Business Administration, Missouri State University
How did you arrive here?
After working in the food industry for several years I gained a great deal of respect for the people in this industry. However, I discovered that I simply wasn’t cut out to work for other people. I investigated many types of businesses and franchises that would have offered me the chance to be my own boss. During this search process I received a unique opportunity to become an exclusive BKI equipment distributor for the central Missouri area. While I was not specifically looking to get into the chicken business, this BKI opportunity was exactly the catalyst I needed to create Champs Chicken. My wife Julie was supportive of the idea even after just having our first daughter (Claudia). Julie had already decided to leave her job to stay home with Claudia. It was a risky adventure going from a double income family with no kids to a NO income family with one kid. Our Champs Chicken branded food program has historically catered mainly to supermarkets and convenience stores. Julie and I take a lot of pride in providing opportunities for our 130+ employee owners and helping our Champs Chicken retailers become more profitable in the food business. It’s been quite the ride so far as we have partnered with over 1,200 retail locations with our branded programs.
What’s the one problem you are best at solving for your clients?
Providing overall business advice and helping to build a positive culture. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and work with business owners all over the country. Many of the business leaders I meet with are from various different industries. It’s obvious that the most successful businesses have a common approach, they focus on their people first.
What would be impossible for you to give up?
I would say my family, my health and my work. My health allows me to be active and work a lot of hours. I truly enjoy my job and the day-to-day challenges associated with the food business and leading a high-growth company. Finally, my primary motivator is my family. I want to be a good provider, a good husband and a good role model for my daughters.
As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A 2nd baseman or shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I can stand on my head until it hurts.
Name a funny/unusual job from your past:
I worked on the cleaning crew at JC Penney for a couple weeks after my sophomore year in college. I went in at 5:30 am and worked until 10:00 am cleaning and vacuuming the store. It wasn’t the most fulfilling job to say the least. I landed a job with the landscaping crew at Missouri State University and I loved working outside so I opted to leave the JC Penney position. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the JC Penney work, I have always been unwilling to leave a job until I’ve had another one.