By Claire Winesett
Traveling nearly 800 miles from his home of Miami, Florida, Curt Crissey came to Mississippi State University as a freshman not knowing anyone. It didn’t take long for this Bulldog to find a new place to call home. And, 35 years after graduating from MSU, Crissey lives and works in the very town that shaped his professional life.
Crissey, the owner of the Crissey Companies, started his first business, Southeastern Commercial Washer and Dryer, after graduating from MSU in 1981 with two degrees: a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and another in computer science. The entrepreneur’s business has grown exponentially over the past 32 years.
“Shorty there after I started my group retail companies Bulldog Package Store, BREWski's, CoCoNuts and Bite My Burrito, Down the Hatch Deli, Patriot Chevron, and Russell Street Chevron,” said Crissey. He continued to explain how he “started a group of restaurants” such as Rosey Baby Crawfish and Cajun House, and how he then “diversified into real estate holdings.”
Crissey also enjoys knowing that his businesses have provided opportunities for many MSU students. “I have employed thousands of [MSU] students. My companies have enabled many to continue pursuing their studies through tuition help and work. Now we are employing sons and daughters of previous employees,” said Crissey.
According to Crissey, MSU offered a wonderful, traditional university setting to pursue a college education.
“I came from Miami, Florida, to MSU not knowing a soul. The university community, students, faculty and staff helped me evolve, mature and grow,” said Crissey. “By the time I graduated I had come to know so many new friends and mentors,” he continued.
Crissey credits MSU for preparing him for his future, but also acknowledges that one’s hard work and drive ultimately leads to success.
“Knowledge is opportunity. The more one learns, the more adaptable one becomes,” said Crissey. “MSU taught me to think, made me malleable, adaptive, and confident. I felt I could compete on any level and win,” he continued.
“MSU can ready you for life's challenges, but it is up to you and your God given talents to make it happen,” said Crissey. “If you really want to achieve a life long goal and you are totally committed, you will find a way.”
To relax, Crissey enjoys time participating in outdoor activities. He especially likes to spend time fishing on his boat and flying his plane.
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