July 31, 2017 12:15 pm

Zach Thomas, Author of "Leader Farming" and Chick-fil-A franchise owner

He was Eagle Scout of the Nation in 1995, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served his country as an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer. He has started multiple companies and been featured in Newsweek Magazine and on Good Morning America. He married his high school sweetheart and they homeschool their six children on their family farm where he grew up. His varied interests include studying leadership and entrepreneurship, farming, riding his Harley, working on old cars with his son and dad, camping and spending time with his family. He is currently the Owner/Operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise and serves as an Operator Coach for new franchisees for Chick-fil-A, Inc. He serves on the board of Life Impact, a non-profit ministry, where he volunteers his time to coach Christian Vetpreneurs (Military Veteran Entrepreneurs). To sponsor a Veteran submit your request to Life Impact. He also serves on Congressman Tom Graves’ Service Academy Selection Board. Zach accepts a limited number of speaking engagements each year and speaks on the topics of leadership and entrepreneurship. Submit your request here. Follow Zach’s leadership blog at leaderfarming.com and subscribe to take a free quiz to determine your natural leadership style. Follow his personal blog at thomasfamily.farm where he writes about his faith, family, and farming. “As a lifelong student of leadership and entrepreneurship, I consider my Chick-fil-A franchise with over 90 team members a laboratory for innovation and cultivating next generation leaders. My company, Locum Restitution LLC, Latin for “a place of restoration” is a leadership development company that just happens to sell chicken!” In the first few years of figuring out how to lead my business, two life-altering events took place back-to-back. The first one nearly took my life, when a car hit me while I was walking across Windy Hill Road. The second nearly took the life of my wife, when she ended up hospitalized with postpartum eclampsia (extremely high blood pressure). These incidents served as catalysts that led me to spend a lot of time reflecting on life and leadership. One morning, after eating breakfast at the hospital where my wife was staying, I sketched the first draft of what I now call Freedom Leading, which is part of the Leader Farming strategy—on a napkin from the cafeteria! My Pedestrian Accident – 2011 I returned to the restaurant and began implementing this new strategy, which led to an increase in sales and a significant reduction in turnover. I didn’t expect this to be something I shared with others; it was just a new way to lead my business—and it worked. I was on my tractor one day, preparing to plow a field and cultivate a crop when it hit me—this is what I’m doing at my restaurant, which is why I call myself a Leader Farmer. As a mentor, I’m able to come alongside one of my team members and say, “I’ve been here; I’ve done this—let me help you grow and become the best version of yourself.” I began to share bits and pieces of Leader Farming with other Chick-fil-A operators, corporate staff members, and business leaders in the community. Several folks at Chick-fil-A corporate—including fellow author David Salyers—encouraged me to write this book because they believed other operators and business leaders needed to hear this message and proven approach to real-world leadership of Millennials and Centennials. I began blogging, but didn’t see myself as an author. However, I’m very excited that the book will be published soon. On Thursday, July 20th, we will be selling a special edition copy of the book at the Chick-fil-A at Macland Crossing. We will also be selling them all weekend at the Homespun Festival in Rockmart (Friday July 21 & Saturday July 22, 2017).

Rotary Club of Sandy Springs
Hilton Perimeter Suites
6120 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, NE
Sandy Springs, GA 30328