SBJ/March 21-27, 2016/Champions

‘He obviously made a lot of friends’

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Probe Jerry Richardson for the secrets to his success enough times and he eventually flashes back to the observation of a banker who long ago told him, “Jerry, you’re fortunate that people want to help you.”

Those who have known him longest point out that this has happened for a reason, that he not only has a knack with people, but that his work ethic is tireless and his determination unparalleled, a rare trifecta.

“He had this incredible determination, but you’ve got to have something beside determination,” said John Shaw, a retired Fayetteville, N.C., attorney who went to grade school with Richardson and is among a core of childhood friends who join him for at least one Panthers game each year. “You’ve got to have some ability. You’ve got to have some tact. You’ve got to have some other assets that help you get along with determination. If you’re too determined and don’t have anything else, you can make a lot of enemies. But he obviously made a lot of friends.”

“You may not always agree with him, but you know he generally has an opinion,” said John Raper, a Fayetteville attorney who is Mark Richardson’s godfather. “I don’t know that he starts out knowing what he wants to do. But once he sees it, and then digs his teeth in it, he’s probably not letting go.”

— Bill King

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