Step 4

Simon was impressed with the students. A trustee of the Heritage Foundation, he contacted longtime president Edwin Feulner, who invited them to Washington, D.C., and offered them each a job—Needham as an entry-level researcher with the conservative think tank.

Within a year, Needham became the chief of staff and then head of Heritage’s international studies center. Today, Feulner calls him “one of the best hires I ever made,” adding that Needham had “an instant grasp not only of the immediate implications but the secondary consequences of any policy.”