With the pace of life today and the pressures of the now, it can be challenging to take the long view. Understanding what is critically important in life and what isn’t can be difficult. I find that remarkable leaders keep a good perspective and have the ability to separate the good from the great. They can break through the tyranny of the urgent and “keep the main thing the main thing.” Dr. Patrick Tucker, owner of Physicians Urgent Care in Corinth and Booneville, is one of those leaders who understands the big picture and focuses his team on what is important.


Dr. Patrick E. Tucker

Tucker is a native of New Albany and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ole Miss before earning his medical degree at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Tucker was on a Navy scholarship in medical school, and he completed training with the Navy as an intern at the Charleston Navy Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. After his internship, Tucker chose to be a Battalion Surgeon with the U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He took this position at the beginning of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and he served as the physician in charge of the medical care of approximately 1,700 members of the Battalion Landing Team which included 55 corpsmen under his supervision. He noted, “I believe this was the time that I began to realize and accept the responsibilities of being a leader. I learned that being a leader means embracing the authority and responsibility that goes with it.”

Tucker shared that one of the most impactful times of his military service was when he and a group of Corpsmen were in the desert during Desert Storm and an outbreak of dysentery developed causing dehydration amongst the troops. He said, “It was 120-130 degrees during the day, and the Marines were deathly ill.  Our team worked for days around the clock with very little sleep. My corpsmen went above and beyond to meet the needs with no complaining and a great attitude. They were all self-starters and did the right thing without being asked.” Tucker continued, “It is situations like those that help you realize that your leadership and the preparation of your team really matters.”

In 1999, Tucker founded Physicians Urgent Care in Corinth, and in 2011, he opened a second location in Booneville. With a staff of 20 including three nurse practitioners, Dr. Tucker and his team treat over 100 patients a day and have continually tried to provide “no wait” service. They were the first group in their area to utilize electronic medical records, and he has strived to keep them on the cutting edge of technology and care.

A man of deep faith, Tucker’s leadership principles reflect his beliefs. He believes in treating everyone with the utmost respect regardless of their position. He leads by example and has a servant heart. He emphasizes to younger leaders, “Live a life you will not regret. Always do the right thing and try to look far into the future when making decisions. Always do the right thing. Character and reputation will grow your business, and a quick dollar goes away as quickly as it comes.” Tucker’s principled approach to life and business have allowed him to build a very successful health care business and be a leader in his community. He is active in leadership in civic and church organizations and is passionate about medical mission work.  Dr. Tucker is a great example of how one can be a skilled physician, savvy business person, and civic minded leader. I know his community, patients and family have benefited from his vision and values.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, October 23, 2014.] Read More

Great businesses are built around knowing what the customer wants, understanding what your company does best, and delivering exceptional value.  This is much easier said than done.  Hall of Fame quarterback turned business mogul Roger Staubach once said, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” It takes great intentionality and skilled execution to deliver remarkable service again and again.  For companies that do like Four Seasons and The Ritz Carlton, people line up to pay a premium price for premium service.


Andrew (Drew) Adams

Drew Adams and his partner Stephen Miles are building a fast growth client service company because they are committed to that level of service excellence.  They formed Addicus, a multi-family office in 2011, and have experienced substantial growth by understanding the needs of their high net worth and high income earning clients and delivering great value.  Adams grew up outside of Birmingham and Atlanta before getting his undergraduate degree and MBA from Ole Miss.  Adams spent eleven years in the financial services business working in Memphis and Tupelo before joining up with his business partner Stephen Miles to form Addicus.  Adams noted, “Our purpose was to fill what we saw as a void in the marketplace, offering deep advice to families and business owners to optimize their wealth.”

The concept of a family office began in the era of Mellon, Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc.  These families realized they couldn’t get conflict free advice and the attention they needed without employing directly most, if not all, of their advisors (wealth managers, accountants, attorneys, human resources, etc.).  Adams explained, “Today, a single family office is not efficient for families with assets less than $1 Billion.  Therefore, there has been a large shift where single family offices are banding together with other wealthy families to spread the resources and costs to gain efficiency.”  The financial industry has adopted this model which has led to the rapid growth of multi-family offices.  Unlike many multi-family offices, Addicus offers its family office services to clients with a net worth from $25 Million and up, and does not manage money, instead they remain focused on unbiased advice, custom designed solutions, and complete implementation and management.

