By William Eigenbrodt ’20, Business Honors

Of the many lessons Zach Lee ’00 imparted to Business Honors students during his Mays Leadership Forum, foremost was the importance of being a lifelong learner. In the constantly changing landscape of energy markets, Lee shared he still learns new things every day. It keeps his work fresh and challenging.

The finance graduate from Mays shared his experiences of constantly inviting people to coffee or lunch to show the importance of persistence and curiosity. He also mentioned the following habits that set him up for success.

  • Collect mentors and learn from them. Find people to invest in your success because they exist.
  • Nothing is just a number. Oftentimes the story behind a situation is just as, if not more important.
  • Stay five years in front. Do things today that will get you to where you want to be in five years.

In regards to his position as CEO of ARM Energy, Lee focused on a few key points.

  • Transparency is incredibly important, do not be afraid to admit you don’t know something. See it as a learning opportunity.
  • Focus on the customers: everybody should win from the business doing well.
  • A family-oriented and entrepreneurial culture is paramount to a successful business.
  • Every employee of his owns equity in the business, and they think like owners.
  • Hire really great talent and let them loose.

Students were impressed by the success Lee has had and his willingness to come to speak with them and answer questions. He inspired them to invest further in themselves and do things today that will get them to where they want to be in five years.

“Mr. Lee had a number of interesting insights on many topics to share,” said business honors major Virginia Krog ’22. “He shared that exports are the new normal. Lee also believes in win-win negotiations and admits that part of why he chose to co-found ARM was because he was ‘not really a very good employee.’”

PPA major Frazer Mulugeta ’19 said he appreciated the advice from Lee because it was relevant to his career aspirations. “Mr. Lee spoke on his experience since graduation in the energy sector,” said Mulugeta. “The advice he gave is directly applicable to my own career trajectory. Being proactive and intellectually curious will benefit me for years to come.”

PPA major Michael Walther ’19 also enjoyed hearing about Lee’s experiences at Mays and his career in energy. “As a future business owner, I will take his advice over failure and how to overcome it for success,” said Walther. “This concept is crucial in entrepreneurship as there are many setbacks on the road to the success of a business.”