Meeting Ted Alling

Quick Note: This was originally posted over on Medium as part of my 30 day writing challenge. Each day in December, I’m posting a new thought or article on Medium. You can check it out here:

A few months ago I sent a brief note to Ted Alling.

Don’t know Ted? He’s one of the founders of Access America Transport (now Coyote Logistics), a serial entrepreneur, and co-founder of a venture incubator called Lamp Post Group.

So anyway, I emailed Ted. I don’t remember the note, but it said something like “Would love to meet you sometime if its convenient,” or something terrible like that. After sending it, I forgot about it and had no expectation to ever hear back from him. At least not in response to this email.

The LPG Offices in downtown Chattanooga

A couple of weeks later, I opened my inbox and saw a new mail from someone simply labeled, “Ted.” He read that? And responded?!

Yesterday, I met with Ted. Let me just say this — I had little to no value to offer him, and the kindness and interest he showed was outrageous. He met me at the elevator with a smile and a handshake. We took a quick tour of the Lamp Post offices and he explained the operation and their heartbeat, drive, and vision for the future. He told me his passion was to build up the core of Chattanooga innovation (downtown) and impact the community for better as result. Then, he asked me how HE could better serve and connect me with the entrepreneurial community.

I was dumbfounded. This man is an incredibly valuable, wealthy, and busy individual who could have easily wiped my request out of his inbox and forgotten it forever. I probably would’ve if I were in his chair. Instead, he provided me with a few introductory connections, shared some books to consider, and motivated me want to work even harder to create ideas that will impact this city.

I don’t fully know how or when, but big things are going to continue to happen in Chattanooga. With men like Ted Alling leading, the ceiling this city can reach is undefined. After conversations like I had yesterday, I’m convinced I’ll be part of those things, and am committed to work to make them happen.

Thanks for the time, Ted. You encouraged me in ways I hope to pay forward. Lets go make stuff happen.

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