'Show them how to work by example'

'Show them how to work by example'

Honor roll: We'll introduce you to this year's big C-U Schools Foundation award winners leading up to next weekend's ceremony:

When: 6 p.m. on April 11

Where: Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign

Tickets: $75 for individuals. Call 217-398-2873 for more information.

When Edward Clancy first learned he'd been selected to receive the Local Business Community Impact Award, he remembers one question popping in his head again and again.

"I asked them a couple of times if they had the right name," he said.

Humble guy, the co-namesake of Berns, Clancy & Associates is. The engineering, surveying and planning firm he helped found in 1975 — 14 years after he graduated from Urbana High — is responsible for untold renovation projects in his old school district. Among them: Urbana High, Urbana Middle School and Leal Martin Luther King elementaries.

Saturday, he'll be honored for his life's work by the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. Beforehand, staff writer Tim Mitchell sat down with the 71-year-old Texas A&M grad and asked him to finish a few sentences.

I'm frugal in that ... Well, people call me a tightwad. When I had a paper route for the Courier, I delivered the paper and had to collect the money. I would take the money to the Courier and gave them their share. Then I would stop at Busey Bank and put that money in the bank. Then I would go down to the Race Inn and had a cherry coke. That money was still in the bank when I decided to get married and buy a house.

My proudest business accomplishment is ... Designing and watching the construction of the Urbana High School all-weather running track in conjunction with the Urbana High School Alumni Association in 1994.

I've found the best motivator for employees is ... I show them how to work by example. Land surveying is the type of business where you learn from practical experience. You can read a lot of books, but you've got to be out in the field before you learn exactly how boundaries are put together. You've got to do the research at the courthouse to get background information. No boundary survey is the same.

My philosophy on meetings is ... Keep them to the point and the scope of the meeting. Don't tell war stories.

The business leader I admire the most is ... Clint Atkins was pretty successful. He had a lot of diversity. He had a heck of an empire.

The toughest part about being in charge is ... Motivating employees to meet their deadlines. It seems like a lot of young people just like working 8 to 5 instead of staying around to get the job done.

The worst job I ever had was ... Inspecting sanitary manholes around restaurants. The walls were crawling with cockroaches. And the smell! Some of those sanitary sewers were pretty potent, especially the one that ran from Kraft to the northeast plant. You pop the lid on that, and it is something that will take your breath away. We had to make sure there were always two of us, so one could call for help if needed.

My one unbreakable rule is ... Communicate. Without communication, people don't know what you are thinking, and you don't know what they are thinking. They have some information that you need, and you may have something that they need. It is a continuous process, being able to talk their language. When I talk to the city council of Urbana, they are interested in High Cross Road. When I talk to the local farmer out there, he is interested in the hard road. You've got to speak the language of whomever you are talking to.

I can't live without ... watching sports. I favor the Cardinals in baseball and keep track of what the Cubs are doing. I root for Texas A&M, and I watched Johnny Manziel take Alabama down. But living here, I also follow the Illini.

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