Kevin Gourley, 35, was born and raised in Blount County, graduated Maryville High School and three years ago married his wife, Karla. She is pregnant with their first child, due in March.
While he builds homes and manages real estate on the side, he also owns a cellular phone store and has been in that business 14 years. In that time, society has changed as everyone seems to have become more connected via cell phones.
"I guess the big thing is, a lot of people obviously benefit from phones and what phones can help provide. Sometimes I think they can be abused a little bit, but as far as over all technology, things are continuing to change so much," he says. "They (companies) are making it easier and easier for anyone to have a phone in hand. Ive had people buy phones for 8- and 9-year-old kids. Everyone want to stay in touch and that the way to do."
Here is Kevin Gourley:
Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"I always knew I wanted to be in sales. I always heard as I was growing up that each person has his/her own niche, and that one day I would realize what I wanted to do. Soon after high school, I worked at Cellular One and really enjoyed meeting all of the different customers I got to work with. I knew there were a lot of opportunities in that field as cell phones were just making their debut. So- I worked hard and saved my money and got to the point I was able to own my own store, Cellular 1st."
What is one word others often use to describe you and
"Determined. My wife says that when someone tells me it cant be done, I will make sure it can be done."
When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew
"A professional athlete, but as I got older I knew that wasnt going to work, because I didnt have the talent it required."
What was your first paying job?
"At around age 16 I found myself getting into a little too much mischief. My dad loaded me up in his car and took me to a Parade of Homes job site. He got out of the car and introduced himself to the builder. He then proceeded to tell the builder that I needed to know the meaning of hard work, and I would start that day. I was hired on the spot for $3.50 an hour. That was the best thing he ever did for me."
Whats the best thing about Blount County?
"Opportunities. Blount County is a rapidly growing area. With that there are a lot of opportunities for everyone, young and old. While Blount County is still growing, it remains a quaint town with down-to-earth people who are always willing to step-up to the plate and help others."
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it
"Relax and enjoy life! Sometimes my patience wears thin, and then, I realized that the moment has passed me by."
What is your passion?
"Work. As strange as this may sound, I love to work. I love the feeling of accomplishing things. Whenever I need to relax, I work."
To what do you attribute your success?
Gourley attributes his success to hard work, honesty and loyalty to family. "My dad, Charles Gourley, always taught me that you are remembered not by the things you have, but the way you live your life. I always tell my wife, surround yourself with winners and you will be a winner too."
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long
"Dossie Bledsoe, my grandfather. He died before I was born, and I never got the opportunity to know him. I have heard so many great things about him."
What do you hate?
"Arrogant people. There is no reason for arrogance. I was always taught that I am better than no one else but no else is better than me. I believe if youre successful then you shouldnt have time to talk about it. You should be busy working."
Whats your favorite quote?
"Dont judge a book by its cover. You never know what lies beneath."
What do you do to relax or for fun?
"This is a crazy but I love boating, mowing and family time. My wife and I are avid boaters and are on the lake every warm weekend. On my off days from boating, I love to mow. It is such a stress reliever for me and gives me time to think things out."
What is your dream vacation?
"My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Maui. Just about the time we got there and got used to the drastic time change, it was time to go back. We did snorkel almost daily, and I have never seen more beautiful fish."
What is your favorite toy?
"My lawn mower. It doesnt take a lot to please me!"
Rebels, Tornadoes, Mountaineers or Governors?
"Rebels without a doubt. I graduated from MHS in 1989 and will always support them."
What is your all-time favorite movie?
" Dances with Wolves. The time period in which this movie takes place has always intrigued me. In addition, this movie demonstrates that if you are open to learn new things, you may have a whole new world in front of you."
If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation
you would make? How would you splurge?
Gourley says he would donate to help organizations that serve sexually abused children and splurge by buying a plane so he and Karla could fly to Dallas every weekend during the National Football Leagues season to watch the Cowboys play.
Coke or Pepsi?
Gourley says he drinks Pepsi because it is the official drink of the Dallas Cowboys.
What is the best present you ever received?
Gourley says his favorite gift was a two-seater go-cart he got for Christmas when he was 9 years old. "I really thought I was something."
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
"My parents always gave me a lot of good advice. Of course there were times I didnt listen. But one thing that always sticks out in my mind is something my mom used to tell me: Always respect your elders, even if you think they are wrong."
Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
Gourley says he was paddled in eighth grade for sleeping in history class.