During Academy on September 6, we had the privilege of hearing Mr. Curt Lane speak. Mr. Lane is a co-founder and the portfolio manager of Concordant Partners, LLC, a long/short hedge fund based in Omaha, Nebraska. Mr. Lane previously co-founded Disciplined Growth Investors of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also has managed institutional performance portfolios for 36 years, including spending eight years on Wall Street managing proprietary trading portfolios at the Union Bank of Switzerland and Schroeder and Company.
Mr. Lane has had a fascinating life: as a 13 year old, he mowed lawns, delivered newspapers and held other various jobs and then invested his money. By the time he was 18, he had turned his meager earnings into $40,000–which would have been enough to buy three houses in Atlantic, his small Iowan hometown. After flunking out of the University of Iowa, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He attended Airborne Ranger school, lead night ambush sniper teams, and ultimately ended up being wounded while in Vietnam.
Mr. Lane provided many life lessons. After graduating, he turned down a job that would have paid him three times more than the job he accepted at a bank. His advice: “Always go for the passion, not the money.” He also encouraged us to “look for intellectual candy” and “beware: when things are going great, be worried.” He emphasized the importance of protecting your reputation and integrity, which is refreshing to hear from an investment professional in the midst of today’s headlines. He also encouraged students looking to investments as a career to plan to be at 5 – 7 firms over their career.
Mr. Lane graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in 1973 and an MBA from the University of Nebraska in 1974. It is always great to hear alums return and speak about their careers. I appreciated Mr. Lane’s candor and sharing his investment path, taking him from the Midwest to New York City and back to the Midwest again.