I had the opportunity to attend the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara Celebration, whose guest speaker was James Owens, CEO of Caterpillar Corporation, and on the next day the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Issues Summit, whose guest speaker was Glen Walter, President of Labatt USA.
Mr. Owens has led Caterpillar from a has-been manufacturer of earth-moving equipment to the world leader. The company stands to earn $40 billion by the end of next year. It is growing at a phenomenal rate and globally, has done everything right. It even has its share of protester groupies that follow it around. He also could not have been less entertaining. Even though he’s an eloquent speaker his stage presence was non-existent. The guy next to me fell asleep during his speech. Mr. Owens could have sent an audio recording and would have accomplished as much.
Contrast this with Glen Walter, who gave a witty, dynamic and overtly enjoyable speech on Labatt brewing, the company’s headquarters move to Buffalo, the fact that upstate New York represents 38% of all Labatt sales in the U.S., and his excitement about being in Buffalo. He could not have been a better spokesman for his company.
I’ve already forgotten about James Owens, but Glen Walter and Labatt USA will be a great addition to the neighborhood. Welcome.