40 Under 40 Knoxville News Sentinel Charley Bible, KaTom Restaurant Supply


Charles Bible, 35, Vice President of Business Development, KaTom Restaurant Supply

Charles Bible has metrics to show the substantial impact he has had on the business development of KaTom Restaurant Supply: the company continues to grow 30% or more every year and is a regular on the Inc. 5000 list, which follows the fastest growing private companies in the country. When the spread of COVID-19 slowed business, Bible launched KaTom’s hand sanitizer production line and partnered with local manufacturers to produce masks for restaurant workers.

You are granted a wish to change one thing about Knoxville – what do you choose?

That we had a modern/futuristic transportation system. Knoxville has so many cool parts of town, but without a car, nothing is connected. We get there with greenways, but if there was a public transport component, that would be good.

There’s an unsung hero in every town – who is it in Knoxville and why?

One of the most precious things about East Tennessee is our natural beauty and our natural resources. I would say that the unsung heroes are the people who preserve, protect and create ways for the community to enjoy and experience these resources.

It’s hard to believe, but you’re approaching halfway through your career. What is the most significant achievement?

Probably part of KaTom’s management team. It has allowed me to grow and have the opportunity to build teams and processes that have made us one of the fastest growing catering equipment companies in the country.

What mistake did you learn the most from?

One of the professional mistakes is to hire the wrong person. Hiring someone who doesn’t fit the culture of your organization can have devastating effects. They can be talented, be a good person, but that’s just not a cultural fit. This can have serious repercussions. Personally, I would say run with the wrong people. It’s always good to surround yourself with people you want to look like, because in the end, you will look like what you surround yourself with.

What talent, hobby or adventure have you had that no one knows about?

I spend a ton of time skiing and I’m pretty darn good at it. I have skied all over the world; part of it was an adventure. I think I’ve traveled to a lot of cool places and I’ve never been afraid to push the limits, whether it’s shearing the side of dangerous mountains or things like that.

What was your first job?

Working in the KaTom warehouse when I was a kid. My parents had nothing to do for me over the summer, so they just handed me over to our warehouse manager and told me to put him to work.

If I could have any job in the world, I would be ____________________. (Impossible to choose the domain in which you are located)

I would be a big commercial developer building really tall buildings. Something about skyscrapers has always really intrigued me. And buildings shape a city, whether good or bad. If you look around and see a bunch of ugly buildings, you wonder who built this? Or you look around and see some of these amazing pieces of architecture that change the city skyline.

What would surprise your childhood the most about you now?

My childhood loved video games and now I hate them.

What is the characteristic you look for the most in a colleague?


What’s the most overrated business advice you’ve heard?

Work hard. There are a lot of people I know who work very hard, but they don’t work smart. Hard work is required, please don’t misunderstand that. But working hard without working smart is somewhat fruitless.

Let’s imagine it’s December 31, 2021. What has been your greatest accomplishment during the year?

My wife and I are expecting our first child in February, so overcoming these 10 months will be my greatest achievement, I can imagine. But if 2021 looks like this year, who the hell knows?

How do you want people to describe you when you’re not in the room?

Honest, caring, smart and fun.

This Q&A has been edited for clarity.

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