Kenneth W. Bates
2007 Award of Honor
– Class of 1979
Kenneth W. Bates was the first of two children born to William Kenneth and Patsy (Lane) Bates of Kingsport in 1957. The family lived in Scott County, VA until 1969 at which time the family moved to Kingsport . After graduating from Lynn View High School in 1975, with honors, he continued his education at East Tennessee State University and graduated in 1979 with a B.S. Degree in Industrial Technology. He was a member of Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Fraternity and graduated Cum Laude.
Following graduation, Bates worked briefly in Atlanta , GA for an engineering company. In January of 1981 he returned to Kingsport and after turning down a job with TVA at Phipps Bend, accepted employment as a salesman for Mid-South Data Systems. After four years as salesman was promoted to Sales Manager.
In June of 1981, Bates married Anita Baker of Kingsport , whom he met at ETSU. This meeting is his most fond memory of college as this happened in an all girls softball class. How does this happen? It turns out that Bates needed two PE credits to graduate on time and convinced his instructor to allow him to remain in the class.
In 1989, he began to look for opportunities to open his own business. After much research he chose Little Caesars Pizza and started his company Megan and Me Investments, with his wife, Anita. The company was named for their 11 month old daughter. In December of 1989, their first store was opened in Clinton, TN.
After acquiring stores in the Tri-Cities Market, the business grew to 24 stores in TN, VA, SC, and GA. With the desire to travel less and be at home with family, he sold the outlying stores to concentrate on the East Tennessee area.
The company grew to annual sales in excess of $12 million and 300 employees. That is almost two million pizzas. In December of 2006, Bates sold the Little Caesars stores. He remains, President of Megan and Me Investments, and now concentrates on real estate investments.
Bates is involved with ETSU, and is a member of the ETSU Foundation. He has served on the Pirate Club Board for four years and is the current President. The Little Caesars Tennis tournament has been the top fund raiser for Men's Tennis for seventeen years bringing in more than $250,000.00 for scholarships.
He and his wife have two children, Megan, who will be entering ETSU this fall and Ethan, who is a freshman at Sullivan South High School.