Bulldog 100 honoree interview: Marie Hunter (ABJ ’02)

Marie Hunter holding a Bulldog bobble head.
Marie Hunter (ABJ '02) is one of 10 Grady alumni included on UGA's Bulldog 100 list. (Photos: submitted)

Bulldog 100 honoree interview: Marie Hunter (ABJ ’02)

February 02, 2024

This is one of a series of interviews honoring Grady College alumni who have been recognized as Bulldog 100 recipients in 2024. The Bulldog 100 is sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association and celebrates the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

Marie Hunter (ABJ ’02) is the owner and president of KRG Fuel + Energy, a female-owned company specializing in providing on-site delivery of wholesale petroleum and petroleum products. During her time at Grady College and, more broadly, the University of Georgia, Hunter majored in Telecommunication Arts, studied dance and was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Marie Hunter stands with her parents on graduation day in 2002.
Marie Hunter (ABJ ’02) on graduation day.

What key lessons have you learned from your entrepreneurial journey?

I believe that, over time, the journey itself is the beauty … flaws and all … the good, the bad and the ugly. I have learned that everything is divine and nothing is random. Everything happens for a reason even if it might seem like a mess. The lessons come disguised as failures. Through this process we don’t truly fail, we may just fail at that first or second or third attempt and then continue to learn until we get it right. However, it’s all part of the process.

What qualities or behaviors differentiate exceptional leaders from the rest?

I believe that they have learned how to properly allocate their time. Time is our most important commodity, and trying to maximize it will make us stand out from the rest.

How did your time at Grady College shape where you are today?

Oh my gosh … where do I start? My time at Grady College helped shape my life in so many ways. By studying film and television, I had so much insight into sharpening my skills as a visionary and storyteller. I was also in the dance department, so I knew how to do some storytelling, but Grady College made me really think about the layers. It also made me a better dancer and choreographer. I learned how to be so intentional and why certain aspects of art should be intentional for those who are experiencing what we are offering. The lighting, the settings, the camera angles, the song selections, the editing … everything. I learned that there were so many layers to creating real art, but more importantly, how to deliver it with intention, passion and purpose. I feel that is what has shaped how I have decided to carry on in my life and really connect with people and continue with my mission.

A photo of Marie Hunter on a large display in a conference center lobby.
KRG Fuel + Energy was featured at Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Summit.

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

My advice for Grady College students would be to respect the process and welcome the mistakes. The mistakes will also contribute to your excellence. Last but not least, enjoy every moment of what you are doing. Do not compromise yourself, but be open and willing to evolve.

Are there any books or podcasts that you would recommend to young entrepreneurs?

I would recommend “The Go-Giver,” “Think and Grow Rich,” “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “The Richest Man in Babylon.” Last but not least, “The BeautiFuel Blue Print,” coming soon from Marie Hunter. LOL.

What is the most important skill an entrepreneur must master?

I believe that the most important skill that an entrepreneur must master is the ability to solve problems expeditiously. You must become a master communicator and problem solver. How can you expect those to follow vision if you can’t communicate what it actually is?

Other Grady alumni recognized in the 2024 Bulldog 100 list include:

  • Tom Etheridge (ABJ ’94), Art of Floors
  • Leo Falkenstein (ABJ ’13, BBA ’14), Consume Media
  • Elizabeth Newton (ABJ ’99), ENewton Design
  • Brooke Beach MacLean (ABJ ’11), Marketwake
  • Trevor Williams (ABJ ’02, MA ’04), Pig Apple, LLC
  • Cindy Edwards (ABJ ’86) and Stephanie Duttenhaver (M ’81), Sapelo Skin Care
  • Jason A. Russell (ABJ ’96), Stable Kernel
  • Selby Hill (ABJ ’14), Yonder Yoga

Editor: Jackson Schroeder, Jackson.Schroeder@uga.edu