In addition to their family office services, Addicus provides holistic planning for high income earners as well.  To serve this type of clientele, Addicus has been committed to continually innovating and looking for ways to deliver exceptional service.  What high achievers understand is that they must always be striving to get better personally and professionally.  I noted that Adams participates in the renowned Strategic Coach program personally, and he and Stephen regularly use a business coach for their organization to help it continue to evolve as a team. In addition, they are members of the Family Office Exchange and have industry leading mentors.  Very few people take the time and invest the money to continually make themselves better like that.

Adams shared that he is inspired by the Vince Lombardi quote, “Perfection is unattainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”  Adams credits his father with instilling in him a commitment to leadership and service.  He shared, “I would go to work with my Dad as a young boy, and I was always in awe of the way his employees looked up to him.  He always seemed to have the vision that at first no one could truly understand or see until it was executed.”  I am impressed with how Adams and Miles have turned their vision into reality and how they are building a growing and successful organization.  They, along with their organization, will be ones to watch in the years to come.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, October 16, 2014.] Read More

West Memphis, Ark. — Curtis Lumber officially broke ground on a $5 million store project in West Memphis on Wednesday. Project completion is expected by summer 2015 with a grand opening tentatively scheduled for July.

“This is a big step for Curtis Lumber,” said President/CEO BJ Curtis. “We’re excited about expanding into this area and look forward to serving residents, contractors and business owners in West Memphis, Marion and Downtown Memphis.”

Located on approximately four acres at 1001 Highway 77, the 32,000-square foot home center will feature a full-service Ace Hardware with convenient drive-thru lumber warehouse, garden center and flooring department.

Curtis plans to carry the full line of Ace Hardware brands, including Craftsman, DeWalt and Husqvarna, as well as products by Yeti and Big Green Egg.

Curtis Lumber will be continuing its proven track record of providing the best products and service in the area. “We already deliver materials into the Marion and West Memphis area and encourage new customers to shop with us now. However, having a brick and mortar location will enable an enhanced customer shopping experience, faster local delivery, and more efficient processing of returns.” said Curtis.

In addition to providing excellent products and service, Curtis Lumber is also very proud to be providing local employment.

“We’re looking to hire a mix of part-time and full-time employees for a total of 12 to 15 new hires,” added Curtis.

Curtis Lumber currently owns and operates Caldwell Lumber in Wynne, which will undergo a rebrand in the near future.

Curtis Lumber is a long-time partner with Butler Snow Advisory, who provides financial advisory and strategic consulting services to the growing company.  Other project partners include Suiter Construction Company, Inc., general contractor; Centennial Bank and Fidelity National Bank, financers; and SEACAP Financial, financial advisors.

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Ted DiBiase, Jr.

As regular readers of this column know, I enjoy finding outstanding leaders on the rise in Mississippi and sharing their stories.  This week I was able to catch up with Ted DiBiase, Jr. who is fast becoming one of Mississippi’s entrepreneurial success stories.  If his name is familiar to you, it is likely that you know from his days as a professional wrestler with the WWE or you remember his father Ted DiBiase, Sr. a/k/a “The Million Dollar Man.”  Despite having a celebrity father and getting to hang out with people like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, Ted had a fairly normal childhood growing up in Clinton and being active in several sports and student government. Ted reflected on the consistent message he heard from his father growing up.  “Son, I came from a small town with one traffic light, and the only one who ever believed in me, my father, died when I was 15. No one believed I would ever leave that town. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it. It won’t be easy, and it will seem very lonely. Whatever you do, don’t follow the crowd. Blaze your own trail, and be a leader.”

Ted has heeded his father advice. After graduating from Mississippi College with a degree in business, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a professional wrestler.  Just because he had the last name DiBiase did not mean he had a free pass to stardom.  He had to work for it.  He moved to Eldon, Missouri and began his training to pursue his dream.  Ted shared, “I worked 4 jobs while training to become a professional wrestler. I would wake up at 4:00 a.m. to go cut 18 fairways on a golf course then go stock produce at HiVee grocery store. On the weekends, I folded underwear and T-shirts at a Polo store at the outlet mall, and I would sweep and mop a gym floor for a free membership. I did this while training 4-5 days a week learning how to wrestle in hopes that I would one day work for the WWE.”  The hard work and dedication paid off.  He worked his way up to becoming a WWE superstar and traveled the world before retiring in 2013.

