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Steve Hightower, the current CEO and founder of Hightowers Petroleum of Ohio, worked as a janitor cleaning floors and toilets before becoming one of the nation’s top oil tycoons. Hightower’s secret to success is that he simply believed in himself and didn’t let the many barriers that stood in front of him to deter his mission.

Hightower, a graduate of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, worked for his parents’ cleaning business as a custodian on nights and weekends, but always planned ahead. He began a small construction company in 1978 but growth was painfully slow and access to credit and larger opportunities were difficult to come by. In 1981, after learning of a program in the state to sell gas, Hightower founded a shipping fuel and oil company and sold custodial goods as well.

By 1984, Hightowers Petroleum had just two employees – Hightower and an accountant. However, he was tenacious in securing deals and now employs over 85 workers with a 2015 revenue of $350 million. Hightower expects to clear half a billion this year. The company sells over 140 million gallons of oil yearly to high profile clients such as FedEx and other major corporations.

In a CNBC profile, Hightower said that he simply knew that he’d be successful has motivated him to strive for more. The tycoon still feels like he can improve and is now diversifying his business portfolio by becoming an investor in an Ohio soccer team among other interests.

PHOTO: Hightowers Petroleum

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Little Known Black History Fact: Steve Hightower  was originally published on