Forty Under 40

Lem Purcell


Written By: Business Magazine


Name: Lem Purcell

Birthdate: 9/15/1974

Where were you born? Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. Grew up in Roswell, Georgia.

What are your community activities? (church or faith-based involvement, local, regional and national professional organizations, non-profits, etc)
Child Advocacy Center, Board Member, Vice-Chair, Fundraising Chair, Gainesville Gone Austin Planning Committee
Gainesville Duck Derby (CAC/CHS), Feast on the Farm (HOPE – Horses Helping People)
Gainesville Quarterback Club

List any awards you have won for community service:
Nothing of note, though Margot Wilder once told me that “she hearts me.”
What is your definition of success?

Knowing that at least one person sleeps better tonight because of something I did.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Probably appearing in a Tower Hill TV commercial with Danny Wuerffel and not throwing up from nerves.

But seriously, being a part of Tower Hill’s growing market presence over the past three years, and enjoying every minute of it thanks to a great team.
How do you exemplify the spirit of a Forty Under 40 professional?

One who gives selflessly to his or her profession, family, and community, all while maintaining an exceptional level of integrity, humility, and kindness to others.
Businessperson who has most inspired you:

That’s a tough one. I’ve had the privilege to work with a number of exceptional business leaders here in Gainesville: John Fleming, Carol Bosshardt, Aaron Bosshardt, Mike Kitchens, Billy Beltz, Roger Sherwood, and of course the leadership at Tower Hill.

My dad, however, has been the biggest inspiration. He worked insane hours as an attorney in Atlanta – and still does – but always made time for family and never missed a moment in his kids’ lives. He still manages to pull it off to this day with his grandchildren.

Best advise ever received:
Never compete with your spouse over who’s more tired. I can’t remember who gave me this advice, but I’m pretty sure it was my wife, Dana. I’ve shared this with just about everyone I know who’s about to be a parent and like to think it’s saved a few marriages.
Greatest professional challenge:
Turning it off at the end of the day so I can enjoy some time with Dana and my daughter, Cakki. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m getting there.
First job:
Landscaping for an entire summer in Atlanta. I think my parents tricked me into it so I’d work harder in school.

What color crayon would you be? Why?
Is there a color called “Sunburn?” If so, yeah, that’s mine.

Favorite after-work drink:
Varies based on the day I’ve had, but if I had to pick one, it’d be a decent glass of red wine. Dreaming Tree Crush is my current favorite. Great stuff for the price.

If I had a magic wand, I’d:
Share with the whole world the feeling I get when my little girl really, really laughs, which is often. That kind of instant joy would probably solve a whole lot of problems.
What is your favorite Gadget?
The Nest. I can’t believe I’m naming a thermostat as my favorite gadget, but it really is a fantastic bit of technology.
How long have you been in Gainesville?
Since 1998.

What do you love most about Gainesville/Alachua County?
Philanthropy per capita in this town has got to lead the nation. There’s an opportunity at every turn to do some real good and get to know some amazing people.

Oh yeah, and Saturdays in the fall. Nothing better.

Three things people would be surprised to know about you:
(1)           I have a twin sister, but if she were standing beside me right now, you’d be hard-pressed to realize we’re related (and by that, I’m probably paying her a compliment).
(2)           I grew up as a Georgia Bulldog fan, but have since recovered.
(3)           I’ve met Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and U.S. Presidents, but the smartest, most talented, and most charming person I’ve ever known is my Mom. I can’t even begin to keep up with her.

Advice you would give a younger you:
In September of your junior year at Hampden-Sydney, a cute blonde from Sweet Briar will have trouble finding her friend on Fraternity Circle. Get brave for once, offer to help, and buckle up for the time of your life. You won’t regret it. Promise.

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