On his birthday Billy Weeks gets a card with a handwritten note from his boss, Ed Ibarguen. Weeks, the golf course superintendent at Duke University Golf Club, also gets a card on his work anniversary from Ibarguen, the club’s general manager. So do the other employees Ibarguen oversees.
You hear about general managers who superintendents can’t stand to talk to, let alone look at. You hear about the power struggles between the two entities. It’s just the opposite with Ibarguen and Weeks, and Ibarguen has a lot to do with that.
Weeks may report to Ibarguen, but Ibarguen views their relationship as a partnership.
“Not only do we work well together, but we like each other,” Ibarguen says.
While Ibarguen hired Weeks, that doesn’t mean he has to like him. He could play the tough guy role and distance himself from Weeks to let him know who’s in charge. But Ibarguen doesn’t play that card.
“I operate by transparency,” Ibarguen says. “There are two things I know about myself — I don’t like to be watched, and I like to be trusted. I don’t want to work for someone who doesn’t trust me, and I don’t want somebody to work for me that I don’t trust. But how can you establish trust if you’re not transparent?”
Ibarguen, a golf pro, is the longtime personal coach for Michael Jordan and is one of Jordan’s best golfing buddies. You’d never know it, though, as Ibarguen isn’t a name-dropper. He’s known to get up for a golf lesson just as much for Joe Schmoe as he is for someone like Jordan.
Weeks will tell you that one of the best things about the Duke job is Ibarguen, a boss that he likes, trusts and knows where he stands. Weeks knows he’s one lucky dude.