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Impact Presents: "The Secret to Success... and Happiness"

 This event occurred in the past.

Wednesday, April 4



Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

800 West Peachtree Street NW, 1st Floor
Atlanta, GA 30308
LeCraw Auditorium


Alex Gregory, Chairman of the Board and Former CEO, YKK Corporation

Alex Gregory

Gregory, 69, oversees the strategic direction of YKK Corporation’s North and Central America Group, which consists of almost 3,000 employees at 12 operating companies located in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Gregory began his career with YKK in 1973. He was named the first non-Japanese president of YKK Corporation of America (YCA) in 2001. In 2004, Gregory became the first non-Japanese group officer for YKK Corporation in Japan. From 2008 to 2010, he served on YKK Corporation’s Board in Japan. In 2011, he was named chairman of YCA’s Board of Directors. In 2017, he promoted Jim Reed to president, but retained the titles of chairman and CEO.

During his 16-year tenure as president, Gregory has faced a series of challenges, including the shifting of apparel production from the United States to lower cost overseas locations, and the crippling recessions in 2001 and 2008. Gregory launched a number of broad initiatives, including the creation of the One Company concept, whereby YKK’s companies offer customers a one company solution. Another was targeting key value-added industries, namely personal protective equipment, tactical gear, sports and outdoor, transportation, furniture, hygiene, medical, and jeans. Gregory has testified in Washington before the International Trade Commission on two occasions, and he has addressed the House Ways and Means Committee.

Gregory serves on several non-profit boards, including the GCSU Foundation (chair ‘99-‘01 and ‘07-‘09); The Carter Center board of councilors; Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Japan-America Society of Georgia; Georgia Association of Manufacturers; Next Generation Manufacturing; Cowan-Turner Center for Servant Leadership at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business; advisory council of the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia; and Kennesaw State University’s Asian Studies advisory board.

Gregory considers the time he spends mentoring the students his time best spent. To date he has mentored 47 students at Georgia Tech since 2001 and students at Georgia College since 2004. In 2010, Gregory was one of five CEOs featured in Hayes and Comer’s book Start With Humility: Lessons From America’s Quiet CEOs On How To Build Trust And Inspire Followers. In 2004, Governor Sonny Perdue awarded Gregory the inaugural “Governor George Busbee Award”; in 2012, he received the Mike Mansfield Award from The Japan-America Society of Georgia; in 2015, he was one of only 28 Americans to be awarded the Foreign Minister of Japan’s Commendation in Honor of the 70th Anniversary of the End of the War. Other honors Gregory has received include GCSU Executive of the Year Award; Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni; and the GCSU Foundation Academy of Distinguished Alumni and Friends. He was inducted Honoris Causa into the Georgia College Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Honor Society. In 2016, he became an inaugural inductee into GCSU’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business’ Hall of Fame. In 2017, he received the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Most Admired CEO Award. In 2018, he was inducted into the Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame.

A native of Eatonton, Georgia, Gregory received his Bachelor of Textile Engineering from Georgia Tech and his MBA and MSA from GCSU. He retired as a commander from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1998 after serving 28 years. Gregory and wife Glenda have two grown children: Kristen and Alex III. They also have three granddaughters, Emma, Mya, and Lucy and a grandson, Alex IV.


About the Impact Speaker Series:

Since 2002, the IMPACT Speaker Series has brought highly successful business leaders from a variety of industries to campus to share their experiences and give advice to students and other entrepreneurs on topics ranging from "building a venture around intellectual capital" to "successful entrepreneurship in large organizations" and "socially responsible leadership." The weekly series provides Georgia Tech students, alumni, and the Atlanta business community an opportunity to network and learn from successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and notable business and non-profit leaders. The lecture series is sponsored by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.

The series is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.