On January 1, 2011 about 8,000 Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 – 1964) turned 65 years of age. Every day for the next 18 years, others will turn 65 at the same rate. While many may know about this trend, a lesser known fact is that, according to the US Census Bureau, 70% of all businesses (with more than 1 person on the payroll) or 4.2 million businesses are owned by people over 53 years old.

What are the prospects for transferring those businesses when the owner is ready? The need to liquidate ownership will impact all of us, young and old, as the boomers try to capture the wealth that they have created over their lifetime. But there is good reason to believe that there is going to be far less of it than they might expect. In fact, the elements of a perfect storm are brewing.

If every owner in the over 53 crowd is depending on selling their business to fund the next stage of their life (be it retirement or something else), the amount of capital required to close all those transactions is over $10 trillion dollars. Where is the money going to come from to fund those acquisitions?

There has been a stock market bubble, a housing bubble, a dot-com bubble, but never before have we seen an owner demographic bubble. This “age wave” is coming like a tsunami.

There is currently about $535 billion in funds available (“private equity overhang”) to acquire businesses — nowhere near the amount of equity needed to do even 10% of the transactions that will be up for sale. Even if fresh investment capital becomes available, the amount of supply will drive values down significantly.

There is a Market Transfer Cycle, and every 10years there has been some kind of recession. It is currently a seller’s market but the bull has had a long run and it will get tired sometime over the next three years. It always does. When it does, it will become a buyer’s market of major proportion and only the strongest deals will get transacted.

There are three major forces at work and together they are impacting the owner’s situation exponentially:

  • Many businesses for sale. In addition to those businesses owned by retiring baby boomers, there are over 7,700 companies in inventory that are currently owned by private equity firms that will become available. Furthermore, there are owners less than 65 years old who will be seeking capital for growth initiatives. There will be lots of competition for the retiring business owners and all of it will drive prices down.
  • There are not nearly enough funds to satisfy all the sellers looking to transact. Private equity fundraising won’t be able to keep up. Limited funding will make buyers very selective and only the A++ deals will get done and even they will have reduced purchase price multiples.
  • The economy goes in cycles and there is only about another three years left to the current seller’s market. Can an owner really afford to wait it out until the market cycles back? It may take significantly longer than any time in the past.

What’s the result? Only the best deals — maybe top 10% — will get transacted. If owners miss this current cycle they will have to wait at least eight years until the market starts to turn in favor of doing deals again, all the while, the boomers are flooding the market with their companies up for sale.

So, if you are a business owner, with thoughts of selling anytime in the next eight years, how do you achieve getting your company in a very competitive position for a transaction?

First: Establish a sense of urgency and a realistic view of the value of your business today. Look at it the way a buyer would. Remember the value for the buyer is based on what he can get out of it, not what you put into it.

Second: Get a road map developed now to increase value. This can be done without significant growth, dramatic improvement in earnings or even increasing your debt. Hitting the current seller’s market window means getting the business ready for a sale process in the next two years (it might take another year to find, negotiate, and close on an acceptable transaction).

Third: Create priorities for how you focus your efforts over the next 2-3 years. You’ve spent a lifetime working “in” the business, now it’s time to start working “on” the business. This isn’t like selling your house where you can get it market-ready in a month or so.

And finally: Get some help from an expert. The storm is coming and riding it out without eroding value will be extremely difficult. The issues here are vast and complex so find a professional who has a portfolio of clients that have done precisely this. You can’t go it alone and expect to be successful. You haven’t done it thus far and so you probably are ill-equipped to do it in the future. After all, you still have a business to run and other demands on your time. The ROI on this kind of help is significant but there aren’t that many qualified advisors available who can help you plan and execute a value enhancement process that will get you where you need to be -well within that top ten percent.

Boomers have been a driver of economic growth and consumer spending even before the early eighties (remember the hula hoop?) when they started to reach their peak earning years. This demographic group turbocharged rates of home ownership, consumer spending and, most important of all, employment. Almost everyone has either paid or benefited from the taxes they have generated. Will their business ownership legacy be another boon or a victim of a perfect storm?

