Business Innovation Group (BIG)
College of Business Administration

Local Georgia Southern alumni speak to students about entrepreneurship

Bradley OdomThree local Georgia Southern alumni spoke to Chris Welter’s entrepreneurship class at Georgia Southern University on starting their own business.

“You don’t have to be the smartest person, just honest and a people person,” said Bradley Odom, owner of Swim. Bike. Run. Boro.

Odom graduated from Georgia Southern with a Health and Physical Education degree. He taught for six years but always knew he wanted to start his own business so he started his own auto detailing company. Making more money detailing cars than teaching, Odom acquired heavy equipment and began detailing Chatham County’s school buses.

Odom began running but after becoming injured started swimming. He became interested in triathlons and soon developed the idea for an endurance store. Due to his passion and the niche market, the bank approved and Swim. Bike. Run. was started.

Ryan Brack, a Georgia Southern graduate of the College of Information Technology, is the owner of Crossfit Boro. After failing to grab employment at large corporations, Brack began working on computers for family and friends.

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Courtesy of Crossfit Boro website

Eventually reaching 350 pounds, Brack decided to make a change and joined a gym. He offered to purchase the gym but was turned down by the owner. After receiving his Crossfit certification, he bought a small space and began Crossfit Boro, going from zero to 96 members in the first month. Crossfit Boro outgrew its original location and is now located in a 7200 square foot facility.

Woody Johnson, an entrepreneur since the age of eight, graduated from Georgia Southern in 1978, learning key entrepreneurial skills while serving as president of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. With a strong interest in commercial real estate, Johnson began a property management company. Johnson made a deal with four Papa John’s pizza stores and in 2010 Johnson bought six stores for Marco’s Pizza.

Savannah area residents became interested in a partnership with Johnson and Marco’s Pizza, but due to the lack of key knowledge about the interactions, Johnson bought them out. Within 14 months, Johnson has acquired seven Marco’s Pizza locations.

Marco's_057“I wanted a lifestyle where I could spend time with my family and give back to the community and that’s where I’m at now,” said Johnson.

To be a successful entrepreneur, the three alumni agreed it was important to be persistent and to have a good accountant. Money isn’t always necessary at the front end of beginning a business.

“If you want it bad enough, you’ll be able to find the money.  If your passion is there, people will invest in you,” said Brack.

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