- Information for:
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The purpose of the Harbert College of Business Alumni Awards & Gala is to recognize the achievements of Auburn University’s Harbert College alumni who, by virtue of their leadership, business, and entrepreneurial spirit, have made significant impacts in the business world through their professional lives.
This honor is open to an HCOB alumni who graduated more than 10 years ago. The Outstanding Alumni Award recipient is an extraordinary professional who personifies leadership. Through their vision, intellect, passion for excellence and boldness of spirit, this individual has touched countless lives. The individual chosen must show evidence of significant professional, personal and/or academic accomplishments, specifically:
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni aged 40 or younger who have demonstrated records of achievement, leadership, and promising futures in business disciplines. The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient is an extraordinary professional who, through their vision, intellect, passion for excellence and boldness of spirit, shows evidence of significant professional accomplishments and growth, specifically:
Note: Members of the selection committee for that year, current employees of Auburn University and Auburn University Board of Trustees members are ineligible.
This honor is open to any HCOB alumni and recognizes the importance of entrepreneurship in the global economy and is committed to providing its students with the foundation necessary for future entrepreneurial growth. In recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit embraced by the college, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award spotlights an alum who shares this same passion. The Outstanding Entrepreneur Award recipient is an extraordinary professional who personifies leadership. Through their vision, intellect, passion for excellence and boldness of spirit, this individual must show evidence of significant professional and entrepreneurial accomplishments throughout their career, specifically:
The Harbert College of Business’ corporate partners invest in the college by giving their time, talent, and financial philanthropic support. Our partners are committed to providing our students with the foundation necessary for future personal and professional growth and leadership opportunities. Hiring students as interns, recruiting graduates as employees, mentoring students, participating in career fairs, providing speakers in the classroom, and providing resources through financial gifts are just a few examples of the ways these corporations and businesses invest in our students and their business education. The Outstanding Corporate Partner Award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the success of the college’s students, faculty, staff, and our programs.
Note: If corporation has leadership members of the selection committee for that year, has leadership that are spouses of current employees of Auburn University and/or Auburn University Board of Trustees members, the corporation is ineligible.
Anyone who can adequately provide the required information for a nomination is welcome to submit a nomination. Self-nominations are acceptable.
Nominations will remain active for a period of two years.
Please complete the online form and be prepared to submit attachments at the time of submission.
The selection committee will consist of Auburn University Alumni. Committee members may not nominate inductees during the year they serve on the selections committee.
After selections are made and confirmed by Chair of Selection Committee, candidates for awards are forwarded to the Harbert College of Business Dean for approval.
Stan Harrell described himself as a young pharmacist, “like a camel in the desert trying to find an oasis.”
Many pharmacists had dreams of entering retail, he said. Harrell, a 1958 Auburn graduate, quickly learned the ropes of selling at Eli Lilly. But he realized something much greater lay ahead.
“To accomplish goals, you need to get an edge on whatever your competition is,” said Harrell, a Thomaston, Alabama native. “Very few people have an opportunity create a business. That’s a real tough thing – starting a business.”
Harrell found an edge over the competition and created his own niche in the mail-order pharmacy space. By 1972, he founded Pharmacy Management Services, Inc. (PMSI) and became one of the first mail-order pharmacies in the nation and the first to focus on health care cost containment for workers compensation.
“The mail-order pharmacy business was already in existence when I started,” he explained. “But I was the one who focused in on worker’s compensation and controlling the cost in health care. There was no co-pay, but a lot of people did not know the difference. They thought the insurance company was supposed to pay for all of their medication even if they had cardiac or diabetic problems—but that’s a group insurance plan. My niche mark was protecting the carrier from paying for drugs that weren’t related to compensable injury. I created a new market.”
As founder, Chairman and CEO, Harrell overhauled a small Tampa, Florida, pharmacy into a multi-million dollar company. Harrell’s innovative approach set the industry benchmark by saving time and money—plus providing medical and pharmaceutical supplies to patients more efficiently. PMSI became a corporate powerhouse in the process. Just one year after PMSI went public in 1990, the company was listed No. 21 in Fortune Magazine’s annual listing of the 200-best small companies in the U.S.
Harrell considered integrity as the building block of success.
“Do exactly what you say you are going to do,” he said. “Be honest to yourself and your customers. If you’re honest to your customers, then you are more than likely to succeed than if you feed them a story that you can’t back up.”
