wanted us to monetize the assets.
We went to the company, took a
look at it, and determined that we
could do a better job by figuring out
a way for the company to survive.
We purchased all of the assets of
the company and found a strategic
company that wanted to be in that
business for the long term. We sold that
portion of the business to the strategic
buyer and then liquidated all the non-go-forward assets. That company is
still running today. It’s still fulfilling
orders. It’s still a sock company. It’s
still actually operating out of the same
building that we still own right now.
Q As you’ve gone through your career, who’s inspired you
along the way, either personally
I can’t say I ever had a
mentor who sat me down and said,
“This is what you should do.” I’m
probably one of those who watched and
just worked with different people. I
would say the first one was my father, an
electrician by trade. He worked a regular
job, but he always had his own small
business on the side. So after school, I
would get to work with him. That’s
where my work ethic came from.
Another gentleman who was
instrumental was Barry Gouge. I started
in retail store management. He was
one of the people who gave me an
opportunity to move from the stores
into the corporate office, into the buying
area. So that was a major step. He still
lives here in Nashville, so we get to see
each other every now and then. He
was an inspiration, just in seeing in me
more than I guess I saw at the time and
giving me an opportunity to move from
being a store manager into the buying
division and getting me to this point.
Then the third person I’m going to
mention—it may sound self-serving,
but it’s true—is Michael Frieze, the CEO
and chairman of Gordon Brothers.
When I started with the firm, I got
a chance to meet him personally
and sit down and talk to him about
the business and get some history
behind it. He’s third generation of
the firm—his grandfather started
the firm. He’s a very smart business
man. At the same time, he’s a people
person and charitable and the type of
person that you can learn a lot from.
He’s the chairman of the company, but
he shows up every day. It shows you
that he has a very strong work ethic. So
just watching him, I think, is inspiring.
It’s a family business, but he’s been able
to take it to the point that his son is the
president, so it’s a fourth-generation
business. It’s a unique feat to keep a firm
going into the fourth generation. We
know this because we do turnarounds.
Q If you could start your career over, would you do anything differently?
I actually wouldn’t change
anything because what’s happened with
me is because of all my previous
experiences, starting in the retail
business and then moving to the
restructuring side. All of the experiences
that I had earlier actually are benefiting
me now in the restructuring side of it,
even to the point that, when I’m in a
restructuring situation, I can walk into
the building and tell those people I
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