Jim McCullough is the busy president of his family-owned businesses, General Truck Sales and Service, Inc., and Volvo Truck Leasing of Memphis. However, at the moment he is wearing two hats (well, one hat and one crown), as he is currently serving as king of Carnival Memphis alongside Suzette Coors, this year’s queen.
Q Tell us more about your history with Carnival Memphis.
My wife Vicki and I have had many wonderful years and made great friends as members of The Mystic Society of the Memphi — one of Carnival Memphis’ grand krewes. Vicki is a previous queen of Memphi, and I was the Ouro (king) and currently serve on its board. And now I am so proud to serve as king of Carnival Memphis, “a party with a purpose.” This year we are raising money for the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, Binghampton Christian Academy, and Juvenile Intervention and Faith-Based Follow-up. Also important to me is the business tie-in, and this year the Business and Industry Salute Luncheon honored the trucking industry, which I am a part of and which is so vital to our economy. Lastly, Carnival Memphis is a party, and to me there is great value in getting people dressed up, out socializing and having fun. My grandson Mac is going to be a page in Carnival this year, which makes it very special for me.
Q Since yours is a family-owned business, tell me about its history; do other family members work with you?
The company was originally a GMC Truck dealership founded by my wife’s father and a partner in 1965. Now we are the Mid-South’s full-service Volvo Truck dealership specializing in sales, rental, and leasing of new and used commercial trucks, with a comprehensive parts and services operation also. My daughter, Ginger, and her husband, Lance Wilson, are the third generation to be working in our business. I should add that my other daughter, Jennifer, took off in another direction and is known as “Chef Jen” and has made quite a success of selling her seafood dips.
Q Speaking of food, what is your “go to” restaurant in Memphis?
It depends on what I am in the mood for, but by and large I like Italian cuisine best, and often we go to Ciao Bella, which is near our house.
Q What are you reading these days?
I have been reading a lot on my Kindle. In particular, I like military history and spy thrillers. I recently read The Messenger by Memphian Claude L. Chafin, a former king and president of Carnival Memphis. It is a fascinating story about his grandfather, who was from West Virginia and was a messenger for the Hatfields (of Hatfield/McCoy feud fame). I should also mention that Michael H. Thompson, former king of Carnival, is an author and has recently published several books. Claude, Michael, and I serve together on the Memphi Board of Regents.
Yes, I am very sports-minded, having played football in college at Mississippi State. I played some golf, but I’m not very good, so took up tennis at 50 and enjoyed it until my knees acted up. We sailed for years at Greers Ferry in Arkansas and also on charters in the Caribbean. I also like saltwater fishing in Louisiana.
We are dog people and, matter of fact, have just become the parents of two springer spaniel puppies.
Q Free day — what would you do? And where for vacations?
For one day, I would head outdoors and most likely go bike-riding on the Greenline. Otherwise, we love the beach in Naples, Florida, and also have gone on some great European trips with Memphi friends.
Q Tell us about another organization in town that means a lot to you.
Two friends of mine, Charles Beech and Rick Grant, first got me involved in the Navy League which supports the sea services. I have served on its board and among other things, we take people on trips to naval bases and aboard active duty ships to raise awareness. I have been blown away by the dedicated and talented naval personnel we have met. It is real-life Top Gun.
Q Can you tell us about Suzette Coors and how she became the 2014 Carnival Memphis queen?
Carnival Memphis kicks off with Crown and Sceptre on Friday, May 30th, and I am looking forward to sharing the reign with Suzette, a junior at the University of Georgia. Her family has a long history of participating in Carnival, and she is a lovely, delightful and extremely poised young lady.