Ted credits his success to faith, focus, commitment, and sacrifice. He shared, “Without these, I never would have overcome the sleep deprivation, the depression of being away from friends and family, or the fear of failure.” Despite retiring from the ring, Ted has not slowed down.  In fact, he is in high gear as a serial entrepreneur.  He is the co-founder of GiveChat, a tech start-up which is an online platform that raises money for charity by leveraging celebrity’s social media platforms and fan bases to award fans with VIP experiences, and part owner of CollegeGarageSale.com.  Ted is also the co-founder of Dofflin Strategies, a strategic planning and development firm dedicated to producing results through business development. Dofflin has quickly taken off and his company is working with clients from around the country. Ted has a “pay it forward” mentality and regularly speaks to large audiences on the topics of leadership and teamwork.

Ted is one of those rare individuals who dreams big dreams but has the drive and focus to turn those dreams into reality.  As leadership guru John Maxwell said, “The dream is free; the journey is not.”  Ted will certainly be a leader to watch in the years to come as he channels his talents and energy into building great businesses and serving others.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, October 9, 2014.] Read More

I have noticed that there is a certain drive that motivates great leaders to try harder, reach further, and persist in the face of challenges. Famed football coach Lou Holtz once said, “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”  We all have challenges in life. The question is how we handle them.  Do we press on and remain positive or do we “throw in the towel.” Author Napoleon Hill noted, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”

Michelle Phillips, Vice President of Operations with Bladder Health Network, LLC (BHN), is one of those leaders who is driven to persevere and overcome whatever obstacles life may throw her way.  Phillips grew up in Richland, Mississippi and married and started a family just out of high school.  With bills to pay and young family, she decided to pursue nursing so she earned a degree from Hinds Community College.  She spent the early years of her nursing career at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and with Dr. Ken Perry.


Michelle Phillips

In 2001, she received a call from Dr. Bob Harris whom she had met earlier in her career to come work at Women’s Specialty Center. Phillips noted, “Dr. Harris really helped me develop as a leader.  He provided me opportunities to lead in a clinical setting and took time to help me develop my long term goals.”  She also credits Dr. Harris with helping her to always take the high road as a leader and remain calm under pressure.

In 2009, Phillips had the opportunity to work full time for Bladder Health Network, LLC (BHN).  BHN works with ob/gyn and urology clinics around the country to provide cutting edge medical care for patients suffering from incontinence. Phillips shared about former BHN CEO John Spivey, “I originally was managing the clinical operations of the company, and John helped me to expand my business skills and assume broader operational responsibilities.  He is a great people person and modeled for me how to be an encouraging leader.”  Today, Phillips is a senior executive with the company and manages all day to day operations including overseeing over thirty nurses and technicians.  She shared, “I am passionate about what we are doing at BHN because we are helping patients improve the quality of their lives.”

Phillips, formerly a single mother, is now re-married with a family of five.  She noted that it has not always been easy juggling life’s responsibilities, but that she has learned from the challenges she has faced and grown personally and professionally.  She said, “I always encourage people to never let adversity stand in your way. You can achieve whatever you want if you are willing to work hard enough towards your goals.”  As a leader she believes in establishing clear objectives and allowing her team to have the freedom to act independently. She said, “I am definitely not a micro-manager! I try to treat people with respect and expect the best from my team.”

Too often as adults we abandon our dreams and simply go through the motions of life.  I am encouraged by Phillips’ drive and passion for excellence.  It is rare in life that anything worth doing is easy.  Phillips reminds us that we can courageously pursue our dreams in life and not let let’s challenges defeat us.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, October 2, 2014.] 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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Joel Bomgar is the founder of Bomgar Corporation, a leading provider of enterprise remote support solutions.  The company had an ownership change in May when TA Associates, a global private equity firm, acquired a majority interest in the company.

MW: Joel, what has life been like for you after the Bomgar ownership change?

JB: Life is fantastic! My wife and I have baby #4 on the way in early November, and I’ve really enjoyed having the time to pursue an interest in public policy while still being very engaged in Bomgar as well as having time with my wife, Rachel, and our children.


