Joyce Michaud ’73
Pushing forward
Jake Briggs ’14
“Don’t take your foot off the accelerator,” said Michael Hayes ’63, who
returned to campus to share his career experiences during the Institute for
Management Studies’ James W. Harding Executive Speaker Series on Oct. 15. He
has lived by those words during his climb up the corporate ranks of Wall Street
and on to ownership of Fred’s Inc.
Hayes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Lycoming, is the
recently retired CEO of Fred’s Inc., a Fortune 1000 company with more than 700
stores throughout the Southeast. Fred’s is a unique, general merchandise store,
combining elements of a discount dollar store, drug store and mass merchant.
Lycoming served as the positive experience Hayes needed to propel him to
greatness; it gave him a good feeling about life and his future possibilities. At
the College, Hayes said, he learned to carefully present and articulate positions
to very educated people, a skill that was “very beneficial in his dealings with
Harvard and Yale graduates.”
Following graduation, the Williamsport native began his professional career
as a stock broker for Merrill Lynch. As he moved up the ranks to become
vice president of the individual investment division, he drew heavily from his
experience as a broker, which taught him to listen and think before speaking, and
to understand the importance of execution.
Hayes went on to become one of the general partners and the executive vice
president of corporate and financial services at Oppenheimer and Company
and the executive president of Oppenheimer Life Agency. His career success
continued to accelerate as he advanced at Oppenheimer, where he had the
opportunity to work with partners such as Alan Greenspan and Milton Friedman.
He structured and marketed more than $1 billion in venture capital and real
estate, as well as oil and gas investments, for the firm and its clients.
Hayes then began his own investment firm, which invested in Fred’s. Shortly
after, Hayes became its CEO and president. He turned around the company’s
financial state, and Fred’s exited the IPO sale with almost no debt left. It didn’t
take long for Hayes to turn Fred’s into a billion-dollar-a-year company, where he
remains chairman of the board.
In addressing Lycoming students, Hayes outlined specific strategies for
better interviewing and improved business etiquette. He insists that prospective
employees must be passionate and enthusiastic about their career opportunities.
Personally, Hayes looks for candidates that make at least three positive statements
during the interview, and he also stresses the significance of asking for the job.
Hayes says the keys to interviewing are “preparation, passion and a positive
attitude,” all of which were instilled in him while he was a student at Lycoming.
Jon “Craig” Koons
(570) 587-3928
Linda (Burton) Kochanov
(203) 744-0393
Doug Stover
(mathematics) has
completed training to be a docent at the
Smithsonian Institution’s National Air
and Space Museum. He conducts guided
tours of the museum’s Udvar-Hazy
Center in Chantilly, Va.
Virginia “Ginny” Shamlian
Sherrie (Burton) Smith
(410) 280-9086
Joyce Michaud
(art) presented
“Nuances,” an exhibit of her artwork, in
Lycoming’s art gallery Oct.18-Nov. 16.
She is an associate professor at Hood
College in Frederick, Md., where she
serves as the coordinator for studio arts
and director of the MFA and graduate
certificate in ceramic arts.
Sherry L. MacPherson
(856) 765-1476
Gail (Gleason) Beamer
(508) 460-0682
Michael Hayes ’63 (center), former CEO of Fred’s Inc., returned to campus in October as part of
the Institute for Management Studies’ James W. Harding Executive Speaker Series. He is flanked by
President James Douthat (left) and Robert Shangraw ’58 ’04H, emeritus chair of the College’s board.
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