Winston Churchill once famously said “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”. Such a thought could only come to a person who has risen in life through his own hardwork, perhaps not to someone who is born with a silver spoon in mouth, as the idiom goes. How else would a Warren Buffet have said “Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”, had it not been for the wisdom he learnt through his long and illustrious career?
To give, one has to earn first. One of the greatest philanthropists of our time, Bill Gates, believes every man should dedicate himself to creating wealth in the first half of his life and distributing it for charitable causes in the second. Only if one knows how difficult it is to create wealth, would he be a good judge of how to use it. With money comes responsibility, responsibility of helping less privileged help themselves.
Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton, stands true to the tradition of “create wealth and distribute it responsibly”. For a self made man, realizing the responsibility coupled with wealth was a natural occurrence. Blessed with good education (B.S. in 1954 from the University of Kentucky) and a stint in U.S. Army as a second lieutenant, Bill Gatton put his talents to work by turning entrepreneur in starting Bill Gatton Motors in Owensboro, Ky., in 1959. This entrepreneurial venture paid off and mushroomed into nine automobile dealerships in Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas, including the latest Honda dealership in Bristol, Tennessee, where he is the owner and general manager.
All through his business and philanthropic interests, Bill Gatton has remained an academic man deeply within, resulting in an M.B.A. degree in finance and banking from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to his degree at UK. This love for education has made him donate a multimillion dollar gift to the College of Business and Economics at UK. This was by far the biggest contribution ever received by the university and aptly the university was renamed as The Carol Martin Gatton College of Business and Economics in his honor.
Bill Gatton entered the banking sector as a director of Central Bank & Trust Company in Owensboro and went onto to become chairman of the executive committee. Later he chaired Area Bancshares Inc., an Owensboro holding company that owns four banks. In addition, Bill Gatton has interests in Bank of Bloomington, Crestwood Banking Co., First City Bank & Trust Co, Farmers National Bank, and the Bowling Green Bank. Through his career, Bill Gatton has been associated with many boards and organizations, including Bristol Chamber of Commerce, National Automobile Dealers Association, Tennessee Automobile Association, Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board, to name a few. He has also been active in civic interests in Bristol and Owensboro. The Bill Gatton Foundation, a charitable foundation Bill Gatton founded, contributes substantial donations to support various charitable and educational organizations.
The latest venture by Bill Gatton is the Bill Gatton Honda, a Honda dealership in Bristol, Tennesse, featuring new Honda cars and pre-owned cars of different make. In addition to sales, the dealership also features a state-of-art service facility and parts store.