Chamber Chair delivers commencement address at UPIKE; receives honorary doctorate

JamesKentucky Chamber Chairman Wil James, Jr., president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky (TMMK) provided the commencement address to the University of Pikeville’s Class of 2015 recently. During the ceremony, James was also presented with a doctorate of humane letters from the university in recognition of his contributions to Kentucky’s corporate world and civic sector.

James offered the graduates three tips for success in their careers:

  • Always do what you commit to do, but strive to over-deliver.
  • Respect the knowledge of others but always go and see for yourself.
  • Never make a withdrawal until you’ve made a sufficient deposit.

The Norfolk, Va. native framed the tips with his own life experiences, saying his father taught him to always go the extra mile.

“Going the extra mile is the difference between getting by and getting noticed,” said James. “This lesson has served me well.”

James also emphasized the importance of using all tools at your disposal when trying to achieve any task.

“The classroom experience will teach you how to think, but you have to know who to talk to.”

The Chamber leader, who has a strong interest in workforce development, also told the graduates that the last “lesson” – not making a withdrawal until you’ve made a sufficient deposit – is obviously sound financial advice, but it’s also important when managing relationships.

“In professional and personal relationships, you slowly build your accounts with respect, trust and teamwork.”

Video of James’ speech is below. His portion begins at 1:05.

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