The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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John L. Nau III receives McLane Leadership in Business Award

Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

John L. Nad III, chairman and CEO of the nation’s largest Anheuser-Busch distributor, laughs as he tells the audience that that he is successful without ever taking a business class.

John L. Nau has incorporated the lessons he’s learned through his study of history into his career as a businessman, and has now been recognized for his achievements by Texas A&M.
After graduating with a degree in History from the University of Virginia, businessman John L. Nau worked his way up, and now serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products.
Last night, the Bush School’s Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy presented the McLane Leadership in Business Award to Nau in recognition of his achievements in the business world, such as his work on the Board of Directors for the Texas Historical Commission, the National Parks Foundation and Texas State Historical Association.
The award, named after businessman Drayton McLane Jr., was created to recognize outstanding contributions in areas such as business, community service or public service at the national level, according to Mark Welsh, dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
“The Bush School was built on a great set of values,” Welsh said. “And those are really what this award is all about.”
Nau was selected to receive this award based on his career achievements and interests in the study of history, according to Lori Taylor, director of the Mosbacher Institute.
“Nau’s commitment to service is apparent through a broad spectrum of participation in civic, community and philanthropic organizations,” Taylor said. “His lifelong interest and study of American history provided him with the knowledge and background to serve as chairman of the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.”
McLane, the namesake of the award, has served in a multitude of leadership positions throughout his career, including his position as the owner of the Houston Astros. McLane discussed his appreciation for Nau as he presented the award to him at the end of the lecture.
“I’ve learned such a great deal from our friendship and our teamwork,” McLane said. “Thank you for being a great friend because we’ve benefitted so much from our friendship.”
As a young businessman, Nau was dismissed from the Coca-Cola company and entered the beer distribution business. He later purchased Southwest Distribution in Houston, renaming it Silver Eagle and eventually growing it into the largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the nation.
“I left Coke with no job, no plan and no future,” Nau said. “The President of Anheuser-Busch heard I lost my job and said ‘how would you like to work in the beer business.’ Sometimes a closed door opens a door to greater opportunity.”
Nau said his passion for history has played a key role in both his career and his personal life.
“It’s the knowledge and understanding of those who came before us that gives us a roadmap to our future,” Nau said. “Working in historical preservation is much like running a business. It takes a team effort.”
Nau said the study of history has the potential to benefit all people, and that understanding history creates a stronger foundation for future progress.
“History is the greatest teacher of all, if only we are willing to listen to the lessons of it,” Nau said. “It can be useful and has to be preserved for generations and generations to come.”

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