What We've Been Up To

Longtime local business leader Ed Weisiger shares career insight with Queens University students

By Elise Franco  |  Staff Writer  Charlotte Business Journal

Ed Weisiger Queens

Ed Weisiger Jr. is a man whose name and reputation carry deep ties to Charlotte and its business community.

Weisiger is well-known as the third-generation head of Weisiger Group, formerly Carolina Tractor & Equipment, and co-founder of local real estate firm Beacon Partners. This week, he spoke to students at the McColl School of Business at Queens University about the early days of his career as he worked to become a business leader in the community.

He earned an engineering degree from N.C. State then began his professional career in 1982 as an intern for Trammell Crow Co. That, Weisiger said, is where he got his first taste of the commercial real estate industry and met future business partner Pete Lash. In 1987, he decided to join his father in the family business.

Weisiger said that for a while his focus was split as he stayed involved in real estate, eventually founding Beacon Partners in 1989. He credits Lash for the immense growth Beacon experienced early on to become the well-known local firm it is today.

"I invited Pete to essentially head Beacon and become a 50/50 partner, and what I came to find out about Pete was, not only does he know the business but he’s got such great values," he said. "He attracted a ton of people to grow Beacon out. All I did was provide capital, help network and help set strategy."

Weisiger is also the founding partner of private investment firm WSC & Co., which launched in 2012.

William Sparks, chair of the business school’s leadership program, moderated Tuesday night's discussion. He described Weisiger as an incredible business leader with a diverse portfolio and an amazing story to tell. "We talk a lot in our leadership classes about servant leadership, humility and caring for others, and that it's about the team not the individual," he said. "You see all of that come to life in the discussion (with Weisiger)."

Throughout his life and career, Weisiger has tried to remain humble, crediting much of who he is to a handful of people around him — his father, who he said set an example and helped to build his moral foundation; his wife, who asks the best questions; his professional partners who hold one another in high esteem; and a high school teacher who gave him advice that, at just 17 years old, was difficult to swallow.

"My mentor in high school said to me, 'You have some capabilities, but if you don't get better in certain areas, you're not going to be capable of any thing at all," he said. "Those words, harsh at the time, allowed me to take some introspection and change how I did things."

Weisiger told the audience of predominately Queens students that he has always been willing to accept feedback from others, and they should be too. It is something that helped him grow into a his leadership roles, and even now, he said having people around who challenge him is invaluable.

"I know certain things about my leadership style ... I’m a pusher because I want us to be excellent, and sometimes that can come across in some different ways," he said. "I’ve tried to get better about being more empathic about how some messaging might come across. At the end of the day, leadership is really a gift. Not everybody should be a leader. Much of the time, you have to fundamentally stand back because it’s about lifting other people up."

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