This article was written by Gary Ampulski and was originally published on FORUM by Axial, April 8, 2015.  Gary is Managing Partner of Midwest Genesis and is not affiliated with Butler Snow Advisory Services, LLC.  

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Brookhaven Medical, Inc., has announced the acquisition of FutureMatrix Interventional and CreatiVasc Medical, Inc., in a deal that further facilitates collaboration on a medical device aimed at reducing complications during dialysis treatment for the more than 400,000 dialysis patients in the United States.

“These are two premier medical device companies with great management and engineering teams,” said Brookhaven Medical CEO John Feltman.  “As Brookhaven-logoa major investor in CreatiVasc’s research and development since 2013, we are pleased to welcome CreatiVasc and FutureMatrix to the Brookhaven family. Medical advancements on the part of both companies support Brookhaven’s mission of embracing innovation to improve clinical outcomes resulting in cost savings for the healthcare system.”

FutureMatrix and CreatiVasc have collaborated for two years to develop an advanced balloon technology, key to the CreatiVasc Hemoaccess Valve System®.  This device allows the flow of blood in an AV graft to be turned on and off between dialysis sessions.

“We believe this innovation will reduce or perhaps even eliminate the complications associated with clotting and infection that commonly occur in dialysis patients who have AV grafts,” Feltman said.

According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, greater than 75 percent of patients with AV grafts must undergo an interventional surgical procedure within 12 months of implantation. Use of the Hemoaccess Valve System® stands to dramatically improve the quality of life for dialysis patients by largely eliminating these frequent interventional surgeries – effectively saving billions of dollars in associated healthcare costs, including those funded by Medicare.

“The Hemoaccess Valve System® has the potential to become the standard of care for dialysis graft implants, and we believe it may represent the most significant innovation in dialysis devices in more than 30 years,” Feltman said.

CreatiVasc expects to begin expanded human clinical trials for the Hemoaccess Valve System® in Summer 2015, and the device is expected to enter the market late next year.

Brookhaven also announced that CreatiVasc CEO Steve Johnson will serve as President of Brookhaven Medical, Inc.

“We have a dedicated team leading Brookhaven and are optimistic about our future,” Feltman said. “There are many exciting new products and customers in our pipeline, and we are evaluating several possible acquisitions as we move forward with our plans to build Brookhaven into a major diversified medical device company.”

Brookhaven Medical is a client of Butler Snow Advisory.  Members of the BSA team worked with Feltman on the company’s transaction, including Rick Gernert, Matt Thornton and Wesley Roberts.

About FutureMaxtrix
FutureMatrix Interventional is a leading multinational developer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative medical technologies in vascular, urology and surgical specialties.  Founded in 1993, FMI employs 340 employees at its manufacturing facility in Athens, Texas.

About CreatiVasc
Based in Greenville, South Carolina, CreatiVasc Medical, Inc., is an eight-year-old company that is currently developing a revolutionary Hemoaccess Valve System® for dialysis patients.  CreatiVasc is one of only three companies in the United States chosen for inclusion in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Innovation Pathway.  The Innovation Pathway ultimately aims to shorten the overall time and cost for the development, assessment and review of major breakthrough medical technologies that hold the promise of improving patient care and generating significant savings for the healthcare system.

About Brookhaven Medical, Inc.
Brookhaven Medical, Inc., is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and is an emerging developer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative medical technologies and solutions.  Brookhaven Chairman and CEO John Feltman is a serial entrepreneur and former investment banker who has two decades of experience creating and investing in a wide range of medical device companies.

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Boyce Adams, Jr.

When I starting writing this column in 2008, my goal was to share positive stories about leaders making a difference in the state of Mississippi.  I have had the good fortune to interview inspirational leaders from around the state.  Great leaders “pay it forward,” and I have always tried to help them do that by sharing some of their leadership insights. It has been particularly exciting to visit with young and energetic leaders who are on the rise. My interviewee this week, Boyce Adams Jr., is one of those leaders.  Adams is president of Columbus-based TheBiz, a start-up business accounting software company, and he serves as vice-president for Marketing and Sales for its sister company BankTEL Systems.  BankTEL is a true Mississippi success story.  With over 1,400 clients, it is an Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Technology Company and was named one of the Deloitte Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in 2014.

