My favorite all-time entrepreneur is the one and only H. Ross Perot. Every story I’ve ever heard about him I find fascinating. I remember when I was in elementary school, he ran for president. I became intrigued when I learned he was from Texarkana, attended Texas High School and Texarkana College and was running for President of the United States! This blew my little elementary mind. That old saying “You can grow up and become president,” was actually in motion for someone from my hometown. It was also during this time my grandmother gave me a picture of Perot that said, “To Cassy, Best Wishes, Ross Perot” in his handwriting! He even spelled my name correctly. I still have this picture in my house today and even though the ink has faded, I will always know what it said.
That keepsake sparked a flame in me at a very young age. Through the years, I learned a lot about him and even met him a few times. In 2014, my friend Whitney Brooks and I painted a four-foot by four-foot picture of him for the annual Party with Picassos fundraiser. We loaded up our huge piece of original artwork (that required us borrowing my dad’s suburban for transport to Dallas) to meet with Mr. Perot, hoping to get his signature as the icing on the cake of what we thought was the best artwork ever created. We were unsure where to go or what to expect upon arrival at his office. We were checked in by security and lead to Mr. Perot’s private office. He was just finishing up a meeting with what Whitney and I assumed to be some group of “world leaders” when he was greeted by us and our gigantic piece of artwork, along with a Bryce’s Pie… his favorite. He was delighted by our extra treat and then we got straight to business. He signed our artwork, “God Bless Texas, Ross Perot.” After completing the task, he took pictures with us and had his people show us around. It was a wonderful experience and one I will never forget.
Most new jobs won’t come from our biggest employers. They will come from our smallest. We’ve got to do everything we can to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality.” —Ross Perot
Mr. Perot accomplished many things in his time on earth. He attended the United States Naval Academy (USNA) (because he admired the late and great Mr. Josh Morriss who had also been a USNA student), founded a billion-dollar company, became one of the richest people in the nation, invested in other people so they could grow billion-dollar companies and ran for President of the United States… twice! He had a deep love for our country, our military and for making a difference. I’m not saying you have to agree with everything he did or supported, but you cannot say he wasn’t a remarkable entrepreneur with an uncommon fire.
I encourage everyone to check out the Perot Leadership Museum in the Palmer Memorial Library on the Texarkana College campus. They have done an incredible job of capturing his legacy. Mr. Perot was a hard worker and put in the endless hours and effort to accomplish all he did in his lifetime.
This month’s issue features local entrepreneurs who all have a similar spark and work ethic. Their journeys are different, but their stories are all equally remarkable.