The Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, presented by Fayetteville Technical Community College, is a program that embodies the tagline of listen, learn and grow. It is designed as a platform for successful local entrepreneurs to relate the story of their accomplishment for the education and enlightenment of current small business owners and budding entrepreneurs such as eager FTCC students.
This session featured local business owner Willam S. Wellons Jr. He has no issue being addressed as Billy and is the owner and president of W.S. Wellons Realty Inc, Laketree Inc and Wellco Contractors, Inc, with developments in North and South Carolina.
Passionate about giving back to the community, Wellons contributes in many ways. These include sharing his time and leadership skills while serving with several boards and organizations: Fayetteville Home Builders Association, Cumberland Country Tourism Development Authority and the Board of Trustees at FTCC. This position reflects his interest in community college enrichment, specifically FTCC.
Wellons revealed his respect for the school this way, “The community college system is the greatest asset that our country has today for producing a work force for America. We need it. It’s a place where people come and learn a trade or they go on to get an associate degree and then go on to a bigger University, but right here at FTCC we teach people to weld, to fix cars, and more. They are taught to do good, solid work and increase the odds of landing jobs with good starting salaries or choosing to work in their own business.”
He related that his journey as an entrepreneur began at a very young age just from observing his family take advantage of opportunities. He watched as his father found a need and filled it by starting a buffet style restaurant from nothing and employing his family members including siblings and other relatives to run it. Wellons referred to this trait as “looking back over your shoulder and looking around to notice trends.” He also referred to the aspect of timing as “crucial to business success.”
He shared that it was important for him to reveal the traits that made him successful and that it wasn’t always sunshine and roses.
While he admired his father, young Billy’s independent streak and his father’s strict discipline clashed from time to time resulting in a stormy relationship. Yet along the way, he adopted much of his father’s work habits as he realized these were the keys to success. Always working at something, the young Wellons had a paper route and also did some landscaping. In his address he continued to stress the development of a good work ethic, as nothing is accomplished without hard work. He also realized it was important to have a passion for the industry that he chose.
Evidence that he remains motivated is found by listening to him describe a schedule that currently starts at 7am and goes to 7pm or later. It is also clear that having over 250 employees in three diverse businesses in two states is a challenge that he relishes. He continues to give credit to the hiring of “smart people that perform their tasks better than I could for the success of the business”.
The fact that Wellons’ presentation and the Entrepreneurship Speaker program are valuable became obvious from the copious amount of students who attended. They stayed to the very end and enthusiastically asked reasoned questions.
FTCC General Business Administrator, Lori Register, who attended with some of her students said, “It was fascinating to hear how he selected his employees more by good attitude than pure industry skills and then rewarded that positivity with above average compensation and a great corporate culture. That really resonated with me.”
Impressed by what he was hearing, FTCC President Dr. Larry Keen offers why, “Billy’s story demonstrates that there are many different ways to learn, always trying and refining, aspiring to be better. That kind of drive and desire has built this country and its alive today as much as it’s ever been, especially here at FTCC.”
“I really liked the way he told of very real world practical advice,” said Cindy Burns, Dean of FTCC Business Programs. She enthusiastically added, “From the standpoint of a Dean, I really appreciated that his story reinforces what we teach in the classroom at FTCC. What I mean is, he emphasizes the soft skills such as a good attitude. Without a positive attitude you just won’t last long. Also important is the fact that mistakes are okay, as long as you learn from them.”
For more information on Fayetteville Technical Community College and its programs, please visit their website at: www.faytechcc.edu ( http://www.faytechcc.edu )
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