Lance Holman is the president and CEO of Holman Capital Corporation, a company he started in 2009 with the dream of providing knowledge, ideas, and capital to state and local governments, educational institutions, and health systems in the US. A 1993 graduate of CU Denver, Lance has come a long way, establishing himself in the Finance field and building his company.
Choosing CU Denver
When it came to approaching higher education, Lance chose CU Denver because he knew it was “a great school.” He took advantage of dual masters, receiving his MBA and MS in Finance. Through his degrees, he gained the knowledge to compete in the global marketplace. Throughout the program, Lance continued working in the oil industry and took night classes. His hunger for knowledge drove him to learn as much as he could.
When asked how getting these degrees affected his career, Lance responded with one word: profoundly. The things he learned, from reading balance sheets to statistics to negotiations, were vital to helping him feel confident when it came to running his own company. The coursework introduced him to many aspects of business he would experience in his career. Not only that, but he gained valuable connections and experiences as a student. While taking 12-18 credit hours, Lance started a public affairs consulting company working on the closure on Lowry AFB and a university logo shirt company to fund his graduate school education. Additionally, he was asked to serve as the inaugural president of the newly launched African American Business Student Alliance.
Getting into CU Denver did not initially go as Lance had planned. When he applied, his application was rejected. Instead of taking the rejection, however, Lance felt he had something to offer CU Denver and he did not give up. Instead, Lance wrote an essay about why he wanted to go to CU Denver, and what contributions he planned on making to the world through his degree. He had $10,000 in his pocket, didn’t need financial aid, and would be grateful for the opportunity to learn here. Lance took this essay to the business school with hope of getting a chance of being admitted as a graduate business school student. The first person he met upon exiting the business school elevator was Dr. Michael Hayes, Professor of Marketing and he requested an audience to share his story. Upon hearing Lance’s story, Dr. Hayes asked Lance to wait in the lobby for a moment. Within a few minutes, Dr. Hayes asked Lance to follow him into the then Assistant Dean of the Business School’s office and to share his story. Within two days, Lance had an acceptance letter to further his education at CU Denver Business School. It was that moment that placed Lance on a pathway to enhancing his knowledge and opening doors that only an education can open.
Lance has always been a self-described dreamer and a doer. He has always known he was going to do multi-million dollar deals since he was seven years old, growing up in Gary, Indiana. He left home when he was 17 and pursued his bachelors in his home state. Initially, he was interested in political science and had the goal of becoming a US Senator. He also was interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in History, however, he wanted to make money, and his gaze shifted to Finance as a viable career option. After completing his bachelors in Public Finance, Lance moved to Denver and went to work for Amoco Oil Company (now British Petroleum). Graduate school seemed like the next logical step to increase his knowledge and marketability, so Lance pursued and received his MBA and MS and Finance.
Shortly before graduation, Lance’s mentor, Donn Waage, asked him what he wanted to do after graduation. Lance thought he wanted to go into banking. Donn introduced him to the president of US Bank’s Rocky Mountain Region. The bank initially thought retail banking and eventually running several banks would be a great place to start. However, Lance expressed his interest in investment banking and was granted his wish and dispatched to Minneapolis, MN to start his career.
Lance started working for US Bank on the trading board, where he dealt in $100,000 to $100,000,000 trades. He then switched to public sector lending at JP Morgan for three years and then SunTrust for nine years, at which point his team built a three billion dollar portfolio. Despite this success, Lance hungered for more.
At this point, Lance had an idea. He wanted to go after a new market of clientele, more specifically financing equipment, infrastructure, energy, and facilities for smaller and medium-sized governmental agencies. His idea was rejected by SunTrust. At 42, with money in his pocket, Lance decided to go for it and started Holman Capital Corporation in December 2009 in California.
Lance had a steadfast belief in his idea, and he believed in making the world a better place. Through his business, he has done just that.
“I deal in ideas.” Lance said, “And I deal in government which shapes people’s lives.”
Personal Beliefs and Mantras
Lance has an impressive way of looking at life. His goal in life is to “help more people across the bridge to prosperity.” He feels that if they are willing to work hard, he wants to help everyone who wants to be supported. This goes hand in hand with his belief in holding people accountable. “Do your best or nothing at all.” His company makes a point of training, developing, and encouraging its employees under his ideologies, and they are expected to follow through.
Lance says that he challenges himself every day to be a better person than the day before. “Just a little bit better.” Each time he does research or goes out to see a client, his goal is to do every day 100% and that 100% today is better than 100% yesterday.
Working in the public sector allows Lance to make an impact on society. This is what he promised when he was admitted to CU Denver. He makes a good living at this and takes the resources he makes and uses them to invest in new ideas and people.
Advice for Students
When Lance hires people, he hires for “KIP” – Knowledge, Integrity, and Presentation. These values follow him everywhere and can be found on his company’s website.
“Knowledge is self-explanatory,” Lance says. He values intelligence and a desire to learn. “Integrity is doing exactly as you say you are going to do, following through, and being honest. Presentation is about looking the part and being professional.”
The final thing Lance looks for in his hiring process is hunger. If a person is “hungry,” this ambition will help them study hard, be more honest, and build themselves. “Being hungry can counter your circumstances and help you make an impact,” Lance says. “People will buy whatever you’re selling if you’re hungry. And we’re all buyers and sellers, every single day.”
Lance advises students to focus on knowledge, integrity, presentation and hunger on their path to success.