Thomas J. King is not your typical CEO.
Part CEO, part personal development wonk, and part biohacker info geek, King is a self-confessed serial entrepreneur. While his favorite book list contains many success-oriented and personal-development classics, the classic definition of achieving success (e.g. make a lot of money) is not what inspires or motivates King. He follows more of a “you aren’t doing well unless you’re also doing some good” line of thinking. King’s company has been built around the simple principle of “do the right thing.”
Founded by King in 1999, Stevia Brands Inc. is one of the largest importers, manufacturers and distributors of clean-label sweetening systems and natural sweeteners. Emulating such renowned entrepreneurs such as the Wright Brothers and Steve Jobs, King started his company by first asking the critical question, “Why?” Based on the understanding that it’s only by determining the “why” of what you want to do that you can achieve lasting success, King’s business isn’t simply something he does for a living. It stands as a testament to who he is, what he does and how he lives his life.
King’s “why” is simple. A bit of a foodie and health nut, food has always been a passion for King — particularly high-quality food that makes the planet a healthier place and maintains a level of sustainability. He founded Steviva as a way to effectively help combat metabolic disease and the “diabesity” (his self-coined term) epidemic in this country by offering clean-label sweetening systems to replace sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup.
Answering the need of food companies to manufacture products lower in sugar (and to adhere to new FDA disclosure guidelines), Steviva offers a wide range of industrial-size, high-quality clean-label sweetening systems for food manufacturers, plus smaller, pack-size sweetening options for health-conscious consumers. Through Steviva, King’s goal is to eliminate metabolic disease, one meal at a time.
While what his company offers is impressive, it is the “why” behind it all that makes King’s business truly unique — a company built on quality, health, heart and loyalty.
Believing “quality always costs less,” King structured Steviva around the principles of W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer and management consultant best known for his work with Japanese leaders after WWII. Deming’s ideas about quality are often credited with assisting in Japan’s recovery and putting it on the path to becoming the second-largest economy in the world. In fact, the oldest and most widely recognized quality award in the world — The Deming Prize — is still awarded in Japan every year. It recognizes companies that have made major advances in quality improvement and credits individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of quality.
Deming’s ideas on quality and innovation not only inspired King in creating his business, but they’re also the principles that drive his company. Steviva even has its own version of the Deming Award. Called the Steviva Brands Deming Award for Excellence, it is given monthly to an employee who displays an exemplary commitment to quality.
Committed to helping everyone lead healthier lives, King’s ultimate goal is to also develop an online learning center to share his knowledge and fortune by establishing a foundation dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs engaged in new advances in dietary health and wellness.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THOM KING (link to more personal bio)
MEET THOM KING
An accomplished businessman, television producer, filmmaker and author, Thom King began his life journey in Colorado (via Wisconsin), where he studied marketing at the University of Colorado. He graduated from Chadwick University with a BA in environmental studies, then went on to attend graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied intellectual property law.
King began his career in the broadcast industry, eventually becoming the vice president and general manager of five radio stations — KHAY-Country, KBBY-AC, KVEN-News-Talk, KMGQ-NAC and KHTY-Modern Rock — for McDonald Media Group Inc., a division of McDonald Investment Company Inc. He also held the position of regional vice president of sales for the integrated marketing and online division of Clear Channel Worldwide.
While at Clear Channel, King leveraged the tremendous consumer reach and broad appeal of Clear Channel’s local radio brands, as well as entertainment and venue opportunities. He was instrumental in helping Clear Channel capitalize on unique opportunities by converging its radio assets and outdoor assets — with its interactive assets — into fully integrated campaigns that garnered maximum results, effectiveness and efficiency.
In 1992, King founded Southwest Multimedia as an incubator for developing businesses that fit the vision and sensibilities upon which the company was founded — to support aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in cutting-edge, zero-carbon-footprint technologies and concepts.
One company that Southwest Multimedia fostered was Multimediary Entertainment Marketing . The company’s goal was to augment (not replace) what consumer brands are currently doing by using selected entertainment properties in music, TV and film to build brand equity with audiences in the appropriate target market. Between 2001 and , Southwest Multimedia built brands by making them part of the entertainment experience through using artists’ likeness, music, tours and creative in retail-driven on-or-off-premise promotions.
In 1999, King founded Steviva Brands. When not envisioning a new stevia blend to help replace the amount of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup used in food products and food prep, Thom spends much of his time learning and thinking about people’s dietary needs and ways to help improve what we eat. If King isn’t coming up with new and exciting ways to prepare food for friends and family, he is working on a ketogenic diet.
A firm believer in also giving back to his community, King is a member of and contributor to the Portland Boys & Girls Club. He is a volunteer and mentor for the Mercy Corps MicroMentor program and a contributor and participant in the Audubon Society of Portland, Ecotrust and the Wild Salmon Center.
GETTING PERSONAL – Who and What Inspires and Motivates Thom King
One of the most important success principles in life and business is a willingness to help others by sharing your accumulated knowledge, experience and expertise.
The following things are listed in the hope they may inspire, help, guide or entertain others.
The 4-Hour Workweek
The 4-Hour Body
The Power of Myth
Leaders Eat Last
Sapiens (Bill Gates recommendation)
Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
The E Myth Revisited
Think and Grow Rich
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
The Obstacle Is The Way
The Magic of Thinking Big
Joy on Demand
Ego is the Enemy
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind
Between The World and Me
Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln
Money: Master the Game
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Happiness Advantage
The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
The Motivation Manifesto
The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive
Life After Death
The Book of Secrets
The Daily Stoic
A Year in Provence
What’s the Matter With Kansas
WHO I ADMIRE
Robert Maahs (grandfather)
WHO INSPIRES ME
My Morning Jacket