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Conversations with a CEO II Recap

Oct 4, 2011

In case you missed it, there were a few changes with the second session of Conversations with a CEO, which was held on September 22 at Magnolia’s on 26th, including:

• The number of CEO’s – this was narrowed down to four (4) which encouraged a more intimate setting with more time and discussion allowed with each CEO;

• A more diverse representation of industry sectors that each CEO represented; and

• It was the first time we have had a woman CEO speak!

First up was Tom Leath, City Manager for the City of Myrtle Beach. While this might not seem like a CEO position, this role with the city is just that. The City Manager is the CEO/CAO of the municipal corporation. The municipal corporation of Myrtle Beach has 1,000 employees; and a 150 million dollar annual budget. Leath shared with gsSCENE members some words of advice that he always tries to work by. Some of these included, be ethical, listen more than you talk, be clean in communication, pay attention to detail and hire good people. One big take away from Leath’s session was:

“Do not be afraid to make decisions and own up to your mistakes.”

Mike Wooten took the floor next. Mike Wooten is the founder and President of DDC Engineers, Inc.
With DDC, Wooten has managed the majority of the firm’s private development and municipal projects, including Barefoot Resort, The Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Barefoot Landing, Tidewater Plantation, Prince George, Prestwick, True Blue Plantation Myrtle Beach Boardwalk project. He said when he and his partner started their business they made a list of ten companies DDC wanted to work for and from there they made those into goals to work towards getting business. Wooten’s biggest piece of advice was don’t ever burn a bridge. And the audience got a chuckle when he added,

“If you gotta eat crow, eat it hot.”

Debbie McArthur was our third speaker and our only woman CEO to speak. Debbie is the President and co-owner of Integra International Inc. McArthur actually started her career in the education sector and by happenstance ended up with Integra Fabrics. Her actions lead to her strong belief in taking risks and taking advantage of opportunities. She also touched on the struggles she has gone through making it in business as a woman. McArthur told listeners:

“The worst thing you can do is get stuck in a rut. If you don’t enjoy what you do, it shows. You have to love your job and believe in what you do.”

Last to speak to the group was Matthew Brittain. Brittain is the Chief Executive Officer for Myrtle Beach National Company. While Brittain has received a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s degree, he said education is not what you learn in school. Brittain mentioned most of what he has learned came from work experience and real life situations. He did share that:

“One should always have humility.”