The 2016 honorees are Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris and AutoZone President & CEO Bill Rhodes.
A native of the Ozarks, Morris has had a lifelong passion for wildlife and the outdoors. That passion inspired Morris to publish the first Bass Pro catalog in 1974. Since that time, Bass Pro Shops has become North America’s leading retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and boating equipment with nearly 100 stores and over 20,000 employees. In 1978, he introduced Bass Tracker, the first boat, motor, and trailer package designed just for anglers. Tracker has been America’s number one selling fishing boat for over 35 years. Bass Pro is America’s foremost corporate supporter of conservation. The company is a generous supporter of Ducks Unlimited, and in 2014, they donated space for the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center in their Memphis Pyramid store. In addition to Morris’ philanthropic efforts to promote conservation, he is a member of Ducks Unlimited’s land trust and foundation board, Wetlands America Trust.
Rhodes assumed his current role at AutoZone in 2005 and the company has flourished under his leadership. Over the last decade, Rhodes has become one of Memphis’ most highly regarded civic leaders. During his 11-year tenure as President & CEO, AutoZone has donated millions to arts and culture organizations, along with countless hours of arts-related volunteering by AutoZone employees. In fact, AutoZone was recently honored by Americans for the Arts as one of the ten companies in America with the strongest commitment to the arts. Rhodes has served on the Board of ArtsMemphis and he is an ardent supporter of AutoZone’s ArtsZone initiative – a pool of funding administered in partnership with ArtsMemphis. In addition, Rhodes currently serves on the boards of: Coalition for Auto Repair Equality, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Memphis Tomorrow, Youth Programs, Inc., the National Civil Rights Museum, Teach for America, Rhodes College and Dollar General.
2005 | Harry Phillips
2006 | Billy Dunavant
2008 | Allen Morgan & Henry Morgan
2010 | George Dunklin & Steve Reynolds
2012 | Trow Gillespie & Chuck Smith
2014 | Spence, Bob & Kem Wilson