By Gary C. Smith
Special to Inside The Pew
Gary C. Smith is the president and CEO of the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR). The national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is a gifts-in-kind type organization that solicits donations of excess inventory from American companies and redistributes a wide range of materials to its membership base of approximately 12,000 nonprofits, schools and church organizations throughout the country. Smith, who has served as president and CEO since 1993, is the son of NAEIR’s founder Norbert C. Smith.
Why did you create your business?
“Over the years and during the course of business dealings with a wide range of companies, many of them major corporations, Norbert C. Smith, a business executive and entrepreneur, observed that there were millions of dollars of unsold products, in perfectly good condition, simply collecting dust in warehouses or being sent to landfills.
“He founded NAEIR in 1977 as a means of capturing this material and making it available initially to schools across the country. NAEIR was the first organization of its kind; serving as a middleman between American corporations and nonprofits, schools and churches throughout the U.S. It is the leading gifts-in-kind organization in the country and has received over $3 billion dollars in donations of inventory since its founding.”
What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?
Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?
“Never give up! Keep listening to others (customers, employees, and friends). The answer will be revealed. Listen more than you speak.”
Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?
“I’m a recovering alcoholic. No slips for 28 years (February 1985)…with the help of the Lord and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).”