Retail/Wholesale: ROBERT ‘BOB’ ARCHER
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BLUE RIDGE BEVERAGE CO., SALEM
Since 2001, Archer has served as chairman and CEO of Blue Ridge Beverage, a family- owned business that annually sells approximately 10 million cases of drinks, from beer to soda, in a 49-county area reaching across Central and Southwest Virginia. The company has more than 460 employees.
Since James M. Archer Jr., Bob’s dad, purchased Blue Ridge Beverage in 1959, it’s been a family affair, with an assortment of family members on the payroll. Bob’s mother, Regine, 97, serves as chairman emerita.
Before coming aboard Blue Ridge Beverage in 1972, Archer was a member of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and served in Vietnam. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1999 after 30 years of service.
BEST ADVICE FOR OTHERS: Be it an issue of leadership, politics or getting along in a family business — listen first, educate yourself in all ways and be empathetic to other viewpoints.
PERSON I ADMIRE: The late Gen. Colin Powell. Though one could argue that he made a few bad political decisions along the way, he always admitted his mistakes. Such admissions are rare.