Atlanta resident Charles Smithgall, Chairman and CEO of SEI/Aaron’s, Inc. addressed the Phi Delta Theta Alumni Club of Atlanta at its fall networking event last night, which was held at Whitehall Tavern. In attendance were more than 40 local alumni and several undergraduate from the Georgia Tech chapter.
Crediting his Phi Delta Theta experience as contributing to his career successes, Brother Smithgall stressed the importance that mentors can play in developing a successful career. “I’ve had several mentors in my life and all have been leaders and men of great strength,” he said. “Don’t wait for a potential mentor to come to you; rather you have to take the initiative to seek out those you wish to emulate.”
Smithgall was initiated into Phi Delta Theta at Georgia Technical College, receiving a B.S. in Industrial Management in 1965. Following successful careers in the construction and media industries, he acquired his first Aaron’s franchise in 1995. Today, as head of SEI/Aaron’s, Inc., he has taken that single store and expanded to become Aaron’s largest multi-unit franchisee with 106 stores and annual revenue topping $140 million.
The Phi Delta Theta Alumni Club of Atlanta is one of the Fraternity’s oldest and currently represents more than 2,000 Metro Atlanta alumni from more than 150 colleges and universities across the United States.
“We’re fortunate to have someone like Brother Smithgall address our group,” said Travis McCloskey, (Mercer ’01) alumni club president. “His success is an inspiration to working alumni and undergraduate members alike.”