Business Administration; Marketing and Finance minors
Braving Banks for Good - With a broad smile and penetrating voice, Sam Kimbriel recalls his confrontation with a banker in 2009. While consulting for a printing company that was ready to close its doors, he learned of a fulfillment and call center company they owned that was also being forced to shut down. It was the height of the recession. He saw a room of people about to lose their jobs, so he called the bank.
"This company shouldn't be going out of business," he said. "You have about 200 people here who are ready to walk out into 12% unemployment. It's just not fair. I'll come in and cure the debt and buy it."
"We're just done with the whole organization," came the voice at the other end of the line. "We don't want any more hassle."
Undeterred, Sam upped his ante: "Have the bank president give me a call," he said. "If the answer's no, I'm going to put him on speaker phone with the other 200 people here, and a few of my friends in the media, who are going to want to know why Colorado is losing 200 more jobs."
Ten minutes later, he had essentially bought a company, and now is the president and CEO of FulCircle, Inc., a marketing firm that helps companies build their businesses through outsourced customer service, fulfillment, and internet marketing.
"It was a God thing," he asserts—especially considering that after hearing back from the bank, he had to call his wife. Her enthusiasm matches the sacrifice and commitment Sam exhibits to live as a Christian businessman.
Originally a music major in college, Sam went into business after asking God for direction, and spending 48 hours literally on his knees. He transferred to Rockmont College—now Colorado Christian University—and majored in business, with a music minor. "It was a small enough college environment to offer a real mentoring experience," he recalls. He also assisted with his father's printing company. "It gave me an ability to talk to these professors who were also businesspeople, and they just walked me through the challenges of the day-to-day business."
They were lessons he needed to learn quickly: when Sam was 28, he assumed control of the family business. His father developed a lung disease, and his mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was unfamiliar ground, and put added stress on his marriage and home life. Still, he managed to grow LK Media into one of the largest print and marketing companies in the Rocky Mountain region before selling it to Henry Wurst in 1999. Through it all, he kept his focus the same: to serve God through business.
Another opportunity to do exactly that stemmed from his volunteer work with Denver Street School and Christ Body Ministries, a school for disadvantaged teens and a homeless ministry. He realized that many of the graduates and homeless had little chance at employment. “Work is a vital component of the human soul,” Sam says, "You see guys who get tied into alcohol and addictions and just hopelessness, and having meaningful work can become a big part of turning their lives around." So, with Sam’s love of real estate—he had been investing since the 1980s—and his desire to help, he started Easy Street Properties. It connected graduates and the homeless with skilled craftsmen, providing them with significant work. "It was fun to see several of the guys who started working for us then start their own little painting or electrician businesses," he recalls. "They put their lives back together."
Sam still spends time at CCU, serving on the board and meeting regularly to discuss ideas. He acknowledges his need to be around other godly businesspersons—men and women who can give advice, whether spiritual or practical. It's one way Sam stays sharp, so he can find guidance and meaning in his work—and know when to fight for those who need it.