J. Allen Hurley, Class of 1993, Outstanding Alumni Award Winner for 2006
The path for a successful Tri-Cities communications entrepreneur began at Northeast State Community College. Now this alumnus’s name graces a community resource on the college campus where his road to success began. Allen Hurley's commitment to the College earned him the 2006 Outstanding Alumnus title from the Northeast State National Alumni Association.
Hurley ranks as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Northeast Tennessee region. As founder and former chairman of Touchstone Wireless, Hurley dealt with presidents and CEOs of the largest corporations in the communications industry. Touchstone Wireless was the largest national repair and reverse logistics company in North America until 2010 when Brightpoint North America bought the company in a $80 million deal.
As a member of the Northeast State President’s Trust, Hurley has supported capital campaigns that provide scholarships for Northeast State students. He also serves on the Foundation's Board of Directors as chair of the Investment Committee.
Hurley said that combining an associate degree with plain old common sense is required for career success when he returned to his alma mater as keynote speaker for the spring 2007 commencement. He told the 2007 graduating class, "What you do the next three to five years will impact where you are 10 years down the road... you do what you want to do. You can be what you want to be."
A native of Bristol, Tennessee, Hurley earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in electronic engineering technology at Northeast State in 1993. After graduating from Northeast State, Hurley began his career with Centel Cellular. He started his own company, Image 1 Wireless, in 1998 and began refurbishing cell phones in a neighbor’s garage. The business grew quickly and soon he moved the whole operation into a 47,000-square-foot facility. He and his brother, Rick Hurley, merged the company with Eastern Wireless in 2005 to form Touchstone Wireless.
Northeast State dedicated the J. Allen Hurley Wellness Trail at the Blountville campus in 2007 to honor his generous contribution to the Foundation’s scholarship fund. The 0.7-mile wellness trail winds around the north end of campus and includes an arboretum, a natural-growth area home to dozens of plants, wildlife, newly planted trees, and old growth trees.
Hurley has experienced life as a front line technician, a manager, an entrepreneur, and chief executive. Touchstone boasted a workforce of more than 1,200 people including more than 500 at the Bristol facility. Touchstone operated additional locations in Fort Worth, Texas; Souderton, Pennsylvania; and Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. The company's growth pushed Touchstone to the forefront of cellular communications technology recognized by major corporations such as Alltel, Motorola, and Verizon.
Hurley’s success led him to significant leadership roles as a contributor to Sullivan County and the Tri-Cities region. He has served on the Executive Committee for the Networks Partnership Committee, a joint economic development partnership in Sullivan County, and has been a presenter and sponsor at national trade shows in reverse logistics highlighting the industry’s cutting edge trends in technology and management.
Hurley resides in Sullivan County with his wife, Veronica, and their two children. He opened J. Allen Hurley and Associates in 2011 located in downtown Bristol.
Achievement as a student through earning his college degree; success as an entrepreneur by applying his knowledge determinedly and creatively; and generosity in spirit and resources to his alma mater all represent this native son.