Pharmacy Management Services, LLC
As chairman and CEO of Accenture from 1999 to 2004, Forehand led the world’s top provider of management and technology consulting services and solutions through a period of significant change and growth. During his time as CEO, Accenture grew from $6.9 billion in revenue and 66,000 employees to $13.7 billion in revenue and 103,000 employees worldwide. Forehand, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn in 1971, ended his 34-year career with the company in 2006.
As CEO, Forehand was known for setting a fast pace. He spent more than 200 days on the road each year visiting clients and staff in the 47 countries where Accenture operated during his tenure.
As a public company, Accenture’s total return to shareholders was 74 percent at a time when the S&P 100 Index decreased 14 percent. The company’s 2004 fiscal year return on invested capital would rank No. 1 relative to the S&P 100 companies.
Forehand joined Accenture in 1972, beginning with the Atlanta office and working in its products group with a mix of retailers, distributors, manufacturers and transportation organizations. He became partner in 1982 and eventually led the Atlanta Products group. In 1994, he was appointed head of the company’s Americas Products group.
Before being named CEO, he led Accenture’s Communications & High-Tech operating group. During his time with the firm, Forehand led 11 of Accenture’s 18 industry groups ranging from energy and retail to the airline industry. He became managing partner for the products global market unit in 1997, splitting time between offices in Dallas and Paris. He was named managing partner for the Communications & High Tech global market unit in 1998, utilizing expertise ranging from manufacturing and sales to enterprise financial systems.
His influence carried far beyond Accenture as he was a regular participant at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Consulting Magazine once named Forehand as its Most Influential Consultant, while InformationWeek identified him as one of the 15 most inspirational figures in information technology.
His accolades include the Carl S. Sloane Award for Excellence in Management Consulting and the Morgan Stanley Leadership Award for Global Commerce sponsored by the Computerworld Honors Program. Forehand earned the distinguished alumnus award presented by Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2016. He also received an honorary doctorate from Purdue University, where he earned a master’s in industrial administration in 1972.
In a 13-year aerospace industry career that included stints with the Federal Aviation Administration and Northrop Services, Woltosz pioneered and managed the development of software for the simulation and optimization of a wide range of solid propellant rocket motors and missile systems, including the space shuttle, advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM), Midgetman small intercontinental ballistic missile, and the Pegasus air-launched satellite booster.
In 1981, Woltosz, a 1969 aerospace engineering graduate, established Words+, Inc., a company that designs, manufactures and sells computer-based communication systems. He is internationally known for being the first person to create an integrated communications system based on a personal computer, and his work in this area radically transformed the way in which people with disabilities communicate. In 1986, Woltosz and his team developed the first system with adaptive word prediction and developed the comprehensive ACES (Augmentative Communication Evaluation System)—the largest software development project undertaken in the field. His innovative communication systems have been used by people with disabilities throughout the world, including author Sir Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned astrophysicist who has suffered from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) for decades.
Having developed an array of innovations for the augmentative communication field, Woltosz turned his attention to a broader scope, and in 1996, he created Simulations Plus, Inc., a leader in groundbreaking drug discovery and simulation software for conducting drug research. Simulations Plus is a major developer of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) neural net and simulation software for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The company’s software allows pharmaceutical scientists to predict certain key potential drug dynamics, helping reduce multi-million dollar clinical trial failures and speeding up the time to market of effective new medications.
Woltosz holds the Distinguished Auburn Engineer Award and is a member of the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, the Engineering Keystone Society, the Engineering Eagles Society, and the Engineering Ginn Society, as well as the 1856 Society and the All American Society. In addition to his support of the graduate fellowship program, he has provided funding for several endowed professorships and supports the college’s Formula and Baja SAE student competition teams.
Brown, who earned a chemical engineering degree from Auburn in 1957, helped Stryker Corporation transform itself from a small, family-owned business into one of the world’s premier medical equipment companies with annual revenue of more than $9 billion.
After being hired by the company in 1976, Brown charted an ambitious course. He wanted to take the company public, diversify its product line, and consistently achieve 20 percent net income growth each year. After filing for its initial public offering in 1979, the company’s performance kept pace with his vision. Stryker doubled its sales and tripled its profits within five years.
