CONWAY — Myong Mann immigrated to the United States more than 40 years ago. She barely spoke English, but she worked tirelessly to provide a loving and caring environment for her children.
Mann saw all that work come to fruition as her son, Trip Leach, was named the Outstanding Young Minority Professional by the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce during its annual Minority Enterprise Development Awards this fall.
“This isn’t an accumulation of things I’ve done; there are many people who have contributed to my success and well-being — starting with my mom,” Leach said. “I am forever grateful for how she had to work and all the challenges she had to endure.
“There are numerous other people who have helped me along the way and mentored me, and set good examples for me — all those things — but my mom deserves a lot of the credit.”
The invitation-only reception was held in-person with tables being spaced out and seating reserved for family members only at each table. He said that Tim Ester, one of Leach’s former managers from Stoby’s Restaurant, was another recipient that night at the event, so for both of them to be honored was a nice bonus. Ester and his wife, Gena, were given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Leach, who has a stepbrother and a half-sister, was an only child until he was about 14 and said it was a neat moment to be able to share this award with his mom.
“Sometimes, moms have a very thankless job and don’t get a lot of the acknowledgement,” Leach said, “so I wanted to publicly share just how much my mom has meant to me.
“It was such an incredible moment. … That was very cool.”
Leach is a co-owner of S7 Tactical in Conway, which offers firearms training to law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians at a private gun range. He started the business a little more than three years ago because he wanted to offer not just firearms training, but self-defense and situational awareness as well.
“We bring our training to corporations and teach them how to not only defend themselves, but also educate people on how they can avoid the conflict,” Leach said. “We have offered 2,300 hours of training this year, including volunteer hours for church security teams, the Conway Fire Department and the Conway Police Department. … What we bring to our classroom is a lot of statistics.
“We deliver that and package it to inform and educate people to know what criminals are looking for.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.s7tactical.com.
Leach grew up in Perryville and attended Hendrix University in Conway, graduating in 2004. He has now lived in Conway for about 20 years.
Ryan Stephens has known Leach for more than five years and is his business partner for S7 Tactical.
“Trip is an amazing man,” Stephens said. “He is one of the hardest-working guys I know. He is a strong man of faith, and he serves at the church and for the city by being on the school board.
“I have a lot of respect for him.”
Leach has been on the school board for the Conway School District for six years and currently serves as its president. He is also on the board of directors for the Children’s Advocacy Alliance. He is a volunteer pastor for New Life Church and serves as the director of finance business operations for New Life Church Arkansas, which has 18 campuses across the state.
Stephens said he and Leach met through the church. One day, Leach had discussed how he always wanted to open a firearms range or a shooting-sports facility.
“He just felt God put it on his heart to talk to me and for us to work together. … He is the best business partner ever,” Stephens said. “He is an amazing business partner.
“He is absolutely trustworthy and really good about our partnership. The business comes second, and God comes first. He is a man of faith, and I know that in everything he does, he is putting God first.”
Leach said he and his wife, Courtney, are heavily involved with the marriage-and-family ministry at the church. He said he and his wife have a passion to serve.
“Giving back to the community, I’m particularly interested in children because I firmly believe that all the problems in the world can be fixed with one generation,” Leach said. “If we all come together and invest in our children and show them the right way, they can fix all the problems that we have made for them.”
Stephens said Leach cares about the community.
“We aren’t in the gun business; we are in the people business,” Stephens said. “We like serving people. I have watched Trip pray for people in the middle of the day. I’ve watched him stop and pray for these people, as well as mentor other business owners.
“He has such a servant heart.”