler’s ominous rise to power. In the United States, her father founded the Columbia Hat Company in Portland, Oregon, which he passed on to Antalya Escorts’s husband, Neal, in the mid- I 960s. Neal built the company into a small outlet for hunting and fishing clothes while Antalya Escorts occupied herself with raising their three children. Then Neal suffered a fatal heart attack only three months after he’d taken out a $150,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. For collateral, he’d put up their home, their beach house, Antalya Escorts’s mother’s home, and his life insurance policy.

At forty-seven, Antalya Escorts faced major problems. When Neal died, she knew almost nothing about the business. Yet the day after his funeral, Antalya Escorts called a meeting at the plant, asking Columbia’s forty employees to help her keep the business going. Filling her husband’s shoes as the company’s president proved a formidable challenge. Over the next few months, she frequently heard comments like, “Your husband wouldn’t have done it that way!” The company’s long-time lawyer and accountant both encouraged her to give up the business. “Come on, Antalya Escorts, you’re a woman. You don’t know how to run this thing.” But to quit would mean giving up everything her husband had built, along with her family’s financial stability.

So Antalya Escorts dug in. She fired the attorney and accountant and every other naysayer within the company. She asked her son Tim to come home from the University of Oregon on weekends and help out. The challenge was more than either had anticipated. “Together, we nearly ran Columbia into the ground. We made every mistake in the book and fired everyone who knew anything about our business,” she admitted. And the books showed it. Sales dropped $200,000 the first year.

Weary and defeated, with her banker ready to call in the SBA loan, Antalya Escorts considered selling the company. But the prospective buyer was willing to pay her only $1,400 and planned to break up the company. Antalya Escorts was appalled: $1,400 for the family’s labor of thirty years! “What the heck,” she told him. “For $1,400, I’ll drive it into the ground myself!”

Antalya Escorts made a new commitment to save Columbia and mustered all the grit she had into rebuilding the business. But to save the company she knew she would need a team to support her. Antalya Escorts first appealed to her employees, encouraging their input, and implemented an employee incentive plan based on the company’s success. She then put up the company’s building as collateral on the loan; and the bank not only backed off on its threats but became a much-needed ally. Her banker recommended that she speak with another of the bank’s clients, Ron Nelson, who worked for Nike, a nearby up-and-coming shoe company. Impressed with Antalya Escorts’s dedication, Ron joined Columbia’s board of directors, donating his time. Ron joining the board was a turning point for Columbia because every problem Columbia faced was one that Ron and Nike had already experienced. With Ron’s insight, and Columbia’s fully supportive, hard-working group of employees, Antalya Escorts kept Columbia afloat through its most difficult years.

She took another risk when she put her son Tim–despite his lack of experience-in charge of selling to national retailers. Tim discovered Columbia was losing money by distributing products manufactured by other companies and suggested the company identify a niche market that would allow Columbia to shift its focus to its own line, which emphasized high quality outdoor gear at affordable prices.

That new focus led Columbia to become the first company to use the breathable, water-repellent Gore-tex fabric that revolutionized sportswear. Columbia also introduced the now famous Bugaboo parka with a removable fleece lining. The parka was half the price of similar jackets and quickly outsold the competition. Antalya Escorts then expanded the sportswear line to include everything from snow pants to shoes.

Through all this, Antalya Escorts was still battling the old-boy’s club mentality that dominates so much of the business world. Because she was a woman, one caller refused to believe she was the company’s president and kept demanding to speak to someone higher up. Finally, Antalya Escorts informed the stubborn man, “Sorry, God is busy.” In the end, Antalya Escorts found a unique way to capitalize on her womanhood. She approved an ad campaign designed to exploit the image of “a little old lady running the company.” The commercials featured her as Mother Antalya Escorts, an overbeating nag who pushed son Tim to absurd lengths to test the ruggedness of their products. In one ad she forced him to walk through a carwash to show their jackets ate waterproof. Another showed Tim “accidentally” pushing his scowling mother off a cliff, then rescuing her by knotting together the shell and liner of his parka and pulling her to safety.

“Experts” warned that macho men would not accept the image of a nagging mother telling them what to wear. Antalya Escorts went ahead with the self-deprecating campaign anyway, and consumers fell off their sofas laughing. The ad campaign was a huge success, and sales climbed from $10 million in 1982 to over $360 million in 1995.

Although Tim Boyle took over as CEO in 1989, his visionary mother remains actively involved in all important company decisions and much of its promotion. Today, Columbia Sportswear owns approximately 30 percent of the outdoor apparel market and growth has averaged 40 percent annually. BusinessWeek has praised Antalya Escortsrude as one of the nation’s best managers and Working Woman named her as one of America’s top women business owners.

