I have long been an admirer of the late Dee Kelly, founding partner in the law firm of Kelly Hart & Hallman who passed away in October. I respected Mr. Kelly not only for his business success, but for his love and commitment to the City of Fort Worth. Mr. Kelly was one of Fort Worth’s and Texas’ best-known attorneys and a political power broker who took his civic responsibility seriously. He made it one of his life missions to promote the city where he lived and worked, which was inspirational for me.
In 1999, not long after my partner and I launched Fort Worth, Texas magazine, I received a handwritten note from Mr. Kelly complimenting the magazine and wishing me luck. I kept that note and in June of this year, 16 years later, mailed it back to him along with an invitation to our FW Inc. launch party. Mr. Kelly did not have to attend our unveiling, but he did. He was a man who understood the importance of working hard, of doing, even when it was not convenient. He understood the adage that, “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” and at the age of 86, Mr. Kelly showed up every day. It’s something he passed on to others verbally and by example.
One of Kelly’s early lessons about working hard came in the late 1940s during an interview with legendary U.S. Rep. and House Speaker Sam Rayburn, when Kelly was a columnist for Bonham High School’s student newspaper. Rayburn told Kelly that people were not too dissimilar in talent, but what really divides successful men and women from those who are not successful is hard work. Working hard was one of the secrets to his success.
Dee Kelly was not born and raised here in Fort Worth, but once he got here, he became one of the city’s biggest supporters and lived his life paying it forward and celebrating Fort Worth. He left a legacy that his family, his firm and all who love Fort Worth should attempt to emulate.
Someone else who is pretty well-known in Texas and throughout the country is the subject of this issue’s cover story. Like Kelly, Pat Green was not born or raised here in Fort Worth, but 10 years ago chose to move here and raise his family. When I had the idea to feature Pat in this issue, my thought was to focus on the business side of his music career.
We spent a half day with Pat at The Rustic Kitchen and Bar in Dallas, where he is a minority owner. What we found out is that he is not only a gifted musician, but a pretty savvy entrepreneur who has been involved in various investments over the years. One of his recent entrepreneurial investments was with a small group who built a $10 million real estate fund, leveraged it to over $30 million in assets and then sold it.
In our interview he also talks about a lesson learned in oil and gas, where he lost his investment. “Business at the highest level is not a respecter of friendship or anything else,” Green said. “Nor should it be. It’s just business.”
The mission of FW Inc. is to deliver inspirational, educational and entertaining coverage through shared experiences, lessons learned and best practices to help busy executives run their companies better and have fun doing it. In this, our second issue, I think we have all of these items covered. Enjoy.
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