CEO of the Year Finalists | 1-50 Employees

MBQ CEO of the Year 2013

photographs by Amie Vanderford

Name: Dr. Roger Cicala

Company:, Inc.

Address: 7730 Trinity Road, Suite 110, Cordova, TN 38018


Phone: 901-754-9100

Founded: 2006

Services provided: Rent photographic and video equipment

Number of Employees: 41

How long with company: Since the beginning

Education: B.S., Christian Brothers University; M.D., Tennessee

Work Background: Former physician at Semmes-Murphey Neurologic and Spine Institute.

Accomplishments: Cicala founded as a way to offset the cost of the equipment for his photography hobby. Today it is one of the premier camera lens rental companies in the nation, with about 98 percent of the company’s business coming from out of state. In a few short years, the company has gone from storing equipment in Cicala’s home closet to moving into a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Cordova, where is today.

Professional Awards: Memphis Business Journal’s Small Business of the Year, 2010

Civic Responsibilities/causes: U. of Memphis Scholarship Fund

Personal Information: Married to Erin Brewer, with stepson Tagg Brewer (11 years old). Cicala adds, “I get to work with my grown children Kristin Beckman and Drew Cicala and my son-in-law Tyler Beckman every day, which is one of the best things about having this company.”

What makes a good CEO: “A good CEO chooses good managers and then gets out of their way.”




Name: Courtney Liebenrood Ellett

Company: Obsidian Public Relations

Address: 493 S. Main Street, Suite 101, Memphis, TN 38018


Phone: 901-572-1042

Founded: 2006

Services provided: With offices in Memphis and Dallas, provides strategy and tactical deployment across the PR spectrum.

Number of Employees: 12

How long with company: Since the beginning

Education: B.A., Journalism, University of Memphis

Accomplishments: Operating on a category-exclusive model, firm has represented more than 200 clients to date, including Kroger Delta Division, Madison Hotel, and Porter-Leath.
Professional Awards: PR Director of the Year, Memphis Advertising Federation. Named to “Top 40 Under 40,” Memphis Business Journal, and “50 Women Who Make a Difference,” Memphis Woman. Recipient of five Silver VOX Awards, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Memphis Chapter; four national Bronze Anvil Awards, PRSA; and Addy Awards’ Best of Show, Memphis Advertising Federation.

Civic Responsibilities/causes: Launched the annual PR 180° Project providing six months free services to two local nonprofits a year. 2013 winners are The Blues Foundation and the Fire Museum of Memphis.

Family/personal information: Married to Brisco Ellett III. Children: Savannah and Jake.

What makes a good CEO: “Know what you’re good at and stick to that as a company. Also, find the best employees possible and delegate.”


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