By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A Christian clothing line founded by a former NFL player ranks as the top read story on Inside The Pew for 2013.

Mark Clayton, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, launched his own clothing line – My Christian T – back in 2011.Mark Clayton Although Clayton confirmed with Inside The Pew on Twitter in 2012 that he no longer operates the clothing, there is still an interest in the wide receiver’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

Clayton was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but injuries signed the Oklahoma Sooner’s career in the NFL. He told Sean Devine of Did You See That?! in September he has no regrets about his NFL playing days.

“Every minute, every experience, every relationship, I’ll never forget any of it. I’m working hard to come back and I hope to continue my career. Hopefully we can add some more stories, relationships, and experiences to my legacy.”

Three other sports related stories made the top 10. The filming of a biopic on high school football coach Bob Ladouceur in New Orleans came in at No. 4, while stories about Super Bowl XLVII coaches (and brothers) Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh were ranked No. 7 and  No. 8, respectively.

The story of Tyres Dixon, a Houston resident who works for the United Way and winner of the nonprofit organization’s Achiever of the Year, landed at No. 2 on the list.

Three stories from the Pew Business spotlight landed in the top 10. Whitening Lightning founder Jennifer Gerard (No. 3), National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) president and CEO Gary C. Smith (No. 9), and Ezechiel “Zeke” Bambolo and First Born Son Inc. (No. 5) made the annual list.

Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, was pleased at the amount of popularity generated by the spotlight. The section was officially launched in March.

“When we created the section, we wanted to help boost the presence of like-minded entrepreneurs who take Him in to the workplace every day. These types of stories are what our readers want to see. Hopefully, Christians who are considering entrepreneurship can draw from the stories of these individuals.”

Fly Away Records and its Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations (No. 10) and Melanie Stone’s column on the attributes of a Kingdom builder (No. 6) rounded out the top 10.

List of top stories

  1. NFL wide receiver launcher clothing line to give glory to God
  2. Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year
  3. Gerard to fellow entrepreneurs: Trust Him, great things will occur
  4. Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans
  5. The First Born Son Inc. helps restore individuals and families
  6. Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder
  7. Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday
  8. John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event
  9. NAEIR redistributes corporations’ unsold products to nonprofits
  10. Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

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 nationalCongressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), NAEIR president and CEO Gary C. Smith, and former Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) take part in discussion at NAEIR headquarters. 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?

“‘Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.’ – Psalm 31:5 (NKJV).”Gary C. Smith

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).”

Visit their website at www.naeir.org and NAEIR’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NAEIR. The organization’s toll free number is (800)-562-0955.