University of Southern California

TOM SEARLES: WHY I STOPPED SCRAPING BARNACLES
May 1, 2010 • by Tom Searles

Dear Friends of Marshall:

By the time I was a senior at USC in 1978, my boat cleaning company was yielding $3,000 a month and helping pay my tuition. So when I graduated, I did the sensible thing: sold the company to my workers and went to work for $600 a month in commercial real estate development. Why? Because I was interested in growth. The growth of a company, the growth of a community, and my own personal growth. Nothing wrong with cleaning boats, but I was more interested in building something from the ground using my education at USC Marshall than I was in scraping barnacles off the bottom.

I started off working for someone else 18 hours a day, and then at age 28, I launched my own company. Since 1983, the Searles Company has developed over six million square feet of commercial real estate and we currently have about $120 million in development right now. My focus on growth is why I'm so pleased to be volunteering for this year's Business Growth Conference on May 6.

For over 25 years, this conference has brought together business leaders and entrepreneurs, providing a platform for those seeking venture capital, financing, and the latest insights into the growth of our economy. For the first time, the conference is co-hosted by USC's Marshall Alumni Association and the Harvard Business School Association of Orange County.

USC Marshall is a natural partner for a conference on business growth. Our school's devotion to growth is tangible. If you're a USC alum, current student, or a parent of a student, you're part of the Trojan family. Like any family, the more you engage with the family, the more you benefit. The more connected with the Trojan family you are, the more you'll meet like-minded people who will help you grow. Both professionally and personally. That's been my experience.

I hope you'll join me and the Trojan family at the Business Growth Conference, and I hope you'll also join me in supporting USC's Marshall School of Business -- where growth is part of every day's business.

Fight On!
Tom Searles

P.S. Early Bird Pricing has been extended to May 3 at midnight! Enter USCBGC to save 30%!