Reframing Obsolescence to Make All Things New

Leadership, Management, Spiritual Growth

In a business world that prioritizes productivity, speed, and profits, Christians may feel like Monday through Friday belongs to the world while Sunday belongs to God. But Scripture beckons Christians toward a more holistic lifestyle. “Whatever you do,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “do it all to the glory of God.”

Christianity Today spoke to five C12 Members who want to do more than simply run another successful company. These leaders want their faith in Christ to be fully integrated into their business practices, influencing everything from production to employee relations, from hiring practices to strategic planning.

Here’s Sam Thevanayagam, Parts Life, Inc.

Image: Photo by Colin Lenton

Sam Thevanayagam is as warm as he is professional, as Spirit-filled as he is strategic. As the CEO of Parts Life, Inc., he leads his company in providing supply chain and obsolescence solutions by sourcing replacement parts and acting as a strategic partner to numerous military branches and primarily aerospace, automotive, and construction equipment companies. Thevanayagam started his career in the automotive industry. But after 12 years, he lost his job. Due to a strict non-compete clause, Thevanayagam realized he would have to reinvent himself as a professional. He consulted for a while, and then in 2007, right at the beginning of the recession, he founded Parts Life. Money was tight. Thevanayagam struggled with worry as he tried to keep a roof over his family’s head and his five children, three of whom were regularly risking injuries as they played football, covered by health insurance.

“It was a difficult time,” Thevanayagam says, “but the Lord actually used the things I learned while I was consulting to create sustenance for my family. In 2010, I got my first million-dollar purchase order from a customer. That really set up the company. Today, I’ve acquired two other companies and have about 110 employees.”

Thevanayagam doesn’t see the 2010 order as the moment when his luck changed. Rather, he sees it as one example of God’s ongoing faithfulness to him, a type of faithfulness that does not waiver in plenty or in want.

As Thevanayagam steers his company through recessions, spending cuts, and a volatile political climate, he keeps focused on what he believes God has called him to: re-creating.

“I have a unique ability and a unique process— it’s actually trademarked—that not only re-creates a technical data package but then re-creates a part. That [addresses] a huge issue for readiness in this country,” Thevanayagam says.

“I spoke to the Department of Defense in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently, and the Lord told me to talk about a ‘strategic gap.’ So, I said that there’s a strategic gap between bringing on new assets to the forces and the ability of existing assets to be sustained until the new assets come on board.” Thevanayagam refers to this method as “obsolescence solved,” which he calls his catchphrase. “If you think about it,” he says, “what we’re doing is creating a technical data package then re-creating that part. And then if you think about God, that’s what he’s doing to us from a heart perspective.’”

This parallelism between his and God’s roles brings great significance to Thevanayagam’s work. He’s not only re-creating parts; he’s helping to re-create lives. Recently, for example, a Parts Life employee was able to end his incarceration early because Thevanayagam offered him a job. And Thevanayagam didn’t stop there; the Parts Life community is helping this employee not only reintegrate into the workplace but assimilate back into his role as a husband and father. The company is there for him—with support, accountability, and confidence that re-creation is real, that it can happen for a part needed by the US Army and in the hearts of people, too.

Whether he’s deciding new HR policies or negotiating government contracts, there’s one Bible story that moves Thevanayagam and influences how he runs his business. He says, “Part of my call to leadership and to the people I am around is, ‘Who are the Zacchaeuses in my life who are looking for transformation, and what are you willing to do with that?’”

“Jesus was right there ready to receive the willing Zacchaeus and transform his life. We don’t know if Zacchaeus lived happily ever after,” says Thevanayagam. “But what we do know is that Jesus took the time to give him an opportunity to be transformational.” So that’s what Thevanayagam will be doing, too, whether with his own career trajectory, or an outdated part that a client needs to be re-created, or with an employee who has failed a drug test. He’ll be there, waiting, working, and participating in making all things new.

At the beginning of the millennium, Christianity Today founder Billy Graham said, “I believe that one of the next great moves of God is going to be through the believers in the workplace.” CEOs are living that out with every replacement part, sportfishing boat, and office supply sold. From plates of spaghetti served around the table to morning fitness classes that leave people sweaty but empowered, services are more than tools to ensure customer loyalty. For these business owners, they’re acts of faith to serve a glorious God.

*This profile originally appeared in the full article “5 Companies Radically Shaped by the Faith of Their Owners” published here and in the May/June 2020 issue of Christianity Today.

 

  • Kevin Miller Bio

    With over a decade of experience in marketing leadership, brand management, and business development, Kevin has helped numerous companies refine and implement plans to create exponential growth.

    Prior to joining C12, Kevin led a successful Florida-based brand strategy consulting business focused on growing small and medium-sized businesses. Entrepreneurial in spirit, Kevin also has a diverse background in launching start-ups as well as helping struggling or stagnant businesses develop a new course of action. His experience incorporates knowledge from multiple industries including textile manufacturing and design, medicine, real estate, technology, web development, and the creative arts.

    After attending the University of Central Florida where he studied Music Performance, Kevin became involved in worship arts and youth ministries, serving for several years in various leadership roles. He and his wife Beth, an elementary school administrator, have been married since 2000. Together with two sons Kyle and Kamden, they enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities including hiking, hunting, fishing, and backpacking.

  • Troy Blackmon Bio

    Troy came to The C12 Group in 2008, with a diverse background in executive leadership, sales development, team building, and operations. Through his role as VP of Field Operations, he is committed to serve, equip and encourage CEOs and business owners to lead thriving companies that honor the Lord and serve people.

    During his tenure at Chick-fil-A, Inc. Troy learned that business excellence and glorifying God in the marketplace go hand in hand. Troy managed a P&L of $35+ million in revenue and coached business owners in operational excellence and improving financial results.

    In addition, Troy has been involved in leading small group ministry, including planting a church in Seattle, WA. Troy was formerly Partner at OneAccord, a management-consulting firm focused on accelerating revenue for mid-market companies. While at OneAccord, Troy was privileged to work with numerous technology companies in senior leadership positions, managing sales, marketing, and business development activities. Troy most recently served as the President of a technology private equity group, where he led the management teams of 4 portfolio businesses.

    Troy is married to his high school sweetheart, Shanna, and has been blessed with 4 children. He enjoys golf, cycling, and mountain biking with his family.

  • Mike Sharrow Bio

    Mike joined C12 as a member in 2010 while serving as an executive pastor for a large church in Texas and owner of a healthcare strategy consulting group.  Prior to that, he had served in a variety of leadership roles in both operations and sales corporately for the Walgreen Company, financial services as well as strategic development work with Health by Design.  In 2011 he exited his commitments to join the local C12 practice in San Antonio as an associate chair serving CEOs across that market.  In 2013 he and a partner acquired the greater Central Texas region and stewarded it as it grew to a team of 8 full-time chairmen serving nearly 150 leaders.  Mike is passionate about collaboration, strategic planning, Gospel initiatives and BHAG endeavors.

    With a background spanning Fortune 50 corporate settings, startups, non-profit and local church, Mike has been discipled into an integrated life perspective around the calling all believers share to be disciple-making disciples and ambassadors of Christ across all vocations and contexts.  It was in 2005 when God revealed to Mike the perils of a “sacred versus secular” duality in life and since then he’s been on the adventure of living one life in Christ, with work as worship, business as ministry and life as mission.

    Mike grew up in Alaska, graduated from Trinity International University and the Loyola Graduate School of Business.  He married his bijou of an Iowa farmers daughter, Jacqui, in 2002 and they have 2 girls, Elayna and Sophia.