P-Pro inks MGM deal

November 22, 2000 10:00 AM
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PurchasePro, the Las Vegas-based leader in business-to-business e-commerce, was last week named by gaming giant MGM MIRAGE to power its new e-marketplace that will connect its 18 properties to more than 30,000 businesses worldwide.

PurchasePro operates the global marketplace, which encompasses more than 30,000 businesses, and powers about 240 private-label marketplaces with its browser-based, e-commerce engine. Simply stated, the company helps businesses set up online exchanges to buy, sell and otherwise transact business over the Internet.

The announcement was key for PurchasePro, since it signals a major relationship with one of the country’s premier gaming companies.

"MGM MIRAGE is more than a company — its procurement needs span a vast array of industries and verticals," said Geoff Layne, executive vice president of PurchasePro. "Our e-commerce solution allows MGM MIRAGE to buy supplies and products from ice cream to ice sculptures in an easy-to-use application that enables the company to aggregate its procurement spend and increase its purchasing power."

From the MGM side, the company will also be able to track, monitor and control all purchases electronically.

PurchasePro is the brainchild of Junior Johnson, the whiz-kid executive who recognized the potential in e-business a few short years ago and followed his vision to create a leader in the fledgling industry.

"Junior is intensely competitive, but he’s also very disciplined," says long time friend Gene Kilroy, a host at the MGM Grand. "In fact, he has a simple creed -- dedication, determination and discipline."

Kilroy added that attaining success has been an evolving process for Johnson, and one that has not been lost on those around him.

"Not only has Junior succeeded for himself, he’s made many people in this town wealthy through his business efforts," Kilroy said. "Beyond that, he has a charitable nature that is nearly mystical. I’ve seen Junior — and he’ll probably strangle me for saying so — give $10,000 in cash to a needy hotel porter, who was so overcome with emotion that be wept."

Very important to his Las Vegas-based business, Johnson is known for rewarding if not looking out for his workers. Last year he threw a $600,000 bash for employees and investors at C2K at the Venetian. The blowout featured prizes such as 15 Rolex watches and paid trips to the U.S. Open, French Open and Wimbledon. Johnson also hired K.C. and the Sunshine Band to play.

"Junior never forgot where he came from," Kilroy explains. "You can judge a person by how he treats his friends, associates and family, especially his mother, and Junior continues to care for the people close to him."

Johnson also donated $2.1 million to build a gym for Lexington Catholic, a high school near where he was raised in Kentucky. He also donated to a foundation looking for a cure to a vision illness suffered by gaming pioneer Steve Wynn, who helped Johnson get his business rolling early in his career.