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Junior Achievement to honor 2 business leaders

Whalen, Walters to be honored at Thursday banquet

POSTED: May 15, 2011 10:57 p.m.

Junior Achievement will honor two of Gainesville's premiere business leaders, Gus Whalen and Jim Walters, with induction Thursday into the Northeast Georgia Business Hall of Fame.

"Both of these gentlemen, the fact that they give to the community is a wonderful thing that students need to be taught," said Tanya Applebaum, director of education for Junior Achievement of Georgia's Northeast District. "You shouldn't just be successful. If you're successful, there is a time that really you should give back to the community that's made you successful."

Walters and Whalen will be honored Thursday at a banquet at the Chattahoochee Country Club.

Walters, president and CEO of Gainesville-based Walters Management Co., serves on the boards of the Department of Natural Resources, the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation and Elachee Nature Science Center. His work at Brenau University, serving as secretary to the Board of Trustees, earned him an honorary doctorate in law in 2006. The Hall County YMCA was named in his honor and is now the J.A. Walters Family Branch YMCA.

"He's done so much and not only for the local area, but he's always involved with what's going on in the state, also," Applebaum said. "The fact that his name is out there it shows that he's willing to give of himself to the community and that is a big thing I think for students to see."

Whalen became president of his parent's Gainesville-based apparel manufacturing business, The Warren Featherbone Co., at age 29. In 2005, he transformed the company into the Featherbone Communiversity, a community learning center. He has served on the board of directors for the Gainesville City Schools Board of Education, North Georgia Health System Inc. and the Georgia State Workforce Investment Board.

"The Communiversity is like an incubator for different businesses and anyone that would like to start a business they can," Applebaum said. "That to me is a wonderful thing for our community."

Seats are still available for Thursday's event.

Proceeds will go to support Junior Achievement in Northeast Georgia, which strives to inspire and educate students to succeed in a global economy.



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