Sandy Sansing speaks on success
By Sarah Richards
Fifty plus years ago, Sandy Sansing was a student at Pensacola State College (PSC). He went to Pensacola High School and worked at the Jitney Jungle on 12th Avenue, where he bagged groceries on the weekend during his freshman and sophomore years at PSC.
“Back then, you would tip the bagboy. A quarter was a huge tip. A good Saturday was fifteen to twenty dollars.”
Sansing knew how to work the system, as he’d wait around and slide right in when he saw a good tipper come through the line. “You go home smelling like milk and hamburger meat…but it was great.”
Sansing went to school on a golf scholarship. Tuition then was 99 dollars. That, and a 200-dollar car his dad bought him, had him off to a good start. “I probably had some of the best teachers I had anywhere. The classes were not too big, the teachers, professors, had an interest in me, and in you, as students.”
Sansing took general studies and business classes; he thought he was going to law school. His dad advised him to “get an accounting degree in case you want to go into business,” as it was a great beginner for law school.
When Sansing went to UWF, he majored in accounting. “Looking back now, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the accounting. I studied hard and I encourage you to. Don’t just sit through classes. Don’t just complete the class. Do your best. Get the best grade you can. Because you will learn more, but also, when you go look for a job, employers will look at how were your grades…We want an employee who will work hard and if you won’t work hard at your grades, why would we think you would work hard at your job?”
However, it wasn’t just grades that got you far. Extracurriculars mattered, too.
Sansing’s dad’s advice was “Hustle on the field, look sharp in your uniform.” With a nod at Dr. Meadows’ sharp attire he added, “All the women crazy about a sharp dressed man”—lyrics by ZZ Top.
Sansing had some advice of his own. “You don’t start at the top. Whatever you’re studying, you’re not going to start in the corner nice office. The education you’re getting will open the door to that job, but then once the door is open, it’s up to you.
“Outsell them, out dance them, outperform them, outwork them, you’ll rise to the top.” It didn’t matter if you were from Harvard or PSC.
Following a failed computer business, Sansing realized that “instead of trying to be decent or not real good at everything, let’s be the best at one thing.” He and his partner, who both have accounting degrees, sold computers to accounting firms. “We specialized and got really good at what we did.”
They grew it and sold it out in 4.5 years.
“Owning your own business has its challenges. It has its rewards, but the risks and the rewards go hand in hand.”
However, he didn’t want to retire at 32; he wanted to be a role model for his children. “A lot of times persistence, determination, pays off.”
Just as real estate was all about location, Sansing said, “The three keys to business are people, people, people. My job is to surround myself with the very best people I can find. Build your relationships. Now. Start getting to know people. You never know where those relationships may help you in the future.”
It was never too early to start networking, as “…friends, relationships, that you make, will be a major indicator of what you’ll do in the future.”
For Sansing, getting good grades and being involved was also about being a good citizen. “If I can help just one of you have a wonderful life, it’s been a success…to me. Because I’ve been blessed, and I treasure the fact that I have. I know I didn’t get there by myself. If we can help you with your education, then we can open the door.”
Helping people further their education was a privilege; taking the time to fill out the scholarship form took initiative, for “the knowledge that you gain here will help you live the best life possible.”