Air Force Lt. Colonel Soars
to Great Heights in Business
Hathaway went on to manage purchasing for the bank and was eventually put in charge of three other departments, managing a staff of 40. One of the important lessons learned in the military and applied at the bank was to pick the right people.
“When I was at the bank, 80 percent of the people I did business with didn’t change,” he said. “Once you get into my circle, it’s kind of a big deal. It’s based on trust.”
The people principle remains the keystone of Hathaway’s business operations today. While in the reserves, Hathaway was assigned to the head of contracts at the Pentagon.
“I worked on projects for five two-star generals,” he said. “They all chose only top shelf talent, and I learned that if you find the right people you don’t have to waste time managing them.”
Hathaway left the bank after 10 years to accept a position as a price analyst for the federal government at Pratt & Whitney, negotiating the company’s F-100 engine contract.
“It was a $2 billion a year contract, and I did the analysis and negotiations every year for 15 years.”
Meanwhile, Hathaway had been investing in real estate. When the Defense Department offered him an attractive retirement package, he decided to focus full-time on managing his properties, which by then included a 170-acre farm in Bolton and 65 acres in Vernon, Conn. The farm became the launch pad for numerous other enterprises that Hathaway manages and operates today as Mountaintop Services, Inc. His experience with military communications systems gave him the vision to acquire the highest point in Bolton, Conn., and build a radio tower. Today, the mountaintop is home to a constellation of wireless towers that he leases to major telecommunications companies, public utilities and radio stations.
In addition to the wireless communications contracts, Hathaway’s roster of businesses includes: sand and gravel extraction; timber; a radio station; a tree farm that was at one time ranked No. 1 in Connecticut; snow plowing; and a commercial strip of offices.
The lessons learned in the military gave Hathaway the ability to succeed in business. In his view, every business activity is a project, and large or small, the system to control them - which he honed during his years in the Air Force - is the same. Today, Hathaway teaches success principles and his philosophy of happiness to businesspeople, government employees, students and even the homeless. His goal is to raise the happiness index, quality of life and success of everyone he encounters.
Jane Weber Brubaker is a freelance writer living in Wethersfield, Conn. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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