Ron Rich/CEO/CFO – Co-founder/Board of Directors
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Ron was raised in Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia before enrolling in Georgia Tech in 1953 where he received a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering in 1958. He was hired by Kellog Switchboard and Supply later renamed IT&T Switchboard in Chicago.
Ron’s father asked if he would come back to Atlanta and take over his building supply company. He resigned from IT&T and took over DeJarnette Supply Company. For the next three years he added new types of materials keeping up with the construction business changes. Ron increased the annual sales and profits for the next five years and in 1968 he co-founded a companion company dealing with drywall materials only.
From 1972 through 1977 Ron started and or managed three construction companies, seven coal mining or processing companies, a company recycling plastic carpet fibers into pellets, one full service lake marina, a dog racing handicapping school, a consulting company teaching minority contractors the proper way to set up a construction company and several other consulting endeavors.
In 1978 Ron bought a furniture manufacturing company in Rabun County Georgia. He also purchased a retail lighting company and by 1996 he had become the largest Juno track and recessed lighting dealer in NE Georgia and Western NC.
In 1990 Ron purchased the Lake Lanier Mobile Home Park and operated it until 2001 when he sold it and bought seven rental units in Alto, Georgia. In 1996 Ron co-founded AGM Enterprises to publish a book titled This Magic Moment written by disc-jockey Harry Turner who grew up with and knew personally performers like Ruth Brown, Chairman of the Board, Smoky Robinson, Bill Pickney and the Drifters, Fats Domino, Billy Scott, the Coasters, Freddy Cannon, Sonny Turner, etc.
Hugh Simpson/CMO-Co-founder/Board of Directors
Hugh was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Hugh became a serial entrepreneur after his three year stint with CBS News as an investigative reporter in the late 1960s.
After getting a Masters in Advertising & Public Relations in 1973 he returned to Jacksonville where he opened his PR consulting business until he was hired by the Original Marlboro Man, the late William Thourlby, to promote his classic You Are What You Wear into a best seller.
After the book tour he set up for Thourlby, Hugh returned to Atlanta and continued his PR consulting business. He also co-founded The Great American Footrace, joined as a partner in one of Atlanta’s earliest video production companies, co-founded one of the first successful telemarketing firms using celebrity voices like President Reagan for political campaigns, co-founded The Atlanta Entrepreneurs Network and had real fun co-founding Atlanta’s Bachelors Club!
His clients in addition to the Original Marlboro Man have included Nobel Prize nominated author Robert Taylor, Statue of Liberty photographer Paul Faso and author of the best selling This Magic Moment, Harry Turner.
Hugh’s love of music was instilled in him at an early age by his mother and that has led to the promotion of several musicians and booking entertainment at numerous Atlanta clubs in the 70s and 80s. He also along with Ron Rich and Harry Turner is one of the co-founders of the Beach Music Association International.
Board of Advisers
Michael Rothschild has spent his entire career in the entertainment business. He is the President and founding owner of Landslide Records, which started up in 1981 in Atlanta, GA. Since then the label has recorded and released product by a number of roots oriented Southern acts, including Col. Bruce Hampton, blues rocker Tinsley Ellis, jam band icons Widespread Panic, Rhythm & Blues shouter Nappy Brown, The Derek Trucks Band, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dave Bartholomew, Webb Wilder, Jim Quick & Coastline, Scrapomatic, and the late Sean Costello.
Upon being discharged from the U.S. Army, Michael moved to Boston and became a buyer with Transcontinental Music Corporation, a large distributor and rack jobber of records and tapes. In 1970, the company transferred him to New York where he managed a subsidiary music publication, CIRCUS Magazine. In New York he also worked as associate producer and partner on the hit motion picture comedy, IS THERE SEX AFTER DEATH?, which starred Buck Henry and Alan Abel.
Subsequently, he acquired distribution rights to the picture and obtained other films, which in 1973 he merged with a production and distribution company in Atlanta, GA, where he lived for the next 35 years.
In 1990. Michael accepted a position as Vice President and Media Director for Michael Parver Associates, an advertising and public relations firm which represented several motion picture studios, including Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios, and Columbia Pictures, throughout the Southeast. He retired from motion picture marketing in 2005 to concentrate solely on his record label.
In 2007, Michael moved to Fernandina Beach, FL, where he continues to manage music business interests. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Music Hall Of Fame and the Variety Club of Atlanta. Additionally, he was appointed to the Board of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival and currently acts as its Media Chairman.
James E. Akenson received his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Minnesota and his MA and PhD in Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Akenson is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Tennessee Technological University where he teaches elementary social studies methods, secondary social studies methods, graduate classes including in social studies and country music, as well as a PhD seminar in Educational Issues.
Akenson co-founder and Co Chair of the International Country Music Conference, served as Treasurer and President of the Tennessee Folklore Society, and President and Executive Director of the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies (TCSS). Akenson is a member of the TCSS Board of Directors and maintains the TCSS FaceBook Wall.
He has written extensively on social studies education and the use of country music in the K-12 curriculum. In addition, Akenson has presented on the use of roots based music at the local, state, national, and international level.
In 2002, Akenson keynoted the Australian Country Music Conference and taught roots music demonstration lessons in elementary and secondary schools in Queensland.