Edward Clydesdale, Class of ’82

At Eastern, Edward Clydesdale was an active student who played baseball, soccer and was vice president of the student body council. Fresh out of graduate school at Temple University, Clydesdale moved to Nashville, Tenn. with his brother in 1990. Together with Ronnie Smith and Ron Coker, Clydesdale founded CNI Distribution in 1990. CNI, a division of Christian Network International, first started out as a distribution center for Christian music. The award-winning company soon expanded distribution to include ten thousand individual products, state-of-the-art computer networking systems, apparel, movies, music, and books from around the world.

CNI represents an enormous amount of music, book and film company products such as Autumn Records, which produced such artists as Dancing with Angels, Tom Hemby and Kelly Willard and Cloud Ten Pictures with films such as Saving God: one Soul at a Time, Revelation and Left Behind.

CNI has won the “1999 Nashville Business of the Year” award from the Nashville Business Journal, as well as the 2001 Business “Hall of Fame” award from the Chamber of Commerce.

Clydesdale said that the most interesting part of his job is seeing and hearing the responses from people about the products he distributes. “How people are touched by the products is what I find most interesting about my job, knowing that these products I deliver have potential to change their lives,” Clydesdale said. “It’s the greatest blessing.”

Clydesdale has been all over the U.S. for different meetings and conferences. His favorite places to travel to are Toronto, Newport Beach, Calif. and San Diego, Calif. Along the way, Clydesdale has met many interesting people. “There have been times where I had to stop myself from getting star struck, but then I remember that they have jobs just like you and me,” he said.

From the time he spent at Eastern, Clydesdale learned about camaraderie, community and the ability to listen to others. “I was already open-minded prior to going to Eastern, but Eastern opened my eyes and mind even more,” Clydesdale said.

With all his accomplishments and success, Clydesdale’s advice to others is to “enjoy the journey and smile.”

“It’s not always about who the smartest is,” Clydesdale said, “but who is willing to step out of their comfort zone to become successful.”

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