nails.jpgDiane Hendricks never got a college degree. One of nine sisters, her parents were diary farmers in Wisconsin. Ever heard of Osseo, Wisconsin? Me either.

Diane had seven children. The three older daughters went to college, the boys went into construction. Their high school graduation present? $100, a bag of nails, and a hammer. As Diane says, the gift was humorous but the intent was serious.

I need to pull back and give you a bit more of the picture: In addition to being mother of seven, Diane is also chair of ABC Supply, a roofing supply company with 350 offices and more than 5,000 employees nationwide. What makes ABC Supply special is that it was started in 1982 by Diane and her husband, and has grown to its present size since then. Diane took over in December 2007, when her husband was killed in a fall on a construction site. (The New York Times, November 21, 2009, “The Business Must Go On.”)

How did Diane Hendricks succeed? In her own words:

1) Dare to dream.

2) Progress is a lot of small simple decisions.

Two points:

– Main Street America is strong, filled with good people doing good things.

– Success does not require a college degree but it does require hard work, a dream, and the drive to make it reality.