Joel Bomgar

MW: What now is your role with Bomgar Corporation and how are you staying involved with the company?

JB: As chairman of the board, I continue to be involved in strategy, without the need to be involved in tactics or execution. That allows me to focus on vision and assist in numerous other ways where I feel I can add value.

MW: Being the founder of Bomgar Corporation, I’m sure you want to see the company thrive. Where would you like to see Bomgar go from here?

JB: We have spent the last 11 years building an incredible technology platform and worldwide sales and marketing reach with more than two hundred employees worldwide. Those ingredients provide a lot of opportunity for the future in addition to maintaining our #1 position in market share worldwide for enterprise remote support technology. My hope for the future is that we leverage all those assets to maximize their value while keeping and growing our #1 position in the marketplace.

MW:  Along with your involvement as the chairman of the board of Bomgar, what else are you doing with your time?

JB: I’ve spent a ton of time studying a wide range of public policies both nationally and locally and also a lot of time studying economics and human behavior. If you understand economics as well as how people respond to incentives and how public policy alters behavior and often creates unintended consequences, it becomes a lot easier to understand what public policies will work and which ones won’t.

MW:  What made you interested in public policy?

JB: Back in the mid-2000’s, I read the public policy primer “Governing by Principle” put out by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. It was the first time I had read and understood the fundamental elements of what makes government and society work and that started me on the public policy knowledge quest. Since that time I’ve spent literally thousands of hours studying economics and public policy, including listening through lectures on history, philosophy, intellectual history, Austrian economics, and finance from the Teaching Company great courses series. All of this intellectual investment has resulted in me being even more interested in public policy than before.

MW: What specific areas of public policy are you researching?

JB: I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand and solidify the underlying historical and economic foundations, but ultimately I’d like to have a thorough understanding of every area of public policy that affects Mississippians in a significant way, especially those areas where the state spends the most of the taxpayer’s money. For example, just five areas of the general fund budget represent more than 80 percent of where the money goes. Those five areas are elementary and secondary education (nearly 40 percent), post-secondary education (about 15 percent), interest payments on the debt (7 percent) and Department of Corrections (6 percent). I’d like to thoroughly understand every aspect of those areas as well as any other area that affects Mississippians.

MW: Why, in your opinion, are those areas important to you and Mississippi?

JB: The three criteria I use to determine what is most important and where we need to focus are:

–   What affects the most people and in the biggest way?

–   Where are the most financial or other resources going?

–   How much room for improvement is there in that specific area?

When you look at each area of public policy through those three lenses it becomes much easier to focus and prioritize where time and energy should be spent relative to making Mississippi better and moving our state forward.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, September 24, 2014.] Read More

One of the great joys I have in writing this column is that I get the opportunities to meet a wide variety of leaders.  Some have been leading for decades and are in a stage of life where they are mentoring others while others are in the building phase of their career.  Having studied the lives of so many leaders, I like to think that I am able to spot leaders on the rise.  My interviewee this week, Tyler Harrison, is one of those young leaders that I believe will be making his mark. Harrison, a native of Monroe, Louisiana, is the owner of Harrison Homes, a residential construction company in Madison, Mississippi.


Tyler Harrison

A talented athlete, Harrison played junior college baseball before continuing on to Delta State where he played his junior and senior year and graduated with a degree in business.  Following a dream to be in the construction industry, he went on to earn a second undergraduate degree at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in construction.  For the next 12 years, Harrison worked as a construction project manager with Brasfield & Gorrie, a large Alabama based construction firm and Mid State Construction, a Mississippi based firm.  During this time, he had the opportunity to work on large scale projects such as expansions at Baptist Hospital, St. Catherine’s Village, and Jackson Academy.  He also worked on a large condominium project in Houston, Texas.  Harrison noted, “B&G and Mid State both approach business relationships with honesty at the top of the priority list.  That’s something that’s ingrained in their culture, and is also ingrained in me.  They also provided me many opportunities as a young leader to learn and develop as a leader.”

