PART 1: Passion for boom cars fueled Scottie Johnson’s ever-growing business empire
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article in a series spotlighting Scottie Johnson, a Knoxville entrepreneur who turned his passion for boom cars into a thriving and ever-growing set of businesses.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
If one measure of a person’s success is the number of businesses he or she leads, Scottie Johnson might be at or near the top in the Knoxville region.
A review of his LinkedIn page shows eight separate but mostly interrelated companies where he serves as Chief Executive Officer and an ninth where he is a Partner. Most are in Knoxville; the business where Johnson is a partner is in Las Vegas, and another is headquartered in Oneonta, NY. Most have been secured through acquisitions, something that Johnson attributes to long-standing relationships with bankers that he has built over time and to whom he remains very loyal.
His most recent purchase was the building that houses the presses and pared down offices of the Knoxville News Sentinel, and how that deal unfolded at the end of 2021 says a lot about the business acumen and seeming patience that Johnson has developed over the years. More important, the businesses that he has built are a significant accomplishment considering what Johnson says was his challenging upbringing in Western Kentucky that started with very modest beginnings only exacerbated by the death of his mother when he was very young.
Today, most of Johnson’s enterprises stem from his early interest in car stereos as a hobby, specifically the sound pressure side where it was all about “who can make the loudest boom.” As Johnson told us, “It’s very scientific . . . there’s nothing subjective” in the thump of those noisy woofers. The sound is prized by car stereo enthusiasts and their boom cars that are equipped with audio systems that produce excessive sound pressure levels.
How is that noise generated? It comes from batteries than are much more powerful than those found in normal cars. What started as a passion and participation in boom car competitions while still living in Morgantown, KY led to Johnson building his own batteries to produce the power he needed for those cars. Then, that entrepreneurial spirit resulted in a job offer from a battery manufacturer and, as they say, the rest is history.
Johnson is leading a multi-company organization that includes:
- XS Power Batteries;
- Systematic Power Solutions LLC;
- Systematic Power Manufacturing LLC;
- Systematic Power Management Inc.;
- Showtime Electronics;
- Trustfall Production Group (TFPG);
- SVJ Holdings LLC; and
- Systematic Properties LLC.
XS Power Batteries and the next four companies are closely related with a focus on the batter market. Las Vegas-based TFPG, which also has a Nashville office, is a full service live event production company and video integration (installation) company. Systematic Properties, LLC is the vehicle through which Johnson bought the News Sentinel building.
So, how did a Western Kentucky-born individual get to Knoxville and build the business group that he oversees today? It all started at an early age, working and eventually managing his older brother’s pizza restaurant.
NEXT: Entrepreneurship began at an early age for Johnson.