A maritime leader, a husband and wife volunteer team and a local music icon were inducted into the Savannah Business Hall of Fame Tuesday as Junior Achievement hosted its 12th annual fundraising gala at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.
The black-tie dinner and auction, sponsored by the Savannah district of Junior Achievement of Georgia and Colonial Oil, honored former ports executive Doug Marchand, retirees Jack and the late Grace Neises, and jazz great Ben Tucker for their business accomplishments as well as their extensive contributions to the community.
"The accomplishments of these inductees help show our children that a large part of being successful means giving of one's self," said Johnathon Barrett, vice president of Junior Achievement of Georgia. "In the words of Winston Churchill, 'You make a living out of what you do. You make a life out of what you give.' I think our inductees are great testaments to that philosophy."
Junior Achievement of Georgia and its volunteers bridge the gap between the business and education communities by providing relevant, hands-on curriculum to K-12 students in a variety of different formats and venues.
The organization works to increase high school graduation rates through in-school and after-school programs focusing on entrepreneurship, personal financial literacy and workforce readiness.
In addition to honoring the hall of fame laureates Tuesday, the organization presented the following:
-- The 2011 Educator of the Year award to Jean Shearer of West Chatham Elementary.
-- The 2011 Volunteer of the Year award to Ericka Williams, student leader at Savannah State University.
-- The Business Partnership of the Year to Savannah Technical College.
-- The 2011 Junior Achievement Advocacy Award to Camille Russo.
"These honorees are the backbone of Junior Achievement," Barrett said. "We wouldn't be able to impact more than 12,000 students this school year without the support of our biggest advocates, who continue to go above and beyond."
Proceeds from the banquet will help Junior Achievement continue to partner volunteers from local businesses and civic organizations with area school systems to teach students about entrepreneurship, economics, personal finance and business ethics.
About the inductees
DOUG MARCHAND: Executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority for 15 years, Marchand transformed the trade and shipping industries, not only in the Savannah and Brunswick ports but throughout the state of Georgia, working to put Savannah on the map in the national and international trade arenas. Widely credited with developing the beneficial cargo owner concept in the maritime industry, Marchand's strategy grew Savannah from a sleepy southern port to a global powerhouse, now recognized as the fourth busiest and fastest growing container port in the country.
JACK and GRACE NEISES: Settling in Savannah after retiring from successful careers in New York and Boston, Jack and the late Grace Neises embraced Savannah and became active in a wide array of community projects -- from arts and education to children's services. Jack Neises has served as both treasurer and president of the Telfair Museum. He also has been active with Habitat for Humanity, building more than 38 houses in the area. Grace Neises was board chair of Parent and Child, a board member of America's Second Harvest and one of the few non-native Georgians to be named statewide membership chair of the Georgia State Historical Society.
BEN TUCKER: An accomplished musician, Ben Tucker not only revolutionized the music scene in Savannah but the social landscape as well, helping to promote integration and equality among the various races and classes with his love and promotion of the arts. Tucker became Savannah's first African American radio station owner in 1972 when he purchased WSOK Radio, a top AM station for 13 years. In 1989, he opened Hard Hearted Hannah's, a jazz club, where he was not only the owner of the club but the headliner. A member of several service boards, he was also the creator of the Telfair Jazz Society.
On the Web
For more information, go to www.georgia.ja.org.
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