The best of the decade

Clay Boardman


AGE: 51

OCCUPATION: Owner of Augusta Capital

FAMILY: Three children

ACHIEVEMENTS: Former CEO of Boardman Petroleum Inc. and Charter Terminal Co., immediate past president of Historic Augusta Inc., vice chairman of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, chairman of the Georgia Health Sciences University Foundation

WHY CHOSEN: Since selling the family's convenience store chain, Boardman has devoted his time to renovating historic Augusta buildings into new purposes, leading the movement beginning with Enterprise Mill, which sat empty and deteriorating for two decades until its conversion into office and residential space. Boardman has spearheaded the conversion of nearby Sutherland Mill into offices and the transformation of the old William Robinson school into condos. His company in the last four years has purchased and stabilized historic structures such as the Marion Building, Widow's Home and Martha Lester School. Boardman was inducted into the CSRA Business Hall of Fame in 2009.


AGE: 69

OCCUPATION: Retired general contractor

FAMILY: Wife, Jan; daughter, Kelley; and grandson, Noah

ACHIEVEMENTS: Columbia County's first voter-elected commission chairman; named alumnus of the year in May 2008 at Anderson (S.C.) University and had Cross Hall named for him. His company helped build the dorm.

WHY CHOSEN: Since Cross became commission chairman in 2003, the county's bond rating improved from A to AAA this year, a key sign of the county's financial stability. The lower interest rate on bonds means more money collected from sales tax can be used for the county's numerous construction projects.

Cross' financial acumen has been beneficial to Columbia County, particularly in helping it withstand the recent recession remarkably well. Even during the home buying bust, the county's housing market has continued to grow. In the past decade, more than 10,000 new homes have been built adding about 25,000 new residents.

Cross attributed much of the interest in moving to Columbia County to the reputation of the school system, but he and other officials have worked hard to improve the quality of life in the county.

Since Cross took office, Blanchard Woods Park has opened and Evans Town Center Park is under construction. Several improvements have been made to Wildwood Park and Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Other attractions built this decade include the new Columbia County Library, an amphitheater and playground, and a performing arts center.

Cross also has worked to improve public services such as building a recycling center, a Georgia State Patrol office, and a new Health Department, and Animal Services buildings are under construction.


AGE: 74

OCCUPATION: Managing trustee, Knox Foundation; managing partner, Knox Ltd.

FAMILY: Wife, George-Ann; sons, Charlie and Jeff; and daughter, Elizabeth.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Knox led the Bank of Thomson to its eventual purchase by Allied Bank, now Regions Bank. He is widely respected as a businessman, civic volunteer and philanthropist and chaired a successful campaign to raise $20 million needed to bring the Salvation Army's Kroc Center project to Augusta. His corporate directorships have included Equity Residential Properties, Cousins Properties, and Fulghum Fibres. He has also been a board member of Sacred Heart Cultural Center and the University of Georgia Foundation.

WHY CHOSEN: Throughout his long career, Knox has repeatedly helped improve the community through his leadership and philanthropy. In addition to chairing the committee that raised the required local commitment to bring the Kroc Center and its $67.8 million endowment to Augusta, he has helped many other institutions, including Augusta State University, whose Hull College of Business was the beneficiary of a $2 million Knox Foundation gift in 2008. He is also a friend to the sport of golf, and as a member of Augusta National Golf Club was involved in the acquisition of dozens of properties in the Berckmans Road area that enabled the expansion of parking and other facilities for the Masters Tournament.


AGE: 76

OCCUPATION: Chairman and chief executive officer of Morris Communications Co. and publisher of The Augusta Chronicle .

FAMILY: Wife, Mary Sue "Sissie" Ellis Morris; daughter, Susie Morris Baker; sons, William S. Morris IV and Tyler Morris; and six grandchildren.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Presides over one of the nation's largest privately held media companies, having started with one newspaper, The Augusta Chronicle , for which he took the leadership role on the death of his father, William S. Morris Jr., in 1966. He has served as chairman and member of the board of directors of the Newspaper Association of America and is a former director of The Associated Press and the Advertising Council Inc. His many honors include induction into the Mass Communication Hall of Fame at Texas Tech University, the Grady Fellowship at the University of Georgia and the CSRA Business Hall of Fame.

Morris is a former member and chairman of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and has served on the boards of trustees of the Augusta College Foundation, Paine College, the University of Georgia Foundation and Columbia Theological Seminary. He is a director and president of the Atlantic Coast Cutting Horse Association, founder and show chairman of the Augusta Futurity and chief executive officer of the National Barrel Horse Association of America. He also is the founder and chairman of the board of the Morris Museum of Art, the first museum to focus on the art and culture of the South, which he established in memory of his parents.

