James W. Griffith, CEO of The Timken Company, a global $5 billion steel and bearing company, was honored April 18 with the Lipscomb University College of Business 2013 Heroes of Business Award.
Griffith is in good company, as past Heroes of Business Award winners include R.A. Dickey, 2012 Cy Young award winner; David Sampson, former deputy secretary of commerce during President George W. Bush’s administration; and William Pollard, former CEO and chairman of the multi-billion dollar service company ServiceMaster.
“He has been a leader in his church; he has been a leader in his community; and he has been a leader who set the tone at the top,” said Lipscomb College of Business Dean Turney Stevens at the awards ceremony.
The Heroes of Business Award was established by Stevens to honor executives and leaders exhibiting great business skills but also outstanding integrity and moral character, he said. As many of Lipscomb’s College of Business students grew up hearing about Enron, WorldCom and Bernie Maddoff, Stevens felt they needed a positive example to show them there really are “heroes of business” in today’s business world.
Griffith leads The Timken Company, a global business focused on technologies to manage the friction generated by moving parts and to improve the transmission of power in a wide variety of machines. He earned both an undergraduate engineering degree and an MBA degree from Stanford University.
Griffith encouraged the business students by joking that his multi-billion dollar, global company is actually a company that the majority of people have never heard of. It shows that “there are opportunities in the world you have never thought of,” he said. ‘I never thought I would be able to have this impact on the world. It is God who has guided us here.”
He also described the Golden Rule of management. “You have to think about the people you work with. Every one of them is better at their job than I would be,” he said. “So my job is to create the ability for them to do well at their job.”
Griffith spent his day at Lipscomb speaking to business students in classes, speaking in the College of Business chapel, where Stevens gave him his award and interviewed him about ethical business practices, and attending a luncheon in his honor with College of Business leaders and supporters.