Mark J. Russ, President & CEO, National Specialty Alloys, Inc.

Re: Keynote Speaker at NSA’s Annual Sales Banquet

Dear Bo,

You were a tremendous hit with my 40 + sales personnel last week at our annual sales banquet where we reflect on our past year and recognize our top sales performers. Having you as our keynote speaker really made the evening extra special. My employees instantly related to your common sense approach and story telling. They also found your message regarding “The Make-up of Champion” compelling and inspirational. Your message was universal whether it is for sports, work or life.

Your story of growing up in a tough neighborhood with a loving yet disciplined mother and gaining a college degree in 3.5 years while playing both football and baseball at the highest college level (including a Rose Bowl appearance) and then getting drafted to play with the Chicago Cubs and others and then eventually trading in your glove for a coaching career with the next generation of major league players is a story that resonates with the common man. Everyone dreams of playing in the big league. You personify the “American Dream” where hard work, planning and preparation, and heart can lead to tremendous opportunities in this country.

It should not surprise anyone who has met you that you were a finalist for several MLB head coaching jobs this past year. Hopefully, the Astros will make a strong pitch to have you lead us to our next World Series appearance in the very near future.

I canvassed the troops after your speech for some comments. Many recall your timeless quotes and stories like:
<ul>
<li>You should be “uncomfortable being comfortable”</li>
<li>Your sweetest Super Bowl is your next one (Tom Brady)</li>
<li>If one fails, the team fails (Coach Belichick’s routine during practice)</li>
<li>“Practice does not make perfect; its makes permanent”</li>
<li>Leaders don’t differentiate between friends and others. All should be treated the same even if the message is tough love and accountability.</li>
<li>“Leadership is needed at every level of an organization”</li>
<li>How you think, speak and act every day sets the tone for a lifetime of work.</li>
</ul>
As you can tell, you made a very positive impression on me and my employees. Thank you for speaking to us and sharing your wisdom on and off the field.