POPLARVILLE - Dub “PawPaw” Herring brought advice for Pearl River Community College business students to campus Thursday telling them a good work ethic is the first thing they need to learn.
“Nobody really gives you anything,” he said. “What we find today is there is not a good work ethic.”
Herring, 78, owns Herring Ford and PawPaw’s Camper City in Picayune and is a long-time supporter of PRCC. He spoke as part of the Business in Your World lecture series at PRCC.
He told the students he grew up in poverty and began earning money when he was 9 years old. He started shining shoes during World War II at Camp McCain near Grenada, sold newspapers to the soldiers and racked balls at his uncle’s near-by pool hall.
“I learned the work ethic,” he said.
Herring attended Holmes Junior College, the end of his formal education.
“For the rest of my life, I’ve been educating myself by reading books and following others’ successes,” he said.
After getting married, he worked for several years for the post office in Pascagoula but found the security of a steady paycheck came with strings attached.
“There was no incentive to do better,” he said.
Herring left the steady job to sell cars on commission.
“I had to take a chance,” he said. “I didn’t know that I could do that but I knew I could give it a shot. I just went a little extra mile. Nobody worked harder than me or was more enthusiastic than me.”
Herring found his keys to success when he took the chance:
• Treat people right.
• Have ambition.
• Step through the door when opportunity knocks.
• Believe in yourself.
He moved on to become a shareholder in a larger dealership in Biloxi. But when he was treated for depression, the other shareholders forced him out. With the check for his shares of the Biloxi business, he bought the Ford dealership in Picayune.
“It was not easy at all,” Herring said. “Most small business people you see today, some where they’ve laid it all on the line.
“I learned that successful people plan. I started writing down at night what I wanted to do the next day. At the end of the year, I’d write down 10 things I wanted to do the next year.”
As his businesses grew and he opened more locations, Herring remembered he had been advised to always own the land. That advice proved valuable when the economy crashed in 2007.
“I started closing stores,” he said. “The economy was going down but I owned all the property. It’s all leased out now. God’s been good to me.”
Herring said faith has played an important role in his life and is the reason he has founded homes for abused women and children and residential programs for women with substance abuse problems.
Dub “PawPaw” Herring speaks to business students at Pearl River Community College Thursday.
PRCC Public Relations photo