By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
It was late fall of 1996 when Mike White admits that his faith was challenged.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of Multi-Media Solutions, Inc. is empowered by his faith and his close knit family as noted in the first article in this series.
In the space of one month, however, he lost Mark Wilson, one of his best friends who also happened to be his brother-in-law, and Garfield Williams, his maternal grandfather. White’s father also had open heart surgery and received five bypasses.
“You always find out about your make-up in the valley,” he says, referring to low points in life.
For White, it was a time of introspection and an even stronger focus on the family. He says that he reverted from being a Sunday School teacher to attending classes, a strategy that helped him at a time of real need.
White also literally pulled his family together under one roof.
He designed and built a 14,000 square foot home named Eaglesrest in Maryville. It became the home for White’s parents, his maternal grandmother (now deceased), his sister and her two daughters, his wife Melanie, and their two sons.
“All 10 of us made a new family unit,” White explained.
The name Eaglesrest reflects White’s strong faith. It comes from Isaiah Chapter 40, Verse 31 and reflects the commitment of all that live there.
The home even has its own webpage www.eaglesrest.com that tells the story of its creation.
“We are one family,” White says of the occupants.
We asked White about assignment of responsibilities.
“We work as a team,” he says of the family occupants. “Whoever needs to do it at the time does it.”
White describes himself as a “survivor,” both in his personal life and the business world. The experience of the mid-1990s clearly challenged him as has the economy more recently. We’ll talk about Multi-Media Solutions focus in the fourth and final article in this series.