By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
So how did local entrepreneur Vig Sherrill get to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge region 27 years ago?
He says that he was working in Princeton, NJ at the David Sarnoff Research Center, more commonly known as Sarnoff Labs, when he and his wife decided to relocate.
“We wanted a better place to live,” Sherrill explained.
Knoxville became the destination when he accepted a position to work for Mark Medley at Control Technology Corporation. About a year later, Sherrill left the company to start Audio Animation, the first of his seven start-ups.
As we frequently do during our interviews with successful entrepreneurs, we asked Sherrill to share lessons he’s learned over a quarter of a century. He offered two.
“Have really good partners,” Sherrill said. “Great people make all the difference in the world.”
His second point was about passion.
“If you don’t really like what you are doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it, for very long anyway” Sherrill said. He emphasized this characteristic by relating a time when his company lost a large job proposal. “Although it was our company that lost, I took it very personal,” Sherrill said.
He did not cite a point that was repeated several times during the multi-hour interview. Simply stated, it is “have fun along the way.”
Sherrill clearly has and is still doing so. The region is lucky he came here in 1987.