Unless you are a professional football enthusiast, it is unlikely you have heard of Joe Profit. Yet, in 1971, the powerful and explosive running back was a first round draft pick in the NFL. Due to injuries, Profit eventually retired his cleats, but the lessons he learned on the football field were invaluable. Lessons regarding perseverance, discipline, setting goals and teamwork are, partly, the reasons he is, presently, recognized as one of the most prominent small businessmen in America. Befittingly, his last name literally means financial success. It is not surprising, though, that many question if, in fact, Profit is really his birth-given name and not a pseudonym. I mean, how many great one-liners can you use with a name like Profit Born and raised in one of the poorest areas of the country, Lake Providence, Louisiana, Dr. Joe Profit is one of the most interesting and richest people you will ever meet. After enduring the hardships of life before the Civil Rights Movement - which was often synonymous with being poor, Black and a male - Profit was determined not to let his meager beginnings be his reason for lifelong excuses. After graduating high school, Profit was a walk-on at Northeast Louisiana University (ULM) where he received a full scholarship. Though he faced many discriminatory barriers during his collegiate years as he was the first African-American to play football in the Gulf States Conference (presently known as the Sunbelt Conference), the only barrier Profit truly cared about, at the time, was breaking the opponents' goal line. With such determination, Profit went on to become the Conference's All-Time rushing champion with 2,818 yards, 538 carries and he set ten school records, including most yards in a game, a season and a career In an effort to honor him, the Student Government Association at ULM's recognized his contributions during a ceremony which established February 18th as "Joe Profit Day." They, also, retired his football jersey, #40. Profit became the first athlete to have his number retired in the school's history. Profit credits ULM for giving him a chance to get a quality education when no other college would do so. Joe shared his views as to the impact that ULM had on him by saying, "they invested in my dreams and I grew stronger through the Holy Spirit. This was an important crossroad in my life. I used the "Triple-A's" mantra to deal with my daily challenges. They were: Appearance, Approach, and Attitude." It is apparent that the same mantra that guided him on the football field as a college athlete has guided him in the business world, as well. Although retired from football, Profit continues to compete, tackle and score. This time he does it in boardrooms, at dinner meetings, on conference calls and via smart phones. As a successful businessman, his company, Gourmet Profit, Inc. owned Burger King Franchises in Atlanta Georgia. According to an article that appeared in The Atlanta Journal, Joe Profit's company had sales of more than $2 million in 1978. Furthermore, Profit was the first African-American to purchase a franchise for International House of Pancakes (IHOP) in the state of Georgia. In addition to his restaurant operations, he is the founder and CEO of a $100 million international multimedia firm, Communications International Corporation. His company was ranked by INC. 500 Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America for three years in a row. Through Profit's business endeavors, he has contributed to the nation's economic engine by providing over 800 jobs to people in 37 states and nine countries.
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