William B. Courtney (Bill), a native Memphian, founded Classic American Hardwoods, Inc. in 2001. Today, it employs 120 people with a 45 acre manufacturing facility and domestic sales offices in Memphis, TN and international sales offices in Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2007, Classic American Hardwoods, Inc. won the Memphis Business Journal’s Small Business of the Year Award based on its growth and commitment to community service.
In 2003, Bill began volunteering at Memphis’ inner city Manassas High School in an effort to turn its underperforming football team around. In 2003, the team had 19 players with a dismal 4-95, 10-year record. In the 2008 & 2009 seasons, the team’s record improved to 18-2, with 75 players. The story inspired a Hollywood film—Undefeated—which won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary.
In 2011, Bill was inducted into Bridge Builders for leadership in diversity, community, and justice. He was the 2012 recipient of the Liberty Bowl’s Harry Zinn Spirit of 1776 award for distinguished citizenship, recipient of the Carnival Memphis’ King’s award for outstanding achievement in Business and Industry, and the National Football Foundation and College Hall of fame Memphis chapter’s award winner for The distinguished American for Contribution to Amateur Athletics. In 2013, he was inducted into the prestigious Society of Entrepreneurs as a result of his success in business and community service.
Today, Bill still operates as the President and CEO of Classic American Hardwoods. He speaks at a variety of events from the Para Olympics in Colorado Springs, with Nike, PepsiCo, FedEx, and other nationally recognized companies, to churches, schools, and hospitals. His first book, Against the Grain, was published by Weinstein Books in May 2014, and will be sold in paperback October 2015.
comedian and host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
head coach of Super Bowl XLVIII champions the Seattle Seahawks and New York Times best selling author
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