Adams grew up in Columbus and went on to Vanderbilt University in 2007 where he was an Ingram Scholar,  which emphasizes academic excellence, leadership, and community service.

After college, Adams worked at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel and later as special assistant to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He then returned to Mississippi in 2009 to join his father, Boyce Adams, Sr., at BankTEL.

Adams’ leadership and entrepreneurial skills were evident early.  In high school, he decided he wanted to learn to fly.  After obtaining his pilot license, he decided to recoup his investment by becoming a flight instructor.  He shared: “While it was not always easy convincing a middle-aged person they should learn to fly from an 18-year-old, it was a great lesson in challenging the status quo thought that age was the only measure of a person’s abilities, knowledge, or experience.”

Adams is a problem solver.  He explained, “There are always challenges in life whether it’s business or anything else.  I’ve always looked at ways to solve problems instead of dwelling on them. I like to take a step back when I’m involved in a project and determine perspective. Why are we doing this? Is it working? Can we do it better?”  These type questions help eliminate waste and inefficiency, and allow Adams and his team to focus on providing greater value to their customers. Adams honed these problem solving skills while working at the FAA.  He noted, “I learned from the administrator of the FAA how to take time after completing a task to reflect on it and learn how to improve upon it for the next time.”

Adams also has learned the importance of facing your fears.  He said, “Fear is the biggest impediment to achieving goals. Nothing is perfect and learning from mistakes is an important part of striving for success. Even the best leaders make mistakes, sooner or later. How I respond to those mistakes is what determines whether or not I’m an effective leader.”  He encourages leaders to give young people opportunities to grow and atain their goals. Adams emphasized, “In this fast-moving world of technology and practically instant access to information, listening to ideas and input from younger members of your business or organization is very important. Keeping younger members of your team involved will allow them to develop leadership skills and also for you to gauge what’s on the horizon in your organization.”

Adams has helped his company grow from 500 clients to 1,400 clients in 50 states and more than 15 countries.  I am encouraged not only by the success of Adams and his businesses, but also by his commitment to service in his community.  Leaders like Adams will shape Mississippi’s future. I look forward to it.

Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, February 5, 2015.

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Martin Willoughby

The New Year brings a sense of renewal and change.  Studies show that almost half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately only about 10 percent of those will actually achieve their goals. As you might imagine, resolutions to improve health and finances rank at the top of the wish list.  One of the key ways to achieve resolutions is to let them become a habit.  Psychologist Williams James noted, “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.”  While it is frequently said that it only takes 21 days to make a new habit stick, my review of the scientific literature on the subject indicates that it takes our brains closer to 60 days to actually rewire around a new habit.  As we enter 2015, here are a few leadership ideas to consider making a habit.

Just Say No

It’s tough to say no. We might offend someone or miss an opportunity.  A friend of mine describes the need to “chase shiny things” versus staying focused.  However, great leaders know that the ability to say no is critical.  As Gandhi said, “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”  Leadership expert Tony Schwartz similarly emphasized, “Saying no, thoughtfully, may be the most undervalued capacity of our times.” We have more options than ever and countless opportunities vying for our attention.  It is more important than ever to be purposeful about what we say yes to.  However, this is no easy task.  We often have to say no to many good things.  However, unless we say no to the “good” then we will never be able to focus our time, talent, and energy on the “great.”

Show Appreciation 

Studies have shown that for knowledge workers, money alone is insufficient to motivate performance.  Dan Pink summarized this research in his book Drive and noted that workers are best incentivized by creating an atmosphere of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  In addition, I believe that people need authentic and genuine appreciation.  As I interview employees in organizations, I am amazed at the number of them who have never been shown appreciation in any form.  Appreciation is like a gift.  There is no reason as a leader to be stingy with this gift.  Whether a subordinate, co-worker, or a boss, I highly encourage people to get in the habit of showing appreciation.

Follow Up

I believe one of the most difficult aspects of leadership today is living by the motto “say what you are going to do, and do what you say.”  As I was beginning my career, a wise businessman told me that if I would do good work, return phone calls, and do what I said then I would always have plenty of work to do.  I believe there is great truth in his advice.  As leaders, we need to make a habit of being excellent at follow up and execution.  In addition, if you have people that you are delegating to then you need to be very intentional about follow up.  One of my early mentors kept a legal pad where he wrote down every promise someone gave him regarding delivery on a project or task.  If you missed a deadline, you could expect an immediate phone call from him.  My observation was that his team knew that when they were assigned a task and deadline that he meant it.

