MCD Partners

Memphis Daily News
Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in Memphis
August 26, 2013
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

Steve Jobs once said, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the square pegs in the round holes … the ones who see things differently … they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Perhaps some people do call them crazy. Most folks refer to them as Entrepreneurs.

An Entrepreneur is comfortable with ambiguity, and motivated by challenge. Succeeding against all odds is a familiar journey of those who ride a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. They meet both challenge and opportunity with enthusiasm and passion, and define what they do by hard work and dedication. They don’t stop creating for either success or failure.

These risk-takers share a common thread of ensuring continuous improvement by discovering new ways of thinking and doing. And the hub of this entrepreneurial spirit is right here in Memphis; the Society of Entrepreneurs (SOE).

Founded in 1991, the Society of Entrepreneurs was the vision of Walker Uhlhorn, founder of Uhlhorn Security Group. A successful entrepreneur himself, he believed in that old adage, ‘Fire, ready, aim,’ so he gathered together a group of kindred spirits, like Art Seessel, Henry Turley, L.R. Jalanek, and a few more of those who sail against the wind. The creative energy flowed, and the Society of Entrepreneurs was born.

According to Uhlhorn, “The purpose of the SOE is to foster the development of the entrepreneurial spirit, and to recognize the contributions of entrepreneurs to business and the community.”

The founding group believed that succeeding against all odds can be modeled, and that an entrepreneur has a responsibility to create more entrepreneurs. It is noteworthy that really great people believe that others can be really great too.

Since that time, the SOE has grown to include visionary leaders in many fields who have helped shape our community, and the world, including Fred Smith, Kemmons Wilson, Pitt Hyde, Abe Plough, Clarence Saunders and more than a hundred others, all here in Memphis.

What a track record Memphis has in launching new ideas, new ways of thinking and doing. It is the home of the entrepreneurial spirit. They are also social entrepreneurs, who seek new ways to lift our city, and find solutions to challenges that will help all citizens learn, work and prosper. They embody the best of business acumen and civic responsibility.

Pearson Crutcher, executive director of the SOE proclaims, “I have the best job in the world. I get to interact and work with some of the most creative and inspiring people in the world. They are committed to passing on their wisdom so that fledgling entrepreneurs can be supported and encouraged.”

As member Jack Belz said, “Entrepreneurship is the very essence of America and Western free enterprise society.”

And it’s alive and well in Memphis. See for yourself at

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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