Bill Gwatney


Harold Gwatney Chevrolet


Bill Gwatney

In recent years, Bill Gwatney has perhaps been most closely identified with his successful Jacksonville automobile dealership. But before that, he was an executive vice president with First National Bank in Jacksonville, which was formerly owned by his family.

As president and majority stockholder in Gwatney Chevrolet, he has applied many of the service-oriented aspects of banking. This has meant expanding the body shop and parts department, increasing used car sales and adding wreckers, as well as simply fine-tuning procedures. It's all added up to a business with about $50 million in annual sales.

Gwatney, 34, is also a state senator and recently was re-elected to a second term. Among his legislative concerns are the state's road program, which he believes is tied to economic development, and issues affecting the disabled. His civic involvement includes serving on the board of Pathfinder Inc. in Jacksonville, an agency that helps the developmentally disabled.

When it comes to making tough business decisions, Gwatney says, "I always ask myself what my dad would do. I can't think of anybody that's been any more successful."