Home-grown, home-based, home-focused: B.J. Murphy is a true son of Kinston.
Born in Kinston, Murphy is the son of Buster Murphy and Diane Murphy and the late Benita Murphy. He attended public schools in the city, graduated from Kinston High School, and enrolled at Lenoir Community College. After a year at LCC, Murphy transferred to East Carolina University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Murphy’s abilities and fresh ideas immediately appealed to local businesses. While still in college, he worked as an intern at Pride of Kinston and worked part time at the Community Council for the Arts as the Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator. At Pride he developed a downtown building inventory and made appearances on local TV shows to promote downtown Kinston. At the CCA he marketed the Arts Center events to the entire community and developed some web-based marketing strategies.
His capacity for performance under pressure soon landed him a job as manager of The Broken Eagle restaurant on Herritage Street, where he reorganized the staff to increase maximum customer satisfaction, and introduced new buying and marketing strategies to reduce expenses while attracting a large customer base.
During this time, Murphy married Jessica Barwick, a former Miss Kinston-Lenoir County, whom he had known for five years. Today, the couple has two daughters, Gracyn and Kathryn.
His success after two years at The Broken Eagle soon caught the attention of the city’s business leaders. They recruited Murphy to become executive director of Pride of Kinston, the city’s only blanket organization of downtown merchants and businesses. While at Pride, Murphy gained unique insight into the problems of small businesses, and developed strategies to counter those problems. He had a major role in the development of the city’s business incubator, created the Sand in the Streets concert, and helped re-organize the Pride board and committees.
The insight Murphy gained while leading Pride resulted in his decision to run for mayor of Kinston in 2005. Despite his opponent’s popularity and experience, voters responded enthusiastically to Murphy’s candidacy. However, the newcomer lost the race by a scant 300 votes in a hard-fought race.
Murphy’s continuing involvement with the city has given him invaluable insight into the workings of municipal government, and the tools to make it better. He spent the next four years self-employed, traveling business to business, working with owners, upper management and employees in the sales industry.
Murphy earns a living as an Independent Associate & Group Benefits Specialist with LegalShield. His role is to help families and businesses receive quality access to the legal system through LegalShield’s Identity Theft and LegalShield plans.
In November 2009, Murphy was elected as the first Republican Mayor of Kinston in over 140 years and as the youngest in Kinston’s history.