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Column: Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers to receive 2018 Four Pillar award

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on March 23, 2018

The Council for Quality Growth has selected Paul Bowers, chairman and CEO of Georgia Power, to receive its prestigious 2018 Four Pillar award.

The 29th annual Four Pillar Tribute will be held on Oct. 4, at the Georgia World Congress Center’sGeorgia Ballroom. An influential group of leading Georgians will be on hand to honor Bowers for living up to the four pillars of leadership – Quality, Responsibility, Vision and Integrity. The four key speaking roles will be Rev. Andy Stanley; former Home Depot CEO Frank Blake; Gov. Nathan Deal; and Juanita Baranco, co-owner of Baranco Automotive who has served on both the boards of Georgia Power and its parent, Southern Co.

Paul Bowers Juanita Baranco

Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers with Southern Co. director, Juanita Baranco, in front of a display of electric cars at Southern Co.’s 2017 annual meeting (Photo by Maria Saporta)

“It’s a wonderful recognition,” said Bowers, who quickly said he was accepting it on behalf of all of Georgia Power’s 7,000 employees. “It’s a great recognition for Georgia Power. We are nothing without our team.”

When asked about the theme he had chosen for the evening, Bowers quickly answered: “Purpose.”

Bowers said he would be asking those attending the dinner about whether “we are striving to be purposeful as leaders in this community.”

One example he used was education, a key focus area for Bowers during his entire career.

“We have moved some needles, but we have a lot more we need to do,” he said.

Bowers also said he would use the opportunity to challenge Georgia Power employees to reflect on their purpose – especially the company’s tagline: A Citizen Wherever We Serve. “Do we have that purpose still and are we really activating that purpose,” Bowers asked. “It’s about developing a new platform of generosity.”

Bowers first joined the Southern Co. system in 1979 when he joined Gulf Power. He held multiple positions within Southern Co. before becoming named CEO of Georgia Power in January 2011. Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary in Southern Co.’s system with 2.5 million customers.

Bowers has served as chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Atlanta Committee for Progress and the Woodruff Arts Center among other civic roles.

Bowers is a native of Pensacola, Fla., and he holds a bachelor of science degree from theUniversity of West Floridaand a master’s degree from Troy University. He is also a Harvard Business School AMP graduate.

Michael Paris, president and CEO of the Council for Quality Growth, said Bowers was especially deserving of this year’s award.

“His leadership within Georgia Power as well as the community– accompanied by his commitment to the well-being of the citizens of Georgia – are just a few of the ways in which he exemplifies the Four Pillars of Excellence,” Paris said.

Steve Labovitz, a partner of Denton’s who is serving as the Council’s 2018 chair, added that it was an honor to recognize such a “selfless” leader.

“Paul sets the tone in the corporate community by utilizing his business acumen and his civic and philanthropic leadership for the benefit of our community,” Labovitz said.

Among the people who will pay tribute to Bowers are Aflac’s Dan Amos, Gulfstream Aerospace’sMark Burns, Chick-fil-A’s Dan Cathy, WestRock’s Shan Cooper, Mercedes-Benz’ Dietmar Exler, Cousins Properties’Larry Gellerstedt, Children’s Healthcare’s Donna Hyland, H.J. Russell’s Michael Russell, Synovus’ Kessel Stelling and Intercontinental Exchange’sJeff Sprecher.

Past recipients of the award include Dan Cathy, Gov. Deal, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Home Depot’s Arthur Blank, Aaron’s Charlie Loudermilk, architect John Portman and real estate leader Steve Selig.

Turknett to honor Andrew Young

The Turknett Leadership Groupand the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership will bestow its Lifetime Achievement Award to Andrew Young at its 2018 Leadership Character Awards luncheon on Oct. 9 at the Georgia Aquarium.

Young is a civil and human rights pioneer who served as U.S ambassador to the United Nations and as Atlanta’s former mayor among other major roles.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes exceptional leaders who exemplify the highest standards of character, integrity and servant leadership over a lifetime of service to organizations and to the larger community.

“There are few world leaders who have been as laser-focused on all of us coming together for the common good,” said Bob Turknett, CEO, Turknett Leadership Group, in a statement.

Pat Falotico, CEO of Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, agreed.

“Few of us have been tested the way he has been throughout his life yet he continues to serve the needs of others,” Falotico said. “He is a role model of courage, character and servant leadership.”

Ann Stallard, who serves on the awards board of advisors, said our country needs more leaders like Young.

“He possesses a rare talent and enormous strength of character to inspire, enlighten and engage many even those who disagree with one another,” she said. “There is no doubt that we need to follow Ambassador Young’s stellar example of a humble, tireless leader who demonstrates daily how we create the beloved community.”

Community in Schools

The 14th annual Choose Success Awards Dinner on March 15 at Flourish raised a total of $430,000 for Communities in Schools Atlanta.

The husband-and-wife team of Neil Shorthouse and Patty Pflum received the “Anne Cox Chambers Champion for Kids Award” for their contributions to the organization.

In 1972, Shorthouse and colleagues launched the nonprofit in Atlanta, and now it has become a national organization that is the nation’s largest dropout prevention network.

Pflum was the first paid employee of the organization, and she worked her way up to become executive director of Communities in Schools Atlanta for 20 years.

“We need you,” Shorthouse said at the dinner. “We need rich people, people like you, in these school – rich in relationships, rich in love, rich in a value system that enables you to understand what really is important.”

The co-chairs for the dinner were Chris Womack of the Southern Co. and Helen Smith Price of The Coca-Cola Co.

“This event serves as a huge night for Communities In Schools,” said Frank Brown, CEO of Communities in Schools Atlanta. “We rarely take time to celebrate our success or foundation on which we were built. We want to continue to ensure that a child’s ZIP code will not dictate their outcome.

Inaugural Atlanta Unity Seder

The Atlanta chapter of the American Jewish Committee on March 13 held the inaugural Atlanta Unity Seder – inviting clergy from a diverse number of faiths as well as international leaders who are based in Atlanta.

Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus of the Temple led the program inviting about 35 leaders – from government, business, religious institutions and nonprofits – to participate in the Passover dinner.

Dov Wilker, regional director of AJC Atlanta, reinforced the advocacy nature of the organization by urging the sold-out dinner of 400 people to help Georgia become a “Hate Free” state by supporting Senate Bill 373, legislation that has been pushed by Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs)

“Georgia is one of only five states in the country that does not have a Hate Crimes Law,” Wilker said, adding that the Coalition for a #HateFreeGa has been working to get the legislation passed.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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