Growing up on a tobacco farm in rural Virginia, there is no one that Jim Hyler idolized more than his dad.
The former United States Golf Association president was on campus Friday to speak to a Personal Finance class taught by Scott Pritchard P’19. As it turns out, Hyler’s visit to Christ School was timely as this is Father-Son Weekend.
“My dad was the biggest mentor I ever had,” Hyler told the Greenies.
“He had the most influence of anyone, instilling a strong work ethic in me and teaching me to do things the right way. I’ve been blessed to have a great professional career. I’m one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth. When I think back to being 17-18 years old, if I knew then what I know now, I’d boil it down to this. There is no substitute for education. It is the most important tool you can use to change the world or your life. I wish I had worked harder (as a student) and studied more. I know school is a time to enjoy your friends, share fellowship, and take part in athletics. But it is also a time to learn. The more you learn, the more you apply yourself, the better chance you’ll have to succeed in life. Try to learn from successful people and what makes them successful. But most of all, always try to learn all there is learn.”
Hyler was a two-term USGA president from 2010 to 2012 and is considered one of North Carolina’s most influential businessmen from his generation. Hyler is presently on Duke Energy’s Board of Directors and handled the roles of Chief Operating Officer, Vice Chairman, and Chief Financial Officer during a 28-year career with First Citizens Bank. Hyler got his start professionally as an audit manager for Ernst & Young from 1970 to 1980.
Hyler told the Greenies that his graduating class in high school only contained about 30 students. He was the only one to attend college. Hyler graduated from Virginia Tech in 1970 with a degree in Accounting and learned early in his professional career to never be afraid to lean on others.
“When you ask for help, that is one of the most powerful things you can ask,” Hyler said. “Don’t be afraid. If you do it in a non-threatening way, people will bend over backwards for you. There are no stupid questions. When you ask for help, people are very inclined to help.”
Hyler resides in Asheville and is Mr. Pritchard’s personal friend. Friday was his first-ever visit to Christ School which Hyler described as “a wonderful school with a great campus.”