When Brown joined Stryker, the company had 400 employees and annual sales of $17 million. When he retired as chairman of the board in 2009, Stryker’s sales topped $6.7 billion and its workforce included more than 17,000 employees worldwide.
Stryker, which increased annual per-share earnings by at least 20 percent all but two years from 1979 to 2007, now has 13 divisions in Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the Pacific.
Through it all, Stryker grew from “a bed and stretcher” business into a leader and innovator in medical and surgical equipment, orthopaedics, and neurotechnology.
“Even as Stryker has grown, it has maintained John’s strong work ethic and culture of integrity, accountability and performance over time,” said Kevin Lobo, Stryker Corporation’s current Chairman and CEO.
Stryker ranked No. 1 on Fortune’s list of America’s most admired companies in medical products and equipment in 2005 and topped Barron’s list of “500 Companies that Have Done the Best Job for Their Shareholders” that same year. Stryker ranked 31st among BusinessWeek’s list of the 50 top S&P 500 performers in 2007.
Brown’s successes as Stryker’s leader are mentioned prominently in the Jim Collins book “Great by Choice.” Collins described Brown as a leader who did more than offer a vision. As Collins wrote, “he ingrained ‘the law’ into the company’s culture.”
Brown earned Auburn University’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2003. Brown and his wife, Rosemary, have been generous in their support of Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Andy Capps took the podium at the annual Auburn University Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame Gala and challenged guests: Concentrate on strengths. Radiate enthusiasm. Embrace responsibility.
After all, these traits defined his character and helped mold Capps into one of the most successful businessmen in the nation. Capps is co-founder and co-CEO of Atlanta-based RESICAP – a leader in the construction industry.
Capps, who earned his undergraduate in business administration in 2006 from Harbert College, was recognized as Auburn University’s Entrepreneur of the Year at a special ceremony on Thursday, March 28.
“You must concentrate on your strengths,” he told guests at the gala. “I feel like growing up we got this all wrong. You go to school. You receive your report card. You find the class you have the lowest grade in – then you devote the majority of your attention to improving that while ignoring what you are naturally good at. Looking back, I wasted so much time stressing and focusing on that when I could have been refining my talents. Stay focused on your strengths so you can become best in class versus working on your weaknesses to only become average.”
RESICAP is anything but average. Founded in 2009, RESICAP has acquired more than 12,000 properties, renovated more than 17,000 homes and completed more than 300,000 work orders.
“Our services have a positive impact on all of the communities and neighborhoods we serve,” Capps, who was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 by EY for Construction and Real Estate in the Southeast Market, added. “Not only are we increasing the value of the individual homes we work on, but the entire neighborhood and community as well. It’s fulfilling to know that our services have that kind of impact.
Where did Capps get the idea? “We recognized that there was going to be a tremendous need to rehabilitate the millions of distressed homes and neighborhoods throughout the country that were a product of the recession and the predatory lending practice that had been occurring,” he said.
Since its founding, RESICAP has grown into 34 states and 59 metro areas. “Being an entrepreneur has so much to do with your willingness to pursue an opportunity even if you are not fully prepared,” he added. “If you wait until you know everything, you won’t do anything. A couple of years ago, my company discovered an enormous industry that could utilize our services. We were in no way prepared for the challenge this opportunity would bring, but we went after it anyways. Instead of easing into it, we went straight for the largest players in the space – thinking we would almost certainly get shot down. Well, we weren’t shot down and that opportunity has since turned into a $1 billion revenue stream.”
Capps noted that raising capital or closing on a funding round is great, “But that’s really when the real work begins,” he added. “Fully immerse yourself in your business and don’t let anybody work harder than you.”
Broadway, who earned an accounting degree from the Harbert College of Business, founded The Broadway Group in 2001. Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps as a builder, he combined his knowledge of construction and commercial real estate to create a development firm specializing in retail development of national tenants.
The Broadway Group’s major clients include Dollar General, McDonald’s, AT&T, Fastenal, Cash Advance America, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Mayer Electric, and Michelin. The firm develops properties in New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. With more than 40 employees and 150 contract workers, The Broadway Group’s annual revenue exceeds $80 million.
Broadway’s business ventures also include Broadway Construction Company. A general contracting firm, BCC operations under The Broadway Group and performs all construction aspects of its development projects and is licensed as a general contractor in 10 states. Broadway also owns Broadway Capital Investments, an investment property firm with commercial real estate and office property holdings in 14 states. Major tenants include Regions Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of American, PNC Bank, and First State Bank.
