Land: Pickens Interview Was Start of Friendship

A decade ago, my dream interview was legendary oilman, T. Boone Pickens. He had launched his clean energy plan and was running a massive hedge fund in Dallas.

NBC 5 News
Meredith Land's first interview with T. Boone Pickens, in Dallas, Texas in November 2009.

I called his public relations office and a lovely man named Jay Rosser, Pickens' closest advisor, returned my call. I asked if I could interview Pickens. Over the course of several weeks, I honed my pitch and sent it to Jay. A few weeks went by, and I got the call that Mr. Pickens would indeed take my interview request.

Seven months pregnant, I made my way into his beautiful Preston Center office, as nervous as I think I'd ever been in my life.

Pickens greeted me with a hug and a question: "Do you work out?" At the time, I thought he was judging my large tummy, but later learned he was a workout nut on an elusive quest.

"What I'm after is that I don't get old and feel bad," Pickens told me.

NBC 5 News
Meredith Land jumped on the treadmill with T. Boone Pickens for one of their interviews.

The interview went well; we clicked. It didn't matter that he had all of the CNBC network anchors on speed dial, he took an interest in a local anchor at NBC 5.

Our friendship lasted more than a decade. I flew with him to my beloved Clemson University, where he asked if I would do a Q&A on stage one night. We had an easy banter. We laughed a lot.

Boone, as I would come to call him, had my family to his ranch in Pampa. We traveled with him to Oklahoma State, his alma mater, for football games. We had dinners with him. We celebrated birthdays together.

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Boone loved people. He didn't care who you were, where you were from or what lot in life you held -- he was curious and caring. His name sits prominently on more buildings than I can count. He gave over $1 billion of his fortune to charity.

Meredith Land
Meredith Land, left, with T. Boone Pickens at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

People loved to joke that Boone had numerous wives, but he joked too. He was always in on the joke.

He instilled in me a work ethic and confidence to go for it.

"If you don't have good work ethic, forget it. Then you just have to get lucky," he would say to me. I was the lucky one to have known and loved Boone. He gave me a shot when most people wouldn't call me back. I miss him terribly today and my heart aches, but the mark he leaves behind will never be forgotten. He was truly one in a trillion.

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