Chris Presley (MBA 06)
My 17th stop. Visiting my Emory classmate Chris Presley (MBA 06). Sushi dinner with Chris and his wife Bonnie at a rooftop restaurant overlooking downtown Tulsa.
What a treat. Chris showed me his home in Tulsa, his company’s warehouse for glasses (Success Vision Express), their current & future corporate offices, and took me out to dinner at a swanky restaurant over looking downtown Tulsa (I believe the restaurant is “In the Raw Sushi”).
Chris and I served at the Goizueta Christian Fellowship in our Emory MBA program. Our small friendship became more interesting over time as I got to know the rest of his family. By random chance, his sister Hannah was the first person I met at my new church in SoCal after MBA graduation. She is the pastor’s wife. And I also met three of Chris’ brothers on a medical missions trip in Nepal.
Chris moved to SoCal for a few years, so I got to meet him more regularly at church. Eventually with his family business growing back in Tulsa (started by his father), he and his family decided to move back.
Success Vision Express has now approximately 100 employees with 8 retail locations and an online retail store for purchasing eyeglasses direct.
The corporate office sits on top of huge plot of land (seriously huge by California or even Atlanta standards) that used to be just dirt and swamp but is now slowly becoming a legitimate office park and community center for church ministries (Chris’ brother Sam is an eye doctor who started a non-profit medical missions for providing eye care in poor countries).
Bonnie, Chris’ wife, loves raising her family in Tulsa. Her kids have so much more room to run and play in her home and neighborhood compared to life in their tiny home in California. Plus with her family & Chris’ family in Tulsa, she has much bigger network support here to make her life easier as a mother of 4 kids. Their eldest son is already in college. He was just a baby when we were in b-school.
I asked Chris if there is anything he learned after b-school that has helped him grow Success Vision Express. He said that a lot of people (on his team) come up with great ideas. The hardest part of getting an idea to work is figuring out the implementation and getting all the details right. If an idea doesn’t work, it doesn’t necessarily mean the idea is bad. It could just be that we haven’t figured out how to implement it right. Perhaps having this perspective helps Chris keep his head straight when things don’t go according to plan in business and life.
Sushi dinner at a rooftop restaurant in downtown Tulsa was amazing (6th floor). Two of the waitresses were also quite “amazing” … so I’d say I enjoyed the pleasant views of Tulsa.
It’s fun to visit Chris. I really appreciate Chris and Bonnie’s hospitality.
For my classmates: do stop by and visit Chris if you are in Tulsa. You won’t be disappointed.