After earning an MBA from Auburn in 1993, Broadway began his career in commercial banking with Barnett Bank. After a short stint in Jacksonville, Fla., he moved to Birmingham and entered Compass Bank’s commercial loan officer training program. When he left the banking industry in 2004, he was senior vice president of commercial estate for the bank in Huntsville, Ala.
In 2015, Broadway earned the “Above and Beyond Award” presented by Dollar General Corporation. He also earned the Auburn School of Accountancy’s 2015 Outstanding Alumnus Award. He remains active in a number of volunteer roles, serving on the Harbert College Dean’s Advisory Board and Capital Campaign Committee, the Downtown Rescue Mission Board, the Madison County Executive Airport Authority Board, and the BancorpSouth Huntsville Advisory Board.
The Broadway Group
Wilson, who earned a degree in business administration in finance from the Harbert College of Business, is quite candid about the fact that her professional path “has not been a straight line.” She began her career as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch and spent nine years there, managing more than $15 million in assets for corporate executives and high-net worth individuals before following her entrepreneurial instincts.
She founded Tara Wilson Events™ in 2007, a full-service event production company for high-end corporate and social clients, enjoying eight successful years as an event designer and gaining an authoritative voice in the field. Realizing the business wasn’t scalable, Wilson pivoted the company in January 2015 – rebranding as Tara Wilson Agency (www.tarawilson.com) and focusing solely on experiential marketing events. As CEO of the Fort Worth, Texas-based agency, Wilson serves as a “dot-connector” for clients. She describes her firm’s mission as seeking to “create emotional connections between our clients’ brands and consumers through imaginative, immersive and transformative experiences.”
At the time of her business’ rebranding, the company had just two employees. Wilson pitched the firm to Fortune 500 companies, landing Samsung as a client followed by Nike. The roster grew to include Ann, Inc., ESPN and others and generated $2.7 million in revenue in 2017. The company was ranked on the prestigious Inc. 5000, a list of the nation’s fast-growing companies, for two consecutive years – at No. 901 in 2017 and No. 1368 in 2018. The agency, which now employs eight, provides strategy, insights, ideation, and event production and event management for companies seeking to improve brand engagement.
Wilson is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, whose membership includes founders and majority owners of businesses with more than $1 million per year in revenue. She also serves on the Global Subcommittee of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator Program, which empowers entrepreneurs with the tools, accountability and community to aggressively grow and master their businesses. Wilson founded the Fort Worth EO Accelerator Program and served as its chair from 2014-2017.
Her honors include 40 Under 40 recognition from the Fort Worth Business Press. Wilson has been in high media demand as a marketing expert, making several appearances on The Today Show as well as MSN’s Business on Main, Smart Money’s Small Business and Fox Business. She has also been featured on Inc.com and Entrepreneur.com and as well as in a variety of national publications.
The Tara Wilson Agency
Butts walked away from a well-paying, stable job in the middle of a recession to start his own business. His employer tried to get him to sign a non-compete agreement that Butts considered overly restrictive “They gave me an ultimatum one day, and instead of signing something I didn’t believe in, I walked away. Everyone thought I was crazy,” he said.
Butts started Muscle Up Marketing with only $1,000 and no outside investors. Due to a prior non-compete agreement, he drove 130 miles per day roundtrip, working out of a small cubicle in the back of his wife’s cousin’s insurance office. The persistence has paid off as Muscle Up has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies. Muscle Up’s clientele primarily includes health and fitness clubs and other membership-based businesses.
Muscle Up ranked 40th among the nation’s fastest-growing companies on the Inc. 5,000 list in 2015. “Of the 39 that were ahead of us, I highly doubt there were any that started with $1,000,” Butts said. In just four years, Butts has turned a $1,000 company into an $8 million firm.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle has recognized Muscle Up among the city’s Best Places to Work. The company has also been active in philanthropic causes, including Habitat for Humanity, the Rally Foundation (childhood cancer), and other organizations.
Muscle Up Marketing
Brown, a College of Liberal Arts alumna, used the kitchen of her Auburn home as a point-of-sale and flavor lab for meals that now satisfy diners in eight states. She began making batches of chicken salad for friends and neighbors, beginning with one recipe and adding four variations.
