Barron is only the third recipient of the award, which is presented to an individual who has never participated in a Leadership Georgia class but has supported the program immensely. The award was first presented in Dalton in September 2008.
Leadership Georgia was conceived in 1971 when several prominent Georgians were attending a state Chamber of Commerce event. Barron was a member of the state Chamber Board of Directors when the program started.
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of it,” Barron said. “It was conceived to take young leaders of the state of Georgia to introduce them to the intricacies of state government, private industry, tourism and places of historical significance.”
Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn was one of those in the very first Leadership Georgia Class of ’72.
“Just about everyone of any significance who has lived in the state for any time have been through it and are alumni of it,” Barron said. “It would be hard to think of somebody who has had a significant position of leadership in Georgia (in recent years) that hasn’t gone through it as a young person. It’s just been a phenomenal thing.”
Each year upward of 60 are chosen from among applicants from all across the state. The class visits five Georgia communities each year to learn more about the diversity of the state
and the issues that are important in different corners of Georgia.
Dr. Melissa Dillmon, a Harbin Clinic oncologist, is a
member of the 2012 Leadership Georgia class.
Andy Davis, Lynn Dempsey and Michael S. Barron of Rome have each served as presidents of Leadership Georgia through the years.