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Byline: Melissa Davis
Sep. 24--Mark Monroe promises he wasn't a total nerd growing up in West Memphis, Ark.
Yes, he preferred to read encyclopedias over his generation's version of Harry Potter. And he tended to make better grades than most.
But he could pick up a tennis racket and volley with the best of the jocks. He made fast friends -- and drove even faster cars, as a somewhat spoiled teenager whose father and grandfather both owned automobile dealerships.
Still, the books set Monroe apart in the end. He went to Rice University and later transferred to the University of Texas, where he finished his business degree early and was accepted into law school.
To kill time before law school started, Monroe took a job as a public accountant. A few months turned into a few years, and Monroe kept on working. Within five years, he had entered the oil and gas industry and discovered his calling.
Monroe never got that law degree. He never needed it. Today, he is president and chief executive officer of Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas, a $500 million public company in Oklahoma City.
Monroe has come a long way from his hometown.
He still reads unusual -- and …