Street Smarts really doesn’t have anything to do with a formal education. It is the ability to size up people and real world situations, determine what is really happening and then take the steps to “get what you want”. Often these lessons are not learned in a college curriculum. Street Smart skills stem from real world experiences, with lessons learned from battles won and lost.

I wish the college opportunity had been an option for me, but I took a different path and made sure I acquired the skills and knowledge to compete in the business world.

I have committed my life to continuous learning and through many great mentors, active seminar and organizational involvement, and a voracious reading schedule I have learned the elements of running a business. Working side by side with others at different levels, I learned how and why people work. What good managers do to get results and bad managers do to kill progress.

Here is some personal background to help you understand my personal path and recap my career from a timeline perspective:

I was a very strong student and tested very high but my plans to attend college were derailed when it became necessary for me to leave high school to support my family. At 16 I went to work loading trucks.

At 17 I first became a Supervisor of that shipping department. I started managing a crew of 10 employees very much my senior; several of which had just returned from Viet Nam. At 19 I gained the responsibility to become a Warehouse Supervisor tasked with taking my crew from warehouse to warehouse to achieve turn around performance in each.

At 21 I became an Operations Manager running multi-facilities and 40-50 union men. At 24 I had my first Sales Management job where 3 of my 12 salespeople ranked within the National Top 10. By 28 I was running my own District responsible for all sales, operations, and administrative functions.

This immersion into real world experience kept me ahead of my contemporaries who took the college route. As they came out of school with their BA or MBA degrees they took their place behind me in the line trying to figure out how what they learned in school could help them motivate a group of employees to grasp agendas and accomplish goals.

At 30 I was promoted to the Corporate Offices as Vice President to set up and run a National Distributor program. And at 35 I first became President of a Public Corporation with 1000 employees and offices throughout the country.

From there I moved to more entrepreneurial based companies where I have continued to hold the position of President or Chief Operating Officer.

My progress carried me across several different industries. Throughout me career I have had full P&L responsibility, been a technology leader and developed the kind of people skills and leadership you can only get from being in the field and coming up through the ranks.

And by the way, I’m still learning every day. I wish the college opportunity had been an option for me as well, but I took a different path and made sure I acquired the skills and knowledge to compete in the real world.

I had to bring hard work, passion, and intelligence to the table, but I could not have been successful without the Great Mentors who took an interest in me and showed me the way. My greatest passion today is to mentor others who are coming up through the ranks and hand down those Rites of Passage I believe necessary to be a Street Smart Leader.

Please let me know how I can help you,

John Halter



2 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Hi John,

    All this information from your “Street Smart Leader” is wonderful. I just, now, took the time to read some of it. I love the stories about the horses. A dream I wish I had persued years ago. You have accomplished so much and I think you should write and have your works published into a book… or maybe, you have already taken this step. You write so beautifully… and I think you are so blessed to have experienced all the opportunities at such a young age, even though at the time, I’m sure they were viwed as sacrificies. I didn’t go back to college until the age of 40 to get my degree in commercial, residential, and kitchen design. I’m glad I waited until I was older because I appreciated every day I was in school learning to become the best at what I always loved to do… create! Over the next several days, I look forward to visiting more of your recent articles, as I do enjoy reading them. I will share these articles with Bob as I know he, too, will enjoy reading them. Best to you… Kathleen Shiloh

  2. Blaj Says:

    I often wonder whether I’d have been better off skipping college and going straight to work. I think a little motivation goes a lot further than a college education. I think that college discourages “street smart” behavior that is beneficial in the real world.

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