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Vision and entrepreneurship are America’s formula for success

Armstrong Williams | 8/15/2013, 10:17 a.m. | Updated on 8/15/2013, 10:17 a.m.
Earlier this month, America commemorated its 237th birthday. Independence Day is a time when we not only mark the passage ...
Armstrong Williams

Earlier this month, America commemorated its 237th birthday. Independence Day is a time when we not only mark the passage of another year as a nation, but also celebrate the many aspects that make this country great. There are far too many reasons to ever list, but among them are the virtues of creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit and a vision that gives us the ability to push the envelope and continuously redefine what is possible.

We don’t always notice it when it occurs, but it actually happens every day in the business world in this country. One such example took place this weekend in New York, where the Oneida Indian Nation unveiled a stunning, first-of-its kind $25 million multi-venue entertainment complex called “Exit 33” at its Turning Stone Resort Casino. Had this new attraction opened around New York City, it would have hardly caused a stir, but this project was pursued in a sleepy part of the state hardly known for dining and entertainment.

Remarkably, it was undertaken by the same group of Native Americans who fought alongside George Washington and his men during the Revolutionary War. Today, they are helping transform this country’s landscape while delivering entertainment and creating hundreds of jobs in the process.

Over the past 20 years, the Oneidas have transformed thousands of acres in Verona, N.Y., into a resort destination complete with world-class golf, luxurious spas, a casino, shopping and auditoriums and event halls that attract major sporting events and some of the country’s most famous entertainers. An unlikely story? Yes, but hardly unprecedented.

Imagine what the reaction must have been when the idea was first floated to convert the bone-dry and scorching hot desert of Nevada into the cultural and commercial center that we today know as Las Vegas. Yet decades later, people from all across the world flock there, just as they are drawn to other American cities. People living in Central New York, elsewhere in the Northeast and far beyond now have at their fingertips a range of interesting options that years ago would have seemed unimaginable.

Those who I most admire in business are not those always asking “Why?” but those who dare to ask “Why not?” Our history is filled with examples of men and women who have questioned the status quo and chased unlikely and lofty goals. The American tradition of taking risks and shooting for the stars helped make us the first in flight, then literally took us to the moon.

Americans have built the most recognizable and beloved global brands, accelerated technology at unthinkable speeds and constantly set the bar higher for ourselves and the rest of the world. As our nation continues to recover from the worst recession in a generation, our lives are awash with stories of doomsday and dread. Our college students are returning home to live with their parents, unable to put their degrees to use. Too many people are out of work, unable to make ends meet. Many companies are paralyzed by fear of the unknown, waiting cautiously to see how things shake out.