Bard Capital CEO first guest for Penn State Smeal’s Executive Insights

October 04, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Bard Capital, LLC, founder and chief executive officer Richard H. Bard shared his thoughts Friday on leadership and business with students, staff, and faculty in Struthers Auditorium in the Business Building. It was the first installment of this semester’s Executive Insights speaker series.

Since graduating from Penn State in 1969 with a degree in civil engineering and earning an MBA in finance from Baruch College in 1971, Bard has embarked on a multi-faceted career.

Early as a professional, he worked as an engineer and then in various capacities at Citibank. After that he began acquiring and operating nascent middle-market companies and real estate. In 1990, he founded Bard Capital, a private investment and operating company, and has since founded, acquired and led a series of companies in a variety of industries.

His current portfolio includes Blastrac Global, a global leader in the manufacturing of resurfacing equipment, and Jet Edge, a leading U.S.-based private jet fleet manager and charter operator.

Bard, who is a founding member and vice chairman of the Smeal Board of Visitors, shared his views in a moderated discussion with Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. Among the topics Bard discussed were:


“One of the things I figured out about myself was, if you told me what to do, I would go do it. If you stayed there, looked over my shoulder and tried to micromanage me, I would fail. It just doesn’t work. My management style reflects that. I treat my people the way I want to be treated. I give people a lot of room to grow and room to fail. It’s OK to fail. And I really reward loyalty.”


“In troubled companies, it’s usually because they’ve been ignored or they forgot who the customer was. The secret sauce that I found is if you really want to understand a business, ask the truck driver, ask the person out in the warehouse, ask the secretary. They actually know what’s going on.”

Career contentment

“When you’re really good at what you do, you’ll be happy. If you put your mind to something and you really work hard at it and you become good at it, you wake up in the morning pretty excited.”


“Along the way you kind of figure out what’s important. I think if you treat people right, you get a response, the loyalty and the value from them.”

Advice to students

“If you bet on yourself, it’s probably the best bet because you can influence the outcome. Bet on yourself. Take on more than you think you can. You don’t have to be 100 percent prepared. Part of getting ahead is actually taking it on.”


“One of my greatest learning experiences was failing at a young age.”

About Smeal’s Executive Insights

Executive Insights is designed to complement the Smeal educational experience by bringing high-profile business leaders to the college to connect with students, faculty, staff and administrators. Past guests include leaders from organizations such as Amazon, Archer Daniels Midland, Barclays, BASF, Boeing, Credit Suisse, Dell, Deloitte, Dick’s Sporting Goods, EY, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Kohl’s, KPMG, Macy’s, National Retail Federation, Nestlé, Oracle, Procter & Gamble, PwC, Samsung, Siemens, Verizon, Tumi Holdings, Inc., and Urban Outfitters.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 24, 2018