Sunday, January 27, 2002
Boyhood success gave hint of future
By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Ron DeLyons learned some valuable lessons about money three decades ago. He decided to get an Enquirer route, but it wasn't until after he actually had the route that he realized he would have to get up early to deliver the papers.
One day, a buddy asked how he could get a route. You want one, you got one. The friend got the responsibilities and two-thirds of the money. Ron got the rest. Soon another buddy asked about a route. Mini-mogul Ron got him one. Then another buddy called. Got him one, too.
It goes on for a few weeks until the distributor calls my dad and says he was concerned about my well-being, says Mr. DeLyons, who is the 39-year-old chief executive of Norwood-based Greystone Investment Management, a firm with $275 million in assets under management.
The guy says I had to be getting up 4 a.m. to get the papers delivered. My dad goes, "I don't know whose son you're talking about, my kid gets up a half-hour before school.'
This little newspaper empire immediately collapsed. The distributor told him he couldn't do that any more. I guess it was my early entrepreneurial efforts, Mr. DeLyons says today.
A former varsity tennis player for Walnut Hills High School and later for Indiana University, Mr. DeLyons credits, in part, athletics for other life lessons Be prepared. Practice how you play. It's all about hard work, luck and opportunity.
Greystone was founded in March 2001, and since, it's been nose-to-the-grindstone.
Are African-Americans better off from an economic perspective? Probably so. Are they keeping pace with the rest of society? I don't know. We are getting closer to the point where African-Americans have opportunities to excel, he says.
Success also brings introspection, and Mr. DeLyons thinks education is the key to success. He believes Walnut Hills opened doors to him that in turn led to other doors. Still, there is something about climbing the career ladder that annoys him.
Often there is a perception that (African-Americans) are where they are because affirmative action allowed them to be there, he says. That is far from the truth. To be successful, he said, blacks have to be twice as good as whites.
And then Mr. DeLyons quotes latter-day poet James Brown Don't open the door. Just unlock it. We'll come through.
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