Although he didn’t start with many natural advantages, Ron Sturgeon has always had a nose for opportunity and a knack for entrepreneurship. When his father died, his stepmother threw 17-year-old Ron out of the house. Homeless but undeterred, Ron parlayed a $2,000 inheritance and a used VW into a successful auto repair business right out of high school.
The repair business grew into one of the largest auto salvage businesses in the United States. Never afraid to innovate, Ron developed new marketing techniques and was the first to computerize his operation. Inc. Magazine profiled his business because of Ron’s ability to use database-driven direct marketing intelligently to grow his company. Using simple tools, Ron created a system that worked to find and close high value accounts efficiently.
When Ron needed capital to expand, he did his first oversubscribed private stock offering. In 1999, Ford bought Ron’s six-yard, 140-employee Texas operation.
In 2001, Ron founded an auto auction to help insurance companies in Texas dispose of salvaged vehicles. Again, Ron sought investors in a private stock offering and again it was oversubscribed. Fifteen months later, the largest public company in the sector purchased his company. Drawing on his experiences, Ron wrote How to Salvage Millions from Your Small Business, a guide for entrepreneurs, now in its third printing and licensed in five other languages.
In 2003, Ron and two partners purchased Ford Motor Company‘s auto salvage division. GreenLeaf had grown to 26 locations in 15 states and over 1,000 employees, but it was losing over $1,000,000 per month. Ron was in charge of legal, environmental, insurance, licenses and permits after the buyback. He held a board seat and contributed to improving sales and marketing, lowering costs in purchasing, and implementing better employee training programs.
After turning around GreenLeaf’s operation, Ron and his partners sold it to a $2 billion public company in 2005.
Ron’s current ventures include an exotic car rental company, an exotic car sharing club and an exotic car driving event company. In addition, he manages his commercial real estate holdings and consults and speaks frequently on topics related to successful entrepreneurship. Ron’s second book, Green Weenies and Due Diligence, an insider’s guide to the colorful lexicon of the boardroom, was published in 2005.
Linda Allen has been blessed to manage a variety of different teams during her 19-year career with State Farm, a Fortune 500 insurance company.
Her lifelong adventure has been about serving others with integrity and compassion. A native of Blue Ridge, Virginia, Linda was the third child born to Roy and Mary Tyler Cockran. Growing up in a family of five, Linda learned a lot about good people service at a young age. Linda’s father, the owner of a small business, showed her how to deliver great people service to customers, family, and community.
After Linda earned a double major from Emory & Henry College, she became a television news reporter and anchor at NBC.
A persistent recruiter persuaded Linda to consider a career with State Farm, where she has served in seven departments, including training, human resources, financial planning and forecasting, sales, infrastructure, electronic communications/equipment and claims. Linda has held a variety of leadership roles at State Farm for 15 of her 19 years. Linda has completed continuing education courses in leadership at Cornell University, executive strategy at Columbia University, 2008 Leadership Texas graduate and the workings of Congress at the Brookings Institution.
Linda resides in Fort Worth, Texas with her kids and family close by.