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May 14, 2014 | Tom Ballard

Mike White says he’s blessed and rich, but “not by dollars”

Multi-media Solutions(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of four articles on long-time Blount County business executive Mike White.)

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Mike White has taken a lifetime of learning from his faith, family and business experiences and applied them to the strategies that drive Multi-Media Solutions, Inc. (MMS) today.

“Do I own the business or does it own me,” he asks. I suspect it is a little bit of both.

White’s philosophy is reflected in the company’s tagline: “It’s about what we know, not what we sell.”

One of the key service lines is digital signage, an expertise first demonstrated in the Office Depot work highlighted in the second article in this series.

“We know how digital signage at the enterprise level works,” White says, explaining that dynamic digital signage involves having the “right message for the right people at the right time.”

Duty Free America is one of Multi-Media Solutions’ largest customers. East Tennesseans flying through Atlanta can see the company’s work for Duty Free in Concourse E.

Video collaboration is a second service line for White’s company, and it involves international installations. The technology includes high definition videoconferencing and the growing interest in telepresence systems.  MMS’ largest video collaboration client is Eastman Chemical where it serves as the corporation’s Global Deployment Partner for all videoconferencing and Telepresence technology.

A third focus is on advanced integration projects such as 911 Centers and Emergency Operations Centers.

“When others think it is too difficult, we are at our best,” White says. “We specialize in the geeky stuff.”

Another service line falls in the more traditional audio-visual sector. “It makes-up what we do daily,” White says, but adds that Multi-Media Solutions keeps this customer base within 250 miles of its Alcoa headquarters.

The local entrepreneur has also recently expanded his offerings, becoming the franchisee for Varitronics in the State of Tennessee. The company has a line of products under the VariQuest brand, described as “Visual Learning Tools,” a natural area for Multi-Media Solutions.

The Blount County company is just a few months into this latest offering that is focused on school systems.

“True success is only gained through serving and helping others,” White explains. To illustrate the point, he related a story involving former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter who was speaking at a meeting in Gatlinburg. One of the Governor’s aides had dropped his Power Point presentation in a mud puddle, making it impossible to use.

White overheard the exchange and offered to help recreate the presentation. He did not expect anything in return, but today wears a watch with the State of Tennessee seal that Governor McWherter gave him.

For White, this is just one example of how his faith, family values, and life’s lessons have developed a strong ethical foundation that drives his business.

“I’m a blessed man, a rich man . . . not by dollars,” White says.

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