For John Faulkner, chief executive of the landscape and construction company Cornerstone Solutions Group, being a Christian business owner means serving others, whether it's employees or customers, in a way that reflects his faith. ¶ Since Cornerstone's beginnings in the mid 1980s, Faulkner has worked to apply Biblical principles in the workplace. Today his company, based in Dade City, employs more than 360 people and averages $25 million annually in revenue. ¶ On Sept. 12, Faulkner will launch a new Christian business magazine, TwoTen, inspired by the New Testament Bible verse Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." ¶ Faulkner, who attends Grace Family Church in North Tampa, told the Tampa Bay Times' Sarah Whitman he's passionate about using the magazine to change people's lives.
Has faith always played a role in your approach to business?
Always but even more so in the latter half of my career. I began to realize that God had given me my business for a purpose and once I understood that, I knew I wanted to make some positive impact in the lives of others. I wanted to offer opportunity to others and to treat people fairly.
What inspired you to start to TwoTen?
About 10 years ago, I started writing small articles for our (Cornerstone's) website and Christian magazines, and people started asking me to speak at Christian business functions, but what propelled me into starting this magazine happened when I was on a flight to Texas. I picked up this book to read on the plane, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John Maxwell. I opened that book and I was mesmerized by the content. I was inspired. I couldn't wait to get back to the office and start applying principles in the book to my business.
Later, I thought about that book and how it impacted me and wondered, what if I could produce a magazine of some type that would allow me to reach others in business that same way. I was at home writing an article for our website about Ephesians 2:10 and realized I wanted to inspire others to run their businesses to glorify God, to give them tips to succeed. I emailed my friend, Richard Hayes, who does the marketing for Cornerstone, and we got started brainstorming the next day.
How did it develop from there?
Well I sold a large portion of my business to another firm, which freed me up to spend more time on the magazine. And I've been fortunate to convince others to take an interest in the project, not just that we could do it but that we should do it. I partnered with Digital Lightbridge out of New Port Richey to handle design for the magazine, freelance writers and Vistra Communications in Tampa to help with content. Then, we really started pulling the issue together in January. My wife, Julie Faulkner, helps take photographs. My daughter, Miranda Faulkner-Smith, handles the admin part of things. Mark Whitaker, from Cornerstone, is our executive editor.
For the launch cover of TwoTen, you chose to feature former NFL coach Tony Dungy. How did that come about?
He goes to Grace Family and I see him all the time. My business partner, Richard Hayes, does the marketing for Family First, so we had that connection too. There really isn't a better role model out there right now than Tony Dungy. For the article, we asked him questions that would apply in business and about good leadership principles. For instance, we asked him how he handled cut day, when he would have to reduce his number of players, and he had a great answer.
What else can readers expect from the debut issue of TwoTen?
Ken Blanchard, who is one of the biggest business authors out there, wrote something for the issue. We have a feature on a man, Shawn Munn, who while unloading a truck as a teenager, had his leg severed above the knee and arm severed above the elbow. Now, he has built a very successful business involving X-raying luggage for bomb detection. He talks about how God works all things for good.
Also, we wanted the magazine to be coffee-table quality. It is high gloss. An executive can have it on his desk and not be afraid to show it to somebody.
When you say godly principles, what exactly does that refer to? What does it mean to you to operate a Christian business?
Showing Christ's love to everyone you come in contact with, to never be disrespectful to people and to be generous. A Christian is called to be generous with their time and their talents.
How will you distribute TwoTen throughout the United States?
We are going to distribute it throughout Christian leadership organizations like C12, the Pinnacle Forum and Lifework Leadership, and at large churches. The organizations and churches will subscribe and distribute the magazine to their members. Individuals will be able to subscribe online.
Sarah Whitman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2439.