40 Under 40


40 Under 40

Crain's New York Business - March 3, 2008

While working at Sears, Phil Shawe read all the reviews on the appliances he sold, shared his insights with customers and even told them that they could phone him at home with any questions. No wonder he quickly became the top salesman in Sears’ entire Southeast region. The surprise: He was still in high school at the time.

“I developed relationships with people that gave me repeat business and referrals,” says Mr. Shawe.

He’s used the same technique ever since, whether selling houses during summer breaks while he was in college or, in a big 1993 triumph, selling a multinational mining giant on fledgling TransPerfect’s ability to translate reams of documents for a proposed project in Russia. Never mind the fact that the work was done in his graduate-school dorm room.

Only months before, Mr. Shawe and Liz Elting, a classmate at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a former manager at Berlitz, had created TransPerfect to deliver professional-grade translations on strict schedules. Today, the firm boasts revenues of more than $150 million, 700 employees and offices on four continents. And in a recent Shawe coup, TransPerfect landed Gen. Colin Powell as the keynote speaker for its 15th anniversary event.

How does Mr. Shawe do it? It helps that he sleeps little, travels constantly and is driven to succeed.

“He does everything with the same degree of competitiveness,” says Brooke Christian, Mr. Shawe’s University of Florida roommate and senior vice president of TransPerfect. “Phil even plays Trivial Pursuit to win.”

—Erik Ipsen

The article on Phil Shawe and the other "40 Under 40" honorees can be accessed online here: http://mycrains.crainsnewyork.com/40under40/years/2008



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