American Values Investments, Inc., founded in 1996, is a registered investment advisory firm operating in the Tri Cities of Northeast Tennessee. We serve, primarily, as a third party money manager offering stock portfolios of companies that exemplify the values of integrity, caring and courage
American Values Investments, Inc., founded in 1996, is a registered investment advisory firm operating in the Tri Cities of Northeast Tennessee. We serve, primarily, as a third party money manager offering stock portfolios of companies that exemplify the values of integrity, caring and courage. We currently manage assets of approximately 33 million in over 1,000 investor accounts.
Mission / Vision / Values
To help investors help America become an ever brighter City upon a Hill by providing opportunities to invest in American companies that exemplify integrity, caring and courage.
Investors can help America’s mission by intentionally directing their investments toward companies that best reflect American values. These companies are truly building a brighter America and are strengthened by more long-term shareholders. We help investors find and invest in these companies.
America was given a lofty mission by John Winthrop in 1630 ... to become a "City Upon a Hill". This was not just an admonition for a devoted group of Pilgrims, it echos from our past as a clarion call for today. Why? Because the dream of a country built on Freedom is fragile and must be renewed and furthered by each generation. The problem and opportunity of Freedom is that it can be used for good or not. Laws and regulations alone will never be sufficient to mandate true goodness. Ultimately goodness is a choice and corporate America is a significant arena in which light and darkness are constantly chosen. Investment capital has the freedom to support, or not, companies that are helping create a brighter America. We have chosen to target for investment those companies that best reflect America's Timeless values providing investors a way to build a brighter City Upon a HIll for us and generations to come.
A brighter America as more investors help expand the positive inflence of values-driven companies.
Freedom is precious but fragile and thrives when people freely do, not merely what is acceptable, but what is noble, true and good. Our dream is to see a growing number of investors exercising their freedom to direct their capital toward companies that better reflect their values. This will eoncourage these companies AND other companies to operate in a way that positively affects their communities and our country. The result … “a brighter America”.
We strive to operate by the same values we use to analyze companies in which we invest.
- Integrity - includes truthfulness and transparency. We encourage and enable investors to evaluate us as thoroughly as we evaluate the American Hero Companies in which we invest.
- Caring - Our goal is to treat others the way we would like to be treated. This applies to our associates, clients, vendors, shareholders and community.
- Courage - We will strive to do what is right and good no matter if it is popular or profitable.
President / CEO
Carter LeCraw, CEO and chairman, founded American Values Investments (formerly LeCraw Investment Management, Inc.) in January of 1996. He began his career in the financial planning and investment business in 1981, and received the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 1987.
Prior to entering the financial services business, Carter taught school and spent four years on active duty as a Supply Corps Officer in the United States Navy. He attended Georgia Tech on an tennis scholarship and graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management. Carter, and his wife Dr. Deborah E. LeCraw, have a son, Peter.
Chief Investment Officer
George Parks, Vice-President and Chairman of the Investment Committee, joined American Values Investments in March 2001. He earned the Certified Financial Planner designation in March 2004.
Prior to entering the financial services business, George spent 20 years working for Belk, Inc., a privately owned department store group. He began his career as a management trainee and advanced to Division President. He graduated from Davidson College in 1980 majoring in Economics.
George has served as a Trustee and Elder for Central Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Virginia. He has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of King College, as director of the local United Way and as a director of the local Chamber of Commerce. Currently, George serves as a member of the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee of the Presbyterian Church USA.
George, and his wife Beth, have a daughter, Kimberly.
Operations / Compliance
Diana Hodge, Operations Manager and Compliance Coordinator, joined American Values Investments in March, 2000. Prior to coming to American Values Investments, Diana was Executive Director of Assistance Resource Ministries (a non-profit ministry providing assistance to those in need). She graduated from Milligan College with a degree in Organizational Management.
Diana, and her husband Hugh, have a son, Nathan. Over the years they have worked in children's ministry, Bible school and with the AWANA program at Hunter First Baptist Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Hugh and Diana love to travel and have now visited all 50 states.
Benny Van Huss
Benny Van Huss, Company Research Analyst, joined American Values Investments in 2006.
Previously, Mr. Van Huss spent 32 years with Eastman Chemical Company where he worked in various capacities including Training, Manufacturing Operations, and Quality Management. There he also helped develop Standard Operating Procedures and Safety Certifications.
In addition to his professional career, Mr. Van Huss teaches Sunday School at Trinity Baptist Church in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He enjoys playing golf, watching the History Channel, traveling, Bible studies and family gatherings (especially when his grandson is around).
