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Name that CEO

They played rock 'n' roll, dropped classes to go surfing and almost met their Maker in the jungles of Vietnam. College isn't just for studying, you know. Match the Tampa Bay CEO to his or her musings on undergraduate life:

Published February 4, 2007

The route to a CEO’s chairdoesn’t usually go through an Ivy League college. Experience is still the best teacher, local bosses say.
[Times illustration: John Corbitt]

A. GERARD VENEMAN, CEO, the Children's Home

B. DEAN AKERS, CEO, Ideal Image

C. SHELLEY BROADER, CEO, Sweetbay Supermarket

D. CHRIS SULLIVAN, former CEO, Outback Steakhouse

E. RICHARD L. SANCHEZ, CEO, Advantica EyeCare

F. TONY HOLCOMBE, CEO, Syniverse Technologies


H. PETER ANDERSON, CEO, Bayshore Technologies

I .TOM JAMES, CEO, Raymond James Financial 


1 He studied history at Georgia State University and planned to be a professor. But he started taking classes at the business school after his mentor took him aside and said, "There are no jobs in Russian history."

2 She studied broadcast journalism at Washington State University, then switched career paths after she got her first and only broadcast job. "It was a mutual hatred," she recalled. "I hated them and they hated me."

3 After finishing secondary school at age 16 in London, he worked for an accounting firm because his father told him that he couldn't play professional soccer unless he passed the certified accounting exam. He never practiced accounting, but his soccer career included three years with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. "My dad, bless his heart, didn't want me to be a truck driver," he said.

4 He was studying mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, then put his college career on hold to fly helicopters in Vietnam. "As a result of a deal I made with my Maker, I promised 'to serve' if I survived," he said. When he got back, he changed majors to social work and psychology.

5 After surveys by the St. Petersburg Times consistently ranked him among the area's "emerging business leaders," he shrugged off the accolades. "Why do you want to talk to a C student from (the University of) Kentucky?" he once asked.

6 His grades in high school were miserable because he spent so much time helping on his parents' farm. At the all-boys St. Bernard College in Alabama - the only college that accepted him - administrators told him he wasn't qualified for the engineering classes. He started attending them anyway.

7 At the University of Florida, he majored in advertising, but only because it let him avoid taking classes on Mondays and Fridays; that would have interfered with his surfing schedule. During his fifth (and final) year of college, his mother figured out that nine credit hours wasn't a full load. She called him to say, "The deal's up."

8 An economics major at Harvard, he played guitar and sang in the school's first rock 'n' roll band, the Maniacs, and was a classmate of Michael Crichton's. By senior year, he was managing seven bands. He stayed at Harvard to earn an MBA, then earned a law degree at Stetson while working full time. "Otherwise, I'd have been in the lottery for Vietnam," he said. He never practiced law.

9 He studied chemistry at Florida State but didn't find his niche until he started a business selling calculators on campus. The calculator was a big hit in the early 1970s, and he was hooked on entrepreneurship, not electrons. "I am a classic example of someone who did not use their college education," he said.



1. F

2. C

3. H

4. A

5. D

6. G

7. B

8. I

9. E

[Last modified February 4, 2007, 00:55:07]

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