2001 Laureates

Louis H. Gump

Johnson City native Louis H Gump, like his grandfather and father before him exemplifies the "servant leader". Growing up with successful role models, Gump learned first hand that service to one's community and service to one's fellow men is a Gump family tradition.

Louie's description in his 1957 senior yearbook from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia refers to his many accomplishments including his future as a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina. "His greatest asset is his uncompromising desire to succeed at the goals which he sets for himself. Louie seldom disappoints himself or those who have confidence in him. "

In 1961 Gump graduated from the University of North Carolina as a NROTC Honor Graduate with a BA in Economics. He served in the US Navy as an officer on the destroyer O'Brien.

"I always knew I wanted to live in this area and own a business," Louie said. He returned to Johnson City in the fall of 1963 as the treasurer of two family-owned finance companies, Gump Finance Corporation and Commercial Finance Company. In October 1971, the family acquired Smith-Higgins Company, a wholesale pharmaceutical distribution firm and Gump became president.

Between 1971 and 1986, Smith-Higgins grew approximately 20 times in sales and expanded to cover a seven-state area. In 1983, the company was sold to Alco Standard Corporation, a New York Stock Exchange company. In 1985, the Alco Health Services Division went public in the Over-The-Counter Market.

Gump held the dual titles of president and chairman from 1981 until October 1986. From then through December 1987, he served as chairman of Smith-Higgins, working primarily on business strategy and asset management at the corporate level. He voluntarily resigned in January 1988 to start Impact Management, a company working primarily with owners and managers of closely-held companies and professional corporations to improve profits through improved business planning, better organizational design, and increased operational efficiency. Impact Management also conducts first-line supervisor training in principals of management. Gump is a certified management consultant.

In addition to his business endeavors, Gump is very active in civic affairs. He received the 1998 Northeast Tennessee Philanthropist of the Year Award, and the 1992 Johnson City Medical Center "Spirit of Johnson City" Award. He has been president of the Johnson City Public Schools Foundation, chairman of Northeast State Technical Community College Foundation Board, and a member of the Duke University Talent Identification Program National Advisory Board, a member of the ETSU Foundation Board, the Milligan College President's Advisory Council, the Greater Tri-Cities Foreign Trade Zone Board, and the Greater Tri-Cities Business Alliance Executive Committee. He also is a member of First Tennessee Bank's regional board. Gump is a co-founder and past president of both East Tennessee Hospice and Hands On! Museum. He is a past chair of the Johnson City Medical Center Hospital Board and a past president of the Watauga Area Mental Health Board.

As the founding benefactor of the ETSU Roan Scholars program, Gump patterned the program from his experiences as a Morehead Scholar and his strong belief that "Nothing is impossible with gifted, inspired leadership. Roan Scholars are gifted leaders who have demonstrated the character and determination to get things done, both in school and in the communities they'll help build in the future," said Gump. He is currently chair of the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Roan Scholars Steering Committee.

Louie and Lucy Gump are the parents of four children, Louis Gump , Jay Gump, Warren Gump, and Mary Gump Fly.