"Leadership Lessons from History"
Monday, November 6, 2017
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West
College Station, TX
5:00 p.m. Reception
5:30 p.m. Program
On Monday, November 6, the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service was honored to present the 2017 McLane Leadership in Business Award to John L. Nau III, Chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products. The McLane award is presented each year for outstanding contributions to business, public service, or national community service.
The McLane Leadership in Business program began with Bush School Dean Mark Welsh welcoming the audience and Director of the Mosbacher Institute Lori Taylor introducing Nau. Among Nau’s many accomplishments and contributions, Taylor highlighted his chairmanship of the Texas Historical Commission and presidential appointment as chairman of the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation from 2001-2010.
Upon taking the stage, Nau presented “Leadership Lessons from History,” a speech outlining key lessons synthesized from a successful career in business and a lifelong interest in history. Nau’s speech emphasized remaining open-minded about opportunities wherever they may lead, finding a cause to champion, and learning from the past. Nau stressed the importance of treating employees and customers alike with respect, before describing how his interest in history inspired his leadership principles. Nau advised his audience members to follow their instincts, as America’s leaders did on the battlefield, but to remember that just as no historical figure rose to prominence alone, neither can a business leader reach the heights of success without help from others. These lessons, Nau stated, helped him become a better leader in his business, as well as a more effective servant to his community.
At the conclusion of Nau’s remarks, Taylor rejoined him onstage for a seated conversation to elaborate on his talk. In response to Taylor’s question about how he had learned leadership without any formal business school training, Nau explained that he took much of his inspiration from history, but had gained experience in the Marine Corps and on-the-job in his first management positions. The two also discussed how Nau prioritized his time between making a profit and making a difference, to which Nau replied that while he contributes his time and money to philanthropic causes, he also commits daily to serving his employees and clients at Silver Eagle Distributors with resources and services that touch their lives in a positive way.
The event concluded with Dean Welsh and Drayton McLane, Jr., the founder and namesake of the McLane Leadership in Business Award, joining Taylor and Nau onstage for the award presentation. McLane thanked Nau for his contributions to Texas and the nation, closing the event with final remarks regarding the importance of embracing leadership lessons from history to become a modern leader in business and community.
Drayton McLane, Dr. Lori Taylor, John L. Nau III, and Dean Mark Welsh
Dean Mark Welsh
Director of the Mosbacher Institute Lori Taylor
John L. Nau III
John L. Nau III and Dr. Lori Taylor
Drayton McLane with John L. Nau III
The Bush School Ambassadors
John L. Nau, III is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P., the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products. Silver Eagle employs over 1,500 employees that serve 16 counties in Texas through operations in Houston, San Antonio, Conroe, Cypress, Pasadena, Rosenberg, Carrizo Springs and Del Rio. Silver Eagle also distributes Grupo Modelo beers, a broad selection of microbrews and craft beers, and several non-alcohol beverages and waters.
Nau’s commitment to service is apparent through a broad spectrum of participation in civic, community, and philanthropic organizations in Houston and throughout the country. His current involvement includes Chairman of the Texas Historical Commission, National Park Foundation Board of Directors, Civil War Trust Board of Directors, The Texas State Historical Association Board of Directors, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation Board of Directors, Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Board of Trustees, University of Houston Board of Visitors, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Board of Directors, Texas Foundation for Conservation Trustee, Honorary Trustee of Texas Heart Institute, Honorary Trustee of Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Honorary State Trustee for the San Antonio Parks Foundation and Advisory Council member to the Center for Big Bend Studies. He also serves as a Board Member for Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park, Houston Police Foundation and The Admiral Nimitz Foundation. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Steering Committee for the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area.
His lifelong interest and study of American history provided him with the knowledge and background to serve as chairman of the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 2001 – 2010, a position appointed by the President of the United States.
He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and from 2011 through 2015 served on the Board of Visitors, a position appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is founder and President of The Nau Foundation.
Nau resides in Houston, Texas. His family includes two daughters, Elizabeth Nau Stepanian and husband Andy, Victoria Nau Johnson and husband Parker; and five grandchildren, Katharine, Reese and Driggs Stepanian, and Liston and Case Johnson.