Business Leaders: Shaw Industries’ Vance Bell

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Name: Vance Bell
Company: Shaw Industries Group Inc.
Position: CEO
Previous position: Executive vice president of operations
Education: Georgia Tech (1973)
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"[Warren Buffett's] advice is always widen the moat, work on creating a competitive advantage, and that's what we do. We don't worry about last month or next month, we worry about creating a competitive advantage for the business."

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Former Georgia Tech football player Vance Bell now heads the company that supplied the Yellow Jackets' with the turf for their new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility in November 2011.

Bell is the CEO of Shaw Industries Group, the largest carpet manufacturer in the world, which acquired Sportexe Construction Services in 2009 to form Shaw Sportexe. Based in Dalton, Ga., which is often referred to as the carpet capital of the world, Shaw is a subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Bell was named CEO and chairman in 2006, succeeding Robert Shaw, the man who hired him back in the '70s.

Born in Macon, Ga., Bell attended Georgia Tech on a football scholarship, but a knee injury freshman year prevented him from playing long-term. He received a degree in industrial management in 1973 and went to work for West Point-Pepperell, a textiles maker. He joined Shaw Industries in 1975.

During his decades with Shaw, Bell has worked in everything from sales and marketing to operations. The company started as Star Dye Company in 1946. In the late 1960s, a holding company acquired Philadelphia Carpets Company and the now-called Star Finishing. In 1971, this Philadelphia Holding Company went public as Star Industries Inc.

Shaw was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2000. It now boasts more than $4 billion in annual sales and has approximately 25,000 employees.

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