MBQ CEO of the Year Awards, 1-50 Employees
By Sally Lyon
J.W. Gibson, winner of the MBQ CEO of the Year Award 2014, 1-50 employees
MBQ CEO of the Year Winner, 1-50 Employees:
J.W. Gibson, Gibson Company
NAME: James Wesley “J.W.” Gibson II
COMPANY: Gibson Companies, Inc.
ADDRESS: 4600 Cromwell Avenue, Suite 101, Memphis, TN 38118
PHONE: (901) 346-9002
SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE COMPANY: The Premier Group: distributor of medical supplies and equipment; Southeast Regional Development Corporation: housing and property development; Tec-Print: printing
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 26
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH THE COMPANY: Since founding it in 1991
EDUCATION: Memphis Public Schools, Christian Brothers University
WORK BACKGROUND: U.S. Navy, MLGW
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Leading remodel of James Lee House and Chisca Hotel properties. Appointed to the Community Redevelopment Agency by the mayor of Memphis. Founded the Healthcare Providers Focus Group. Elected a Shelby County Commissioner, 2006-2010 (did not seek re-election). Member of the transition team for Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. Served as advisor to Tennessee Governor-Elect Bill Haslam in 2010. Member of the National Minority Medical Supply Association.
PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: Named to “Top 40 Under 40,” Memphis Business Journal and Who’s Who of Worldwide Business. Received the Outstanding Young Men of America Award.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: Member of the Workforce Investment Network and Mid-South Minority Business Council Partnership Program. Board Member, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, Orpheum Theatre, Methodist Healthcare Foundation, TN Local Workforce Investment Area 13: City of Memphis, Shelby & Fayette Counties, Riverfront Development Corporation, Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, Liberty Bowl, Germantown Performing Arts Center, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Leadership Memphis, and New Ballet Ensemble. Trustee of Christian Brothers University and Porter-Leath Home. President, Memphis in May and the United Way Allocating Sub-Committee.
FAMILY/PERSONAL INFORMATION: Has been married to Kathy Buckman Gibson for 9 years, and they have twin 4-year-old daughters, Alicia and Savannah. In his spare time he plays golf and likes to listen to live music. He is a member of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church-Westwood.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD CEO? “One who has vision, passion, and a concern for others.”
James Wesley “J.W.” Gibson’s executive career began in 1991 while he was working for MLGW. “The job wasn’t fulfilling, and so I began searching for other opportunities.” He knew Memphis and the Mid-South region was a hub for the healthcare industry, but he discovered that there was no locally owned distributor of medical supplies and equipment to service that industry.
Using his mother’s garage as a warehouse and his own bedroom as an office space, Gibson created The Premier Group, the first of three businesses that today make up the Gibson Companies, Inc.
After getting Premier Group off the ground, his position as president of the Minority Medical Supply Organization enabled him to lobby for small distributors to have equal access to the same GPO contracts with suppliers, leveling the playing field. Because of the logistics capabilities in the Mid-South, The Premier Group has the unique advantage of being able to deliver medical supplies at a moment’s notice, 365 days a year.
Gibson felt a strong desire to give back to his community, so he turned his attention to redeveloping unloved real estate projects, inspired by Dr. James Netters, the longtime pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church-Westwood, where Gibson is a member. “[Netters] had a dream to provide affordable housing for the aging congregants of the church in the Whitehaven neighborhood,” Gibson says. More recently, development projects include the James Lee House and the Chisca Hotel property, which will be a mix of residential units and commercial, retail, and restaurant space.
Perhaps the most unusual branch of the Gibson Companies trio is Tec-Print, the official printer of Tennessee Lottery tickets. When the lottery was passed in 2002, Gibson had al-ready done his research. “I didn’t know the first thing about printing lottery tickets, but I saw the opportunity and I did my homework and it paid off,” says Gibson.
Perhaps his greatest challenges have come from starting companies from scratch. “I had no previous experience — I was a neophyte — in the healthcare industry, and I had to learn the ropes in order to compete with established companies. But as a result I’ve become completely knowledgeable about what these companies do.” Gibson’s success comes from an unmatched willpower and a unique talent in seeing opportunity in Memphis. “Regardless of the challenges, I remain focused and get things done.”
As for the future, Gibson is certain about what he wants to tackle next. “I wanted to diversify in three areas [healthcare, affordable housing, and entertainment]. But I’m not completely satisfied with entertainment. There’s a void in the music industry here that needs to be addressed for local musicians.”
Additionally, he and his wife, Kathy Buckman Gibson (President of Buckman International), started the Gibson Charitable Foundation to improve the economic well-being of the Mid- South, enhance diversity, and help broaden the community’s cultural awareness. Gibson’s love of Memphis and the people here contribute to his drive for making it a better place.
• MBQ CEO of the Year Awards Finalist, 1-50 Employees:
Clark Butcher and Robert Taylor, Victory Bicycle Studio
COMPANY: Victory Bicycle Studio
ADDRESS: 2549 Broad Ave, Memphis TN 38112
PHONE: (901) 746-8466
SERVICES PROVIDED BY COMPANY: Independent bicycle dealer, fitness center, maintenance, training, and fitting
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 4 full-time, all with full coverage health insurance paid by Victory — something that is rarely available in the bicycle retail business.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH THE COMPANY: Since founding it in 2010
EDUCATION: Butcher: Cordova High School; Fort Lewis College (Exercise Science). Taylor: B.A., Hampden Sydney College
WORK BACKGROUND: Butcher: Bicycle retail for 7 years, endurance sports coaching for 13 years, and residential real estate for 3 years. Taylor: Worked at Outdoors, Inc., and Rasberry Commercial Real Estate.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Butcher and Taylor have grown Victory Bicycle Studio from a $600,000 business in its first year to over $1.25 million in annual sales in just 3 years. Named to the list of Top 100 Bicycle Retailers in the Country.
PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Butcher: Eagle Scout. Youngest member ever in the “Multi Million Dollar Club,” Memphis Area Association of Realtors. “Successfully married and successfully self-employed are my best accomplishments,” he says.
PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: Recognized by the Greater Memphis Chamber and the New Memphis Institute. Butcher: Board Member, Powerbar Nutrition.
PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS: Butcher: USA Cycling Certified Category 1 racer, USA Cycling certified Elite Cycling Coach.
• MBQ CEO of the Year Awards Finalists, 1-50 Employees:
Gregory Woods, Corporate IQ
COMPANY: Corporate IQ, Inc.
ADDRESS: 3385 Airways Boulevard, Suite 219, Memphis, TN 38116
PHONE: (901) 301-4945
FOUNDED: October 2002
SERVICES PROVIDED: Executive/VIP protection, premise patrol, armed residential patrol, high value transport, investigations, and hospice escort protection.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 45
EDUCATION: Attended the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship. Currently pursues and is approximately two semesters away from a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
WORK BACKGROUND: Has 15 years of prior experience with the Memphis Police Department, with the last five years as a Detective Sergeant/Felony Investigator. Also served in the Organized Crime Unit, Narcotics, and the Specialized Patrol Units. Former member of the Memphis Police Association Negotiating Team. Previously held a supervisory position with the largest security company in the world, with responsibility for all of the logistics for a Fortune 100 company located in the Mid-South.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Recognized as one of the top 25 Minority Owned Businesses in Memphis.
PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: Named a Power Player in Security, MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.
PROFESSIONAL AWARDS: Member of the Tennessee Minority Supplier Development Council and the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD CEO: “Your customers and clients are the most important individuals for a company.”