I hope these ideas will be an encouragement to you to be the best leader you can be in 2015.  I look forward to sharing more stories about the leaders doing great things around Mississippi in future columns.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, January 9, 2015.] Read More


Suzanne Cockroft

Butler Snow Advisory Services, LLC (BSA) is pleased to announce the addition of Suzanne McKay Cockroft as director in the firm’s Ridgeland office. She brings more than 14 years of experience in communications, business development, marketing and brand management.

“Suzanne’s addition to the team further expands the range of services BSA can provide to clients,” said Matt Thornton, BSAS president and chief executive officer. “Her expertise will be a tremendous asset, both internally and externally, as the team continues to grow.”

Cockroft most recently served Butler Snow LLP, the parent company of BSA, in roles as diverse as digital creative and website development, project management, public relations and internal communications, business development and proposal and pricing strategies.

Throughout her career, Cockroft has developed and executed comprehensive marketing plans, including strategies related to digital, social and traditional media outlets. She has advised businesses in various stages from start-ups and early-stage companies on product and service launches to mature firms on market entry and penetration strategies.

Cockroft is a cum laude graduate of The University of Mississippi where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations. In 2012, she completed studies for a MBA and was graduated, magna cum laude, from Mississippi State University.

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Native Mississippian and motivational guru Zig Ziglar once said, “Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.”  Based on my observation of successful leaders, I would wholeheartedly agree with Ziglar’s conclusion.  These leaders have discovered their true passion and are living “on purpose” with focus and determination.  Mission driven individuals inspire others to greatness and to make a difference.  My interviewee this week, Patricia (Patti) Gandy, is the type person Ziglar was referring.  Gandy is living out her passion each day as the founding Director of the Mission First Legal Aid Office which was established by Mississippi College School of Law and Mission First, Inc. to provide legal services to qualified residents of Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties.


Patti Gandy

Gandy’s resume is put together almost as if she was destined for her current role. However, she is quick to explain that there was no grand plan, but instead, a faithful commitment to doing each job well in her journey.  A native of Jackson, Gandy received her associate’s degree from Hinds Community College and soon found herself employed as a receptionist for a law firm which led to her becoming a legal secretary.  While still in her 20s, she went on to become president of the Mississippi Legal Secretaries Association.  As she approached her thirtieth birthday, she decided it was time to complete her undergraduate degree which she did in business at Mississippi College.

To pay her way through school, Gandy freelanced as a legal assistant and ended up helping connect other legal assistants with job opportunities. Upon graduation, she decided to create a business (The Gandy Agency) to provide legal assistants to law firm.  She built a thriving business over an eight year period.  As she considered the next decade of her life, she decided to go to law school at Mississippi College School of Law where she was a top student. Upon graduation, she clerked for the Mississippi Court of Appeals before practicing with Butler Snow, LLP for a number of years. In 2006, Patti accepted the position of Mission First Legal Aid Office.

Gandy shared, “I reflected on what I was passionate about and realized that I truly enjoyed helping the poor and needy.”  She continued, “As I look back, I realize that God was preparing me for each opportunity.”  Leaders like Gandy understand that leadership is journey, not a destination.  Based on the role model of her father, Gandy sought to be a good steward of the job at hand and strived to be a servant leader.  She said, “My Dad also taught me the importance of connecting with his employees on a personal level and being genuinely interested in their lives.”

She bases her leadership philosophy on trust and respect. Today she works with hundreds of professional volunteers to help them live out their faith by using their skills to help the poor with legal aid.  Last year, the organization and its volunteers made a difference in the lives of over 1,500 people.  The organization has been a big success and complements the work done by Mississippi Volunteer lawyer Project and similar organizations.  Gandy’s main focus is on recruiting, motivating, and encouraging the volunteers and keeping the organization aligned with its mission.  She regularly speaks to communities around the state about how to set up similar programs.  In 2014, Gandy was recognized for her accomplishments and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by The Mississippi Bar.  I am encouraged by Gandy’s commitment to excellence and her courage to follow the path of an “on mission” life.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, August 15, 2014.] Read More

Whether in art, sports, academics, or business, we are inspired by excellence. We celebrate those who have the commitment to achieving the highest levels of success in their respective fields.  Aristotle once said, “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” His statement reminds us that excellence is truly a choice.

