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New Breed CEO no one’s ‘apprentice’

New Breed CEO no one’s ‘apprentice’

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Louis DeJoy could not live up to Donald Trump’s vision of an executive .

“I’d be fired,” said DeJoy, CEO of privately held New Breed Corp., a $170 million logistics and distribution company with 2,200 employees nationwide — 400 in Greensboro.

“That attitude that you are the most important person is self-destructive,” he said, in reference to the TV show “The Apprentice.” His business relies on a team of people, many of whom have been with him for a decade, he said.

DeJoy, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., recently won a prestigious Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year award for the Carolinas. He made headlines in 2004 as a heavy-hitting Bush supporter, along with his wife, Aldona, whom the president appointed ambassador to Estonia in August.

Critics accuse him for turning political connections into profit — about a quarter of his revenue derives from government contracts.

He does not hide his political affiliations, but DeJoy, 47, denies that his support for Bush — he and his wife each gave a maximum $25,000 to the Republican party and $2,000 to the presidential campaign in the recent election — has helped business.

His best government contract years were under President Clinton, when they made up about 95 percent of his business, DeJoy said.

The company folds and sorts mail bags and other delivery equipment for the U.S. Postal Service . It also manages logistics for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons protection gear for Marines in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places.

He says the company made a big push to win corporate business since 2000 and that it has paid off. Boeing Co., Siemens AG and Verizon Wireless are some of its biggest customers, he said.

In five years he plans to hit $500 million in sales. At that point he would consider going public , he said.

He speaks frankly, with Reaganesqe “trust but verify” body language: one shoulder turned towards you, arms crossed, eyes directly looking at you while in his chair.

While he wants his two children to earn Ph.Ds, he sees education as just one element of what makes someone capable of succeeding in business and in life.

“Being humble enough to deal with setbacks,” is more important than school, he said. He says life is a series of failures and events that you learn to navigate. He should know.

It’s something he became aware of in turning around New Breed, founded by his father in 1968 as a Long Island-based trucking company.

In 1982 he went to work for them for a few months to help turn the books around, he said. It took about eight years . If the company were to survive it needed to turn itself into something besides a transportation company, he said.

Slowly he started picking up clients that he knew had high-growth potential .

In 1993, when the company moved to the Triad, it had 100 employees nationwide and

$10 million in revenue.

In its current incarnation, New Breed has become the back office for its clients, figuring out how to ship products faster and reduce inventory, he said.

He spent six years commuting between New York and Greensboro, until the couple moved to the area in 1998.

He still buys season tickets to the Yankees and Mets but thinks of Greensboro as home .

Contact Marta Hummel

at 373-7070 or mhummel

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