Wayne Huizenga is an American entrepreneur and businessman who founded three Fortune 500 companies and established six companies listed in the New York Stock Exchange. He is also the owner of the three top level professional sports franchises.
Huizenga was born on 29th December 1937 in Chicago, Illinois. He moved to Florida in his teenage. After his parents got divorced he helped in the expenses by driving a truck and working at a gas station. He entered the Army for a brief period of time. He dropped out of school to work with a friend at his garbage collection company. In two years he started his own company by the name of ‘Waste Management Inc.’ (WMI). Huizenga was extremely hard working; his day would start at 2 am and would go on till night knocking on doors marketing his new founded business. Soon his business expanded to include 40 trucks. Huizenga decided to merge with another company in Chicago. The company went public which allowed him to buy more than 150 regional and local garbage services. This made Huizenga’s business the biggest waste disposal company in the United States.
Wayne Huizenga gained similar success in 1987 with ‘Blockbuster Video’. He opened some movie rental stores which soon became the largest movie renting chain of the country by 1994. He also made and acquired auto dealerships which he brought under one name of ‘Auto Nation’. This company also became America’s biggest automotive dealer as well as a Fortune 500 company. It currently has 370 dealerships under its name. His next business venture was ‘Extended Stay America’ which expanded to 62 locations and 500 hotels by the time he sold it in 2004. The reason for Huizenga’s success in all his business endeavors is that he focuses on service industries that have regular income. Most of his businesses are based on customer service even ‘Auto Nation’ which does not have a large manufacturing plant. His companies have a really high standard of professional service. Huizenga is the owner of 5% of the Miami Dolphins and 5% of Sun Life Stadium. His philanthropic efforts include his large donation to the Nova Southeastern University and the Pine Crest School.
Regardless of immense success he also has some skeletons in his closet. In 1994 Miami Times wrote about an assault case in which Huizenga made problems for a sales prospect who did not agree to do business with him. There have also been allegations about climbing up the ladder of success on the expense of others, physical cruelty with his wife, illegal political aids, indifference to environmental laws and organized crime.
Wayne Huizenga has however been a successful businessman and no one deny that. He has been recognized for achievements on several occasions. He received the Horatio Alger Award in 1992 for overcoming adversity to gain success. He was the ‘Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004 and the World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005. He is still growing strong and it seems like there are no chances of him slowing down any time soon.