Southwestern Advantage was recognized last night by the Nashville Business Journal (NBJ) at the 19th Annual Best in Business Awards as the 2006 winner in the large company category.
Each year, the Best in Business Awards program spotlights some of the most dynamic and unique Middle Tennessee companies able to maintain an accelerated growth pattern and leave their distinct mark on the community. Other finalist included National Renal Alliance, NovaCopy, Inc., and Smith Seckman Reid. SWGA was singled out in its category for success in recruiting, retaining and promoting its employees.
“A direct sales powerhouse, Southwestern Advantage has long groomed standout junior sales staff into leaders and then retained them.”
- Nashville Business Journal
“Our essential business philosophy is that we build people and these people build our businesses. It all stems back to Southwestern’s motto of ‘Building Character in Young People,’” said Southwestern Chairman and CEO Henry Bedford. “The experience students gain while running a business during their college years constitutes the primary advantage in the ultimate success of these businesses.”
“Southwestern’s core strength is developing people. It is the golden thread that holds everything else together. We are very excited to receive such prestigious recognition from the community and the Nashville Business Journal,” said Jerry Heffel, Southwestern Advantage President.
The awards banquet also included the presentation of the NBJ’s lifetime achievement award for retired Southwestern CEO, Ralph W. Mosley. The Marvin Runyon Award for Leadership is presented annually to an individual whose accomplishment exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship and service.
Mosley began his career at Southwestern 45 years ago as a student book dealer. Employing tireless dedication and an unwavering commitment to the Southwestern entrepreneurial ethic, Mosley worked his way up the ladder from selling books to families to serving 27 years as the company’s CEO. During his tenure at the helm of Southwestern, which ended with his retirement in 2005, he significantly increased profits and oversaw the formation of more than a dozen new companies with former student dealers in the summer sales program.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Marvin Runyon Award, named for a man who was a true giant in the business world – always seeking excellence – as well as a community servant who gave of himself and his financial resources,” said Mosley. “Marvin made things happen.”
“I have so many to thank for this honor,” Mosley continued, “including numerous mentors who set the right example and encouraged me to follow their lead, and my friends and business associates who have helped me achieve whatever success has come my way.”
"Ralph has a trusting spirit, a big heart and a belief in people,” said Bedford. “These core traits permeated his management style. Under his leadership, both at Southwestern and with the other companies he helped establish, people were encouraged and recognized when doing things right, allowed to learn from their mistakes, and given room to grow. Though attentive to details, he was never controlling. Rather, he focused on building on peoples' strengths.”