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Rod Burwell: Xerxes Group

Rod Burwell graduated from high school in Grafton, N.D., which is 40 miles from Grand Forks, where he went to college at the University of North Dakota.

He had an aptitude for sales and wanted to be a sales engineer. So he earned a degree in industrial engineering and a second degree in business administration, while starting and managing a janitorial service.

After a stint in the Army, where he tried and failed to incorporate efficient business practices, Burwell moved to Minneapolis and soon started a company, called Proform Inc., to manufacture his own patented product, which was a patented river-barge cover.

He then started Xerxes Corporation to build underground gasoline tanks and other fiberglass equipment. When Burwell sold Xerxes, he used the Burwell Enterprises umbrella for his other companies. Over the years, Burwell has built a business empire with over $400 million in annual sales.

This is how he did it.

This introduction is excerpted from Bootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch by Dr. Dileep Rao. Copying or reproduction in any format or medium without the prior express, written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

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