Pelham business owner receives 2016 CEO Award

By BRIANA HARRIS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham native Paul Franks, owner of Pelham-based company ThinkGard, is the recipient of the Birmingham Business Journals’ 2016 CEO Award in the category of emerging companies.

Each year the journal selects top CEOs in the Birmingham area to win an award in one of seven different categories – nonprofit, rising star, emerging companies, small companies, midsize companies, large companies and extra large companies.

Franks, who was one of four finalists in the emerging companies category, was recognized at a ceremony held Thursday, Dec. 1, at Regions Field in downtown Birmingham.

The Pelham High School graduate established ThinkGard in 2013 after selling his first business, U.S. Teks. ThinkGard provides total data protection and recovery services to businesses as well as city and county government institutions nationwide.

Franks, who now lives in Helena, said the company has about 50 clients.

“It’s definitely exciting and I’m very blessed to even be a finalist, but this award isn’t just for me, it’s for the entire ThinkGard team,” Franks said. “If I’m not surrounded by incredible people, then there’s no way we could be a viable company.”

Franks said the company has six employees, including his business partner and Chief Technical Officer Kevin Fuller.

“For anybody who ever wins an award, it’s important to know where it’s generated from – it’s your team, the people you’re surrounded by,” Franks said. “We can’t accomplish anything without having a strong team here at ThinkGard.”

The winner of each category is listed below:

Emerging Companies: Paul Franks, ThinkGard
Small Companies: Karim Budhwani, Elixir International
Midsize Companies: John Howe, American Pipe & Supply
Large Companies: Jeffrey Bayer, Bayer Properties
Extra-Large Companies: Keith Grandview, Grandview Medical Center
Nonprofit CEO: Jennifer Skjellum, TechBirmingham
Rising Star: Mazy Holiday, WhatBox Inc.