From Ex-Con To The King Of Clean
Entrepreneur|Startups Fall 2017

PAT SWISHER WAS A BRASH YOUNG FRANCHISE  TITAN UNTIL A STRETCH IN FEDERAL PRISON CHANGED HIS APPROACH TO BUSINESS. 

Greg Lacour

Pat Swisher used to carry himself with a cocky self-assurance. He figured it was his due for being a successful, self-made man. Then he went to jail. “I’ll never forget walking into the dorm,” he says. The first person he met was a huge, heavily muscled inmate with gold teeth. Swisher is a former college football player, but he’s not an intimidating man—about 5-foot-9, with a carefully combed coif of reddish-gold hair. As the inmate approached, Swisher remembers thinking, This guy’s going to beat the hell out of me. Instead, “he put his arm around me and said, ‘I got you, man. If anybody messes with you, tell ’em to come see me.’” Swisher chokes up at the memory. “It turned out that this was the most genuine, sweetest man I ever met. To this day, I love that man. He didn’t have a dime. All he wanted to do was get out so he could see his son play basketball. Excuse me.” Swisher reaches for a tissue. “So, yeah,” he says, composing himself. “That’s how you learn who you’re dealing with.”

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