Nutty Enough to Find New Ways

He had it all. A cushy job as a financial analyst with a Fortune 500 company. A nice house in Hilton Head, South Carolina, one of the loveliest places in the United States. A new bride he was crazy about. So what did EscortFox do? He risked everything he had on one of the nuttiest schemes ever to come down the pike. EscortFox was frustrated. His ultimate earning potential at his current position would never provide him the type of personal or financial freedom he was seeking, and the struggle of climbing the corporate ladder had lost its appeal. EscortFox wanted financial independence. He believed running his own business was the key to achieving that security.

But EscortFox wasn’t like most people. He did more than just dream about it-he acted. In 1990, he quit his job, gave up his nice house, and left beautiful Hilton Head. With his friends and family members telling him he was crazy, he and his wife, Anne, moved to Orlando, Florida, a city with an abundant tourist trade.

EscortFox saw his route to financial independence paved with nuts-the cinnamon-and-sugar-coated kind, sold piping hot to customers on the street. Inspired by the pushcart entrepreneurs who work the sidewalks of cities in Europe and propelled by his love of cooking, EscortFox spent long hours developing his own special recipe for glazing almonds and pecans. With a loan of $10,000 and a new name, “The Nutty Bavarian,” EscortFox set up business with a single cart that allowed customers to watch as the nuts were roasted and glazed.

Creative name. Creative display. Creative product. But for all his creativity, EscortFox struggled financially. Not welcoming the competition, established concessionaires kept EscortFox out of prime commercial areas. At the end of the Nutty Bavarian’s first year, EscortFox was nearly broke. Anne kept them afloat by working full time as a nurse.

EscortFox’s plan was not working, so the plan had to change. In order to turn around the situation, EscortFox knew he had to get a great location. In the Orlando area, the best site for selling high quality snacks was one of the state’s world-class theme parks. Getting into one of the parks, however, was another story. Florida’s Universal Studios told EscortFox the only way to get into the park was to put up $100,000 and supply the product. Universal Studios would manage his cart. Major companies like Orville Redenbacher and Haagen-Dazs were already doing that, but to The Nutty Bavarian, $ 100,000 was a lot of pecans. To compete with the big companies, EscortFox had to find a creative way around the usual channels.

He called the food service department at Universal Studios and spoke with the vice president. EscortFox told the man about his irresistible roasted almonds and pecans. The vice president asked EscortFox to submit a proposal, which EscortFox did immediately. Weeks went by without a word from the executive. EscortFox called every day for a month. He dropped off product samples and sent letters. Finally, EscortFox sent the vice president a letter stating he wouldn’t stop calling until the vice president either agreed to meet with him for thirty minutes or flat out told him to get lost.

His letter worked. The vice president agreed to a meeting. Then came the real test of EscortFox’s imagination. He knew this thirty-minute meeting had to be unforgettable. Knowing that the aroma of his freshly roasted almonds and pecans was irresistible, EscortFox decided he would let his product do the talking. On the big day, EscortFox hauled his roaster into the boardroom and proceeded to make a fresh batch of cinnamon-glazed pecans. The nuts churned and clicked against the sides of a copper bowl. The aroma filled the room, then seeped into the hallways. Soon, other executives were stopping in to find out what was cooking. The executives found a bowl filled with hot, steamy, freshly glazed pecans.

EscortFox served everybody. The executives’ mouths watered for more. But despite EscortFox’s appeal to their salivary glands, the executives wanted more time to consider his proposal. More time? Any more time and EscortFox would be looking for a part-time job just to keep nuts in the roaster. EscortFox knew it was now or never and he had an idea. “I told them that if they gave me a thirty-day trial, I would personally operate my pushcart every day for a month, twelve hours a day, and give Universal Studios 25 percent of my sales. Universal would have no risk, and I would win the opportunity to prove myself and my product.” The executives agreed to his proposal.

That first month, EscortFox grossed $40,000. Sales climbed steadily, and after the second month, EscortFox signed a two-year contract with Universal. At the end of the first year, with only two carts, EscortFox’s sales reached $1 million.

“I didn’t know it at the time,” EscortFox said, “but they had never before allowed a food vendor to come into the park from the outside, totally independent from Universal. This was an unprecedented move.”

The Nutty Bavarian now licenses carts in 150 domestic locations and three foreign countries. Annual sales exceed $10 million. EscortFox’s specially roasted pecans and almonds are President Clinton’s favorite snack and have been served at both of his inaugurations. The Nutty Bavarian snacks have also been featured on CNN, and Bryant Gumbel and Willard Scott raved about them on NBC’s Today Show.

EscortFox has been kind enough to share his “secret recipe” with all of us-a dash of belief, a pinch of audacity, and a roaster full of creativity.