When a local health inspector informed her that it was against the law to sell food from a home kitchen, Brown heeded the advice of her friend and eventual husband, Kevin, and opened a storefront location in Auburn. Demand soon led to more locations, which led to the visiting parents of Auburn students asking Brown if she would consider putting restaurants in other cities and states.
Buoyed by flavors like “Nutty Nana,” “Jazzy Julie,” and “Sassy Scotty”—named for important women in Brown’s life – Chicken Salad Chick has now grown to 52 locations with more than 140 others on the way. Kevin and Stacy Brown also established the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation in June 2014. The foundation focuses on two primary initiatives—feeding the hungry and fighting cancer.
Chicken Salad Chick
Forchette, who earned a marketing degree from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, earned the Innovator of the Year Award at the 2014 Ophthalmology Innovation Summit for his work in defining and developing the laser cataract surgery market.
Delphinus Medical Technologies, Inc., appointed Forchette as its President and CEO in September 2014. The company conceptualized and developed SoftVue, a first-of-its-kind whole breast ultrasound system. Before joining Delphinus, Forchette served for seven years as President and CEO of Optimedica Corporation, a privately held, venture capital-backed ophthalmic medical devices company based in the Silicon Valley.
While at Optimedica, Forchette led the company through two market transformations and two merger and acquisition transactions. The company gained foundation patents and designed, developed, and launched the Catalys Precision Laser System for cataract surgery. Optimedica sold the system to Abbott Medical Optics in 2013 for $400 million.
Optimedica also developed the Pascal laser system for use in retinal surgery, which it sold to TopCon in 2009.
“Mark is a perfect combination of a strategist, a marketing guru, a CEO who loved visiting customers, and a `walk around’ leader of the R&D, manufacturing, customer service, and product teams at headquarters,” said Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers Founding Partner Brook Byers, who recruited Forchette to Optimedica. “His infectious optimism, cheerful outlook, and hard work ethic endeared him to his employees, investors, distribution partners, and even competitors.”
Forchette’s more than 30 years of management experience also includes tenures with Alcon Laboratories, Inc., in Fort Worth, Texas, and Grieshaber and Company, Inc., in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Delphinus Medical Technologies
Craft beer aficionados recognize the Oskar Blues Brewery founder and owner as an innovator who went against conventional wisdom by packaging his prized craft product, Dale’s Pale Ale, in cans rather than bottles. But they might not know that Oskar Blues’ flagship label can trace its origins back to an Auburn trailer park.
As an Auburn University finance student in the College of Business, Katechis received a Christmas gift that changed his professional trajectory – a home brewing kit. He began experimenting with small batches, but the enthusiastic response from a local home brewing club led to him brewing larger quantities in the bathtub of his trailer off Wire Road.
Today, Oskar Blues is the 24th largest craft brewer in America. The nation’s first craft brewery to hand-can its own beer, Oskar Blues has maintained explosive growth since its foundation and earned placement in the top half of the Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest-growing companies. The company has more than doubled its production since 2011 and has grown to include brewing locations in Colorado and North Carolina, five restaurant locations, three restaurant concepts, in-house bicycle brand REEB cycles, the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch camping and mountain biking resort in Henderson County, N.C., and the CAN’d Aid Foundation.
The CAN’d Aid Foundation grew out of out of a devastating flood in Colorado that forced Katechis’ Dale’s Grill and Brew restaurant to close for two months. The foundation raised more than $1 million to help families and businesses impacted by the flood.
Oskar Blues’ beers have received praise from a variety of sources, winning gold and silver medals at the Brussels Beer Challenge, claiming gold at the 2010 World Beer Championships, received “Best Canned Beer” recognition from Details magazine, and earning Top American Pale Ale status from the New York Times in 2005.
Dave Ketchen, Lowder Eminent Scholar and Professor of Management in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business said Katechis is “rapidly becoming an entrepreneurial and Auburn icon.”
Beyond offering critically acclaimed products, Katechis has also created a workplace culture that brings out the best in employees. Oskar Blues employees are rewarded with profit sharing, an on-site gym and massage services, family lunches each Friday, and a wellness program and that emphasizes healthy and active lifestyles.
