Tuesday, June 7, 2016

At the 36th Small Business Awards Michael Gallagher, CEO of Centro, Inc., took home the Executive of the Year Award 2016. Gallagher has lead Centro since purchasing it in 2001. During that time the company has grown steadily making key acquisitions across the southeast. As CEO Michael has guided Centro to win the Small Business of the Year award in 2012 and cracking the Top 100 privately held business list in 2014. Congratulations Mr. Gallagher on a well-deserved honor.

If there ever is a Memphis Business Journal Small Business Awards Hall of Fame, Mike Gallagher will get in on the first ballot. 

At the 36th Small Business Awards, the CEO of Centro Inc. took home the Executive of the Year Awards. 

"The first time I came to this event was six or seven years ago," Gallagher said in his acceptance speech in front of a packed house at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis. "My goal was just to be good enough to be invited back." 

Gallagher didn't need to worry. 

Centro was a finalist at the SBAs in both 2010 and 2011 before breaking through and winning the small business category in 2012. 

At the time, Gallagher outlined his next set of goals: "The next step for us is to make it to (MBJ's) Top (100) privately held business list," Gallagher said just after the company's win in 2012. "We're going to continue to grow and we're going to continue to be part of this community." 

By 2014, Centro cracked the list. In 2015, the company's $62 million placed it No. 85 on the Top 100 List. 

Gallagher sees SBA as special. 

"For all the small business owners here," he said, "this is truly an opportunity for all of you."

Centro is a sales representative and distributor for valves, pumps, mixers and other products for the flow control industry. 

Gallagher worked for large corporations before purchasing Centro in 2001 from its original founders, risking the majority of his net worth in the process after he liquidated his 401(k) and took out multiple mortgages on his home. 

Since then, the company has grown steadily, making key acquisitions across the Mid-South. 

The company currently has more than 100 employees across nine states. 

Other finalists in the category were: Nick Gant of Gant Systems, Nisha Powers of Powers Hill Design, Ray Rico of Ray Rico Freelance and Brian J. Stephens of Caissa Public Strategy. 

- Ed Arnold/Memphis Business Journal