DANIEL F. AKERSON
Chairman and CEO, General Motors; Boardroom Insights speaker, Sept. 9, 2011
From a company point of view, you have to continue to invest in research and development. You’ve got to innovate. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to be competitive and you’re not going to drive new products.
AL DECRANE (’53)
Retired chairman and CEO, Texaco Inc.
Government employment for “created” projects and activities did not work in the Great Depression, and it won’t do it now. Jobs are developed and maintained when the economy is solid; the regulations are reasonable and enforced; and tax levels are known, stable and internationally competitive. Then investments are made, new projects undertaken, and employment needed and retained.
GARY GIGOT (’72)
Serial entrepreneur; executive chairman, LiveRez; member of Mendoza’s Business Advisory Council and the advisory board of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
Economy-level financial train wrecks and company-level drives to cost-efficiency equal permanent loss of jobs. For workers of all professions and levels, the reality is that a job may not be available to them in their historical industry or profession. You might have to create it through a new business, a new profession, a new way of making money.
RICHARD J. GOLDEN (’75)
Private investor; board member, Cate Street Capital (Portsmouth, N.H.)
Direct available investment capital into sustainable environmental solutions that create new jobs. The “green revolution” is real. The government has programs and incentives to help underpin private investments. I have helped organize and/or participated in nearly a dozen green investments [such as] a California clean-energy fuel-cell manufacturer that recently established over 500 jobs in its Silicon Valley facility [and] is expanding production facilities to the East Coast to create 900+ direct jobs and 600+ supplier jobs.
co-founder of the SEVEN (Social Equity VENture) Fund, a philanthropic organization of entrepreneurs; former Swiss Guard at the Vatican; Entrepreneurial Insights speaker, Sept. 20, 2011
Instead of putting the money into GM or Chrysler, for example, I would let these companies fail. Pay out unemployment benefits to everyone affected, but use the bailout money to create a (venture capital) fund to help employees from these large companies to start new ventures. Tell them, if you want to start a competitive and innovative business, we’ll invest startup capital. Maybe somebody comes up with a solar car, or God knows what. Whatever it is, it will surely be more innovative than what’s coming from the large company. They’re like a huge dead tree in a dense forest that has to fall in order to allow for new growth.
JOHN J. KINSELLA (’50)
etired president, CEO, The Leo Burnett Company, member of Mendoza’s Business Advisory Council
Short term, let’s get companies to cut hours worked or salaries paid versus laying off employees. Encourage college grads to apply for non-college-type jobs. Any job, one at the bottom of the pile, if necessary. Point out why these jobs are worthwhile as important learning experiences. Lobby the Feds—or, better yet, the states—to organize/oversee minimum-wage CCC- or WPA- or Peace Corps-type projects. The twist: Get major corporations to subsidize the projects. There are plenty of projects in every city and state that are too expensive or unique for the government to afford with higher-priced and/or older help.
SHAWN O’GRADY (’86)
Senior vice president and president of Consumer Foods Sales, General Mills; Berges Lecture Series speaker, Oct. 26, 2011
[W]e deal with a lot of customers (grocery stores) that have a lot of jobs at the level where you could increase employment. But they’re all cutting labor because of the increased costs around health care. So, to overly simplify, if we don’t get the health-care piece of it under control in the U.S., we will price most of our low-level labor out of jobs.
Co-founder of Alltop.com and former chief evangelist for Apple;
Entrepreneurship Week speaker, April 14, 2011
First, cut the rhetoric about reducing taxes in order to stimulate entrepreneurship, innovation and employment. Serious entrepreneurs don’t care about tax rates; in fact, the goal of entrepreneurship is to pay a lot of taxes—ideally, capital gains. Second, offer permanent resident status to anyone who bought a house in the U.S. that costs at least $500,000. This would help with the real-estate issue, foster remodeling and increase construction. Third, make it easy to get the H-1B visa. This would send the message to smart, hardworking people everywhere if you want to achieve success in a country where there’s little corruption; laws are reasonable and equally enforced; freedom of speech and religion are guaranteed; the military is appreciated, not feared; and innovation is celebrated and failure is tolerated, come on down. Sure, politicians will say that they will take jobs from Americans, but many immigrants start companies that increase the number of jobs. One last idea: Graduation from an accredited American college should guarantee permanent resident status or at least an H-1B visa. America educates people better than almost any country. Let’s market that fact and fully reap its benefits.
CHRIS YURA (’03)
Founder and CEO, SustainU, which makes clothing only at U.S. mills and only from recycled fiber; Entrepreneurial Insights speaker, Nov. 1, 2011
The biggest thing is to invest in entrepreneurism. Invest in and support our small businesses, and make sure that we look at where products come from, (and ask), “Are they supporting what we actually want them to support?” There’s a reason why our manufacturing sector is almost gone.