‘Apprentice’ Doles out Lessons Learned from ‘The Donald’
By Ioana Patringenaru | February 13, 2006
|Apprentice Kelly Perdew talks about his book and experiences to an audience at the UCSD Bookstore.
How do you get team members to work well together? Where do you find Trump Ice, The Donald’s own bottled water? Is it better to take a job with a start-up or with an established company?
Kelly Perdew, winner of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” season two, fielded these questions, and more, during an appearance at the UCSD Bookstore Tuesday. Perdew was promoting his book “Take Command: 10 Leadership Principles I Learned in the Military and Put to Work for Donald Trump.”
The former Army Ranger and intelligence officer wore a dress shirt, but his collar was open and his sleeves were rolled up. During his talk, he often sought to draw in the audience by urging them to ask questions. Quick on his feet, he often used his hands while talking and imitated Donald Trump’s intense expression with a mock pout.
Perdew’s agency contacted the UCSD Bookstore to schedule the event, said Teri Den Herder, book sales supervisor. The Apprentice – season 2 vintage -- is originally from Carlsbad and wanted to hold an event nearby, she said. His appearance drew a crowd of about two dozen people. Several said they decided to come after local news shows promoted the event.
Samson Yang, a fourth-year human biology student at UCSD, said he’s a great fan of “The Apprentice” and was hoping Perdew would talk about what he did after winning the show. At the end of season two, Perdew had chosen to work on a New York development. But Trump sold his interest in that project six months later. So Perdew worked on other projects, including The Donald’s water bottle business, Trump Ice. He then convinced his new boss to start a new business: mailing high-end coupons to wealthy New Yorkers.
Carol Briggs, who came to the event with her 13-year-old son Scott, asked whether Perdew thought that was an effective business. “Why are you sending me more junk mail?,” Perdew jokingly paraphrased. People usually open about 75 percent of the business mail they get, he pointed out, and many then take advantage of the offers they receive. Scott asked where he could get Trump Ice. It turns out the brand isn’t sold on the West Coast, but is available online.
Before the talk, Scott said he hoped Perdew would talk about the 10 principles of leadership outlined in his book: integrity, duty, passion, impeccability, teamwork, selfless services (as in giving back), planning, loyalty, perseverance and flexibility. The Apprentice gracefully obliged. He explained these principles come from his experience in the military. He also said he sought validation for his theories from prominent business people who had also been in the military, including founding AOL CEO Jim Kimsey, Ross Perot and former Red Cross CEO Marsha Evans.
“I’ve had an amazing opportunity to sit down with people that hit grand-slam home runs,” he said.
He also defined leadership for his audience.
“It’s about motivating others to action,” he said.
Wayne Wilson, a biotech project manager, asked Perdew how to get team members to work better together. Make them feel like they’re all contributing, the Apprentice answered. After his team lost their first task on the show, he asked his teammates for ideas to improve their overall performance, he explained. Then they went on to win several following tasks.
Perdew is a graduate of West Point and a former Army Ranger. He also earned an MBA and a JD from UCLA. Before becoming the Apprentice, he already had tried his hand at running several businesses. One of them was a start-up and cost him nearly all his savings, so he went to work for Deloitte Consulting, an established company. He will work for Trump till the end of March. Then he plans to become a venture capitalist. He also will host “GI Factory,” a Military Channel Show. A portion of the proceeds of his book will go to the USO.
Before he left UCSD, Perdew signed copies of his book. Some will be on sale after the event, Den Herder said.