"Show up on time and work hard with a good attitude." is the advice that has guided Aaron Schutt from his first job at Fast Eddie's Restaurant in Tok through his career path to today as president and CEO of Doyon.
"I've changed career paths and education paths so many times. Through all of that it's about knowing you can be successful if you work hard and spend the time to find people to help you," says Schutt.
Family and mentors play a huge role in Schutt's life and career. From the time he was a young man working at Fast Eddie's through university and the various iterations of his career, having positive role models helped Schutt navigate life. Starting with his parents, who were both teachers.
"The biggest thing that influenced my life was that focus on education and the importance of it," Schutt says. After excelling in high school, Schutt headed to college feeling nervous but ready.
"When my [twin] brother and I decided to go to university Outside, it helped that I had someone to go with. The culture shock of going from about eighteen kids in your class to a university of 25,000 undergraduates is a huge deal and it's hard to do. But I had someone with me who was the same age on a similar path," he says.
Then he met a college advisor who would both shake him and serve as a life-long motivator.
"I remember my first year, I'd done really well in high school, a rural school, and I get to this big public university and my advisor says, 'Yeah you'll probably fail out. Your [high school] grades don't matter here.' It was really a negative message," Schutt says. "It was one of those really motivating points for me. Even though it was negative, I carried that with me for many years. Including now, don't underestimate people."
Schutt graduated with honors from Washington State University with a bachelor's of science in civil engineering. But his educational path wasn't quite done yet. so he moved further south to attend Stanford University, where he obtained his master's in civil engineering.
"I avoided business as a profession for a long time. I was trained as an engineer and then I made the switch to law and was very into that. [Business] became an opportunity for me mid-career," he says.
After attending Stanford, Schutt decided to attend [Stanford] law school on a whim. "My brother had gone to law school about a year before I graduated and suggested I do the same... My advisor was saying, 'You're going to stay for your PhD right?"