Who We Are
Southern Professionals, Inc. has two full-time offices located in Woodstock, GA and Dawsonville, GA. We also have sub-reps that service smaller retailers in the Carolinas, South Florida and Puerto Rico. We are EDI compatible, and have provided sales and marketing analysis services for a number of large manufacturers.
Lisa Akers attended Georgia Perimeter college, majoring in Business Administration. She is married, and has 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Lisa's prior career was in telecommunications, implementing business services and managing a technical support group at MCI.
Al Blackburn attended Georgia Military College and Georgia Southern College. He is married to Bobbie, and has 4 children and 10 grandchildren. Prior to starting Southern Professionals, Inc. Al’s sales history included:
1969 – 1972 Kendall Co.
1972 – 1974 Shulton Co.
1974 – 1977 McNiel Labs, division of Johnson & Johnson
1977 – 1978 Adams Sales, broker in Southeast
Bert Blackburn is a graduate of Auburn University, with a degree in Marketing. He is married, and has 3 children. Prior to Southern Professionals, Bert spent the past 11 years in heavy equipment sales, building, and developing. Growing up in the Blackburn household, however, he was immersed in the family business at an early age.
Southern Professionals stays in front of our buyers through trade shows like NACDS, ECRM, PLMA, and others. We also utilize technology, such as videoconferencing via Skype, to maximize efficiencies for our buyers and manufacturers.
Southern Professionals, Inc. was founded by Al Blackburn in 1979, after leaving a sales management position with Johnson and Johnson. The company's primary focus was representing manufacturers with the grocery and drug chains located in the Southeast. Piggly Wiggly, Winn-Dixie, Big B Drugs, Eckerd's, and Drug Emporium were some of the early retailers that Southern Professionals worked with.
In the late 80's and early 90's, a major shift took place and many of the buyers and management from these retailers made a transition from the drug chains and moved to what we now consider the deep discount stores. Southern Professionals has been focusing on the deep discount stores since then. Some of the retail accounts to which Southern Professionals represents its clients include:
Bert Blackburn, Lisa Akers, Al Blackburn