Wednesday, March 14, 2012
As attendees of the 107th Kingdom of Callaway Supper gathered in the Amy Shelton McNutt Campus Center to pay tribute to those who have made the Kingdom great, Rev. Terry Lippstreu of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church gave an invocation in which he thanked God for “allowing us, as Callaway residents to gather and remember the great things you have done through us.”
Guest of Honor Rick Brown, who grew up in Auxvasse and graduated from North Callaway High School before eventually going on to start a successful software development company based in Puerto Rico, later gave a presentation on how his roots in Callaway have enabled him to accomplish some of those great things Lippstreu referenced.
Brown started off with the quote from “Mad Men” character Don Draper: “I was raised in the Midwest and learned that it is not polite to talk about yourself.”
“Some of you who know me well may say I’m not that humble, but it’s true,” Brown said.
He talked about moving back with his brothers and sister to his mother’s native Auxvasse as a young boy after his parents divorced before going into a series of lessons — illustrated with personal anecdotes — he learned growing up in North Callaway: Be humble. There is always somebody smarter than you; if you work hard you can get what you want; learn how to maximize your opportunities; avoid doing “really stupid” things.
Brown spoke about starting his first company with one of his professors and some classmates from the University of Missouri — a software company that built applications to help companies that distributed automotive parts to run their businesses better. That company eventually grew to a point where it was making $40 million a year and had hundreds of employees before Brown left in 1994, “because of my Midwestern values.”
“Values like being honest with your customers and employees, treating people like you want to be treated and doing what you said you would do even if it’s not what’s best for your business,” Brown said.