Rogers calls on Clemson University's 2013 graduates to "defy conventional
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 20, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The following are excerpts from
Duke Energy Chairman Jim Rogers' speech to graduates at Clemson University's
Commencement exercises Dec. 19.
"Like some of you, I'm looking for a job. On January 1^st – I won't have a job
"Sure, there is a term for this. It's called retirement. But I cannot and will
not sit still on January 1st.
"To me, retirement is a new beginning; a time to reimagine your world and
reinvent yourself. It's very much like this commencement – and how it marks a
fresh start for each of you.
"While I don't necessarily know what's going to happen next, I do know one
thing for sure: I have the highest of expectations for myself.
"I want to make a positive difference in the lives of others. My wish for you
is just the same. Have high expectations of yourself. Be passionate about the
mission you select. Be unafraid to make a positive difference in the world.
"All of this means that we must – together – think outside the box, defy
conventional wisdom and not be afraid to speak up or challenge the status quo.
We need to approach our next opportunities with a mindset like no other. We
need to think differently.
"Here's an example of what I mean. Let's travel 500 miles west to Arkansas –
to Pulaski Academy, home to one of the nation's most unconventional high
school football programs.
"Coach Kevin Kelley has received a lot of notoriety – and criticism – because
of his coaching style. He refuses to allow his team to punt the football.
"But Coach Kelley is a student of the game. He does his research. He's looking
for whatever advantage he can find – within the limits of the rulebook, of
"He's discovered that his team has a 15 percent better chance of winning by
not punting the football.
"The team's record speaks for itself: they've won 89 percent of their games
since 2010. Including an 11-and-1 record this season.
"Another example is the United Parcel Service. A short time ago, UPS faced
tremendous pressures to cut costs and institute an across-the-board
environmental stewardship policy. These dynamics created great challenges for
"But a team of engineers got together and eventually implemented a simple
rule: Eliminate as many left-hand turns as possible.
"The company cut nearly 100 million minutes of idle time and eliminated 90
million miles from their routes each year. They're saving big on fuel, and
they're better stewards of the environment, too.
"Last, but certainly not least: Eliminating left turns cut back on the number
of UPS traffic accidents, making their employees – and our communities –
"UPS, Coach Kelley and countless others are rethinking their roles. They're
achieving real results by defying conventional wisdom in their respective
"So, how will you succeed as you begin your next chapter? Simply working hard
won't cut it anymore. You must reimagine and reinvent the future. But we will
need some other qualities, too. I call these the basics, the non-negotiables
in your life.
"You and I must be honest and genuine all along the way. We need to be focused
on making the right ethical decisions, no matter what. We will succeed not
only based on our ability to think differently, but also our capacity to earn
and build trust each day.
"I'll close by stating the obvious: We don't know exactly what life will be
like as we begin the next chapter. But we know what we must do. We must think
differently to solve the world's problems – as well as the everyday challenges
that we'll encounter along the way. And we must strive to be brief, be
brilliant and be gone … on to new challenges and new opportunities."
To read Rogers' speech in its entirety, go to:
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded
on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about
the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130322/CL81938LOGO )
Jim Rogers will retire as chairman of Duke Energy Dec. 31, 2013. He also
served as president and CEO of Duke Energy until July 1, 2013, when he was
succeeded by Lynn Good. He served 25 years as CEO of Duke Energy or a
predecessor company, and has achieved a total annual shareholder return of
more than 12 percent since 1988.
Contact: Luke Currin
Office: 980.373.1849 | 24-Hour: 800.559.3853
SOURCE Duke Energy
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