Drive, direction and faith put Clark on a path to success


Editor’s Note: This October, we will celebrate our 30th class of 40 Under Forty honorees. Each week in 2022, The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia will highlight one of our 2021 40 Under Forty honorees leading up to the announcement of our milestone class this fall.

From an early age, Will Clark was taught to always do his best and use his time wisely.

He credits that “drive for excellence” for carrying him through college and into his professional life. Those lessons from his parents intertwined perfectly with his Christian faith, which calls upon him to do his very best in all aspects of his life.

Clark sums it up this way: “Do my best with whatever my hand finds to do at a given point in time to help those around me.”

To that end, Clark was pleased to be honored as a member of the 2021 40 Under Forty class, but he insisted that putting forward his best effort every day at home, in his church, in the community and at Brown, Edwards & Company – his place of business – is always reward enough.

“Recognition is nice, but that’s just the cherry on top,” Clark said. “It’s much nicer to know that what you do is actually important for your clients and appreciated, that you’re providing a useful service.

Though he considers his parents and older brother to be his original mentors, Clark was helped along during his time at Milligan by staff member Kevin Harkey and professor Jim Dahlman. Once he arrived at Brown, Edwards & Company, Don Royston, Billy Gilliam and Norman Yoder became guiding forces in his life.

It was Gilliam who nominated Clark to be included in the 2021 40 Under Forty class, and he pointed out the lengths Clark goes to in order to provide the best service for his clients and the firm itself.

“Will became the first tax representative from our firm to take part in a Transformational Leadership Program with Convergence Coaching,” Gilliam wrote. “This was an achievement that he earned firm-wide from our 350-plus employees, not just from our local office. Will has also been asked to participate on our internal tax review team for 3 years in a row, which speaks to the respect he has within our firm concerning his knowledge and skill.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a lot of things home for all of us, and Clark is no exception.

“COVID has shown me more and more that community involvement is necessary and it’s important,” Clark said. “Can you live with the people in your area? Can you make a difference in their lives? Community involvement is something I look to increase.”

Clark was a member of the 2019-20 Leadership Kingsport class, and the leadership at the Kingsport Chamber recounted the work Clark and his classmates did to serve the community during that time of great need. Clark is also active in his church and plans to remain so for years to come.

As the father of a 1-year-old boy, Clark is striving to help his wife raise a Godly person the same way is parents raised him. He also plans to use a phrase his pastor once said as a guiding principle in the years ahead.

“He perhaps didn’t mean it as advice, but I took it as advice and it has served me well,” Clark said. “ ‘What he lacks in intelligence, he makes up for in perseverance.’ It always struck me that was an open, honest, frank way to put it. I might not be as smart as the next guy, but I’m not going to quit until the job is done.”

Next week we will profile local attorney James “J.R.” Cook. If you would like to nominate someone for inclusion in the 2022 class of 40 Under Forty, visit and follow the instructions.

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