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Leaders Share Their Inspiration: Mom, Dad, and Ayn Rand

Entrepreneurs from the 2009 Inc. 500 talk about the people who inspired them

"My parents. I am a first-generation American. My father arrived in New York City with what little he could scrape together from family and put himself through school. My mother was the first in her family to graduate from college." -- Michael Moradi, Charlesson

"My dad, rap music, and the NBA." -- Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

"Leadership training at West Point." -- James Tobey, H&H Steel Fabricators

"Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Picasso -- all the absolute best in their field, timeless and competitive." -- Russ Mann, Covario

"My daughter, who is a tough little nut." -- Howard Edelman, VitalWear

"Other women business owners inspire me." -- Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative

"Money." -- Brian Clouse, Lead Flash

"Barack Obama -- from underdog to winner." -- Vedant Pathak, APN Consulting

"America, America, America." -- Stephen Patterson, Broadnet Teleservices

"My dad and Teddy Roosevelt." -- Michael Melo, ITA International

"My faith in God." -- Derek Maxfield, NetSteps

"Competitors." -- Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty ONE Group

"My father's lack of success." -- Adam Blake, Atlas Properties

"Thomas Jefferson." -- D. Patrick Curry, The Analysis Group

"General Patton." -- Dennis Garbis, Environmental Design & Construction

"My father, probably -- he's a retired Fortune 500 CEO and a complete failure in the rest of his life. His mistakes motivate me to find a better path." -- Kevin M. Burke, Centuria

"I'm self-inspired. As I become more successful, I want it to continue." -- Steve Slovick, PriceSpective

"Ayn Rand and objectivist thinking." -- Oran Thomas, Mpell Solutions

"My father. He grew up in a village having to study at night under lampposts. He went from a very poor village to being in one of the top engineering jobs in the Indian government." -- Anik Singal, Lurn

"My father. His words: 'Three ways to get ahead in this world. Be smarter than the next guy, inherit more money than the next guy, or work harder than the next guy. Get to work.' " -- Gerald R. Mattys, Tactile Systems Technology

"The character Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. Through the darkest of times, he managed to find the humor, joy of life, and appreciation for the few things he had."
-- Jack Biltis, TAG Employer Services

"My children." -- John Michael Stevens, Service Financial

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