Bill Johnson '82
My parents sat on the original board of Franklin Road Academy, my sister taught here for 17 years, and my son Will is a senior this year. I’ve seen over and over how our whole FRAmily has pitched in to help through these tough times, specifically in my business distribution ofPURE Hard Surface sanitizer/hospital-grade disinfectant.
As a businessman, I had five other ventures that were affected by COVID-19 before the one we’re producing now. My company, Marathon Group, is the master distributor ofPURE Hard Surface, a sanitizing disinfectant that has been distributed all over the country.
We're in every Chipotle, Cheesecake Factory, Penske, and Ryder truck lines, J.D. Hunt, General Motors plants, 150 different school districts, and a majority of all the poultry plants in the United States. FRA has also invested in our product to ensure the quick and safe sanitation of classrooms before and after each class period.
When so many of us transitioned into working from home this spring, we began to bottle and distribute PURE HardSurface in my garage at home. PURE Hard Surface ended up keeping people alive and engaged. It kept us in a spot where we could keep everybody in motion. Guys from thePanther football team and friends of my son Will have come to our garages to help make the bottles and pack the kits. We believe we're providing the best, the fastest, and the longest lasting solution with our 24-hour residual.
The product has been a blessing. I initially started out as an original non-food brand manager for a company called Sysco Foods and learned how to develop products and get them to market. I went from The University of Alabama to Boston to BocaRaton, Florida to Atlanta, and then to Houston where I worked for Sysco Corporation for 10 years before coming home to Nashville.
When COVID-19 hit, one of the first things we did with PURE Hard Surface was take it to the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. We got as much PURE Hard Surface into their hands as we possibly could, as fast as we could. We cleared out the first part of the garage, loaded trucks, we met the deputies in the field, and we started giving them PURE Hard Surface, just trying to keep them in motion.
We did the same thing for the Brentwood and Franklin police and fire departments. Those guys were in need, and we wanted to figure out how we could help them more. Since starting this spring, we probably have donated as much PURE Hard Surface as we have sold.
We have all been knocked down, especially duringCOVID-19. We are all fatigued living through this pandemic. But even though we’re tired, we have to keep getting up and helping those around us get up too.
I have been blessed by the strong work ethic that came from the FRA football field. I learned that when you get knocked down, you get up and try not to get knocked down again. FRA taught me, mainly on the football field, to get up after getting knocked down and try again the next day.
I believe in drive, and I learned that on the fields ofFRA. I also believe in giving your all in everything you do. I remember Coach Andrews used to do a two-mile run every morning when we went to summer camp. We always ran at the front because that's what we were trained to do. We always gave it our all in every sprint, in every play, and every time you touch the ball. And if there's anything I still know how to do, it’s hustle. So even though I was a B, mainly C, student, I learned to outwork anybody.
My favorite memory is when we were playing our rivals, Lipscomb. I was the starting quarterback, and I couldn’t get off the center without being sacked. They were wearing us out. While playing defense, I got hit in the back, got hurt, and had to come out of the game.It was the last time I ever played quarterback.
They put in this freshman kid, Steve Johnson, who is my little brother. He came in the game and took us straight down the field to score. We got the ball back with an onside kick, and he took our team straight down the field to score again.
During the first bowl game FRA ever won, my little brother called an audible to me over the middle for us to take the lead. It was a slant play for a touch down, and I was going, "Okay, you paid me back, we're done." And so, that was cool of him. That bowl game was called the Butter Bowl. We each got patches for our letterman jackets, and mine sits in my home office today.
FRA is a big part of our life. I mean, the number one thing I have looked forward to everyday of this semester is watching my son play for the Panthers football team every Friday night. I'll be there. I wouldn't miss it. I haven't missed a game. I won't miss a game.
Bill is the owner and manager of The Marathon Group distribution company. Bill attended FRA from 1972-1982, and his parents, William and Betty Johnson, were on the original board of trustees. He is a part of our legacy families, with his son Will attending FRA as a senior this year. During his time at FRA, Bill played football, basketball, and baseball, and participated in French Club, choir, and the performing arts program.