Business leaders honored
By Jamie Jones
Dalton Daily Citizen
Itâ€™s no surprise the five inaugural inductees into the Junior Achievement Northwest Georgia Business Hall of Fame have strong links to the carpet industry.
Today, 80 percent of the U.S. carpet market is supplied by mills within a 65-mile radius of Dalton, highlighting the carpet industryâ€™s profound impact on the region.
Jack Bandy, Alan and the late Shirley Lorberbaum, V.D. Parrott and the late Catherine Evans Whitener all played different â€” yet important â€” roles in the growth of the carpet industry. They will be honored during an induction ceremony at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center on April 25 at 6:30 p.m.
â€œIn essence, itâ€™s to recognize individuals who have helped make our community successful, folks that have served as role models for our young people,â€ said Judy Norris, executive director of Junior Achievementâ€™s Northwest Georgia District, which includes Whitfield and Murray counties.
Junior Achievement asked members of the community for nominations last year. Those suggestions were whittled down to the five inductees by a selection committee made up of community volunteers. They judged the nominations based on several attributes, including business excellence, inspiring leadership, community involvement and innovation.
The selection process was not easy, Norris said, because there are several deserving business leaders.
â€œThe first year was very difficult,â€ she said. â€œWeâ€™ve just got a lot of good folks to recognize, but we canâ€™t recognize everybody our first year.â€
Norris said Junior Achievement plans to add three members each year.
â€œI think we have enough for the next five or 10 years,â€ she said.
Jeff Lorberbaum, chairman and chief executive officer of Mohawk Industries, said Junior Achievement should be commended for â€œhelping young people better understand personal finance and providing encouragement to explore career opportunities.â€ Junior Achievement teaches children about business, economics and personal finance, reaching more than 4 million students nationally each year.
â€œMy parentsâ€™ induction into the local Junior Achievement Hall of Fame is a wonderful recognition of their professional accomplishments and their commitment to this community,â€ Jeff Lorberbuam said. â€œThey thoroughly enjoyed their careers in the floorcovering industry and took great pleasure in contributing to the success and personal growth of many individuals.â€
Here are the first five inductees:
â€¢ Jack Bandy: One of three founders in 1956 of the tufted carpet business Coronet Industries, which was eventually bought by Beaulieu. Bandyâ€™s family also donated land where the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center was built. Bandy resides in Dalton.
â€¢ Alan and Shirley Lorberbaum: In 1957 they started Aladdin Mills, which would later become Mohawk Industries. The Calhoun-based company is now the worldâ€™s largest floorcovering maker, employing more than 34,000. Alan lives in Boca Raton, Fla. Shirley passed away in 1999.
â€¢ V.D. Parrott Jr.: Served as general manager/president of Dalton Utilities from 1945 until his retirement in 1982, working with local industry to create an environment to help the carpet industry grow. Parrott lives in Dalton.
â€¢ Catherine Evans Whitener: Considered the â€œmother of the carpet industry,â€ Whitener revived the handicraft tradition of tufting patterns onto bedspreads in the late 1890s, which developed into the floorcovering industry. She passed away in 1964.
Parrott, who moved to Dalton in 1919, remembers the heyday of the â€œPeacock Alleyâ€ corridor on Dixie Highway where the fledgling bedspread industry began and proliferated. He lived across the street from Whitener and her husband, spending time on their front porch swing.
â€œTo be honored alongside Mrs. Evans is quite a surprise, but is also very special because she was like an aunt to me,â€ Parrott said.
The dinner and reception will serve to raise money and awareness for Junior Achievement. Norris said the organizationâ€™s budget comes from business, foundations, donations and special events.
During the black tie (optional) event, students will introduce each inductee, a video depicting the inducteesâ€™ life and achievements will be shown. The inductees in attendance will have an opportunity to speak.
Junior Achievement plans to establish a permanent Hall of Fame display at the trade center, but the organization has not determined the specifics.
Norris said she has thought about establishing a local Hall of Fame for the past five years. Junior Achievement has a national business Hall of Fame, which has more than 220 members, including Warren Buffett (owner of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Dalton-based Shaw Industries) and Dave Thomas (Wendyâ€™s). This yearâ€™s inductees include Arthur Blank (co-founder of The Home Depot and Atlanta Falcons owner) and Herbert V. Kohler Jr. (chairman and president of Kohler Co.). Communities across the state have also established Halls of Fame, so Norris had a format to follow.
In Northwest Georgia, Junior Achievement has provided programs to students since 1964. Each year the Northwest Georgia District serves more than 8,900 students in 44 schools, with the bulk of those students in Gordon, Murray and Whitfield counties. The local district has more than 300 volunteer