We can choose the level of commitment we are willing to give to a task. Colin Powell once noted, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” We see that it is striving for excellence in the little things that has the compound effect of creating a life of excellence.


Dr. Jason L. Walton

My interviewee this week, Dr. Jason L. Walton, brings that kind of passion for excellence to his new role as the sixth head of school at Jackson Preparatory School, which he assumed July 1, 2014. He succeeded Susan Lindsay, who served in the role since 2004, and retired this June after 40 years of service to the school that has founded in 1970 and is one of the leading private schools in the state.

Walton is a fourth-generation Mississippian who grew up in Greenwood and Hernando.  After getting his associates degree from Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi, he went on to earn his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Education Leadership and Policy Studies.

Walton’s work experience includes serving as a classroom teacher in the DeSoto county schools, associate editor for the Peabody Journal of Education and a legislative staffer. Prior to joining Jackson Prep, Walton served as chief of staff/staff liaison to the board of trustees at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.  Inspired by the Presidential debate held at his alma mater Ole Miss in 2008, he personally pitched, built internal institutional support for, and orchestrated the strategy that brought the third and final 2012 Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney to Lynn University.  This debate, held on Oct. 22, 2012, was viewed by 59.2 million households, had a $13.1 million immediate economic impact on Palm Beach County, and yielded a combined $63 million publicity value for the university, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach County.

Walton shared with me that his educational philosophy is best captured in one simple axiom… excellence without exception. He emphasized, “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” His philosophy aligns well with Jackson Prep’s mission, which is “Striving to educate and inspire students toward academic, athletic, and artistic excellence.” For future leaders, he encourages them to maintain a sense of wonder.  He noted, “I encourage them to cultivate a restless curiosity about everything that fascinates them in the world and then endeavor to search out and consume all the content you can about those things.”  I am excited about Walton’s return to his home state, and I know that he will make a positive impact on the students at Jackson Prep and the community in the years to come.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, July 10, 2014.] Read More

Prior to moving to Memphis, I was a member for a number of years of The Rotary Club of Jackson, which is the State of Mississippi’s largest service club.  Most readers are probably familiar with Rotary, but for those who aren’t, it is an international service organization formed in 1905 with over 1.2 million members worldwide. On July 12, The Rotary Club of Jackson will be celebrating its 100th anniversary with a special event and will have Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang from Taiwan as a guest.  This will be a historic occasion to have a sitting RI president visit a local Mississippi Rotary club. One of the things I like about Rotary are its mottoes:  “Service Above Self and One Profits Most Who Serves Best.”


Scherry Gilliland

My interviewee this week, Scherry Gilliland, embodies these mottoes. She has been a member of The Rotary Club of Jackson since 1998 and as of Jan. 1, 2014, she is serving as executive director of the club. Scherry grew up in Brookhaven and graduated from Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Belhaven College. She shared, “I loved learning . . . and still do. Growing up, there were many opportunities to get involved in service activities. I was fortunate to serve in a number of different leadership roles throughout these years.” Scherry had an early interest in music and learned piano from her grandmother. She has shared her love of music for many years as a piano teacher and choir pianist. She also noted, “Raising my sons was the greatest leadership experience I have ever had. It was the lengthiest and the most important. During the years when I was preparing them for life, I didn’t realize that I was being prepared for my own future.”

In 1998, Scherry found her next passion, non-profit public relations and development. She has been a certified fund raising executive since 1998 and has worked with numerous organizations including Mississippi Children’s Home Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mississippi, Junior Achievement and Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi. In 2010, she was contracted to set up a 501(c)(3) organization that drills water wells in Malawi, Africa. I know for many, the thought of fundraising is overwhelming. I asked Scherry how she has been so effective and seemed to enjoy it so much.  She emphasized that she loves to learn people’s stories and see the real joy that comes from giving. Scherry, like other effective leaders, is a change agent and enjoys serving where positive change is needed.

