Distinguished Achievement Award
Known worldwide for his expertise in the field of nuclear energy, Jimmy T. Bell (60C) is CEO of Bell Consultants, a private consulting company founded after his retirement as head of the Chemical Development Section at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. He currently works with national and international clients and consults with the Department of Energy and private environmental companies in projects relating to the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear waste management technologies.
Among Bell’s achievements is his work to clean up post-Cold War nuclear sites throughout the United States. He also played a role in U.S. efforts in the ’80’s to survey and evaluate Taiwanese nuclear programs and he currently works with an international team to protect the Irish Sea from radioactive contamination deposited by a neighboring nation.
“I cannot imagine an individual representing and bringing honor to Berry College in his professional career any better than Dr. Bell has done and continues to do,” says Charles J. Fitzpatrick of Egan, Fitzpatrick, Malsch & Lawrence, PLLC, who is also involved with the project. Bell and his wife, Luci, live in Kingston, Tenn.
Distinguished Service Award
Jack A. Jones (57C) is a retired engineer and has worked for the past 12 years in Buncombe County, N.C., as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, a court-appointed position to advocate for abused and neglected children. He works to provide a safe home for the children until they can be placed in a more permanent setting and makes recommendations for the services they need.
“We have found Jack to be a humble, dedicated and sincere man who sees the good in every child he has helped,” said Tim and Lynn Leckron, who adopted a child for whom Jones served as guardian.
As a representative to the Senior Tar Hill Legislature, he assessed legislative needs of older citizens, reported to North Carolina General Assembly and recommended legislation on these issues, and promoted advocacy amongst seniors.
Jones lives in Asheville, N.C., with his wife, Katherine, and is also a 2006 winner of Berry’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Award (tie)
R. Lee Jennings (85C) first developed a desire to own a business while a student at Berry. After working for several other companies and serving in the U.S. Army, he and an associate opened an accounting practice in downtown Rome, Ga., in 1997.
Jennings now owns and operates R.L. Jennings & Associates in Rome and R.L. Jennings and Company in Ellijay, Ga., with 25 employees. His client-base ranges from small family operations to multi-national corporations.
“Lee has lived core values that were emphasized during our days at Berry College, and he has an outstanding ability to see developing business opportunities,” said Stan Ezell of Control Resources, Inc., also a Berry alumnus.
In 2009, R.L. Jennings & Associates was named the Rome-Floyd County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. Jennings lives in Rome with and his wife, Sherry.
Lisa D. Miller (83C), M.D., credits Berry for giving her the tools she needed to manage the risks involved in her business ventures.
“I acquired a work ethic from Berry College that taught me to work hard and stay focused in life,” she says. “The keys to my success have been determination and hard work.”
After obtaining her medical degree, Miller worked in a group practice for several years. But she still dreamed of owning a practice in her hometown of Covington, Ga., at the time an underserved area for pediatrics.
Today, her business has expanded from a solo practice to one with four providers and 16 staff members and more than 5,000 patients. In 2006 she opened Dauphin Properties with her husband, Mike.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Casey T. Smith, founder and president of Wiser Wealth Management in Marietta, Ga., opened his business with the conviction to be a different kind of financial firm, one designed “to show God’s unconditional love to all who seek our advice,” he says.
He receives numerous requests to speak nationally and internationally. His knowledge of index funds and exchange traded funds has been in demand by well-known national media. Cobb Life magazine recognized him as one of Cobb County’s rising stars under the age of 40.
Smith (00C) lives in Marietta, Ga., with his wife, Angela. In addition to his work as a financial advisor, he is a captain for Atlantic Southeast Airlines and serves on the board of three different companies.
“Casey is very proud of the experience he received at Berry College and that experience is what has made Wiser Wealth Management the company it is today,” said Latrelle Allen, a former client who now works with client services at Wiser Wealth Management.
Final judging for the awards is conducted by an impartial panel of area businessmen and women.
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