David Steward is founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, a St. Louis, MO based firm that David Stewardspecializes in supplying technology and supply chain solutions to customers around the world. It is the second African-American owned firm to reach the billion dollar revenue mark in the 1990s (the first was TLC Beatrice International, a global food and beverage distributor led by Reginald F. Lewis in 1987).

After rising in corporate America with companies like Missouri Pacific Railroad and Federal Express, David Steward scratched his entrepreneurial itch and founded (or actually bought) his first enterprise, Transportation Business Specialists in 1984. Functionally, this business worked for his background in the transportation industry and knowledge of accountancy. With the opening of his second company, Transport Administrative Services, he was able to capture a higher margin business within his same value chain in the transportation industry by pursuing larger corporate customers.

Through his work with these firms, he discovered a niche of using technology to solve business problems. With this concept and seven employees, he founded World Wide Technology in 1990. The company had a tough time growing, but Steward ensured he made payroll even if it meant not paying himself. At one point, times were so hard, Steward’s car was repossessed. Ultimately, with the support of the Small Business Administration (SBA), he began to pursue and was able to secure contracts with the federal government. By 2003, company revenues grew passed $1 billion. As of 2010, they are approaching $3 billion with an employee base greater than 1,000. Steward remains the chairman of the board and wrote a book titled Doing Business by the Good Book.

Five Entrepreneur Lessons from David Steward

  1. Be true to yourself and what you want out of life. You only get to do it once so you might as well make it count!
  2. Remain connected and curious about your industry and its trends. Yet be open to venture into different industries to make sure you are walking in your greatest mission.
  3. Serve others and you will be blessed.
  4. His words: “Good leadership is love.” My interpretation: When leading others, treat them with respect and help serve their needs so that they can best serve yours.
  5. His words: “Blessed to be a blessing.” My interpretation: use your time, talent and treasure to give to others.

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