“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

When I was 10, my dad and I bought a run-down 1965 Volkswagen Beetle with the hopes of restoring the forgotten antique. Every Saturday, we’d work for hours on the engine and body while we listened to Van Morrison and my dad smoked cigars. We tore through moldy seating, rewired electrical connections, and replaced the transmission. Over a year later, we felt a rush of adrenaline as the engine finally turned over and we drove down the street. I reveled in the satisfaction of revitalizing something that was left for dead.

Just like we did with that Beetle, I want to turn around dying companies.

I want to do the hard work of empowering managers and making the strategic choices to get the company back on track. I want to identify untapped business potential and work tirelessly to bring out the best in others. While my peers dream of building their idea from scratch, investing in a portfolio, or leading a successful exit, I dream of struggling through the tough times of a company’s life.

Ultimately, I will be the spark that restarts the engine.

— Jamie Wilkie