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Business leaders encourage children to believe

The annual Tom H. Davis “Runway for Success” gives residents of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) opportunities to explore potential career paths as they are hosted by successful businesses.

“Runway for Success” was established in 1993 by the late Thomas H. Davis, founder of Piedmont Aviation which would later become Piedmont Airlines. The yearly event is made possible by the Tom Davis Fund.

For this year’s event on August 5, children from BCH’s statewide residential locations received an inside look into two of the country’s most recognizable brand names: Ford and Hardee’s.

John Lee, Chairman of Lee Motor Group, and Bill Boddie, President and CEO of Boddie-Noell Enterprises, both serve on BCH’s Board of Trustees and sponsored the 2015 Runway for Success by inviting the children, and BCH president Michael C. Blackwell, to their respective businesses.

Both businesses began with individuals who had little resources. John Lee took over his father’s leadership role at the age of 20 after his dad died.

“You can do anything you want to in life,” Lee shared with the children during their tour of Lee Ford Lincoln dealership in Wilson. The dealership is just one of the many Lee Motor Group operates throughout four states. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be a success – because you absolutely can.”

Lee and his staff members took turns addressing the group as they toured the facility. They learned details about the variety of jobs, from sales to office administration to service department labor, that go into running the dealership. A highlight was visiting the company’s aircraft hangar and learning how aviation is a vital part of the motor company’s operations.

“The fertilizer of the business is your feet,” Lee explained. “You have to have your feet planted in the soil of your business in order to succeed.”

When Bill Boddie’s father, Mayo, was a young child, his family lost everything. Through hard work and determination, Boddie-Noell Enterprises in Rocky Mount has become a multimillion dollar corporation with 12,000 employees. They operate 335 Hardee’s restaurants in five states.

Bill Boddie shared that the company’s mantra is “Faith, Desire and Focus.”

“You always treat others the way you want to be treated,” Boddie said during the tour of the company’s headquarters. “Honesty is the number one thing we look for in our employees.”

The group explored employment positions pertaining to sales, supply, distribution, and information technology. They participated in taste-testing hand-breaded chicken tenders.

“It was a special day to me,” said Camp Duncan resident Victoria. “It’s helped me to believe that I can succeed.”

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