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ATL Business Chronicle Maria's Metro

Column: GSU Hall of Fame to honor Russells, McKerrow

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, July 12, 2013

It will be a year of firsts for the Business Hall of Fame at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

It is the first year that the second generation is being inducted and the first year for siblings to be inducted into the respected Business Hall of Fame. Three of the four 2013 inductees are the children of Herman Russell, founder of H.J. Russell & Co. Russell was in the first class of inductees in 1985.

Now he will be joined by Donata Russell Major, CEO of Concessions International LLC; H. Jerome Russell, president of H.J. Russell & Co.; and Michael Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell & Co.

The fourth 2013 inductee will be George McKerrow Jr., president and CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill.

“George has certainly been a visionary business leader,” said H. Fenwick Huss, dean of the Robinson College of Business. “He’s been very successful in business, and he has given back to the city.”

Huss said that inducting the three Russell children 29 years after their father had been inducted would make the evening extra special.

“This is really a very exciting time for us with the Russells,” Huss said. “Each in their own right are successful business people. All are actively involved in the community. And they have set a very good example of intergenerational transition.”

Both Michael and Jerome Russell attended Georgia State, but Huss said that is not a requirement to be inducted.

“We are here to recognize leaders,” Huss said. “We are just delighted that this wonderful group has accepted our invitation.”

The dinner will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the St. Regis Atlanta. The event was moved to the fall so it wouldn’t conflict with graduation and commencement events. With this group, a total of 79 people will have been inducted into the GSU Business Hall of Fame.

Year Up–Atlanta

The empowering organization Year Up Atlanta has a new executive director — Belinda Stubblefield, an experienced marketing and community professional in the Atlanta area.

Stubblefield will be formally introduced to her new role on Friday, July 12, by Year Up founder Gerald Chertavian, who will be in town to give a keynote address at United Way of Greater Atlanta’s conference.

Stubblefield began her new role at Year Up Atlanta on July 1. Year Up provides a yearlong training and educational program to help young people realize “[their] true potential.” Year Up takes young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 who have completed high school or obtained a GED, but are not in college or working. It helps them move from minimum wage jobs (or no jobs at all) to a professional career in just one year, according to Stubblefield.

The organization has had great success with 84 percent of its graduates either attending college full time or working in a professional position within four months of completing the program.

Stubblefield said the organization would like to serve 50 percent more young adults in Atlanta by 2015.

Before joining Year Up, Stubblefield had her own business working with Paradies-Atlanta LLC at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Literacy Action

Literacy Action, Georgia’s oldest adult education nonprofit, which seeks to improve the reading and writing skills of those in need, has elected five new board members.

They are Jennifer Bennecke, vice president of Jenson Strategic Partners and president-elect of the Junior League of Atlanta; Brian Lay, executive director of advisory services at Ernst & Young LLP; Brandon Marzo, partner at Troutman Sanders LLP; Kara Miller, director of field talent development for the EasternU.S. Business Unit of Walmart; and Lesley Solomon, partner at Alston & Bird LLP.

GPB/GRA and the Emmys

The Georgia Research Alliance and Georgia Public Broadcasting won four Southeast EMMY awards for a pilot program: “The Future Files — Inventing Tomorrow in Georgia Today.”

The pilot program, which aired in November 2012, highlighted the progress that Georgia scientists have made in battling influenza.

“The work taking place in Georgia universities by our eminent scholars is groundbreaking,” said Mike Cassidy, GRA’s president. “We are very pleased with the pilot episode that the GPB team was able to create and are honored that the television industry recognizes the program’s ability to bring scientific discovery to life in such an engaging and insightful manner.”

Maria Saporta

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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