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Blair was on a law school track in college. But some law internship experience convinced him to consider a career in finance, despite the fact that he was about to earn a political science degree.
An acquaintance Blair met at a party connected him with a contact at Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.
“I didn’t understand the investment banking world,” Blair said. Stephens “kind of took a chance on me, and I was very fortunate.”
Blair has worked in corporate finance since Stephens hired him in 1994. He worked as a business and strategic developer for Alltel Information Services in Little Rock from 1998 to 1999, and then, after graduating with a master’s in business administration from the University of Texas in 2001, took a position with J.P. Morgan in New York, where he stayed for seven years.
At J.P. Morgan, Blair trained on Wall Street and worked his way up to executive director of investment banking.
His longtime friend Mark McLarty drew him into automobile seller McLarty Automotive Partners in 2008.
Blair’s finance work for McLarty deals with principal investing. For McLarty, Blair is spending much of his time now on global new business development. It would be premature to share specifics, he said.
On the Mexico side, Blair directs McLarty’s existing operations and looks for ways to grow its wholesale Jaguar and Land Rover distribution business there.
“I’m continuously trying to improve the way I work, or how I work. You can be busy and you can stay at the office 16 hours,” Blair said. “Activity does not have a direct correlation to your success.”
Besides in the U.S., McLarty maintains a presence in Brazil, China and Mexico.