President and CEO of Chelsea Milling Company talks success

Preseident and CEO of Chelsea Milling Company, Howdy Holmes, gave a speech titled "Concepts to Success" as a keynote speaker at the Sesi Midwest Entrepreneurs' Conference on Friday, Feb. 13.

Holmes did not start his career with Chelsea Milling Company, the makers of Jiffy. In fact, he competed in motor sports for 20 years. He was rookie of the year at the Indy 500 in 1979 and went on to compete in six Indy 500 events.

After retiring from motor sports he returned to the family Jiffy business where he led the company and still does. He wanted a professionally managed strategic vision of success and did a great deal of the work on his own, which is why Holmes calls himself an entrepreneur.

Holmes spoke about failure a great deal, emphasizing to the audience of mostly high school and college students that failure is not the end of something; failure is the experience you gain.

“Failure is an opportunity, not a defeat,” Holmes said.

Another “gem of knowledge,” as Homes called it, was the idea that your dreams have several solutions.

He said at our age we will make up our minds, change our minds and then make them up again before finding the right decision. He continued to say that there was nothing bad about changing minds and trying out new paths because each experience is a growing point.

Success will come through independence and taking initiative for students interesting in being entrepreneurs.

“I thought he was inspiring and made great points,” Kaitlyn Roth said, “What we want to do is not easy and seeing him up there talking about it with such ease makes it seem like we might able to get there someday.”

After the event several students went to talk and meet Holmes, he continued to pass out advice.

“I think it is important for students at this age level to hear from someone that is believable and human, someone they can relate to. I know that is what I wanted at their age,” Holmes said.

The conference was an all-day event with two keynote speakers, three branch out events and a business plan competition for high school and college students. The keynote also brought President Susan Martin and Regent Jim Webb to hear Howdy Holmes.

“He gave a great amount of sage advice, I liked how he talked about failure and not giving in because you can’t say it enough,” Webb said.

The College of Business CEO club where the ones in charge of putting the event together, and at the end of the day the President of the club, Jacob Lopez, was happy.

“Events like these always have their hiccups, but people seem to be really enthusiastic and enjoying the event, and that is what matters,” Lopez said.


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