Bob Willis: “Robust Optimism” About World Oil Crisis

Bob Willis Discusses World Oil Crisis
For more than three decades, Bob Willis–founding principal, managing director, and chief investment officer of Willis Investment Counsel in Gainesville, Georgia–has honed his expertise in macroeconomics. In other words, he has been a dedicated student of economic problems and advancements in numerous countries, not just in his native United States.

So Bob emerged as the ideal guest for my weekly radio interview program– “The Communication Corner,” hosted by WBCX-FM, “The Voice of Brenau University”–when I needed someone to help our listeners understand the current international oil crisis.

We opened our discussion with a nostalgic review of former eras when gas prices remained moderate, with little fluctuation. Next, we talked about times of scarcity–such as the Second World War and the early 1970s. More recently, the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico reminded us we cannot take oil and gas stability for granted. Naturally, our opening comments then focused on the Middle East crisis, with Libya front and center on the news stage.

Among the major topics we explored during our 60-minute interview:
–OPEC’s role in the world oil situation
–SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve). . .a resource intended for extreme emergencies only
–Impact of speculators on oil prices
–How an average national gas price of $3.51 per gallon affects consumer spending
–Surprisingly large role of Canada as an import source of oil for the U.S.
–Surprisingly small percentage of oil the U.S. imports from Libya
–What’s behind the oil price jump from $35 to $107 per barrel?

Near the conclusion of the interview, Bob Willis stated that he and his investment team share “robust optimism” about the economic climate. As he observed more than once, “The United States has proved its resilience throughout its history, and will do that again now.”

Just click the arrow below in the Podcast section of this blog page, located just above the Audio MP3 lettering.

You’ll find valuable information about Willis Investment Counsel on the firm’s Web site, including Bob’s contact information. Here’s the link:

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No Passport Needed to Get to This Client

Enjoying Lunch with Client CEO Bob Pennington
Enjoying Lunch with Client CEO Bob Pennington

Ever since I started my company, Championship Communication, in 1997, I have welcomed opportunities to speak, direct seminars, and serve as a Speech Coach in many distant, fascinating places. Among them:

–Whistler, BC, Canada: gave the keynote speech and directed a seminar for the British Columbia Legal Management Association

–Cancun, Mexico: Provided a 90 minute motivational program for the Ritz-Carlton Cancun’s management staff

–Bermuda: served as Enrichment Lecturer for Celebrity Cruises

–Boston, MA: On several occasions, helped two top-ranking Gillette executives improve their speaking skills

–Colorado Springs, CO: Directed an all day Customer Care seminar for CenturyTel, the eighth largest telecommunications company in the U.S.

Certainly I enjoyed these client engagements, among many others in diverse locales. Yet a couple of weeks ago, I welcomed the privilege of working with a hometown client, based in Gainesville, GA, less than five miles from my office.

The logistical advantages are obvious: no flight delays because of weather systems, no extra charge for carry on luggage, no TIA inspections, and no blaring TV from an adjacent hotel room.

However, my local client—Willis Investment Counsel—provided advantages that went well beyond the benefit of its proximity:

–Clearly Defined Goal
The investment firm’s Annual Meeting was approaching. One hundred clients and prospects would attend a reception hosted by the firm, and remain for a session describing the economy and the firm’s services. The goal: To maximize the opportunity with this top-tier audience, by giving superlative presentations.

–Coaching Clients Committed to Learning
Bob Willis and Jay Kilroy prepared thoroughly for their learning/practice sessions with me. They responded maturely and creatively to my recommendations, and to what they saw in our video replays. Nothing pleases me more than leaders who are eager to keep on learning.

–A Follow Up Plan
From my observation, many corporations miss the mark when they sponsor training, coaching, and presentations as “one-shot” events. Fortunately, Willis Investment Counsel had agreed on a well-structured plan for meeting with clients and prospects individually soon after the event.

As you can imagine, this level of corporate commitment generated highly visible results. Bob and Jay, my Speech Coaching clients, excelled in their ten-minute presentations. They charged the atmosphere with fluency, energy, confidence, and professionalism, along with tasteful, low key humor.

In the photo above, Bob Pennington—the firm’s President and CEO—smiled as he talked with me about the success of the Annual Meeting. He was pleased that Bob and Jay implemented my coaching recommendations, and even enriched them. “We’re beginning to see solid numerical evidence that the program was a winner,” Pennington commented.

Thanks to Bob Pennington for selecting me to work with his talented group. For him and his colleagues, I’d even be glad to arrive at an airport two hours early, eat cold sandwiches, and sit by a passenger who is determined to share his or her life story. . .with or without my encouragement.

For more about my Speech Coaching service—available wherever you live and work—please visit this page on my Web site:

We welcome your comments. Just go to the end of the blog entry in the section below and click NO COMMENTS if none have been made, or if comments have been made click 1 comment, 2 comments, or whatever the comments button says. The comments section will appear.