Pair to students: Follow your passion

Fort Smith business owner Craig Pair spoke to Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus student Thursday as part of its “Leaders in the Industry” series, sharing insights and giving helpful advice from his experience as an entrepreneur.

Pair, owner of Control Technologies Inc. (CTI), Hi-Tech Products Inc. and CAP Investments LLC, spoke to a filled Student Services Conference Center.

“More than anything, find what it is you’re passionate about, and do it – and enjoy it,” he said. “Honestly, I’m just your average guy, but that’s what I did, and it’s what’s helped me be successful.”

A graduate of Westark Community College (now the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith), where he was awarded an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics, out of college Pair started Craig’s Video Repair, where he fixed arcade-style video games, pinball machines and jukeboxes.

Later he was introduced to the industrial control world and, “seeing a need,” started CTI, which provides customized industrial hardware and software solutions for industrial process controls to wide range of customers – locally, nationally and internationally.

In 2000, CTI was selected as the Small Business of the Year (for companies under 25 employees) by Arkansas Business. In 2005, Pair started Hi-Tech Products to further develop the products division of CTI, and he started CAP Investments as a real estate development firm.

When asked what characteristics he looks for in an employee, Pair said, “Soft skills,” including a strong work ethic and good customer relations.

Former series speakers include Jon Harrison of Little Rock, Joe Schluterman and Mike Koehler of Paris, and Matt Szymanksi of Morrilton.

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