Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk
Pete DeBusk, owner and chairman of DeRoyal Industries, founded his company in 1982 at a time when competition and shrinking revenue margins were fierce. This forced him to take a hard look at every part of his business. He knew that DeRoyal’s efficiency would have to improve if his relatively small company was to keep pace with his much larger competitors.
DeBusk says he is no great inventor, but he is an expert at noticing needs and problems and finding solutions. His business has grown from one room in Fountain City to manufacturing plants not only in Tennessee and Virginia, but also abroad.
He founded STAT Medical in 1973 which has grown into DeRoyal Industries, Inc., and its affiliates. Today, it is one of the most well-known aggressive medical device manufacturers in the international healthcare market.
DeBusk’s roots are on a farm in the mountains of Lee County, Virginia, where his father worked away from home either as a construction worker or a coal miner. This left DeBusk and his mother to run the farm. During his high school days, he got up at 5 a.m., fed the livestock and caught the bus to Thomas Walker High School. When school and basketball practice were over in the afternoon, he hitchhiked home and fed again.
At LMU, DeBusk played basketball for the Railsplitters. After graduation in 1965, he went on to the University of Georgia at Athens for two years of veterinary school, dropping out to become a salesman. When he had gotten a few dollars ahead, he started his own business. That’s where his story began.
DeBusk was also awarded the honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from LMU. He currently serves as chairman of the Lincoln Memorial University Board of Trustees where he has spear-headed numerous projects including the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Tennessee’s newest medical school, which opened its doors in 2007, and the soon to open College of Law.