He realized there was more to life than Rolls Royces and yachts.
George Esseff, Sr. was a Chemist/Metallurgist for the U.S. Corps of Engineers when he discovered a market for Titanium. A number of patents later and a career change from Chemist to CEO led him to become one of the worlds' leading Titanium entrepreneurs. His patented processes reached global markets.
He became one of the most successful entrepreneurs. We all know how far and wide titanium has made its reach - from inside our teeth and bones to aircraft and jewelry all around the world.
However, it's not his worldwide reach of titanium that left the greatest impression. It's his ability to see beyond the surface and expand meaning into life. His deep Catholic faith and huge humanitarian heart has led to feed the poor, help the homeless, build shelters, and equip underserved hospitals and clinics in the developing world.
Some of his words will be with me forever.
I will never forget the story of him telling me that there was a time in his life where he was chasing his Rolls Royces to his yachts and back again ...but there was more.
"It's harder for a rich man to get to Heaven than it is for a camel to get through the eye of a needle," he quoted from the Bible. That was an awakening for him (according to him).
He is one of the greatest humanitarians and philanthropists. He has led by example to care for others at home and around the world.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett launched the Billionaire's Giving Pledge several years ago, where they gather the world's billionaires who are willing to donate half of their wealth, and write/sign a Giving Pledge that is personal to them.
Mr. Esseff would be on this list I am certain ... except that he already has given his money away. He has long been supporting humanitarian causes. He is a living example of what Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are trying to facilitate.
MORE THAN GIVING
His guidance was always clear and his accuracy endless.
I can't imagine anyone else who I would have rather had sitting next to us when we negotiating an arrangement at Dole International Headquarters in Costa Rica. We were in San Jose, Costa Rica for a conference sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command which brought together nations to improve the ability to collectively work together in relief and development across the Americas.
He not only voluntarily travelled from California to Costa Rica to attend the Southcom conference with us, but voluntarily walked from our conference location to Dole's Headquarters which a friend had set up for us.
Coincidentally, Dole's international headquarters was right down the road from the conference and a friend had set up a meeting for us while in San Jose pertaining to another project we were working on.
Dole appeared to be close; however, it involved crossing four lane busy highway, climbing over guard rails in middle of what was probably the busiest highway in the country, and up a tall climb of an entry road to the building which was situated at the top of a tall hill - or small mountain.
CLIMBING BIG HILLS AND CONQUERING EVEN BIGGER BOARD ROOMS
Note that both of these gentleman - George and retired Admiral Jeremiah Denton were well into their 70s at the time, both had heart complications and other health issues they had overcome (heart conditions, strokes, cancer).
They still agreed to - and willingly wanted to - walk.
They didn't miss a step when we walked in and sat down at what was probably the largest conference table I'd ever seen. It seemed even more enormous when it was only the three of us sitting across from one of the Executives.
George had done this many times at tables around the world with his global business, Admiral Denton had done this with past Presidents and world leaders. We didn't have to use many words to sell the concept we were presenting. The passion of these two individuals spoke louder than any words ever would.
THANKFUL FOR PEOPLE LIKE THIS IN THE WORLD
Thankful for leaders like this who have lived their life dedicated to a higher purpose and serving beyond themselves. They have a lot to teach us.
He travels to Lebanon often, where his family is from and where he continues to do humanitarian work with his brother who is a Priest. Praise to their work and book BROTHERS & FATHERS.
"Their shared story takes us from the poorest places on the planet to the bastions of wealth and power, with these remarkable men touching and changing lives all along the way. Gripping and inspirational, this book is the story of faith made real in the lives of two men who are BROTHERS & FATHERS."
Mr. Esseff has been one of the most kind, and humble individuals I have ever met. #Thankful. And Blessed beyond measure to have shared travels, meetings, guidance, and inspiration from him since 2000.
Forever inspired that he would wake up every morning before dawn - and Pray. He was so committed to his Faith and Prayer that in his other home, he and his wife Rosemary had the Stations of the Cross lining the drive up to his house. A man of Faith. Not in words, but in life.
Washington Post: His essay "What I am" ran October 20, 2004. He sponsored a full page age to express his views as a former Democrat has always felt that he never left the party; rather, the Party left him.