VICE PRESIDENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
After law school, Mr. Morris served in the United States Air Force as a judge advocate officer for four years. He served at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas, Korat Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand, and Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. During his time in service, Mr. Morris received the Air Force Commendation Medal and Meritorious Service Medal. Mr. Morris continued his service in the Air Force Reserve and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserve. After completing his Air Force service, Mr. Morris moved to Dallas, Texas where he was an assistant general counsel for Morgan Management Company (the company that builds portable buildings and spas). At Morgan, he managed the legal, risk management, credit and collection and personnel functions and supervised a 5-person department. His achievements included persuading the U.S. Department of Labor to grant an exemption for sales managers from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, converting the company’s medical benefits from a full insurance plan to a self funded plan; restructuring the company’s casualty, property and liability insurance coverages that netted the company $50,000 in reduced premiums; and providing the legal support to introduce a new product line by drafting the owner’s manual and sales forms and monitoring new product development files. From Morgan, Mr. Morris signed on as Corporate Counsel with Sally Beauty Company when Sally was still a regional company. During his tenure as Corporate Counsel, Sally grew into a national company having annual sales of $1 billion, 9000+ employees, 2000+ sales outlets, and a growth rate of 80 new outlets per year. Mr. Morris added significantly to Sally’s growth through closing numerous acquisitions; negotiating and closing real estate purchase agreements for the construction of new distribution facilities; completing the negotiation of over 120 shopping center leases a year and over 400 vendor agreements; and overseeing the company’s trademark registrations. With the large number of employees, Mr. Morris’ duties extended to employment law where he dealt with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and compliance with the complex of employment laws at both the state and federal levels. Mr. Morris left Sally to begin a private practice where he provided legal services and business advice to business persons, entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses. While in private practice, Mr. Morris provided legal advice and support to several franchisees and restaurant owners including franchisees of Church’s Fried Chicken, Burger King, Which Wich and Applebee’s. His legal support included negotiating and closing real estate purchases and asset purchase agreements and aiding with franchisor-franchisee relationships. He single handedly negotiated and closed a 37 restaurant acquisition for his Applebee’s client. In addition, Mr. Morris successfully represented his clients in litigation obtaining injunctive relief for a restaurant client against unfair competition and resolving a complex securities fraud case for another small business client. Mr. Morris was persuaded to leave his private practice to become Vice President and General Counsel for his Applebee’s franchisee client. At Applebee’s, Mr. Morris managed legal services and real estate procurement for the Applebee’s franchisee who owned 65 Applebee’s restaurant and employed over 4,000 employees. Mr. Morris was instrumental in opening 8 new Applebee’s restaurants by drafting and closing real estate lease and purchase agreements and assisting in the selection of properties. In addition he was the point person in closing the purchase of 21 Applebee’s franchises from another franchisee. He also put into operation the company’s compliance programs which insure compliance with regulations related to alcoholic beverage sales In April of this year, Mr. Morris transitioned back to his private practice in which he intends to continue providing legal services and support to franchisees, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Mr. Morris has been active in a number of civic organizations, including Rotary and Jaycees. He is also a member of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church where he has been a member of the church choir and has led Sunday School classes.