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Released November 18, 2003

By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG - Businessman Andrew Waites always wanted to be successful, but he thought he'd make it happen in Jacksonville, Fla., not necessarily Hattiesburg, Miss.

Waites, founder and president of, told an audience at The University of Southern Mississippi Tuesday that he was in discussion about his new job's stock option benefits with a big company in Florida when he first heard about Hudson's Salvage. Waites thought he'd drop by to hear the owner speak a few nights later. He did. And he listened. And he never did make it to Jacksonville to talk about those stock options.

"I wanted to know more about a man with a buzzard on his business card," Waites said with a laugh and a shrug. "I found out a lot."

So much so, that Waites later became a vice president with Hudson Salvage, where he took the lessons he learned at Hudson's and turned them into successful business ventures for himself. Waites now serves as founder and president of, an Internet auction site that sells designer clothing directly to customers through eBay. He also founded Inventory Procurement Services, a brokerage company specializing in excess, obsolete and customer-returned merchandise from manufacturers and retailers.

Waites said he does a lot of business with Hudson's and he learned about more than how to run a business to make money. "You learn how to treat people. And you learn about integrity," he said.

Waites stressed that attitude is more important than skills, noting that that's what will make one applicant get the job over another. "I know that my life has really been a testimony of the grace of God," Waites said. "He's been gracious to me. But I've also learned that to be successful, one has to know how to make more, have more, and keep more."

Waites said that most people want to make a difference; no one strives for mediocrity. "You are going to have to differentiate yourself from others, meaning work a little harder to be more positive in your attitude - about yourself, your life and your job," he said.

"Crisis of attitude is not a skill," Waites continued. "And you have to develop nontraditional approaches for solving problems. You have to have the principal of leverage - a little input, for a big output. I challenge you to think about leverage."

But life is not all business, said Waites, who holds a master of business administration from Regent University. "The way to keep more of what you have, is that you have to let go of the ego," he said with a nod. "I let mine get so big I couldn't get through the door. And I had people depending on me - 87 percent of my employees are single mothers who have to pay the rent no matter what.

"It says in the Bible to 'do justly, walk humbly and have mercy. With the value of leverage, you have to know the value of taking care of your people - treating people right."

Waites said that the two greatest days in a person's life is the day that person is created and the day that person figures out why they were created. "I love to go to work," he said. "It's wonderful that I know why I'm here on this Earth. But that's not all …"

Then, in a surprising twist for a business lecture, Waites read the lyrics to a successful country song to explain to students what should matter most in the world.

"'I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,'" Waites read to the quiet audience. Outside, torrential rains from tornado weather fell in the streets. "'Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens; Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance' … people, life's supposed to be fun. I hope you dance."

Since its founding in 2002, eValueville has become one of the eBay's top auction sites, garnering the Community Award in 2002 as the largest volume seller on eBay by closing more than 300,000 auctions. Among the awards Waites and his company have earned is the 2003 United States Postal Service Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Innovation in the mailing industry.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM