From High School Dropout to Billion-Dollar Biz

John Campion, chairman of APR, redefines the meaning of success.
6:43 | 11/17/14

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Transcript for From High School Dropout to Billion-Dollar Biz
School might be a top priority to most people however some of the most famous household names from Mark Zuckerberg to Steve Jobs to Dean Kamen. Dropped out before graduating and there are countless stories of students. Who graduated and still cannot find a job which proves getting a degree is not your golden ticket to becoming a success. Take it from John Campion a high school dropout whose teachers told him he would never amount to anything after failing out of grade school twice we'll now he is the co-founder of a billion dollar company that provides temporary power in areas recovering from disasters. And I want to welcome to real does John Campion he's the executive chairman of APR it's so nice to have you with us. So what would you say it eldest teachers now that you're running a billion dollar company. Wealth. Well actually thank you thank you thank you because it got me motivated. And spent quite a lot of my life proving them wrong. Which I think a lot of people who have had been told no at one time in their lives they can go one of two directions that are actually new went. For the direction of they listen to them and then they ultimately prove that right correct what do you think it wasn't sighted view that that charge you forward. And look it it's its it. It's a need succeed and today and wanting to achieve something. And I think. I came from Ireland so I grew up in Ireland and island school in Ireland and I came to America when I was 21. And the great thing about America for me wise it was a black's life nobody knew I didn't got to finish high school nobody knew I. But held back twice in grade school knew nobody knew anything about me so as have to reinvent myself a few well and this is a great country for doing that. Or people particularly works long as you can do what you say you would do do what you say you do in this is a country of massive success. What the smartest things you did athletes do what you sailed it was a big piece of advice what we're some of the other early things that. Put you in this direction. I think being attacked being. Confident without being happy and what's important. And I think you should insert them under the circumstances stepping up and say I'll try that I'll do that so risk taking I think would be important as well. You have a victory interesting story multiple acts in your career. This is that what you're doing now helping to build power plants in places of the world where most people don't even want to visit. Is very different from what you've started doing what you moved here from Ireland. That's correct tell us about what I first came here I was a a rodeo with rock Google Maps and so like toured with Michael Jackson and Rolling Stones. You two kiss and Motley Crue AC DC site tours to allow these acts around the world and North America. And did you segue from fat to what you're doing now well as we're turn around the world and specifically in North America you're going to weigh in an arena even when the Madison Square Garden. I'm wasn't enough power for all the lighting. So I said this is obviously a good. The good business opportunity. Becomes the barriers to entry were relatively doll. And the customer expectation was again relatively well because typically somebody would shop in the midwest with a generator may do work maybe it wouldn't work. So we pileup technology to that and that technology certainly. Give us very large market share we then select business to General Electric Co. And I went to work for all system formed businessmen and called Allston power improve. Subsequently went Lawrence Anderson Michael found a ball that business in 2004. Which became a PR energy. Tell the public on the English stock exchange in 2011. And had. Some was very fortunate to have some very very good partners. Soros was a and mission investor. Has laws. Albright capital management which is chaired by secretary Albright who is still a very very key investor in our business. What is a PR energy doing right now. We're doing business and Angola. We're doing business in your way we're doing business in Libya out we're doing business in Yemen were doing business in Senegal. We're doing business in Botswana we're doing business in Argentina who do business in Guatemala saw a lot of emerging market. Economies. And a lot of places where not all of them but but definitely a handful of them where the US has a travel ban that sense to do it don't go there. It lets you have to dunk either correct so what do you do when you go into these places. This book first and foremost we we take care of our personnel. That's first and foremost their safety the safety of of the personnel and anybody working with us that's that's key second obviously is protecting shareholder value. And we do that by getting payment assurance. On letters of credit are. Our insurance on the equipment. And you're setting up your literally going into countries that. Don't really have a power greed and your setting it up in them in a matter of a week in some cases what very racial markers at times thirty to sixty dad is typically. How do you do that what it's all marching arts effectively handle you take you're really background great you've got all of this modular equipment exactly tenure bringing it to this world I'll work what we're doing we did of the ruling stills which is put up huge stage. And created stage and created a concert environments. In twelve hours and we're doing that would power plants in countries all over the world but very very similar philosophy. So is that the pitch he walking in and say I worked with the ruling stands now Angola. Mr. President or. Emperor or whatever it is Kato bill and please allow me to come in with my equipment here. What gets it fits of it's it's it's understanding the urgency of the situation understanding their needs and understanding that they're under a time crunch. BS day vomit on RP at Christmas are being election cycle for the some motivating factor why don't want it now so we're in the same we can do it. We have been awarded numerous patents for technology for rapidly deploying this equipment and packaging itself but I've been extremely. What did some very very very. As skilled people I've had some great investors. Have a thousand employees around the world. Who have done nothing but you know build the business and build a brand and I'm I'm extremely grateful and lucky for what I have I came to market with 25 dollars. At 26 today to hit it but it's it's it's it's great story and went on education but the willingness to work and that the need to work. I think you can be successful. It's a fascinating story from the guy who was told he would amount to anything by his. Grade school teachers John camp in if you are energy it's so nice to see you and to have you here are real adds thank you very much a pleasure I think it'll be an inspiration for a lot of people thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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