Two of Hall County’s most successful business leaders were honored Saturday night by Junior Achievement.
John Addison and Ed Schrader were honored as this year’s laureates at the ninth annual Northeast Georgia Business Hall of Fame Gala, an event to celebrate business leaders’ accomplishments and, more importantly, how they have helped the community.
“Basically this night is to raise money so that we can continue to offer programming in schools and teach children what it means to be responsible,” said Dana Miller, director for Northeast Georgia Junior Achievement.
“They’re both remarkable success stories,” said Abit Massey, president of Northeast Georgia Junior Achievement. “It’s a good example for young people to see them in action.”
Guests mingled in their black-tie outfits at the Chattahoochee Country Club during a cocktail reception that included a silent auction, with proceeds benefitting Junior Achievement. Its programs focus on educating students from kindergarten through high school about the fundamentals of free enterprise, business ethics, personal economics and workforce development. The auction included paintings, spa packages, golf outings and vacations to nearby locations.
After dinner, the 2018 laureates were presented with their awards.
Addison, who lives in Clermont, told the crowd he was appreciative of the award. He thanked his wife, two sons and business partners over the years. As the co-chief executive officer at Primerica from 1999-2015, Addison was able to help the company through the financial crisis in 2008. That led to a successful initial public offering in 2010 and taught him a lot of what he knows about being a leader.
“It’s an honor to get this award when you see the list of past winners,” Addison said. “I grew up on a dirt road. I was an only child with two of the most amazing parents you could have. I was blessed beyond belief because my parents gave me roots and wings instead of loot and things.”
Since leaving Primerica, Addison has focused on educating people in business by writing a book and speaking at events. He is the leadership editor of Success Magazine and the CEO of Addison Leadership Group Inc., but still serves on the Board of Directors for Primerica. He’s also served on the boards of the Georgia Conservancy, the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce and the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter.
“I want to thank Junior Achievement because that organization focuses on making the next generation achieve, which is an important word,” Addison said.
Schrader spoke about his time as president of Brenau University since 2005, when enrollment has grown by more than 30 percent. He has overseen the university’s expansion across downtown Gainesville, plus new campuses in Fairburn and Jacksonville, Fla.
”The trustees of Brenau were extremely generous in 2004 when they offered me the opportunity to come to Gainesville,” Schrader said. “I have loved Gainesville ever since.”
Schrader got his start as the associate dean of sciences at Millsaps College from 1995-2000 and became the president of Shorter University from 2000-2005 before accepting the same position at Brenau. He’s also served on the governing board of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which gives accreditation to public and private institutions in 11 Southern states.
Others honored at the event included Brian Daniel as the Gus Whalen Rising Star, Valery Lowe as the Educator of the Year and Cindy Askounis as the Volunteer of the Year.