The five honorees at the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame induction banquet have been successful in business, but it is their success at giving back to the community that keynote speaker Doug Barnard Jr. said made them truly notable.
“Without public service, this community would not be what it is today,” Barnard said. “Its value is so important.”
Jeff Hadden, Joey Hadden, Rick Allen, Perry Smith and Joseph Greene were honored Thursday night by Junior Achievement of Augusta at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center for demonstrating business excellence and civic-mindedness.
Greene, who died in 2007, was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Co., one of Augusta’s oldest and largest black-owned businesses, before retiring in 1991. He then had a second career as a business professor at Augusta State University. Barnard, a friend of Greene’s, said there was no way to measure the impact Greene had on the community.
“Joe was a leader, and he would not be timid about making suggestions or recommendations,” he said. “I loved him, and he was truly a distinguished citizen.”
Greene worked his way to the top of Pilgrim from cotton fields in Emanuel County, Ga. During dinner, banquet attendees were shown a video presentation of community leaders sharing their experience with Greene’s generous and courageous life.
“He was a very unique gentleman, and he deserves the highest awards and accolades,” said Pat Blanchard, the vice chairman of the board for First Bank of Georgia and a friend of Greene’s.
Phoenix Printing brothers Jeff and Joey Hadden also were commended for their devotion to the family business and the community.
“Whenever I go to any nonprofit event, I promise you I will see Phoenix Printing listed as a sponsor,” said Karyn Nixon, executive assistant to the mayor.
The Hadden brothers said their success in business and their prioritization of community good works is related. The company does not buy advertisements or promote itself, they said, but spends those resources on giving back to the community.
“I don’t think they especially like any recognition, but that’s what comes with being exceptional leaders,” said Rick Busby, the president of Busby’s Heating and Air Conditioning.
Smith is a retired Air Force general who has become one of Augusta’s most active community leaders. He is an internationally known speaker, commentator and management consultant. Allen founded one of the biggest commercial construction firms in the Southeast, R.W. Allen, and is now running for Congress.
Junior Achievement serves 18 counties. About 7,000 students will benefit from a program this year that teaches them about business, economics and the free enterprise system.