Talking business with Ron Hawkins

Friday, July 13, 2007 | 2:00 p.m. CDT; updated 8:45 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Q. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your business life?

A. The people are the same no matter what part of the country you are in — both customers and employees. They have lots of similarities, like personalities.

About the business

AMF Town and Country Lanes Bowling, recreation, entertainment Open about 40 years About 35 employees 1508 N. Providence Road About the general manager Ron Hawkins, 46 Food service management degree, University of Akron, Ohio First job: fast-food cashier

Q. How did you get started in the business?

A. I was in charge of the food and beverage operation at a large bowling center in Florida, and then I transferred to work as a general manager here.

Q. How is being a general manager at this business different from what you thought it would be?

A. It’s a lot more rewarding because you get to see employees, like college students that work and grow, move up in the company. Individuals with no experience become good employees, and I enjoy watching them grow.

Q. How do you motivate the people you work with?

A.The best motivation is working with employees side by side. If it gets busy, I like to help the employees. They feel more like we are working as a equal team instead of me being the boss.

Q. Where do you see your business in five years?

A. Growing to the point where we can incorporate business functions and group activities for families, churches, schools and colleges.

Q. What keeps you up at night?

A. Wondering if I accomplished everything I needed to get done for the day.

Q. What makes you stop what you’re doing and say, “What am I doing here?”

A. If you are having a bad day, you question what you are doing.

Q. What did you learn from the best boss you ever had?

A. I learned from my best boss to be fair to everyone and treat everyone equally.

Q. What Columbia business do you most admire?

A. Haven’t been in Columbia that long (less than a year), don’t know.

Q. Describe the ideal employee in five words or fewer.

A. Prompt, honest, friendly, outgoing, dedicated.

Q. What do you try to read in a day?

A. Something that has humor like jokes or anecdotes, and I usually spend time reading trade magazines.

Q. What parts of your ordinary life have you had to give up for this job?

A. Weekends off. Being in a customer service job, the weekends are the busiest time so we are usually working then.

Q. How many hours do you work during an average week?

A.60 hours.

Q. If you weren’t general manager of this business, what would you really love to be doing?

A. Just traveling around the world.

Q. What’s the motto you live by as a general manager?

A.To be fair to employees and customers. If you are fair and you treat everyone equally, everyone will get along a lot better that way.

Q. Who’s your greatest inspiration?

A. Motivational Speaker Anthony Robbins. He’s a speaker that travels around the country talking to companies and schools. He is a very powerful speaker but also a great interviewer.

Q. Would you rather be the Donald Trump or Google guys of your field? Why?

A. Donald Trump because he is usually successful and when he has failures he always seems to be able to turn it around.

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Mary Crance July 14, 2007 | 7:24 p.m.

Terrific article about a terrific guy! Wish more bosses were like him!!

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