It was quite an exhilarating day at the Dallas ASI show. In addition to Dallas getting about an inch of snow (back in Michigan we call that a “dusting”), some visitors to the ASI Show were treated to one of the most inspiring “keynote” speeches I have personally ever witnessed. Along with Brian Sukarukoff, Carleen Gray and Brian McLeod, we sat about 10-15 feet away from former President George W. Bush as he spoke for over an hour this morning. During his talk we were able to get to know the person behind the persona. Well known for his humor, we got to experience it first hand as he relayed more personal anecdotes about well-known public moments. Like what was truly in his mind on September 11, 2001 when a Secret Service agent whispered in his ear that the World Trade Center had been struck by a plane. A pilot himself, his first thought was that the pilot must have had a heart attack. When he was told about the second plane, he said he realized it was an act of terrorism. When the third plane went down, he recognized it as an Act of War. It was simply fascinating to hear him speak. As Carleen mentioned, “he was very self-deprecating.” He’s able to laugh at himself and he made everyone in the audience feel at ease. He also recognized the importance of small businesses when it comes to private sector growth, saying that 70% of such growth comes from small businesses. In acknowledging the role of ASI in supporting and helping small businesses to flourish, he mentioned that Matt Cohn, Executive Vice Chairman of ASI is following in the steps of his father, Norman Cohn. And he joked, “There’s nothing wrong with following in the footsteps of one’s father.”
If you ever have the opportunity to hear George W. Bush speak in person, I would heartily recommend doing so. And if you are in the Dallas area, make it a point to visit The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. We were among a select group who were able to get photos with George W., but they are not yet available for posting. Cameras were not allowed inside the event. The photos will be sent to us at a later date. Thank you for all your efforts, Matt, Norman and Tim, you certainly know how to run a great show!