Pre-2008, it seemed like everyone I knew was trying to get into the construction business whether qualified or not.  Most of those people have returned to their old jobs or moved on; however, Harrison decided to follow his passion and step out of his fast track trajectory as a commercial construction industry leader and start his own homebuilding company.   He explained, “My initial interest in construction rooted from an interest in homebuilding.  This seemed like the right move for a long time.  I enjoy time at home and love thinking about the aspects of a home that can make it better or more enjoyable for a family.”  As any entrepreneur knows, it is never easy launching a new business, but Harrison’s experience, leadership style, and commitment to excellence have allowed him to develop a thriving business quickly.

Harrison shared that his baseball days have been influential on his character and leadership style. He shared, “Playing college baseball taught me to be a team player, to take constructive criticism, and push through tough times.” He also emphasized the life lessons he learned from his family that have prepared him for this journey.  “My dad has a work ethic that is contagious.  He will not cut corners and always finishes what he starts.  While my maternal grandfather died when I was young, he was a colonel in the air force and was regarded highly because of his achievements and humble nature.  My paternal grandfather was a successful small business owner in southern Arkansas, who was very diligent, yet quiet and humble.”

Harrison is a humble “hands on” leader.  He explained, “I have always been impressed with people who lead by example, and I strive to lead by example rather than by portraying myself as better than, or above someone else.  I strive to help those around me succeed, but continue to work hard and stand firm to ensure my own success as well.”  For other aspiring leaders he emphasized the importance of learning from others and becoming a working “not only a leader but also a teammate.”  I am always encouraged to be around talented leaders who have the courage to follow their dreams.  I expect we will see Harrison making an impact in the community for years to come.

[Originally published in the Mississippi Business Journal, September 19, 2014.] Read More

Great achievements in life are never solo endeavors.  Sometimes we forget that.  We can be like the turtle on the fencepost.  As the story goes, “if you’re walking along a fence and spot a turtle sitting atop a fencepost, you know it didn’t get there by itself.”  True leaders have the humility to recognize the important role that other people have had in their lives.  Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”  My interviewee this week, Josh Gilreath, is one of those leaders who has accomplished great things as a leader but humbly recognizes that he is standing on the shoulders of others who have developed him as a leader.  Gilreath is the new State Director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in Mississippi.  Gilreath is following in the footsteps of Bill Buckner, who passed away in May of this year after a lengthy illness and leading the organization for 27 years.


Josh Gilreath

Gilreath grew up in Amory and graduated from Mississippi State with a degree in biological engineering.  He worked as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State under Coach Jackie Sherrill,  and went on to join the coaching staff at Indiana University.  His faith led him to leave coaching and join the FCA staff back at Mississippi State where he served for eight years before launching the Pinelake Church Starkville campus.  Shortly after Buckner’s funeral, the Mississippi FCA State Executive Board approached Gilreath about becoming Bill’s successor.  Gilreath shared, “Next to my dad, I can’t think of anyone who has invested in my life more than Bill. The Board shared with me that they had several conversations with Bill, and it was his desire for me to follow him in the FCA ministry, should I sense God leading me that way.”

Gilreath emphasized the impact his family has had on his life and development as a leader. He noted, “My dad was influential in me coming to Christ, and he always expected me to be my best.  If I started something, he expected me to finish.”  He also shared that his grandmother who worked until she was 83 modeled a strong work ethic as did his grandfather who also taught him that your word should always be your bond. Gilreath shared that one of the many things that Bill Buckner taught him as a leader is to have a personal “Board of Directors” for your life to challenge you and hold you accountable.  Gilreath credits his high school football coach Bobby Hall with teaching him to believe anything is possible, and former Mississippi State Coach Sylvester Croom with teaching him about integrity. He credits Pinelake Church Senior Pastor Chip Henderson with teaching him how to lead other leaders.  Gilreath says that he learned how to have a sense of humor as a leader from his wife.  He shared, “She is fun and loving.  I can be too serious.  She reminds me of the importance of having fun and having a sense of humor. We all need to laugh at ourselves.”

All of these influences and others have shaped Gilreath’s philosophy and character as a leader.  He believes in leading with vision and emphasizes what could be and should be if you lead towards it.  To help young leaders find their true passion and calling he challenges them to answer the question, “If money didn’t matter what would you do?”  Gilreath brings a wealth of his experience to his new position. I know that Gilreath and the 31 dedicated full time staff members of FCA Mississippi will continue to positively influence thousands of students and coaches every year around the state.

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