Former pro basketball player and current Heartland Coca-Cola CEO and President Ulysses ‘Junior’ Bridgeman discusses his rise to success in the Dec. 8 Business Forum

Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman, one of the world’s wealthiest former athletes and the CEO and president of Heartland Coca-Cola, will share insights on navigating the rise to success in the December episode of the 21st Century Business Forum webcast.

The webcast will broadcast at 12 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8. Registration is free.

To prepare himself for life after professional basketball, Bridgeman spent his offseason working at a local Wendy’s drive-through to learn the business model of fast food restaurants. It was the beginning of a franchising empire: By the time he retired, he had already purchased three Wendy’s.

Bridgeman was the owner and CEO of several companies, operating over 450 restaurants in 20 states, including 263 Wendy’s restaurants and 123 Chili’s restaurants.

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He is now a bottler for The Coca-Cola Co., running a production plant in Lenexa, Kan., and 18 distribution centers with his son, Justin. He also recently purchased the iconic Jet and Ebony magazines.

The 21st Century Business Forum debuted in 2021, featuring a lineup of successful top executives, experts and global thought leaders to share ideas and insights as business executives, entrepreneurs, owners and managers navigate the new year ahead.

It airs on the second Wednesday of each month, interviewing guests in a Q&A format.

The 21st Century Business Forum is presented by Providence Business News. Registration is free; sign up here.

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