Mike Yantis Jr. ’02, CEO of Yantis Company, has quickly moved up the corporate ladder. Starting out as a project manager at Yantis in late 2002 after finishing his bachelor’s in management, Yantis was promoted to president by 2007, and then CEO in late 2012.
His hard work and dedication helped make his family’s company more successful than ever between 2002 and 2007, helping the company to grow by almost 200 percent and 400 employees, making Yantis one of the largest private companies in the greater San Antonio area. Yantis said that for a long time he said yes to whatever work came his way, part of how he helped get so much done, but learned that sometimes no is the better answer.
“You overcommit yourself and you end up just running in circles,” Yantis says about saying yes all of the time. At the end of one week Yantis realized he had only spent about five hours at his desk doing actual work, and knew he had to learn to delegate better. “I would just caution you to focus on what’s actually going to help you along. Don’t do things at the expense of your goals.”
Yantis warned students against other mistakes like over-diversifying a company, rushing into deals that seem too good to be true without doing research, and letting things get personal between you and other employees and with competitors.
“Not everybody’s going to like you,” Yantis says about getting out into the work force. “At the end of the day you don’t need to let it drive you crazy or make it something that you worry about all the time. If there’s business to be done, business is business.”
The only thing that Yantis recommends making personal is communication. “The thing you have to remember about e-mails is that they live forever,” says Yantis about today’s preferred method of work communication. “Tone is really hard in e-mails, so people take e-mails the wrong way sometimes. If you’ve got something bad to say to somebody, or something negative, do it face to face.”
His advice stems partly from his experience of having old e-mails he had sent used during litigation in a lawsuit Yantis Company brought against a competitor several years back. Yantis says sometimes when you receive a negative e-mail, it is easy to get caught up in an online battle, but you have to hold yourself back.
Most importantly, Yantis says, he wanted students to realize part of being successful means making mistakes along the way. He wanted to share some of his mistakes and how he dealt with them so the students could learn how to deal with certain situations.
Dominic Odom ’15, a Business Honors major, says the visit with Yantis taught him about how construction in and around the San Antonio area works, and how complicated the bidding process is. “The main takeaway that Mr. Yantis imparted onto me is that business need not be a personal thing,” Odom says. “Feeling slighted is a good way to lose perspective on a job.”
About Mays Business School
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.
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