Chris RUgh BIO
Chris Rugh is a successful entrepreneur with irrepressible
passion for business and life. In 2014 he exited
CustomTollFree.com the nation’s leading vanity telephone
number search firm catering to 1000’s of companies and well
recognized brands such as 1800CONTACTS, Comcast, and Best Buy.
In additions to massive growth during past economic downturns and helping set toll-free policy as leader in the telecommunications industry, Chris was the mastermind behind the proprietary software program and algorithm that instantaneously turned numbers into letters that even his industry competitors licensed. Making them the largest selection of vanity numbers on the web even beating out AT&T. Since his exit the company has continued to grow and was resold.
Today, Chris focuses mainly on Real Estate Investing putting together longer term hold syndication’s with property acquired through a complex method of big data analysis and negotiation. On a recent sale he set a per square foot record for low rise density development dirt. Other activities include, Mentoring start-ups, consulting on monetizing intellectual property, and has recently committed to making significant changes to the family law system through lobbying and the creation of technological tools to help reduce domestic conflict.
In addition to his leadership of his various ventures and when not holding to his commitment to being an awesome father, Chris is also an engaging and award-winning speaker and a tell-it-like-it-is blogger who believes in working hard, playing hard, and enjoying the journey every step of the way.
He is or has been in the prestigious Entrepreneurs Organization, Toastmasters, Maverick1000 group, has been known to play and frolic with billionaires, rock climb, and even founded, a nonprofit artist collective at Burning man where he has done fun and interesting things like build an electric cars from scratch. The camp has hosted numerous tech founders such as Zappo’s, aQuanitive and Intuit’s (Quickbooks). Currently the camp hosts almost 200 successful entrepreneurs a year at the event. He is also a strong advocate for social justice and a lifetime member of the ACLU.
— “We are all responsible for what happens to us. There are no accidents.” —Chris Rugh
Rugh’s Business Aha Moment:
The “aha” moment for Custom Toll Free came to Rugh as he was sifting through 20,000 case files of bankrupt companies back in the mid 1990′s. He noticed that heavy equipment and other assets were selling for pennies on the dollar. He also discovered that vanity phone numbers retained tremendous value.
On his first big score, Rugh noticed that one number of a particularly colorful nature was getting a great deal of traffic. He found the owner of the number, acquired the rights to it, and subsequently cashed in on its mis-dial value. This combination of Sherlock Holmes curiosity and savvy negotiating have worked to Rugh’s favor as he’s grew his company from a simple idea to a thriving telecommunications and marketing corporation.
A Few Anecdotes….
About Rugh that speak volumes about his passion for risk taking, doing the right thing, and making a difference:
Rugh has walked over hot coals multiple times, and he’s never yet been burned. He paid for his sister’s college education so his mom could retire two years earlier than planned. Rugh’s favorite movie is “Fight Club” because it tells the story of eeking out every bit of life out of every moment, but doing it in a crazy way. His proudest moments are those when people call him to say that the business insights he shares contribute decisive, stunning impact on their success
Rugh earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations and advertising from Grand Valley State University. He lives in Seattle, WA.