Barry Alexander was born in Williamson County and has lived here his entire life, so it is understandable when he says it is a particularly special area for him.
“All you have to do is drive down any street in our county and you will fall in love,” Barry says. “I could say it is the beautiful rolling farm land that is like no other area, the history and all the beautiful homes that have been restored in downtown Franklin, the fantastic schools that are second to none, or, most importantly, the friendly people that genuinely love you and embrace you.”
Barry has been working with cars since he was six, beginning by helping out his father in his gas stations, then in founding Alexander Automotive franchises in Franklin, Columbia, Murfreesboro and Cookeville. He currently owns Alexander Automotive, Harpeth Towing and Recovery, AAG Financial, BA Properties, J Alexander Real Estate and Barry Alexander Farms.
Barry’s leadership roles in his companies allow him to work with a variety of employees and customers, with whom he works hard in order to create a positive work and consumer experience. “I have always taken my role as a leader, as well as my family, seriously. I understood that in order to be successful, you had to treat your employees not just fairly but let them know they’re part of the family. With this management philosophy, we were able to keep employees and experienced a very low turnover. I focused on ensuring that they understood the importance of keeping our customers happy so they would return year after year,” Barry says.
His greatest work accomplishment is having former employees’ children come to work for him and the family-oriented atmosphere it creates. Personally, his family is his greatest accomplishment. “Without your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters and extended family members, life would be boring,” he says.
Because he has lived in Williamson County for so long, he has seen it through many years of change. “I have watched Franklin change dramatically over the years and I am blessed to have been part of the growth by supporting our county and city government. I believe we have all worked together to make Franklin’s growth a positive experience,” Barry says. If he could change anything about Williamson County it would be to return to a slower pace without the rapid environment of technology so that everyone could visit and enjoy time with each other more.
He currently lives in Thompson’s Station on acres of farmland where he raises cows, horses, chickens, goats, dogs and cats. For Barry, keeping animals on his family farm helps his grandchildren develop a positive and determined work ethic. “On any given day in the summertime, you can see our grandchildren feeding the animals or weed eating, cutting grass, painting the fence or maintaining the farm,” he says.
Barry is a deeply religious man. “My love of the Lord keeps me going. He knows my faults and I trust Him to lead me in the right direction. I have done life with the Lord and without and I can tell you that with the Lord, life is exceptionally better. I can honestly say if I do anything good or become a better man, father or employer it is because of the Lord leading me,” he explains.
What does it mean to be a distinctively southern gentleman? Barry says that you must serve others by helping those in need and by being a role model for people around to look up to. It’s being “trustworthy and dedicated to being the best you can be. Being quick to forgive and take the high road, not being afraid to show love and compassion while being the strength of a business or family,” he says.
“I understood that in order to be successful, you had to treat your employees not just fairly but let them know they’re part of the family.”