John T. McNabb, right, with candidate Donald Trump at a meeting of the Trump Leadership Council. / John McNabb photo
Special to WorldTribune.com, October 12, 2018
By John McNabb-
Editors’ Note: The following address by the author was prepared for the “Best of the Best” Awards Celebration for business leaders in Wake Forest, NC on Oct. 11. The aftermath of Hurricane Michael caused a power outage, cutting short the event before these remarks could be delivered.
Good evening. I am so very pleased to be here this evening. What a great crowd!
For me tonight is the “Best of the Best”. This is how America works. This is how it’s supposed to be! Young and old, female and male, Democrat and Republican, Independent and Unaffiliated voters all here this evening pleasantly enjoying each other’s company in this beautiful church facility.
All here enjoying a fun evening at the height of civility and warmth. Very different than what we see on television with leftist anarchistic Mob violence being perpetrated all over our great country and paid for by organizers; harassing those with whom they disagree in an unlawful manner.
But here this evening is the very “Best of the Best”. Small business owners and employees, friends, guests and local officials. Small business has always been our American economy’s growth engine.
Dating back to Colonial America times, our nation was primarily made up of small owned farms and small businesses — the “butcher, baker and candlestick maker”.
I have run or served in governance capacities on a number of very large publicly listed companies. Some multinational. I retired a few years ago from serving as Chairman and CEO of a very large international energy contractor and at one point had 14,000 employees.
But my love has always been small business — hiring talented, collegial men and women, creating great cultures and growing smaller businesses into larger ones. And first and foremost, creating good jobs.
My favorite startup was forming a three-employee company in the early 1990’s which over the years became one of the finest merchant banks in the Southwest.
In 2011 we sold the firm to Duff and Phelps, at that time a public international financial services entity. I joined as Vice Chairman of the investment bank.
From the start of the small firm in 1992, my focus was hiring a colorblind, gender-blind, talented team of colleagues and that continued for the twenty years of the firm’s existence.
Then one day Harold Hamm visited with me while I was attending a meeting of his company Continental Resources in Oklahoma City. Harold is a very close friend and one of America’s truly great business leaders. He asked me to co-found an entity which would become the Trump Leadership Council.
I accepted that challenge and we put together a group of approximately fifty men and women, all experts in their fields of expertise-focused on all facets of the American economy and Trade and Defense.
The first meeting took place at Trump Tower New York City in candidate Trump’s board room. The purpose was to provide Donald Trump an objective look at the economy and additionally trade and defense.
Some of the top minds America were assembled in that board room and I was fortunate to be in a position to run that meeting. Candidate Trump had requested the meeting and asked for the input. This was one of his key planning focuses for his presidential campaign. His focus was on America and Americans, not himself.
Watching him that day, sitting right next to him, I observed a focused individual who asked thoughtful, in-depth questions and came across to me as a great listener. A key skill of any great leader.
The Donald Trump who I know is charming, bright, loves America and knows how to win. And his record since taking office is nothing short of phenomenal!
The winning has not stopped and the Left and their media brethren continue to howl, louder and louder. Aside from increasingly violent confrontations with law abiding citizens, the Left has no answers and absolutely no leadership.
Currently 92 percent of media coverage of President Trump is negative. As the Democratic Party has lost any apparent leadership, the media is all the Left has left.
Then the disastrous manner in which the Democrats handled Justice Kavanaugh’s hearings killed any chance of the “Blue Wave”. The Left has no platform except “Hate Trump” and clearly that’s not working.
2020 is a problem for the Left but the upcoming midterms will show the deep problem the Left has. Hating our President won’t win elections.
So, what can all of us do in light of the war on free speech, the impolite “in your face” confrontations, the increasing Mob violence and the unrelenting and increasing incivility?
Freedom isn’t Free my friends!
This is a point in our history when we all need to reflect and act to save our nation from the Mob, thugs and paid protesters bent on killing our democracy.
Civil public discourse is a must. Each of us has choices of products and entertainment. We each can vote with our pocket books. And we all need to exercise our rights as American citizens to vote. Each of us can be leaders and mentors in our homes, with our families and in our communities.
Civil public discourse built our democracy and the leftist Mob can’t be allowed to destroy our ability to discuss and agree or disagree in a civil polite manner. We should say no to the Mob and the “in your face” protesters. Law enforcement is a tool for all free minded and polite citizenry.
We must actively support freedoms for all Americans including Freedom of The Press. The major media and social media monopolies have been charged with actually suppressing that First Amendment freedom.
That is why this newspaper and the John Peter Zenger News Foundation deserve our support.
Remember my friends, Freedom isn’t Free.
Finally, congratulations to this year’s Best of the Best finalists and winners! You are making Wake Forest a great place to live and work.
I want to thank Todd Allen, the Wake Forest Weekly and Kingsdale Media for inviting me. I also want to say that it was a tremendous honor to meet Robert Allen this evening. Robert and his wife started the Wake Weekly in 1947 providing balanced news.
And we also salute the John Peter Zenger News Foundation and its State News Today news service with the motto “Fair, Accurate, Independent”.
They have made my occasional columns available throughout our great state, enhancing my appreciation of the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press.
God bless and good night.
John T. McNabb is vice chairman of the American Leadership Council, co-founder of the Trump Leadership Council and former chairman and CEO of Willbros Group.