Nick Manos is not a carbon copy of his father, Theater of the Stars longtime producer, Chris Manos. Born during the Great Depression, the elder Manos watches every penny.
“He’s always aware of where he spends his money and others don’t spend his money for him,” said Nick Manos, president of the theatre company. “He opens the mail as it comes in. He reviews the bills after they’re put together. He signs the checks personally after the bills have been approved. I grew up in the 1960s; not all of those lessons connected.”
Enough of them did, though, that Nick Manos’ success resembles that of his father’s. Fitz Johnson’s financial perspective mirrors that of his dad’s also. Both are gutsy men, sometimes making unpopular choices with hopes of a major reward. Walter F. Johnson is a retired Army general who did not get into the defensive contracting business until he was 55. By the time his son, the CEO, sold Eagle Group International to Lockheed Martin, revenue was in the $175 million range.
Jumping into defense contracting was a risk, much like Fitz Johnson’s decision to launch the Atlanta Beat, a professional women’s soccer team. Did his father support his decision?
“After I got him off the floor,” said Johnson.
Johnson is one of six children and like his father, joined the Army. Manos worked in other industries before finding his way back to the theater where his dad has worked for 50 years. And when it comes to managing their businesses, both men lean heavily on the teachings of their fathers.
“My father doesn’t expect others to work so he doesn’t have to,” Manos said. “He works hard so others will follow his lead. That’s the way you demonstrate to others the values you have and the values you expect.”
Manos said he learned the value of money from his father. He negotiates for better prices and is mindful of how money is spent. Two other cornerstones: providing great customer service and “doing your best.”
Johnson said his father is “very influential” in the way he manages money and pursues his goals. When he talks about “being the best in the world,” he means it. He also learned financial responsibility from Walter Johnson.
“Trying to raise a family in the military, I wasn’t exactly knocking down big bucks,” Fitz Johnson said. “Before you get tickets to a football game, you have to have food for your family and gas in your car to get to work. You can’t buy a shiny new car when you have three kids at home that can’t even fit in it. You have to be responsible.”
Question: What did your father teach you about money or business? What do you wish he’d taught you? And what, as a father, do you try to share with your children?
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