Sarvadi shared with Mays undergraduate and graduate students some of the lessons he’s picked up in his career, including how he overcame two failed business ventures before co-founding Administaff in 1986. Mays’ Center for New Ventures & Entrepreneurship presented Administaff Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Sarvadi the 2004 Conn Family New Venture Leader Award.

“What it really takes to be successful is to have faith to see it through,” he told Mays students upon receiving the award. “You have to believe that what you offer is a service to someone else.”

Under Sarvadi’s leadership, Administaff, which provides human resource solutions for small businesses, has grown into a nationwide company that he took public. Sarvadi has served as president of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations and was named the National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the service category in 2001. In 1995, he was selected Houston’s Entrepreneur of the Year for service industries.