The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is interviewing the four finalists for the honor of Distinguished Entrepreneur for 2015. Learn more about each finalist, and get some entrepreneurial advice and inspiration, by reading the two posts dedicated to each before the big awards day on May 19, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Estero. Registration ends TODAY! Sign up at https://clients.floridasbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=900350028
Profile written by Jacqueline Aaron, The Wordsmith Company
Entrepreneur: Gary K. Mart
- Business: Global Tech LED; a light-emitting diode (LED) lighting design and manufacturing company
- Year founded: 2008
- Location: Bonita Springs, Florida
- Number of employees: More than 60 employees
What is your definition of success? “Success is not about money. Success is having the respect of the people you work with, and respecting them equally. It’s how you leave this world when you’re gone, and what people say about you. I want them to say, ‘Gary was a good guy. He really cared.’ “
What advice would you give to others regarding achieving success? Mart has had the opportunity to travel to a lot of countries for business. Every time he returns to the United States from his travels, he is struck by how our standard of living is not so standard in other parts of the world. “What we take for granted in this country every day — the little things like bathrooms, running water and electricity — in two-thirds of the world, these things are luxuries.”
His travels have also made him aware of the level of opportunity that exists in the States. If you grow up as a beggar living on the streets of India, chances are you’re going to grow old as a beggar on the streets, he says. “We are an exception as a country. The way we live is not the norm. If you work hard and put your mind to it, you can succeed. If you have good morals, good ethics, and treat people like you want to be treated, you can be successful in this country.”
What inspires you now? “Everything has kind of come together. I don’t really think I’ve reached equilibrium [in life] until now. In my teens, and in my 20s, there was always a piece of the wheel missing. Now business, family — everything is in equilibrium.” This equilibrium has allowed him to open up more to others.
“I find a lot of pleasure in helping other people in quiet ways. It may be in the form of money or not.” He believes in the age-old adage that his father taught him: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” It’s really true, he says.
*Profile post have been randomly selected based on the date received. Stay-tuned to read more about the other final four finalist and their stories.