Ron D. Smith has
experienced what few men have. His diverse choices have found him involved in
book publishing, music publishing, business and brand management, and digital
media. All these, plus the media producing operation of Steelehouse Media
Group, children's entertainment giant Big Idea/Veggie Tales, and start-up
Worthy Publishing have delivered Smith squarely into one of the hottest market
segments emerging. His latest target, global digital media, may well be Smith’s
smartest move yet.
Growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina and experiencing success as an athlete from an early age, Ron D. Smith knew early on that he wanted a career that involved putting the right people in the right room to create successful collaborations. After high school, Smith attended Trevecca Nazarene University, majoring in communications with a minor in business. During his sophomore year, Ron D. Smith entered into a working relationship with US Bankcard, a Nashville based business that pioneered independent credit card processing and lower discount rates. That company later sold for over $1 billion. At US Bankcard, Smith also oversaw several telemarketing initiatives for the American Heart Association and several regional banks before leaving to start his first independent endeavor in 1990.
From 1990-2000, Ron D. Smith built the foundation for a diverse group of ventures that leveraged his abilities and relationships perfectly. Key business relationships included several firms involved in digital printing, imaging and business systems, entertainment enterprises, direct marketing and group travel related services. Smith accumulated a string of successes that broadened his opportunities and his strong business and personal relationships.
At the same time, Ron
D. Smith and his partners launched music publishing and artist management firm McSpadden-Smith
Music. Using a solid Nashville base to expand these two businesses solidified
his reputation as an entrepreneur. In 1995, McSpadden-Smith Music entered into
a partnership with Broadway Video, a producer of TV hits such as Saturday Night Live and several hit
movies including Tommy Boy.
Broadway Video provided resources for growth and access to key retail
relationships including the then thriving Blockbuster Music. Ron D. Smith
served as the pivotal contact for all retail relationships and helped
Blockbuster Music's Christian music sales more than triple in a single year.
Broadway Video was sold
to Golden Books Family Entertainment and with it McSpadden-Smith along with
their Family Entertainment division. Ron D. Smith oversaw the music
company and began to create products for the Golden Books imprint. While
McSpadden-Smith continued to grow, its parent company Golden Books could not
sustain its liquidity. Acting on instinct, Smith along with an investor group
moved on the acquisition of the music company. Then, as the company continued
its growth trend Ron D. Smith positioned the company for sale to Music and
Media Intl. During that time, artists that recorded songs from the company’s
catalog included Faith Hill, Anita Baker, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Vince
Gill and many others.
When Smith sold the music publishing company the music catalog had more than 4,000 songs with over 700 recorded by major Christian, Pop and Country artists. The songs totaled dozens of #1 hits with many more in Top 10.
The last decade has found Ron D. Smith continuing to expand his reach and diversify his business interests. Smith facilitated the $10 million acquisition of Howard Publishing to Simon & Schuster. He maintains a consulting relationship with Classic Media, the new owner of Big Idea/VeggieTales, and oversees various strategic growth initiatives for the firm. He has served as a consultant for Simon & Schuster, Random House and several other high profile companies involved in diverse market verticals.
Smith’s book publishing company, Freeman-Smith, has created and sold more than 500 titles and in excess of 12 million units. The company sells its products throughout the world and domestically through retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Lifeway and others. In 2011, Freeman-Smith was acquired by Worthy Publishing to develop a larger entity in the ever-changing book publishing world. Ron D. Smith continues an ongoing consulting relationship with Worthy Publishing.
Ron D. Smith finds his most important and rewarding role at home. Married to his wife Michelle, he revels in spending time with family and says that provides the balance every man needs. Together with their three children, they travel and enjoy sporting events and their involvement at GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee.