MBJ announces its 2016 Small Business Awards finalists
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Interview
2016 Executive of the Year Awarded to Michael Gallagher during the Memphis Business Journal's Small Business Awards
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
MICHAEL GALLAGHER, PRESIDENT
COMPANY
Centro Inc.

VITALS
What company does: Centro Inc. is a specialty distributor and sales representative company. For our customers, flow control of fluids, solids and gases is critical to the success of the manufacturing process. Centro sells a range of products from commodities to highly engineered, technically sophisticated products that are applied in a range of industries. The company is organized into six product-focused divisions, each providing specific services to customers and resellers in process industries such as refining, food and beverage, chemical, pulp and paper, power, and automotive and general manufacturing. Key produts include valves, compressed air products, steam products, mixers, gauges, instrumentation, pumps, filters, level controls, automation products, liquid and gas flow meters and temperature control products.
Background: Gallagher has a B.S. and an MBA, marketing & Business Administration, from Plymouth state University. He has more than 30 years of experience in sales and as a distributor in several large industrial companies.
Current number of employees:97
Year founded: 1970
Website: centromemphis.com
BUSINESS MOVES
Motivation to start company: To remain in Memphis and put to use the best practises I had observed over my career in large companies.
Source of idea: It's the secret wish of many corporate managers to run their own business and develop something special.
Original number of employees: 38
BIG PICTURE
Current state of growth: By 2001, Centro had plateaued, when the company was acquired. Since then, the company has grown through a combination of acquistion and intergation of complementary companies, entery into new geographies, development of new markets and key product line additions.
Most challenging obstacles:Growing the Centro culture, dealing with the impact of an aging workforce, finding and developing the next generation of great employees, and keeping the company focused on the future even during difficult times
How company has demonstrated excellence in its field: We have succeeded based on our ability to work with our customer to provide more than just products. We help them achieve their goals, so we get a large share of their business because of the help we provide and the breadth of product offerings.
Future plans:To use our compressed air division and filtration division to gain a significant share of the automotive and tier 1 support manufacturing market regionally.

Centro Executive of the year nominationMBJ announces its 2016 Small Business Awards finalists 
Apr 15, 2016, 1:21pm CDT
Updated Apr 15, 2016, 4:33pm CDT
[PDF FILE 81.5KB]
One of the premier events of Memphis Business Journal’s calendar, the Small Business Awards, enters its 36th year with an impressive group of finalists.

Since 1980, MBJ has highlighted numerous small businesses and their owners, the lifeblood of our economy. But, it was particularly difficult for the MBJ staff to winnow down the nominees this year, as the quality of this year's crop of finalists shows.

Here are the 2016 finalists by category, as determined by their number of employees:

Small businesses:
  • Dixie Pickers
  • Harvest Creative
  • Phillip Ashley Chocolates
  • Redeemer’s Group Inc.
  • T-Star Luxury Ground Transportation
  • Medium businesses:
Allworld Project Management LLC
  • Big League Movers
  • Hi-Speed Industrial Service
  • Office Interiors of Memphis
  • OrgWide

Large businesses:
  • Campbell Clinic
  • Capstone Education Group
  • Montgomery Martin Contractors
  • Owen Brennan’s Restaurant
  • Whitmor

Executive of the Year:
  • Michael Gallagher, Centro Inc
  • Nick Gant, Gant Systems
  • Nisha Powers, Powers Hill Design LLC
  • Ray Rico, Ray Rico Freelance LLC
  • Brian Stephens, Caissa Public Strategy LLC
A panel of independent judges will select the winners from the finalists in each of the three categories based on company size and also Executive of the Year.

The Small Business Awards winners will be named at a banquet on Tuesday, May 17, at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis. Networking and cocktail hour will be 5:30-6:30 p.m., with the program and dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Presenting Sponsor is Comcast Business. Gold Sponsors are Elliott Davis Decosimo and Regions Bank. Supporting Sponsor is State Systems Inc.

Finalist for Executive OTY
Michael Gallagher Memphis Business Journal Executive of the year
WINNER! Mike Gallagher, Centro Inc Awarded Memphis Business Journal's Executive of the YearWINNER! Mike Gallagher, Centro Inc Awarded Memphis Business Journal's Executive of the YearEXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
WINNER: MICHAEL GALLAGHER, CENTRO INC.

If there ever is a Memphis Business Journal Small Business Awards Hall of Fame, Mike Gallagher will get in on the first ballot. At the 36th Small Business Awards, the CEO of Centro Inc. took home the Executive of the Year Awards...
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