VOL. 110 | NO. 73 | Friday, April 12, 1996
lj 10/5 cates
Pink Palace opens entrepreneur showcase
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Starting this weekend, visitors to the Pink Palace Mansion will be able hear notable Memphis business leaders tell the secrets of their success "almost" in person.
The Entrepreneur Hall of Honor, created to showcase the accomplishments and lives of a number of Memphis business innovators, opens to the public Saturday in the west wing of the newly renovated Pink Palace Mansion.
As part of the Pink Palaces plan for exhibit expansion, the Hall is intended as a salute to Memphis history of business achievement, as well as an inspiration for future generations.
The first group of Memphis business leaders to be inducted into the Hall includes Clarence Saunders, founder of Piggly Wiggly; Kemmons Wilson, founder of Holiday Inns and Wilson Inns; Wallace Johnson, Wilsons partner in Holiday Inns and founder of Wallace F. Johnson Homes; Fred Smith, founder and chief executive officer of Federal Express; and Abe Plough, founder of Plough Pharmaceuticals and the Plough Foundation.
"These people epitomize what being an entrepreneur is all about," said Walker Uhlhorn, founder and past president of the Society for Entrepreneurs. "Not only have they changed their entire industries through their work, they have also given back a great deal to the community."
The Hall of Honor exhibit will feature an interactive multimedia module and video presentation with words, music and photographs illustrating the contributions the inductees have made to Memphis and the international business community. After viewing a presentation of what it means to be an entrepreneur, visitors will be able to ask questions of the entrepreneurs and have them answered on multimedia televisions activated by touch screen technology.
"This gives us an opportunity to offer a look at the business environment of the Mid-South and Memphis in particular in a unique way," said Dr. Doug Noble, director of museums for the Memphis Museum System. "We look at the exhibit as a more fun, user-friendly way for our visitors to learn about these people."
The exhibit opens on the heels of the Mansions successful March 30 reopening, which attracted 4,600 visitors, a March record, Noble said.
Other modules in the Hall will focus on black entrepreneurs Robert Church Sr., Joseph Walker and Chew Sawyer; and women of achievement Fran Etter, Majorie Coleman and Mickey Laukhuff Walker. The exhibit also will include nine brief biographies and quotes from members of the Society of Entrepreneurs explaining what an entrepreneur is.
Hall of Honor inductees are chosen by the Society of Entrepreneurs, a 60-member invitational organization composed of Mid-South business owners and executives who have either launched or transformed a business into a successful enterprise.
Nominees for both the Hall of Honor and the Society itself are considered according to a set of guidelines established by the Society. Generally, five new members are inducted to the Society each year, Uhlhorn said.
"The Society of Entrepreneurs is an organization of educational purpose committed to the development of programs which recognize and encourage the contributions of entrepreneurs in business and the community on a local, national and international level," said Society of Entrepreneurs president Mike Starnes. "We support programs which foster the entrepreneurial spirit in youth. The Entrepreneur Hall of Honor is our inaugural program," said Starnes, who also is chairman and chief executive officer of M.S. Carriers, a Memphis-based transportation company.
Although the Hall of Honor will be open to the public during the Pink Palace Mansions regular hours Saturday, a black tie dinner and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Mansion will christen the exhibit at 6 p.m. As part of the event, Art Seessel III will present the Entrepreneur of the Year award to Joseph R. "Pitt" Hyde III, chairman and chief executive officer of AutoZone.
Six new Society of Entrepreneur members will also be presented. They include O. Mason Hawkins, founder of Southeastern Asset Management; Wayne Pyeatt, chairman of the board of Enterprise National Bank; Robert and Susan Wang, founders of Wangs International; Jeffrey G. Webb, founder of Varsity Spirit; and Spence L. Wilson, an executive with Kemmons Wilson Co.
"Entrepreneurism is the key to building a successful and economically strong America," Uhlhorn said. "We want to promote an economic climate where entrepreneurs can survive."
Possible Box Item:
Nominees to the Hall of Honor are selected by the following guidelines. They must:
Have made a significant impact on business not only nationally but internationally.
Possess the imagination, determination and commitment needed to transform a vision into a dynamic business accomplishment.
Exhibit the extraordinary level of self-confidence required to pursue risky ventures even in the face of public pessimism.
Share the rewards of their success with the public at large through charitable deeds and community involvement.
Inspire others to pursue their visions by providing leadership.