Oskar Blues Brewery
Walden, who earned a degree in exercise science from Auburn’s College of Education, started Iron Tribe Fitness in the two-car garage of his Birmingham home in October 2008. Back then, Walden, his wife, and two friends began experimenting with a blend of fitness training and nutrition programming as a way to balance physical fitness against busy schedules.
Iron Tribe has expanded far beyond its humble garage beginnings with more than 60 locations in 15 states. In 2014, the company placed 602nd on Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies and was included in the Empact Showcase honoring the impact and diversity of young entrepreneurs. Iron Tribe also earned Infusionsoft’s Ultimate Marketer honors in 2012 and featured recognition in Entrepreneur magazine’s piece, “Why Early Adopters Will Win the Game.”
“His company contributes to the business community by the example it sets by its focus on a clear mission, developing a compelling brand and creating quality jobs,” said David Gray, President and CEO of Daxko and a 1993 Auburn University alum. “Through their franchise model, they also provide life-changing entrepreneurial opportunities for franchise owners.”
Walden’s core mission for Iron Tribe focuses on the creation of “fitness communities that change lives … all around the world.” That mission extends beyond building muscle and endurance. Under Walden’s guidance, Iron Tribe Fitness has raised more than $500,000 for non-profit organizations and sponsored development of clean water wells for villages in India and the Sudan.
Iron Tribe Fitness
Elite Transit Solutions
The Mint Julep Boutique
Tailgate Guys and The Event Group Rentals
Wire Road Studios
Back Forty Beer Company
Nix bought a small business in 1985 for $2.50 and sold it in 2014 for $13.6 million.
Jack Nix and a business partner purchased the former Hoover Skate Center and operated it for two years. Then, in 1989, Jack and his son Bill converted the building into the Riverchase Antique Gallery, which became the state’s largest antique mall with 36,000 square feet of space. In 2002, after a renovation, the business was renamed the Antique Super Mall. The Nixes opened eight other antique malls across the country, but only the Hoover, Alabama, location remained by 2004.
The shop closed in 2006 and made way for an $8.2 million, five-floor, 160,000 square foot Hoover Self-Storage. It was rated as the nation’s No. 2 self-storage facility in 2010.
Nix said his success is a testament to the work ethic outlined in the Auburn Creed. He started as a student in 1955 and graduated in 1967. “I tell people I’m not too smart and Auburn is a hard school, but I never ever gave up. I did flunk out in 1958, went in the Army, came back, and got married, made a couple of babies, went back to Auburn in 1965, and graduated in 1967. Look at my transcript and you would never think I was the same student.”
Martin, who earned an industrial management degree from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, has played a pivotal role in growing a successful, family-owned business over the course of the last 60 years. Founded in 1951 by his father, Joe Martin, Martin Sprocket & Gear started with one plant in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Over the years, Martin Sprocket & Gear has expanded through machining, powdered metal technology, casting, forging, fabrication, industrial hand tools, material handling products, and machine- and injection-molded plastic for power transmission components. The company’s presence now includes 27 plants in the United States, three in Canada, three in Mexico, and several in China. Martin, who began working in the family business in 1951, served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army after graduating from Auburn. He opened the company’s second sales and manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif., in 1973.
He returned to the corporate office in Arlington, Texas, that year as Vice President of Sales. Throughout the years, he has served as Vice President, President, and Executive Vice President. Martin became President of Martin Sprocket & Gear in 1993 and served in that capacity until 2008.
Martin established and maintained a profit-sharing program, which enabled Martin Sprocket & Gear employees to share the fruits of their hard work.
Under his leadership, Martin Sprocket & Gear became active in the Power Transmission Distributors Association and the American Gear Manufacturers’ Association. Martin earned the PTDA’s Warren Pike Award in 1995 for his dedication to the industry. He also served as a member of the AGMA Board of Directors and is a member of the AGMA Foundation.
“Where Gary really shines, and where his servant leadership is perhaps most evident, is in his work in the community,” said Texas Rep. Joe Barton. “I doubt there’s anyone he’s ever told, `no’ when the cause was even remotely worth the effort it required of him. He defines the word `help.’”
Martin has served as President of the Board of the Joe Barton Family Foundation, helping raise more than $500,000 for Meals on Wheels of Johnson, and the Ellis Counties’ Kitchen Campaign, which includes building a regional kitchen and training facility to serve the elderly and individuals with disabilities.
Market Sprocket & Gear, Inc.