Local Gents

Six local business owners share some of their secrets to success.

Scott and Jon, Wilcox

Wilcox Property Group

Metro Detroit

SCOTT, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE LINE OF WORK YOU’RE IN? Our grandfather owned rental properties in Lansing. Jon and I were tasked with helping clean the houses out between tenants. We saw the worst stuff. Plates of food were pushed under couches and left for months, cement poured in toilets…terrible stuff. We always joked that we would never get into real estate.

JON, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB? The short chat I have with my clients right after closing. They are always happy and excited for the new chapter they will be starting. It is a great feeling knowing that I was able to help them along their buying/selling journey to get to that point. It is great.

SCOTT, WHAT ARE SOME POSITIVE THOUGHTS THAT YOU KEEP IN MIND DURING THE TOUGH TIMES? This is a difficult time, but there are always ways to make the most of it. Now is the time to work on a bigger house project. There is always that deep house cleaning that everyone has talked about but never had the time for. Exploring new hobbies would be fun. You can also find ways to help the community. We have taken the opportunity to help with grocery delivery for seniors who cannot leave their homes. Find something that keeps everyone safe and makes you smile.

Joseph, Dallo

Dallo Financial

Farmington Hills

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A SUCCESSFUL WORK-LIFE BALANCE? I am a proactive planner. I pride myself on planning ahead of time and being as efficient as possible. I have set up systems, so that I can provide excellent customer service while spending less time on tasks. Because I have a great support system around me, I can delegate tasks to others so that my time can be spent more effectively. This, in turn, allows me to spend more time with my family and friends.

WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED ON A DAILY BASIS? I love helping others. If I can help one person a day, in anything, I get excited. I also set goals for myself to get specific tasks done each day, week and month, and if I am unable to get everything done, I carry it over until it is finished. I am a task-oriented person, and I motivate myself by having a list of tasks that need to be completed.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU PASS ON TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN RUNNING HIS/HER OWN BUSINESS? Have a plan and be persistent. Ask for help from successful people in your field and be ready to modify your plan as you go. It takes time to build a successful practice, but with hard work and dedication, it can be rewarding. It took me 2.5 years to figure out what works best for me, and I am proud of where I am at with my businesses.

Joseph, Nemeth

Joseph R. Nemeth DDS & Associates


WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS? My parents were alive during the Great Depression, and we always had to struggle financially when I was a child. Because of this, the concern of financial security has always been a part of my persona. Furthermore, helping other people live a healthy and successful life for themselves has always given me such great gratitude. The two biggest things that keep me motivated are the joy of helping others and reaching a healthy level of success in my own life.

WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED? “This too shall pass.” Sometimes we get too caught up in the immediacy of things. When we look back on them, we realize that it wasn't nearly as important as we thought it was at the time. Try to take a long point of view and realize that time is going to pass, and these things that are so concerning now will actually go away. My father used to say, “100 years from now, nobody is going to care.”

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU PASS ON TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN RUNNING HIS/HER OWN BUSINESS? If you find something that you love to do, pursue that. Find something that you can enjoy. If you really enjoy it, you will be successful at what you do. Look for a profession that fits your personality as opposed to doing something that makes money. If you enjoy it. you will be successful; if you don’t enjoy it, you won't be nearly as happy or successful as you would be if you really enjoy your work.

Edward, Pobur

Cadillac of Novi


HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A SUCCESSFUL WORK-LIFE BALANCE? At my juncture of my career now, it is a lot easier than it used to be. Now that I’m in the position I’m in, I can kind of call the shots. But I am able to do that because I worked really hard to get here, always being the first one in and the last one out. I did my best to balance work and home life because I know how important it is, but I worked as hard as I could, so that I could do my dream job.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR FATHER’S DAY? Every year on Father’s Day, my three kids come to my house for a nice meal. My 30-year-old is pregnant, so I’ll be a grandfather for the first time, and my 28-year-old just got engaged. We see them all the time as they live close by, but it’ll be nice to just have everyone over together, especially with my new son-in-law.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? My father was in the car business for 50+ years, and when I was a kid, all I thought about was cars. I was only exposed to excellence. My father was a tough guy, a disciplinarian, but he was the hardest working guy I’ve ever seen in my life. He told me, “You can’t expect anybody to do what you can do yourself. Hard work always replaces mistakes.” One thing I’ve taken away from him over the years is to leave home in the morning, work all day at your craft and go home at night. That’s the secret. If you do that every single day of your career, you’re going to go places.

Adam, Fienman

Adam Fienmann, DDS

West Bloomfield Township

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING DENTIST? There are so many aspects of dentistry that can be enjoyed such as working with your hands, utilizing technology, problem solving and creativity. I live and work here. I take great pride in being able to care for my own community. My favorite part of dentistry is establishing relationships with my patients that keep them smiling.

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A SUCCESSFUL WORK-LIFE BALANCE? I don’t know that I do maintain a successful work-life balance. Some weeks are better than others, and that is OK. I designate specific time for work, family and self. Keeping them divided by time and space helps me feel the most successful at keeping a balanced life.

WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS? Family is what motivates me. I have four young children that need me every day, all hours of the day. My wife and I work very hard to live a healthy, active life, so we can be there to create a positive home for our kids.

Edwin, Gay

Acuity Optics

Commerce Township

HOW DO YOU DISCONNECT FROM WORK AT THE END OF THE DAY? The first thing I do is give out hugs to my daughter and two dogs, who are all running towards the door at me. I try to engage with my daughter in between the time I get home and her bed time. My other favorite hobby to take my mind away from things is running. I was a cross country and track runner all through college and try to stay mildly competitive and healthy by running these days, sometimes even during my lunch break on a work day.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF BEING AN OPTOMETRIST? Being able to solve problems for different people every day Whether that is finding the perfect contacts, finding a child's first glasses prescription, treating an eye infection or finding the perfect glaucoma drug for a patient.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU PASS ON TO SOMEONE INTERESTED IN RUNNING HIS/HER OWN BUSINESS? Build a great knowledge base of your profession, and then just go for it. Many intricacies of your field and lessons have to be learned on the job.

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