by Ann Bucy
SBJ Contributing Writer
Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Abraham was the first patriarch of the Hebrews. And Cary Summers will be taking their examples, among others, to individuals and corporations, teaching them how to use these Biblical models of leadership to run a business.
As of the end of August, the former president and chief executive officer of Silver Dollar City Inc. will leave his job at SDC to start his own company.
Nehemiah Corporation will be the name of his new corporation, and his consulting group is the Olive Branch Company.
While at Silver Dollar City, Summers helped expand the company with properties in Tennessee and Atlanta, and dealt with all that goes along with those projects.
"I have a lot of great friendships (at Silver Dollar City), and I can continue those," Summers said. "The Herschends, the owners of the park, are close and will continue to be. Some of my new work will take me into Tennessee and Atlanta, and I'll be able to continue the friendships I've made there."
It was while he was working and interacting with other companies that he found a need for Biblical principles to be used in business. "There are many consultants who have great theories," he said. "But people today are looking for answers."
"People were always asking me how I run Silver Dollar City," Summers said. "It's done from a Biblical-principled point of view, and the principles don't change with time. There are some core fundamental ideas that have been proven to work. They're based on Biblical ideas but are not preachy. I use proven Biblical records.
"Why were those men and women in the Bible able to do things like part the Red Sea or lead large groups? Why did what they do work?" Summers added that companies don't have to be Christian to use the principles.
"They will work with any corporation," he said.
His future plans include:
1. Doing consulting work with other companies. This means taking basic business principles and implementing them, learning how to create a better atmosphere for better employees and a higher return for the shareholders.
2. Performing feasibility studies for new companies primarily those in the entertainment and recreation business.
"For example," Summers said, "is it feasible for a certain company to build a new theme park? A company may have the capital to build one, but I help them determine if it will work."
3. Several small acquisitions Summers is interested in operating companies founded on the principles he helps others use.
"It would be a living test lab with these principles working," he said. "We could employ young people and run the company from these Biblically based principles."
He's now putting the information he's gathered over the last 20 years into formalized materials. He attributes the information he has to notes he's gathered over the years and his prolific reading.
He will have a small staff people who are experts in their individual fields. "I want to keep my staff small in order to charge a reasonable fee for consultations and seminars."
There will be topical and general information seminars offered which will run either one or two days.
He will also continue to be involved in inner-city ministries in Atlanta.
"I want to establish a small business where inner-city kids can work and learn Biblical principles," Summers said. "People ask me why I've chosen Atlanta. It has some of the most difficult inner-city problems and also has the largest African American resource base in the country. For the inner-city problems to be resolved, it will start with what comes out of Atlanta."
He said he's been encouraged by people's inquiries into what he's doing.
"I'm literally trusting in the Lord," he said. "I'm an aggressive type A personality. The hardest thing for me is to truly let God lead. But the Lord impressed on me that I should start a business."
For more information or to schedule a consultation or seminar, call 417-336-7200 or 417-753-3036. Summers will have a new number once he finds an office location. Meanwhile he will be staying in the Springfield-Rogersville area.
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.