Two men were presented with the Junior Achievement of Northeast Georgia’s Business Hall of Fame awards.
The organization honored John Angus Ferguson Jr. and Thomas H. Paris Jr. at a gala Saturday, Feb. 1, at Gainesville’s Chattahoochee Country Club. The event highlights “the careers and public service of Northeast Georgia’s most outstanding citizens,” according to Junior Achievement.
The award for Paris, who died in November 2018, was presented in memoriam.
Junior Achievement of Georgia core values include “passion for what we do and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it,” “commitment to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship” and “belief in the power of partnership and collaboration.”
“Both of these gentlemen, Mr. Paris and Mr. Ferguson, fit that mold of our core values,” Junior Achievement of Northeast Georgia Director Dana Miller said.
In 1968, Ferguson became the youngest hospital administrator in Georgia after coming to the Hall County Hospital four years earlier. Ferguson played key roles in the growth of Northeast Georgia Medical Center and the founding of Health Southeast, a hospital group “organized for cost-containment efforts,” according to Junior Achievement.
Former Gov. Joe Frank Harris appointed Ferguson to the Commission on Access to Healthcare in the 1990s. Ferguson retired in 2004 as chief executive officer of Northeast Georgia Health System.
Paris served as president for Paris-Dunlap Wholesale Hardware Co. and the Southern Hardware Association and founded Paris Management and Investment Co. and Paris Storage Co.
He was a founding trustee of Lakeview Academy who also served as a trustee for Brenau University and Northeast Georgia Health System.
The Gainesville native also was a captain of the Gainesville High football team and went on to be a three-year Georgia Bulldogs letterman under then Coach Wally Butts.
Proceeds from the event went toward Junior Achievement programs.
“This academic year, over 17,000 students will be served by specially trained corporate volunteers and high school students in our area. Programs in class rooms and at the Mike & Lynn Cottrell JA Discovery Center at North Georgia will teach youth the fundamentals of free enterprise, business ethics, personal economics, and workforce development,” according to a news release from Junior Achievement.