EO Member Spotlight

How I Got Where I Am Today

Serial entrepreneur Bryan Ansley knows that to make it in financial services you need tenacity, diversification and a winning formula.

In 2001, Bryan Ansley concocted a two-part recipe for a winning financial services company. For success, the venture needs reoccurring income, and needs to treat banks as both a purchaser and distributer of its product.

Ten years later, Bryan has founded four companies that exceed the one million revenue mark, most recently First Payment Systems (FPS), provider of Secure Identity Systems (SIS), a comprehensive identity theft, protection and recovery service.

FPS began as a simple credit card processing operation, but to “save the bacon” when the economy went belly-up and profits decreased by 30 percent, Bryan looked towards financial security to diversify his business.

Bryan traveled to Washington D.C. and Israel to consult with security experts, before creating SIS. Bryan’s careful planning made SIS the only company equipped to provide banks with all the services needed to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s 2008 “Red Flag Rule” that ramped up identify theft protection requirements.

Today, with the IRS, MIT and Harvard as clients, SIS grossed over six million and achieve 20 percent top-line revenue growth last year.

EO Member Spotlight

How I Got Where I Am Today

Gabriel Smith couldn’t find a guitar instructional video that lived up to its hype, so he set out to make one.

As a teenager, Gabriel Smith wanted to learn how to play the guitar, but the “learn guitar overnight” instructional tape be bought proved ineffectual and downright disappointing.

Years later, with learning how to play guitar still on his bucket list, Gabriel quit his job in concrete work to start Legacy Learning Systems, a multimillion dollar company that produces learning solutions for the guitar, piano, ballroom dance, etc.

Gabriel filmed his first instructional series in a friend’s living room, with no experience and home video recording equipment. Gabriel’s grassroots approach paid off. Within its first six months of operation, Legacy Learning Systems achieved one million in sales, clearing four million in its second year.

Today, Legacy Learning Systems’ award-winning courses are sold in 98 countries. Through a partnership with Gibson Guitar, Legacy Learning Systems created the Gibson’s Learn & Master© Guitar iPhone App, which won Billboard’s 2010 Music App Award. Recently, Gabriel signed a distribution deal with Hal Leonard, the largest music print publisher, which expanded Legacy Learning Systems’ distribution to retail stores by the end of 2010.

EO Members In The News

EO members Sonny Clark (Advanced Network Solutions) and Arnie Malham (Malham Leverage Group) were featured in yesterday’s City Paper for the role they are playing in creating a new downtown district —  The “Cummins Station District.”  Sonny and Arnie both recently bought or leased buildings in the area and rehabbed them, and Arnie created a new “environmentally sensitive” parking lot. Check out the text of the article, here. The photo that accompanied the article is below.

City Paper, Jan 8-10 2011

(That’s MLG’s new headquarters on the right)

Meet Our Newest Members

Nashville EO experienced an extremely successful recruitment year in 2010. Check out the recent Nashville Post blog entry about our newest recruitment class.

Or read the full release below:

Nashville’s Entrepreneurs’ Organization Recruitment Class Is Largest in Chapter’s History

Thanks to a record-breaking fall recruitment, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Nashville has become one of the fastest growing EO chapters in the nation.

Fourteen new members joined last fall. When combined with the five new members who joined in the spring, for a total of 19 new members last year, 2010 has been the most successful in the chapter’s history.

“Our recruitment success is due to several factors: excellent recruitment chairs in Joe Freedman and Dan Hogan, great publicity, and the economy to name a few,” said Clint Smith, president of EO Nashville and co-founder and CEO of Emma. “The economy is making entrepreneurs really take a step back and understand the necessity of working on their business, instead of just in their business.”

Entrepreneurs’ Organization has a global membership that provides information and support to entrepreneurs. Including the new members, the Nashville chapter has 71 members. To join, an entrepreneur must be younger than 50 years old and be a founder, co-founder or controlling shareholder of a company with gross annual sales exceeding $1 million.

The fourteen new members of EO Nashville are:

John Arndt

John Arndt Jr. is president and chief executive officer of DWC Construction Company, Inc. He began his engineering career 33 years ago as a field engineer for Turner Construction Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Penn State University.

Jerry Baker

Jerry Baker started Conexess Group, LLC, a Fortune 500 software organization, in 2009 with his partner, Austin Meibers – who also recently joined EO (See Austin’s information below.) Baker has been in the IT consulting business for over 15 years.

Michael Burcham

Michael Burcham is president and chief executive officer of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, which provides resources to help Middle Tennessee’s entrepreneur community. A serial entrepreneur, Burcham is on the board of four start-up firms.

Justin Crosslin

Justin Crosslin is the chief operating officer of Crosslin & Associates, PC, an accounting and consulting firm. Justin received his bachelor’s degree from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a master’s from the Owen School of Vanderbilt University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Jolene Dressel

Jolene Dressel launched Trojan Labor of Nashville, LLC in 2004. She is president and founder of Women in Networking & Construction, and an active member in the Association of General Contractors of Middle Tennessee. Dressel is on the board of trustees for the Nashville State Community College Foundation as well as a recent graduate of Turner School of Construction Management.

Vicki Hill

Vicki Hill co-founded J&H Consulting, a provider of systems implementation resources, in 2007. She earned her associate’s degree at Champlain College in Vermont and bachelor’s degree in accounting at Lipscomb University.

Brian Jones

Brian Jones co-founded J&H Consulting, a provider of systems implementation resources, in 2007.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Lipscomb University, before spending 11 years with Accenture.

Bob Levy

Bob Levy founded Paradigm Group, an employee benefits, retirement services and HR consulting firm, in 1996 after a successful career with Prudential Healthcare. He graduated from the University of Virginia and holds a master’s degree in health administration from Duke University. He is a certified employee benefits specialist and past president of the Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Council.

Austin Meibers

Austin Meibers of software company Conexess Group, LLC.  Meibers graduated from Michigan State University where he studied engineering. The Detroit native moved to Nashville to open an IT staffing company. His partner, Conexess co-founder Jerry Baker, formerly competed against Meibers in the Nashville IT staffing industry.

Bryan Merville

Bryan Merville is president and director of sales of Beacon Technologies, a premier low voltage and technology integration company. He has more than 10 years of experience in sales and management. He attended the University of Tennessee where he received a master’s degree in family counseling, and a bachelor’s in psychology.

Jason Moore

Jason Moore founded HealthDataSource, a software-as-a-service company that gathers and delivers healthcare data. He is a founding director of Nashville Startup Weekend; founding member and advisory board member of the Catholic Business League; and co-founder of Friends4Cures, a non-profit raising funds for testicular cancer research.

Tim Page

Tim Page is a founding and managing member of OptiMech, LLC, which provides design-build construction services to industrial and institutional customers. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee’s School of Engineering in Knoxville.

Sam Sanchez

Sam Sanchez opened Sam’s Sports Bar in 2000, Sperry’s Restaurant of Cool Springs in 2006 and a second Sam’s location in Hendersonville in 2009. Sanchez received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University.

Lee Williams

Dawson “Lee” Williams is chairman and chief executive officer of Digital Connections, Inc. He holds an associate’s degree from Dalton State College, a bachelor’s from Jacksonville State University and a master’s from Emory University. He also attended California State University at Long Beach, studying filmmaking, screenwriting, and the electronic visual arts.