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Clayton Williams, Jr.

Academy of Achievement

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Clayton Williams, Jr.

Clayton Williams, Jr.

Academy of Achievement

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In 1957, Clayton W. "Claytie" Williams, Jr. quit his job as an insurance salesman to go into the oil business with only $2,000 in savings. From this humble beginning, he grew to be the largest individual oil producer in the State of Texas. He struggled through the 1960s before making a series of major oil discoveries. By the early 1980s his privately held corporation was bringing in over $1 billion in revenue from ventures embracing all facets of the oil and gas industry, six ranches, 300,000 acres of land, and the crown jewel of his empire: the Clay-Desta Plaza, a spectacular office/banking/shopping complex on 175 acres of prime real estate. He has been a major benefactor to his alma mater, Texas A&M University, where he was a founder of the Presidents Endowed Scholarship for Gifted Students. He was also founder and director of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. In 1990, he was the Republican candidate for Governor of Texas, losing narrowly to State Treasurer Anne Richards. Many observers pinned his loss on an ill-considered joke he had had made during the campaign, likening rape to bad weather. After this experience, he declined to run for office again, preferring to concentrate on his business and philanthropic activities. In 1993 he took his company, Clayton Williams Energy, Inc., public. In this audio podcast, recorded at the Academy of Achievement's 1984 gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Williams discusses the foundation of his success – trusting in the talent and integrity of his employees. He encourages the Academy's student delegates to seek out good people to work with, enjoy the freedom America offers and give back to their communities.

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