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Five tips from a successful businessman: Pete Augustine

Part-time Sea Pines resident Pete Augustine shares good business advice.

Story by Eddy Hoyle

Pete Augustine and his wife, Kim, have been visiting Hilton Head for 20 years; six years ago, they purchased a home in Sea Pines. They have three adult children and now plan to spend more time in the Lowcountry where they enjoy the opportunity to stay active. They love the “dog friendliness” of Hilton Head and walking the beach, playing golf and biking.

Pete Augustine spent most of his career, 25 years, working for New Era Cap Company, a family owned business established in 1920. Augustine started there in 1990, becoming its first controller. During his tenure, he rose to both chief financial officer and chief operating officer. In 2002, he had the distinction of being the first non-family member to serve as president of the company. Augustine oversaw two phases of growth at New Era. First was the “fan” based business, negotiating lucrative licensing deals with the four major sports leagues. The second phase was fueled by the company selling fashion-based headwear in non-traditional colors to fans and fashionistas looking for new ways to express themselves. Early in his career he built an organization to handle the incredible growth the company experienced. During his 12 years as president he focused on driving brand recognition, ventures into new products beyond headwear, as well as aggressively chasing international market opportunities. New Era Cap continues to maintain exclusive rights for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, with more than 500 licenses in its portfolio and 13 offices around the world. He takes great pride in being part of a company that is considered the best headwear company in the world. Augustine hails from Buffalo, New York, where he does consulting for companies in the startup community. He has been a mentor and judge at 43North, an international business competition that awards capital to new businesses that move to Buffalo. He is an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at LaunchNY, a fund that provides seed money to new businesses. He also serves on several boards, including Nativity Miguel Middle School of Buffalo, Canisius High School, Double Cross Vodka and Forsake Inc. He was co-chair of the capital campaign for the new Oishei Children’s Hospital, which opened in 2017, as well as past chair of the foundation board. Here are his tips for success.

Keys to Success

1. What’s your passion? “To me, the number one thing for success is passion,” Augustine said. When interviewing people, he always explored their passion outside of work. “What do people get excited about? How will that enthusiasm translate into your company?” Augustine said. “Fall in love with what you do, and that passion will bring you much success.”

2. Embrace change. “Change is scary for many people, but it’s inevitable,” Augustine stated. “The ability to both react to change and embrace it is vital. Change requires a willingness to take risks. To get somewhere is to see new possibilities and to try new things.”

3. Put your time in. “Early in, last out” is one of Augustine’s mantras for success. “Coming in early keeps you ahead of the chaos and allows you to map out your day. Put the time in and stay past the time when everyone leaves. I had some of my most productive hours at day’s end when the phones stopped ringing and the dust settled. That’s when the real work gets done.”

4. Define what balance means. Augustine said it’s important to enjoy life while “making it” in business. “Balance is more important than ever in today’s hectic world. Take time to reflect on what feels right between work, family, friends and activities. Make an honest plan to prioritize what’s important and stick to it.”

5. Believe! “Give back and try to make a difference in the world. Believe that most problems can be solved,” Augustine advised. “Lend your talents beyond your work. Give of your time, talent and treasure. Now, more than ever, we can’t stay silent if we want it to be a better world.” LL