VALDOSTA — Being a business visionary isn’t in every case simple and everybody does it somewhat better. Some open online stores, while others open physical customer facing facades.

Some bet everything and put their lives into another endeavor, while others begin another business as something to do as an afterthought. Notwithstanding the sort, business people help drive the nearby economy.

James Lee Herndon, president of The Herndon Company, assumed control over the organization from his dad, Arthur Herndon Jr.

Arthur Herndon worked as an insurance salesman in North Georgia choosing to move back to South Georgia, James Lee Herndon said. At the point when Arthur Herndon returned, he opened a protection organization in 1953.

While in secondary school and school, James Lee Herndon worked for his dad’s organization selling insurance to farmers in the area and worked in the appraisal department doing field work for the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration for the experts to evaluate.

When James Lee Herndon graduated from the then-Valdosta State College with a degree in biology-chemistry in 1969, he become a licensed realtor.

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Before working for his father, he commissioned into the Army and was assigned to work in the National Security Agency. He achieved the rank of captain during his time of service.

James Lee Herndon’s mother contacted him and asked him to consider coming back home and working with his father with the intent of taking over The Herndon Company some day.

The younger Herndon said he would consider coming home as long as his father shifted the focus of business from insurance to real estate.

After opening the insurance agency, many farmers asked Arthur Herndon to help them sell their properties since he knew everything about their farms already, James Lee Herndon said.

The father acquiesced to the son’s request, and in 1994, The Herndon Company no longer sold insurance.

Before taking over the family business, James Lee Herndon worked for 20 years in sales and management “honing” his craft, he said.

Since taking over, James Lee Herndon said he focuses on product knowledge and service.

“We are a service-oriented company,” he said. “It was our founder’s wish. He demanded service to our company’s clients. We want to service customers and clients to the best of our abilities every day.”

While his original degree was for biology-chemistry, James Lee Herndon said he uses the lessons he learned while earning his degree.

“It taught you to look at details,” he said. “It taught me to analyze. In having that science degree, it made me very aware of details and cause and effects.”

As for advice to new business owners, James Lee Herndon recommends getting involved in whatever industry one plans to work.

“The first thing I did that served me well was to get involved in the business you’re looking at and learn as much detail and inside information,” he said. “I would want to work in that industry for a year or two to really understand the dynamics.

“Sometimes when you work in a business you see things you would have never thought of until it is too late.”

The Herndon Company, 1100 N. Patterson St., is open 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call (229) 244-1992.

Jason Smith is a reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be contacted at 229-244-3400 ext.1257.

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