Gary Lawson


I describe myself as a lifetime entrepreneur. I grew up in a family of five kids and a single mom, so I discovered early on that if I wanted something, I would have to work hard to get it. I went to work at the age of 10 and never looked back. I don’t ever remember not having a job of some sort. After graduating high school, I enrolled at Georgia State University. When I entered college, my goal was to become a teacher and I was majoring in Education. My older brother, who had started a career in the medical device industry, was extremely enthusiastic about the opportunities in this new emerging industry and steered me instead towards a Business degree. I’m glad he did. It was a good match.

I was fortunate to find a job in the medical device industry as a sales rep two weeks after graduating college. I loved it and found that I was good at it. While working for a good company was a great introduction to the business, it wasn’t long before I was hungry to start a company of my own. I partnered with one of my coworkers who shared similar dreams to mine and we launched our new venture. We started our company at the tender age of 26 with very little money, but a big desire to succeed. Over the next 40 years, we built one of the largest Orthopedic Sales and Distribution companies in the US, based in Boston, Ma and serving all of New England. Our philosophy from the beginning was to build the type of company we would love to work for. Work hard, play hard, and treat your employees and customers as you would want to be treated. Customer service was always number one and we were in a very demanding 24/7 business. We built a company in our area that people wanted to work for and do business with. It was truly a pleasure and I can’t tell you how much I learned over those 40 years. The ups and downs of building a company such as ours were great teachers of what to do and what not to do. When we retired at the end of 2015, our company had over 250 employees and sales of over $150 million. We had a great run!

After moving to Charleston, I have been enjoying retirement a great deal and loving life in the Lowcountry. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place. Having five daughters, I would always talk to them about how great life is here and encourage them to join my wife and I down here. Being an entrepreneur, I was always thinking of what things we may be able to do as a family business. I have been interested in education my entire life and my daughter Libby is a teacher, so that became an area of interest. After speaking with Libby and her husband, Matt, we honed in on early childhood education and care.

We began searching for an opportunity in the Charleston area that would allow their family to relocate from Boston. I was shocked and surprised to find such an amazing school building right here in Carolina Park in Mount Pleasant. I knew this area was a high-growth market and had a big need for top quality early childhood education and child care. We were able to purchase the school building and begin our remodel right away. I made sure that everyone involved with this project knew that I would only do it if we set the bar extremely high and committed to being the best preschool in the Charleston area. It’s the only way I know how to do business and we have a highly skilled and committed team that has accepted that challenge. My family’s commitment to you and your family is that we will always strive to be the best. We will not rest until we have achieved this. We will not be absentee owners. My daughter and her husband moved here to do this and only this. They live in Carolina Park and their three young children attend the schools there. We will not rest until we have our NAEYC accreditation, which is only given to the top schools in the U.S.  Very few early education centers in the state have this. Our Executive Director, Karen Doe, has taken four schools to NAEYC certification, so we feel very confident that Carolina Park Academy will be her fifth.

Thank you for entrusting the care and education of your young children to us. We will not disappoint!