NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Multimillionaire entrepreneur Dr. Bill Pickard has a message for TSU students: “Anybody, from anywhere, can accomplish anything.”
“But to do so, ‘you gotta put the work in,’” Pickard said, quoting a line from Grammy-Award winning singer Drake.
Pickard, chairman of Global Automotive Alliance and co-managing partner of MGM Grand Detroit Casino, was the guest lecturer at the Distinguished Lecture Series in the Forum on Monday, April 10.
Following his lecture, the LaGrange, Georgia, native, who is also CEO of Bearwood Management Company and co-owner of five Black-owned newspapers, established an endowed scholarship in the name of Kevin Williams, a TSU alumnus, Foundation Board member and retired president of General Motors of Canada.
He said the endowment was in appreciation of a long friendship, and credited Williams with helping to expand his (Pickard) GAA conglomerate of logistics and manufacturing companies with more than $1.5 billion in sales.
“When I met Kevin we were doing about $100 million, and when he left, we were doing about half a billion, that’s relationship,” Pickard told the packed auditorium with mostly students from the College of Business.
On his own life story, Pickard, who earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, said he started off at a community college after high school, because of poor grades. Many did not give him much chance for success, he said.
“I completed college, earned a master’s degree, became a social worker, and life was good,” said Pickard, who credits a “strong” faith in God for his success “I had an opportunity to earn my Ph.D. and I did.”
According to his bio, Pickard’s entrepreneurial career began with a McDonald’s franchisee in Detroit, becoming one of the top-10 Blacks in America to have a McDonald’s franchise.
“It is not where you start but where you go,” said Pickard, reminding the students of his “Seven Proven Principles of Entrepreneurship,” outlined in his book Millionaire Moves – vision, opportunity, finance, relationships, talent and skillset, failure, faith.
“To be successful you must have vision. Your vision must be greater than the window you are looking through. What that means is that you will never be what you cannot see,” Pickard said.
Williams, in whose name Pickard established the scholarship endowment, said he is glad many will benefit from Pickard’s gift.
“This recognition goes to a lot of people beyond myself,” he said, as he recognized his wife, Arlene, who “makes the machine go.”
Maya Moore, a junior finance major, was part of a panel of Business College students who listened to Pickard. She was very impressed by the speaker’s very simple and encouraging presentation.
“I encourage students to read his book, because just as he spoke, the book lays it down in layman terms for our generation to understand,” Moore said. “Like he said, if you put the work in, with a clear vision, you can accomplish anything.”
Earlier, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president for Research and Institutional Advancement, welcomed Pickard on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was traveling on business.
“President Glover and the entire TSU family are glad and honored to welcome Dr. Pickard.” Crumpton-Young said. “Certainly, we are excited to hear him and learn from his great wealth of knowledge.”
The Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, thanked Dr. Pickard for the scholarship endowment.
“This is a very, very special day for the College of Business and for me particularly, since Kevin was my former student,” Lownes-Jackson said. “The College of Business is just so thankful for this donation, and everyone who receives that scholarship will have the challenge to emulate the character and success of two phenomenal business icons – Kevin Williams and Dr. Bill Pickard.”
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.