A person of deep faith, Scherry said, “My faith guides every day of my life. My daily opportunities are God’s gift to me. What I do with those opportunities is my gift to Him.” She also shared that her advice for future leaders is to remember that every experience in leadership is preparation for your next opportunity. Don’t be afraid to take the opportunity that is offered to you…It is YOURS! If you don’t take it, someone else will.” Scherry’s passion is contagious. Her current role as executive director of The Rotary Club of Jackson allows her to share her passion with other service oriented leaders. In addition to other service activities, the club’s signature philanthropic project provides college scholarships for at least four high school seniors annually.

I have seen first-hand how philanthropic activities like these can impact lives. My sister, Meg Willoughby Swayze, was a beneficiary of the club’s generosity years ago when she was able to earn a master’s degree as a Rotary scholar. I am thankful for leaders like Scherry who are on the front lines of making a difference in the lives of our communities.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, June 26, 2014.] Read More

When I first began writing this column, my goal was to uplift and inspire leaders and entrepreneurs around the state. By interviewing successful Mississippians and sharing their stories, I hoped to make a positive impact. For those who enjoying learning from the experiences of outstanding Mississippians, I am excited to share with you about Mississippi Entrepreneurs by Polly Dement, which was recently published by Cat Island Books, LLC with University Press of Mississippi. I caught up with Polly to visit about the book in a recent interview:

MW:  Tell me a little bit about the book.

PD:  The book profiles outstanding entrepreneurs from around the state including legends who have passed on and up-and-comers.I interviewed over 100 people for the book which contains 70 profiles of 85 Mississippi entrepreneurs.

MW:  How did you become involved in this project?


Martin Willoughby

PD:  I grew up in Vicksburg and graduated from Millsaps College before pursuing a career in Washington D.C. I would regularly come back to the state and had always hoped to one day work on a project back in Mississippi. My conversations started with Tim Medley, who had been inspired by a book he saw while in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina on entrepreneurs in New Orleans. He began to think about how to do a similar book on Mississippi entrepreneurs. He formed Cat Island Books along with Paul Calhoun, David Martin, Mike McRee and Rowan Taylor to make that dream a reality.  They asked me to conduct the interviews and write the articles on the Mississippi entrepreneurs.

MW:   Tell me a little more your career and travels.

PD:  After Millsaps, I moved briefly to Atlanta and then found my home in Washington D.C. My husband, John Mayer, and I have spent most of our careers based in D.C.  I have always been interested in communications, and I have worked both in the public and private sector over the years.  One of my first jobs in Washington was working for the Senate Watergate Committee where I wrote profiles of the witnesses who testified.  I had the opportunity to write profiles on entrepreneurs for over a decade beginning in 1981 for the National Association of Investment Companies. I also worked for the National Commission on Children and Hager Sharp Inc., a communications firm in Washington, DC.  n 2005, my husband and I decided to take a career “time out,” and we traveled the country for three years in a mobile home before relocating to Sante Fe in 2008.

MW: What was it like working with the Cat Island Group?

PD:  I have tremendous respect for these gentlemen who shared a passion for trying to encourage entrepreneurs and Mississippians around the state. They had never published a book before, but they were entrepreneurs in their own right who had the vision, figured it out, took risks and enabled this book to be written. They carefully considered who to feature in the book as they wanted to make sure that the entrepreneurs represented the state geographically and a diverse mix of business and social entrepreneurs.

MW:   I understand that you will be doing some book signings.

PD: We launch the book in Jackson on June 3 at Lemuria then we will be traveling around the state for other book signings.  Many of the entrepreneurs will be joining locally as well and there are some special celebratory events.  People who would like more information on these events can follows us on facebook at www.facebook.com/Mississippi Entrepreneurs.

MW:   How did this project impact you?

PD: I had an incredible opportunity to personally interview each of the entrepreneurs or those who knew them if they were deceased. I came away inspired by each of their stories in unique ways. Mississippians have much to be proud of, and I hope these stories will encourage people to reach for their dreams.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, June 6, 2014.] Read More