Sam Garvin, who launched his own mail-in rebate and consumer promotions company at age 25, enters his ninth season as vice chairman of the Suns after purchasing interest in the club in June 2004.
The self-made entrepreneur founded Scottsdale-based Continental Promotion Group in 1989 and its business grew to over $1 billion in annual gross revenues and attracted over 500 blue-chip marketers worldwide. As chairman and chief executive officer from 1989-2005, he managed over 1,200 associates, and organized and executed consumer and trade promotions for Dell, Nestle, Henkel, Costco, BT (British Telecom), HP, Motorola, Disney and Eli Lilly on a global scale.
Garvin, who sold CPG in June 2005, took on additional responsibilities with the Suns shortly thereafter. A Suns fan since 1989, Garvin purchased single-game tickets in the upper bowl when the team played at Veterans Memorial Coliseum and has attended Suns games for the last 18 years. In July 2007, he was appointed an alternate NBA Governor to represent the organization.
Prior to CPG, Garvin served in the Ronald Reagan administration as a staff assistant on the Presidential Commission for the German-American Tri-Centennial. He then went to work for Heinz U.S.A. as a sales merchandiser where he learned the marketing of packaged goods from the ground up. In 1988, he graduated fromThunderbird, one of the top business schools in the country, with amasters of international management specializing in marketing. In 2003, he was awarded a doctor of international law degree, honoris causa, from Thunderbird.
In 1998, Garvin was recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of Arizona’s “Top 40 under 40” most influential business leaders. In 1999, he was recognized by then Arizona Governor Jane Hull with the “Governor’s Spirit of Success” award. He was twice nominated for Ernst and Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.
An acknowledged philanthropic leader, Garvin is currently on the board of trustees at Thunderbird (which is now known as Thunderbird, the School of Global Management), PCDS (Phoenix Country Day School), Whispering Hope Ranch and Phoenix Suns Charities. In addition to his duties with the Suns,Garvin also serves on several corporate boards including WSP Properties, Expert Negotiator, LLC, and Direct Brands, LLC. He is the founder of Garvin Promotion Group, an international strategic promotion marketing firm headquartered in Scottsdale whose clients include Dial, O’Reilly Auto and Petsmart. He is also active in real estate and private equity investing through Garvin Holdings, LLC.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., Garvin completed his Bachelor of Arts degree with a dual major in political science and German studies at the University of Pittsburgh in three years. He resides in Paradise Valley with his wife Rita and three children.