Chamber Chat – 2021 Pioneer Award

October 24, 2021 | Written by: sanford-user

By Meg Moss, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

The Sanford Area Growth Alliance presented the Pioneer Award at our recent SAGA Annual Meeting. This award recognizes a tenured member of our community who has an entrepreneurial mentality. Someone who models corporate citizenship, and someone who has contributed to our economic success. Bob Joyce, SAGA’s Senior Director of Business Retention and Expansion, presented the award to Bill Murphy.

Murphy can only be described as a serial entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs come up with new ideas, or an improvement on an existing idea. And then they start businesses based on those ideas. Most entrepreneurs like being their own boss, and like taking risks in hopes of rewards. A serial entrepreneur takes on this challenge repeatedly.

Bill Murphy owns or had a major role in creating and running multiple local businesses. It might appear on the surface that Murphy likes taking chances, and enjoying the thrill of the “make-it-or-break-it” deal. But if you asked him about it, he would probably say he felt very comfortable making the decisions he’s made because he is optimistic. He approaches problems as opportunities, but he’s also analytical. He’s a studier. A numbers guy. And you can bet when he makes a decision, he has done his research.

Like other thriving and prosperous business people, much of Murphy’s success was achieved the old-fashioned way – hard work, long hours, focus, and persistence. And like our previous Pioneer Award winners like Sam Wornom, George Perkins, Carter Keller, and Doug Wilkinson, Murphy also gathers really good people around him and treats his customers like they are guests and long-term friends.

He believes a satisfied customer will be a walking advertisement, or social media advocate, for his companies.

After graduate school, and a short stint in an office cubicle for a large company, Murphy moved back home to work for a family business, but he felt the call to build something on his own. Not a North Carolina native, he never-the-less picked up and moved his young family from familiar surroundings to the small town of Sanford where he had purchased a small business.

It worked out great for him. And great for us.

Over the next 40 years, he has built several businesses here, all of which have been successful. These businesses have been providing paychecks and security for hundreds of employees and their families.

But his success in the business world, while considerable, may not be his lasting legacy.

One of his great passions is helping others succeed. It’s a concept he lives every day. In fact, I think he gets as much joy, if not more, from the coaching aspect of his job than any other part of his job!

Joyce commented during the award presentation that “Bill Murphy has been a mentor to many in our community. Both to employees in his own enterprises and friends in other businesses, including me.”

“I always knew who to turn to when I got a tough business question from a Chamber member or someone just looking for advice with a tough business problem. It didn’t matter what the subject was. It could be supply chain, human resources, marketing or finances. He would figure a way to go at the situation…either from his own experience or from study. He is a tireless, life-long learner!”

Murphy has started or purchased companies to build up, including Rodeco – the company that brought him to Sanford, Atlantic Auto and Tire, The Shed Depot, Alotech and most recently, CTI.

SAGA was pleased to be able to present this year’s Pioneer Award to Mr. Bill Murphy.