Carl Arnold | Building a Business to $100M and Beyond

Carl Arnold is a Vistage Chair, a CEO, and a business coach who offers entrepreneurial leadership consulting to CEOs, Executives, and business owners around the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an entrepreneur who has scaled a company to over $100 million before selling it. A born and bred businessman, Carl started his first venture at the age of 12 selling hot dogs and Coca-Cola at Cal Stadium football games. Both his father and grandfather were entrepreneurs working in the hotel and restaurant industries, so he grew up with the spirit of enterprise all around him, something that he carried with him throughout his career.

Carl went on to study Hotel Restaurant Management, Business Administration, and Music at the University of Denver. He even toured with a band for a year before being accepted into a leadership program at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Following the program, he was recruited to join Milepost Industries, a company focused entirely on providing hospitality services to railroad employees. Under Carl’s leadership, Milepost expanded its breadth to include three different divisions, growing to reach 100 million in annualized revenues.

In this week’s episode of Smart Business Revolution, John Corcoran interviews Carl Arnold, a business coach and Vistage Chair, about building a business to over $100 million valuation. They also discuss Carl’s entrepreneurship and music background, his experience in leading a company with 3,500 employees, and how Carl ended up being a Vistage chair.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Carl Arnold talks about his interest in music and his background in Hospitality and Restaurant Management
  • Carl shares why the parallels between his success as a businessman and as a drummer
  • Carl talks about their family business in the hospitality industry and why he went into entrepreneurship at the tender age of twelve
  • Why Carl joined Milepost Industries and how he worked his way up to a management position and scaled the business to over $100 million
  • How Carl successfully managed 3,500 employees at Milepost Industries
  • Carl explains how he would manage a company with over 1,000 vehicles in the current economy
  • Carl discusses his decision to sell Milepost Industries, the story behind the founding of Arnold Hotel Group, and his transition to the financial services industry
  • Why Carl Arnold decided to become a Vistage chair
  • The people Carl acknowledges for his achievements

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

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Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and done-for-you podcast services. 

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, I’m the host of the Smart Business Revolution podcast where I talk with really smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Lending tree Opentable, X Software and many more. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25 Media where we help to connect b2b business owners with their ideal prospects, referral partners, and strategic partners. 

I’m really excited today because my guest is Carl Arnold. Now Carl is an entrepreneur who sold two companies and scaled a company up to over $100 million which is unbelievable. He’s actually also a Vistage chair, a business coach offers entrepreneurial leadership consulting to CEOs, executives and business owners all around the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where I’m located. He’s also a born and bred businessman starting his first venture at the age of 12. So we’ll ask him a little bit about how he got started, and was born into the industry that he went into which is the hospitality and restaurant industry. 

So we’ll get into all that but first, before we do this interview, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media. Now, if you’ve been listening for a while, you know how passionate we are about podcasting and content marketing that really up levels, your network, and we are evangelists for this medium because with a podcast I’ve noticed it over the last 10 years of doing this Everyone should start a podcast because even if no one’s listening, you will derive tremendous benefits from your life just from uploading your network and connecting with smart people. It’s really like a Swiss Army knife. It’s a tool that accomplishes so many things at once, can and will lead to great clients. But it will also lead to great friendships and great connections and great referral partners, great strategic partners are so many things at once. And I personally, you know, feel like I can’t personally help every person to start or run their podcasts. But we will try and inspire every person that we can to do it one way or the other, because you will love it and it’s a tremendous benefit that will flow with your life. So to learn more, go to and you can learn all about it. 

Alright, as I mentioned, our guest is Carl Arnold. Carl, as I said he was a Vistage chair right now he’s got a couple of groups in the San Francisco Bay Area leading executives and CEOs. He was kind enough to have me come in and speak at one of them which was a really lot of fun. And you know, before we get into the interview I also want to thank Anastasia Toomey, who is a certified instructor based out of Denver. So, go check out her website. She introduced me to Carl, which is really kind of her but Carl, let me start right here because you went and you studied hospitality, hotel management, Restaurant Management and also interesting Lee music and your life could have turned out quite differently because you immediately went out and you toured for with a band for a year before your life kind of went in a different direction. You’re accepted to the leadership program at the historic St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Beautiful property, which I’ve stayed at before, really prior to San Francisco in many ways. But what musical instrument did you play? And what was that like?

Carl Arnold 3:47

Well, John, first of all, I want to thank you for having me on the podcast today and it’s really a joy. I know that I’ve had a chance to meet you in the past and Anastasia said, so many wonderful things that it’s just a treat to, to be on here and have a chance to speak with you. Interestingly, yeah, I’m a drummer, and I still play drums a lot and I play all kinds of drums and hand drums set Latin drums cimbali congas, and it’s been a huge part of my life. Since Gosh, I guess I started at age 10. So I’ve been doing it for a really long time and had an opportunity to, to play with a lot of great bands and musicians over the years. But yeah, I really started out in college, studying business administration with a minor in music and I majored in Hotel and Restaurant Management. And so they, as time goes on, you find that they all sort of run together because there’s all there you used to at least always be music in the hotels, and I’d work in the industry. And I’d be working in the hotel business at St. Francis. And then I’d go see if I could get a gig playing the drums with a band sometimes even in the same hotel.

John Corcoran 5:16

So you got to a point where you’re managing thousands of workers. Did you just like to go in and sit in with the band? And what was that like for everyone to like, see? Or did you know did well? Or do you go do a gig off to the side somewhere else and pop in and fight? Yeah,

Carl Arnold 5:32

I’d usually be someplace else. I worked at the St. Francis hotel and did have a chance to play and when I was there, I went through their training management training program, and this is right out of college and actually, out of college, I went on the road with a band and did that for a year. And I realized at that point, at some point, I think it was when we were working six nights a week, and I hadn’t One night off. And during that one day, we would drive to the next location going across the United States and Canada. And then we would set up and play and do it six more nights and then set up and play. And at some point, I realized, you know, this is turning from something I love into a lot of work. And I thought, you know, if I’m gonna work, I’d rather work at something where I can make more money. And then I’ll keep the drums on the side for fun. And I had a chance to talk to several professional musicians who are up in their 60s 70 years old and they said, you know, that’s what they wish they had done. They said they love their music, but they wish that they had done something that would really pay the bills a little bit better. There’s only really one 10th of 1% who are The superstars making the big money and it’s a pretty tough road the rest of the way. So I’ve, I took their advice and I’ve really enjoyed being able to work in business and, and management to make enough money to have a good lifestyle and then keep the drumming on the side and in order to be able to just have something that’s not only fun to do with others, but also a great outlet just even practicing and yeah, and drumming can even be physical, almost like a workout.

John Corcoran 7:38

Now I want to ask you, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but percussion could in a sense, be a metaphor for business or an approach to business in many different ways. Is there parallels that you can draw between those two why you’ve been successful in business and also being a drummer.

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