(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a three-part series profiling Knoxville business executive Guille Cruze.)
By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
While Knoxvillian Guille Cruze admits, “I’m certainly not retired; I’m just taking a break from the day-to-day grind,” it is clear that his time is not done in the business arena.
This break has allowed him to engage in a diverse set of activities. Cruze has helped some friends who are teaching urban youth about technology. He’s engaged with important activities such as the work of the Emerald Youth Foundation and its new charter school. He served as a mentor to many as well as participants in the “What’s the Big Idea?!” business competition. And, Cruze has even helped a local logistics organization build new business models to ship America’s excess and expiring medical supplies to developing countries that desperately need them.
“During this time-off, I’ve the busiest unemployed guy you know,” he laughingly says.
But working in an altruistic fashion has its limits for Cruze. He has known all along that one day he’d again engage in endeavors that could build equity for himself, others, and his community. This has come to pass with his newest collaboration with local serial entrepreneur John Morris in the formation of their company, Clearpath Ventures, LLC.
“Through the great efforts of several local organizations, many of our budding entrepreneurs have access to tremendous resources to get them started on the right foot,” Cruze says. “Think of these organizations as the entry door to a great farm system. What John and I are providing is access to the business and personnel expertise, refinement, and tuning it takes to play at the next levels – be it double-A, triple-A, or ultimately the major leagues.”
Using his baseball analogy, Cruze is now back in the game in a big way.
“I have really missed being directly involved with people in the workforce on a daily basis,” he says. “Working with John on Clearpath is giving me that opportunity again.
“I love to compete, and nothing performs better than a committed, talented group of individuals who respect and value working with each other toward the same goal with a sense of urgency . . . and expecting to win,” Cruze adds.
Regardless of the outcomes that Cruze and Morris achieve with Clearpath Ventures, the Knoxville region will surely benefit from their solid, principle-based approach to starting and growing a business.