Showing posts with label Local Entrepreneurs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Local Entrepreneurs. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2012

Discipline and Integrity: Skills from the Ball Field Aid Business Success

How many people do you know that can include teaching actors, Freddie Prince Jr. and Mathew Lilliard, how to play baseball as part of their college experience? If you do know someone, it's likely to be a ball player from UNCW, our camera-friendly university that keeps a lively pulse in the film community.

Former student athlete, Lee Grant '00, can accept this claim to fame, but after the tremendously successful decade he just had, this would be near the bottom of his list of bragging rights.

The grueling schedule of Lee's student years, between practice and classes, taught him discipline and time management. The organization and work ethic, as well as the integrity he infused in every aspect of his business, led Lee to gain fiscal success in his company, Coastal Chemical & Paper.

As owner and president of one of the fastest-growing distribution companies in the Carolinas, he built his business Steve Jobs-style, straight out of his garage. Now with two distribution centers, a sales team and fleet of delivery trucks, Lee sees nothing but growth in the future.

"My goals are to continue on the track I'm on," Lee shared, "adding products and growing until the market dictates otherwise. We're adding two new salespeople in 2013."

Lee, 2010 Young Alumnus of the Year
award recipient and his wife, Sommer 
Beside Lee from the beginning, is his wife Sommer, a 2001 Information Systems graduate who he met at UNCW while they were in their teens. Not only do they work as a team for the business, but they as strive to be role models for their three daughters.

"We know that our kids are watching every thing that we do and say," Lee said. "So we try to show them a good example."

As loyal supporters of numerous community organizations, such as Welcome Home Angel, the Landfall Foundation and the Andy's Foundation, they are role models for more than just their little ones. Lee is currently a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and chairs the Awards & Scholarships Committee. His passion for helping UNCW develop student athletes into professionals fuels his on-going support for the Seahawk Club. "The journey of being a student athlete, competing at a very high level and the lessons learned through that journey is something I really believe in," he said.

UNCW's track record of professional training is what led Lee to commit to being a Seahawk, turning down scholarships offers from UNCG, ECU, Elon and Campbell. However, one thing he'll never forget is how much better he ate while acting as a ball player on screen for "Summer Catch," versus their victory feasts while on the road with UNCW.

"If we lost, we got Wendy's, and if we won, Coach Scalf would splurge and take us to Golden Corral," Lee said. "I think that is still the status quo with him to this day."

UNCW Alumni Relations/Crystal George

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Alumna Manages National Marketing Firm and Big Name Accounts From the Port City

"We all have limited time and limited energy - put yours where it matters most." This lesson that Trudy Maus '91, '97M learned from one of her business courses at UNCW has made a big impact on her career. Using a cost-benefit comparison when faced with decisions and tasks has led Trudy to become a co-owner of BannerDirect, a New York City based marketing agency.

When Trudy reflects back on why she decided to attend UNCW she states, "I wanted my professors to know my name - I didn't want to be just a number. I researched several "smaller" universities in North Carolina and toured a few campuses. When I arrived at UNCW, I immediately fell in love."

Starting as a Psychology major, then switching to Mathematics and later Finance, Trudy realized her passion lies in Marketing after taking a required course. "It combined all the majors I was considering... Psychology (what makes consumers tick), Mathematics and Finance (sales/budgets/ROI)." Shortly after receiving her undergraduate degree, she began working with BannerDirect, out of their Wilmington office. "It was the best of both worlds - I worked on large accounts in New York City, while being able to stay in Wilmington."

When addressing challenges in her field Trudy states, "Marketing agency work involves long hours, tight deadlines and a lot of travel. It gets the adrenaline going, but you need to be prepared to re-schedule vacations and spend Christmas Eve snowed in at the airport. Flexibility is key to surviving and thriving in marketing."

Trudy enjoys coming back to campus to see its growth while still maintaining the "most beautiful campus in North Carolina". She's actively involved on the Alumni Board of Directors and encourages others to stay engaged with the university. "UNCW gave me a great education in which to build my career. I enjoy seeing this impact on future graduates."