Bill Troxil and his sons, Will and Ryan outside Fisher Hall.

Legacy can be a funny thing: if you spend too much time trying to manufacture one, then that singular focus can become what you’re known for. Letting your decisions, your work and your priorities speak for themselves, however, can leave a quiet, powerful and indelible mark on others.

Ryan Troxil and his brother, Will, know all too well the impact the latter approach to legacy can have. It’s how their father, Bill (BSBA ’75), inspired them to pursue their passions — first as Ohio State students and then as business professionals.

“Whether he knew he was doing it or not, he was always teaching us valuable lessons, about business or life in general,” said Ryan (BSBA ’16). “He was an in-house mentor.”

“Be approachable and willing to listen.”

Bill Troxil arrived as a student at Ohio State in 1971. The son of a bricklayer and a first-generation college student from Cleveland, Bill knew early on that business could provide a better life for him and the family that didn’t yet exist. But it wasn’t until a marketing project during this junior year that studying business clicked.

“I remember sitting in class in Hagerty Hall when a young guy walked in and wanted our help finding ways to expand his restaurant beyond his first store on Broad Street,” Bill recalled. “It was Dave Thomas, and he wanted to hear our ideas about his store’s setup, the customer experience and how to replicate the same quality and taste in Wendy’s locations around the country.”

“I wasn’t a bright numbers guy, but I saw how powerful a marketing degree could be.”

After graduating, Bill spent 14 years in sales at Royal, an office equipment company synonymous with the venerable typewriter. Royal had since expanded to include office equipment such as copiers. In 1993, his “big entrepreneurial break” came with the creation of Danka Office Imaging, which began buying copier distributorships in the U.S. The company, which eventually went public, was purchased in 2008 by Konica Minolta, where Bill currently serves as senior vice president of strategic business development.

“As I’ve climbed the so-called corporate ladder, I’ve learned the value of a number of leadership skills,” Bill said. “Find good mentors, not just people who can help your career develop but those who can help you become a better person. But the biggest lesson I think I’ve tried to live is the higher you climb in a company, the more normal you’ve got to be. You’ve got to be approachable and willing to listen to those who are working for you.”

“I’m 100 percent influenced by my father.”

Growing up, Will Troxil (BSBA ’13) had a front-row seat to all the hard work necessary to succeed in business. Rather than run from business, he gravitated toward it.

“I’m 100 percent influenced by my father,” he said. “Seeing him work every day, on the phone, traveling to cool places – there was admiration. He wanted to provide well for us, which is what I want to do for my family now.”

While Bill may have inspired his sons’ work ethic, his influence over what they studied and where was completely hands-off.

“There may have been some subliminal influence, what with all of the Buckeye gear we had and going to the football games growing up. But he made it clear there was no pressure to choose Ohio State,” said Ryan, a senior financial analyst for Arconic in northeast Ohio. “For Will and I, it came down to the great reputation that Fisher had for preparing students for success in business.”

The second-generation Troxils overlapped by a year while at Fisher, which was comforting to their mother, Kate.

“It was nice to be around him for a year at Ohio State,” said Will, an inventory deployment analyst at L Brands. “My mother was nervous that he’d be a small fish in big pond at Ohio State. But it was fun being able to help him out on campus and show him the ropes.”

“I’m in a position to help others. I have an obligation.”

The shared experience of studying business at Ohio State — while spanning decades — continues to unite the Troxils. Trips back to campus for Pre-Game at Fisher events and football games are penciled in on calendars every year. And Bill has been a guest speaker in classes, sharing his story, insights and experiences with students.

He is also a philanthropic supporter of a number areas at Fisher — his generosity rooted in the desire to improve the lives of others.

“There’s a sense of pride with being part of the Ohio State community,” Bill said. “It gave me an education, but it also taught me life lessons, culture lessons and how to be a good citizen. Now I’m in a position to help others. I have an obligation; if I can help future students and future leaders do a little better, then I should.”

There’s a sense of pride with being part of the Ohio State community. It gave me an education, but it also taught me life lessons, culture lessons and how to be a good citizen.

Bill Troxil (BSBA '75) Senior Vice President of Strategic Development, Konica Minolta