John C. Thornton - Chief Executive Officer | back
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thunder Enterprises, John Thornton has enjoyed highly successful careers in both real estate development and the carpet industry.
Long before he began developing property in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1991, Thornton founded American Rug Craftsman, the nation's largest producer of decorative floor mats in 1984. Under Thornton's leadership, the company continually posted $100 million in annual sales and was twice chosen from an 8,000-supplier pool as Wal-Mart's Vendor of the Year, as well as JCPenney's Supplier of the Year.
Thornton was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in 1992 and his company made the list of Inc. magazine's Fastest Growing Companies in America before he and his partners sold American Rug to Mohawk Industries, the second-largest floor covering supplier in the world, in 1993. In 1994, Thornton founded American Weavers, a leading supplier of lap blankets and tabletop products to Wal-Mart and Kmart, which he later sold as well.
Thornton is a Trustee of the University of Tennessee and Baylor School. He serves on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Faculty Development Committee, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame Committee and the UC Foundation. He is Chairman of UT's Athletic Facilities Capital Campaign. He also serves as a Trustee for The Oquirrh Institute in Salt Lake City. He is past Chairman of the University of Tennessee Development Council, past Chairman of the UTC Roundtable, past Co-Chairperson for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols Development Campaign and the past Chairman of the Chattanooga United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society. He formerly served as a Trustee for Maryville College. He also formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of NASDAQ-listed InBrand Corporation.
Thornton was born and raised in Maryville, Tennessee and received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Tennessee Wesleyan College, where he was named the college's Most Distinguished Alumnus in 1994. In 1999, Thornton was also inducted into the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame.
Thornton resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife Eileen and five children.