WHY CHOSEN: Morris is recognized as a pioneer and leader in the newspaper and publishing business and as an investor in and promoter of his hometown. He was instrumental in transforming the riverfront from a scene of empty warehouses and weeds in the 1980s into a hotel and cultural district that includes the Morris Museum. He helped organize Augusta Tomorrow and the Pinnacle Club, founded the Greater Augusta Sports Council and the Augusta Futurity and brought major equine events to Augusta, all of which continue to bring millions of dollars into the city. He helped bring the National Science Center and the First Tee to Augusta. He has been a campaign leader or major contributor to numerous community projects, educational institutions and organizations including Historic Augusta's Woodrow Wilson House, the Greater Augusta Arts Council, the Family Y and many other civic endeavors.

Dr. G. Daniel McCall, Morris' former pastor at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church and longtime friend, said if people knew the contributions Morris has made and how many people he has helped anonymously they would "be blown away."


AGE: 65 (at the time of his death Feb. 13, 2007)

OCCUPATION: Norwood, a dentist from Columbia County, served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives -- from 1995 until his death in 2007 -- and represented most of east Georgia during a series of redistricting plans.

FAMILY: Wife, Gloria; sons, Charles and Carlton

ACHIEVEMENTS: Norwood achieved national recognition after introducing the first comprehensive managed health care reform legislation. His patient's bill of rights legislation became a key issue in the 2000 presidential election and he was a major player in health care reform for military retirees and veterans. The former Army dentist was also a co-author of the Keep Our Promises to Military Retirees Act in 1999, which provided fully funded health care for life for military retirees. In 2007, then-President Bush approved renaming the Uptown Division of the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Augusta after the late legislator.

WHY CHOSEN: As a member of Congress, Norwood earned a solid reputation as a patriot and advocate for veterans and other groups. He provided legislative pressure to preserve federal funding and missions of the Army's Signal Corps Headquarters and Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site. He also succeeded in winning passage of reforms across a broad range of public policy areas spanning education, private property rights, telecommunications and environmental regulations; and helped overhaul the nation's special education system by writing the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act Discipline Reform Amendment.

Daniel W. Rahn

AGE: 60

OCCUPATION: Chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; former president of Medical College of Georgia and senior vice chancellor for Health and Medical Programs for the University System of Georgia.

EDUCATION: Yale University, bachelor of arts; Yale University School of Medicine, M.D.; Yale University School of Medicine, postdoctoral fellow, section of rheumatology.

FAMILY: Wife, Lana; daughter, Rebecca, sons, Jason and Zachary

ACHIEVEMENTS: Rahn came to the Medical College of Georgia in 1991 from Yale University and quickly became vice chairman of the Department of Medicine, then chief of the section of General Internal Medicine and then chief medical officer for MCG Health Inc. He served as president of MCG from 2001-09.

WHY CHOSEN: During his eight-year tenure as president of Medical College of Georgia, Rahn was able to push the school forward. Sponsored research increased almost 150 percent, with nearly 70 percent of grants coming from the National Institutes of Health.

The number of applicants increased nearly 50 percent and enrollment increased nearly 25 percent. But Rahn was not without controversy. On his watch, the school created a branch campus of the School of Medicine in Athens in conjunction with the University of Georgia. That move has been widely panned in Augusta as potentially creating a competitor with the main campus for scarce resources in the future.


AGE: 63

OCCUPATION: Former Georgia state legislator and Augusta businessman; currently serving a 10-year prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, S.C., after being convicted in 2005 of more than 100 felony counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and filing a false charitable tax return.

FAMILY: Wife, Shelia, four children

ACHIEVEMENTS: Became Georgia's first black state Senate majority leader in 1996; founder and publisher of the former Augusta Focus newspaper.

WHY CHOSEN: Four major projects that helped change the face of downtown Augusta and the Laney-Walker Boulevard area during the decade can be directly attributed to the efforts of Walker. While Senate majority leader, Walker was the major force behind helping Augusta secure $20 million in state funding that led to the creation of three prominent downtown projects -- the Augusta Golf and Gardens on March 30, 2001; Springfield Village Park on Feb. 10, 2002; and Augusta Common on Oct. 26, 2002 -- and the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp., which began revitalizing the neighborhoods between Seventh and 12th streets, bordered by Laney-Walker Boulevard and Walton Way in late 2000.

Walker was accused of -- and eventually charged with -- many things, but his success in bringing home the bacon to Augusta can't be denied.

-- Compiled by Sylvia Cooper, Tom Corwin, Donnie Fetter, Adam Folk, Sandy Hodson, Rob Pavey, Tim Rausch and Mike Wynn