Entrepreneurship Mentor Gary A. Michelson
Gary A. Michelson was born of first-generation European parents in Pennsylvania.s anthracite coal region in August, 1942. In his early teens his family relocated to Kennett Square, a town in southeastern Pennsylvania not far from Philadelphia. He graduated from Kennett Consolidated High School in 1960 and immediately worked in construction for one year before enrolling at Lincoln University in 1961.
While at Lincoln, he competed on the varsity wrestling team for four years and was captain of the baseball team his senior year. In his first year, Mr. Michelson was elected to Vice President of his freshman class. He also had the distinction of leading the class in a Lincoln tradition of .Wood Night," an event on homecoming weekend that .welcomes. the arrival of freshman into the Lincoln student body. He also was Vice President of the International Relations Club, which gave him a basic understanding of the university.s many foreign students and their cultures. Michelson completed his studies in the summer of 1965 and officially is a graduate of the class of 1966.
His career began in 1965 as a financial trainee with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he began to understand and appreciate .real- world. business processes, starting from receipt of raw materials to manufacturing and process control to all phases of the accounting trail. With a basic knowledge of computers and their huge potential, Mr. Michelson was motivated to join IBM in July of 1966 as a sales trainee in New York City.
After completing his training at IBM, he reported to active military duty for the next nine months. In 1968 he was assigned his first sales territory along with the famous IBM .Quota.. Mr. Michelson remained with IBM for 18 years where he distinguished himself as a salesman and sales manager. In his initial year he was recognized as .Rookie of the Year.. Thereafter, he earned awards as .Salesman of the Year. and twice was named an .Officer. in IBM.s One Hundred Percent Club. In 1973 he achieved the company.s highest sales award, being .elected. President of this exclusive group of high performers. He also gained recognition as the nation.s top sales manager at three progressive levels of management from 1975 through 1983.
Ascending through the ranks in field management, Mr. Michelson was placed in a product management position where he launched a number of creative new products and innovative programs considered by senior management and customers to be among some of the most comprehensive and unique ever introduced to the market by IBM. In all roles played, he was judged by both peers and staff to be a manager with a positive .can do. approach who continually focused on the professional development process of his employees, both young and mature, to help them realize their full potential. He is a stimulating teacher and leader and is known for his motivational skills with a keen sense for recognizing and rewarding individual and team accomplishments.
He was recruited away from IBM in 1984 by Brown Disc, a Colorado Springs company that was an IBM supplier. At Brown, he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the magnetic media manufacturer. At that time, Mr. Michelson was inspired to become an entrepreneur and started his first business, Liberty Sales and Marketing Group, an enterprise that brokered wire, cable and accessories into the low-voltage electronics markets. In 1987, partnering with an organization in Chicago, he became a hybrid manufacturer.s representative and distributor in the same product category. In January 1991, he terminated his partnership and formed Liberty Wire and Cable, Inc. Liberty.s initial focus remained in the low-voltage market but soon became involved in a new fledgling industry known as .Home Theater,. which encompassed a wide range of home entertainment products. To grow his business profitably, in 2000 Mr. Michelson executed a plan to enter the commercial and broadcast industries. Currently that business alone is worth $26 million of Liberty.s $54 million in sales.
In September 2004, Mr. Michelson sold his company to River Associates, a private equity group from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is an investor and serves as a member of the company.s Board of Directors.
Today, Mr. Michelson is enjoying his retirement and living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, while still maintaining a home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mr. Michelson has two children: Scott, 36, a Territory Specialist for Pfizer in Kansas City, KS, and Melissa, 32, Director of Business Development for a 6-hospital system in Phoenix, AZ, and five grandchildren. His former wife Linda, who he married in 1967, died in February 1988. He is currently married to Lennie Frantz Michelson.