He has been married to his wife, Pam, for 38 years and has two children, Stacey and Brad, and one grandchild, Brady.
David Lee Smith
Dave Smith, consulting economist for American values Investments, has spent more than 20 years as a securities analyst and trader, most recently for Royal Bank of Canada. He’s a repeat member of The Wall Street Journal’s Best-on-the-Street All-Star research team.
Mr. Smith also has been vice president of Centex Corporation and an officer of a predecessor company of Diamond Offshore, a major deepwater oil and gas drilling contractor. In addition, he has been the director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in journalism and an M.A. in economics and finance. He has completed the course work for a Ph.D. in literature. The father of four, he is active in Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Loudon, Tennessee.
Kent Johnson, business strategy, joined American Values Investments in 2014. Previously, Kent spent 31 years in supply chain management in the aerospace industry, including serving as an Acquisition Planning and Compliance Director for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and as a Internal Audit and Compliance Manager for Hughes Aircraft Company (now Raytheon). Kent holds a B.S in Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude) from California State University, Fresno, and an M.B.A.from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He was awarded the prestigious NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for his leadership in internal audit, compliance and process improvement.
Kent is a deacon at First Christian Church in Johnson City, TN. He and his wife Adrienne teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, and participate in the outreach ministry. He enjoys hiking, traveling, serving others, studying the Bible, and praise and worship music.
LeCraw Investment management was founded by Carter LeCraw in 1996 with a desire to help individuals and families apply Biblical principles to their finances. As a result Carter was faced with the decision of how to invest client funds in a way that was in keeping with Biblical values. In his search he found that the predominant theme with the socially responsible and even faith-based mutual funds was an avoidance strategy. In other words, it centered around the idea of companies in which NOT to invest. He felt a new more proactive, positive and inspirational approach was needed. Why not target for investment those public companies that were the BEST reflection of good values?
This extremely unique approach attracted a number of highly qualified professionals in the areas of research, sales, operations, and investments. It also attracted investment capital from some influential corporate executives which allowed the company to expand.
In 2002, the name was changed to American Values Investments in order to incorporate a patriotic theme and promote the Timeless values upon which America was founded. It also led to a more intentional way for investors to support companies that were helping create a better and brighter America.
In 2007 the firm had a friendly spin-off of the retail portion into a separate company, Values-First Advisors. This firm assumed most of the client-based services which allowed American Values Investments to focus more on research and investment management.
Recently, new personnel have been added in the research, journalistic and investment areas. These key additions have strengthened the team and should help provide momentum in the coming months. In addition, the new and wholly redesigned website was released in February of 2016.
Our team is grateful for the many years we have been supported by our clients, investors, employees and shareholders. We look forward to a bright future for our company, our stakeholders and most importantly our country.
- Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil;
our great hope lies in developing what is good.
~ Calvin Coolidge
- If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.
~ Abraham Lincoln
It is easy to see what is bad in people, organizations, countries, and, in our case, public companies. We believe digging for what is good is harder, but more rewarding. Therefore, we make a concerted effort to stay positive and encourage what is exemplary in corporate America. In keeping with that fundamental objective, it is our normal company policy to only publicly commend or bring to the attention of the public the exemplary practices of any specific public company.
Some of our initial research will make it difficult for companies that are involved in certain harmful practices or products to qualify as American Heroes, but we do not automatically exclude a company from consideration because of a specific objectionable practice or product.
Our “values-driven” research primarily focuses on finding public companies that best reflect American values, and it is estimated that less than 5% of public companies will meet our criteria for designation as an American Hero Company. This positive and proactive process has been very effective in eliminating most of what is considered objectionable, and offers our clients the opportunity, as suggested by Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Abraham Lincoln, to affect change by supporting what is good rather than merely avoiding what is bad.
The following organizations are ones we financially support now or have financially supported in the past.
- Summit Leadership Foundation - Serving communities around the world with the love of Jesus Christ by creating relational hubs for Connecting, Consulting, Coaching & Caring.
- National Association of Christian Financial Consultants - To teach, train and encourage financial professionals to learn, share and instruct Biblical Stewardship to individuals and families believing that “it profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and lose his soul”
- Kingdom Advisors - The vision of Kingdom Advisors is to create a recognized and credible specialty of Christian financial, legal, and accounting professionals within the financial services industry offering biblically wise financial advice.
- Fellowship of Companies for Christ – In pursuit of Christ’s eternal objectives, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to equipping and encouraging Christian business leaders to operate their businesses and conduct their personal lives in accordance with Biblical principles.
- Integrity Resources - To glorify God by helping others learn, model, and teach God’s principles in their workplace.