April 11, 2008, HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The University of Southern Mississippi honored Hartley and Mary Peavey, the driving forces behind musical-equipment innovator Peavey Electronics Corporation, with its Distinguished Entrepreneurs of the Year Award on April 10 in Hattiesburg.
Hartley and Mary Peavey are the first recipients to share the annual USM College of Business award, and Mary Peavey is the first woman to receive the honor. In a lecture to the College of Business following the awards luncheon, Hartley Peavey urged students to focus on the future.
“Mary and I are very humbled to receive this award today,” remarked founder and CEO Hartley Peavey. “The truth about entrepreneurs is that we have to approach every day with enthusiasm, a willingness to learn from mistakes and the desire to innovate, and trust that those traits will guide us to success. My only advice for you is never quit.”
Alvin Williams, interim Dean and Professor of Marketing, said the USM College of Business is pleased to recognize the exemplary accomplishments of Hartley and Mary Peavey in revolutionizing the sound industry around the globe. “Their commitment to ’listening to the customer’ and following their dreams has led to new ideas, new products and exciting new markets worldwide. They embody the spirit and soul of what we teach our entrepreneurship students."
Hartley Peavey founded Peavey Electronics Corporation in 1965 using the attic space above his father’s Meridian, Miss., music store as his first base of operations. Now housed in 27 facilities across the United States and the United Kingdom, Hartley Peavey has grown his one-man company into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of musical instruments and professional sound equipment. A well-known industry spokesperson, Hartley Peavey is a recognized authority in the music and audio field as well as in marketing and international trade.
Prior to taking the reins as company president, Mary Peavey led an illustrious career in commercial real estate, during which she founded and managed her own company. Mary Peavey studied at Mississippi State University and became one of the first women to complete the prestigious Owner/President Management Program in the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education division. She currently serves on the board of directors for the national Afterschool Alliance.
Each year, the USM College of Business Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes an entrepreneur whose individual spirit of determination and vision has resulted in an American success story. Previous recipients include H. Ross Perot and David Oreck.
In addition to countless music and audio industry awards, Hartley Peavey has received leadership honors such as the National Literacy Honors Award and multiple Presidential “E Star” Awards for excellence in exporting, among others.