Man­u­fac­tur­ing exec. lec­tures in China

The Covington News - - BUSINESS - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­

A re­cent trip to China has Bill Lo­bele, se­nior vice pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at Beaver Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany in Mans­field, shar­ing his im­pres­sions of how Chi­nese stu­dents see en­trepreneur­ship.

Lo­bele trav­eled to China in Oc­to­ber at first for a busi­ness trip, but made a stop in Guiyang, China to give a lec­ture at Guizhou Univer­sity, lo­cated in south­west China, to a class of about 50 man­age­ment stu­dents.

Lo­bele is a grad­u­ate of Pres­by­te­rian Col­lege, a lib­eral arts school in Clin­ton, S.C. and he serves as a mem­ber on the board of trustees for the col­lege. He said Guizhou Univer­sity is the sis­ter school of Pres­by­te­rian Col­lege, which is the only na­tional lib­eral arts col­lege that has a Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute — an in­sti­tu­tion that pro­motes the ex­change of Chi­nese lan­guage and cul­ture — on cam­pus.

He ex­plained that since 1987, he has vis­ited many dif­fer­ent cities in China for busi­ness con­cern­ing Beaver Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany, which pro­duces and sells tex­tile yarns for a num­ber of hoses to China and other places all over the world. He said the au­to­mo­tive hose is about half of the com­pany’s busi­ness.

“You al­ways hear about China sell­ing here, but one of the main pur­poses of our trip was to visit cus­tomers in China that we sold to,” Lo­bele said.

How­ever, this year Lo­bele took a side trip to the univer­sity to meet and greet fac­ulty and stu­dents as a sort of am­bas­sador for Pres­by­te­rian Col­lege. He was also in­vited to give a lec­ture at Guizhou Univer­sity, which he said has a stu­dent pop­u­la­tion of about 60,000 stu­dents.

He said Mike Du­bin, vice pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions at Beaver Man­u­fac­tur­ing, ac­com­pa­nied him on the trip and par­tic­i­pated in giv­ing the lec­ture, which dis­cussed Amer­i­can En­trepreneur­ship. Dur­ing the lec­ture, Lo­bele and Du­bin pre­sented the stu­dents with sev­eral ex­am­ples of en­trepreneurs in Amer­ica, such as Bill Gates, co-founder of Mi­crosoft; Steve Jobs, co-founder of Ap­ple; Phil Knight, founder of Nike; as well as other cre­ators and in­ven­tors. They also shared ex­am­ples of Chi­nese En­trepreneurs.

“We had the lec­ture and it was at the school of man­age­ment and there were ap­prox­i­mately 50 stu­dents. It was not a re­quired lec­ture; the man­age­ment stu­dents at the univer­sity had to sign up and the room only held 50. It went quite well,” Lo­bele said.

“The thing that sur­prised me was that their en­trepreneurs, in a sense, they wanted to get ahead and they wanted to do some­thing,” Lo­bele said. “[The stu­dents] have a very cap­i­tal­is­tic mind, but they live in a com­mu­nist government.”

“I told them that Beaver Man­u­fac­tur­ing was started by an en­tre­pre­neur and he had some se­cret recipes for treat­ments. I said we have al­ways kept that se­cret for our 42 year his­tory. And one of the stu­dents — we got a lot of ques­tions — one the stu­dents asked me, he said, ‘Well, do you get to keep those se­crets or did you have to give them back to the univer­sity,’ and I said the univer­sity did not de­velop them.”

“See over there, the big dif­fer­ence is that the seed of learn­ing and devel­op­ment goes on at univer­si­ties. Some of the bril­liant man­agers and peo­ple who go to com­pa­nies get their train­ing at the univer­si­ties,” Lo­bele said. “We’re dif­fer­ent. Univer­si­ties here do ba­sic re­search and com­pa­nies do prac­ti­cal re­search. But that was one of the big im­pres­sions dur­ing the lec­ture.”

Lo­bele also said he was sur­prised to see how in­ter­ested the stu­dents were in the lec­ture and that they were more ea­ger to learn.

“A young woman who was a stu­dent came into the class early. She was so in­ter­ested that she helped us set-up our com­puter and do the whole thing. She in­tently lis­tened,” he said. “She asked ques­tions dur­ing the lec­ture; af­ter the lec­ture, she came up to hear more. But they were all very in­ter­ested in what we said and I guess out of the 50 there was one guy who was sleep­ing.”

He added that this was much dif­fer­ent from some Amer­i­can stu­dents.

“If it snowed or had iced to­day and classes were can­celed, most of the stu­dents would jump for joy and they’d be happy. Over there, they would be up­set and they’d be try­ing to find a way to get to class,” Lo­bele said.

“They cer­tainly have a po­ten­tial work ethic. They want to be en­trepreneurs. They want to be suc­cess­ful busi­ness peo­ple as much as within what they’re al­lowed to within their government.”

Dr. Xiaolun Feng, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent of Guizhou Univer­sity, toasts Lo­bele (right) and Mike Du­bin.

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