Author: David Dodson

Published

Four accomplished business leaders will be honored with alumni awards from the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business on Saturday, May 5, in Atlanta.

Two of the graduates — C. William "Bill" Griffin of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Jamie Reynolds of Greensboro, Ga. — were chosen for their career achievements and community service to receive the college's Distinguished Alumni Award. Allison Karl O'Kelly of Marietta will receive the college's Outstanding Young Alumni Award. And Earl T. Leonard Jr. of Atlanta was selected for his extraordinary contributions to the Terry College to receive the Dean's Distinguished Service Award.

The Terry College has been presenting its alumni awards since 1964. This year's Alumni Awards and Gala, will be held at the Westin Buckhead in Atlanta.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD

C. William "Bill" Griffin has more than 34 years experience in the mortgage finance and financial service fields. He is the managing director of Fidelity National Information Services, the nation's leading provider of financial services technology and mortgage-related services.

Griffin received a bachelor's degree in finance from the Terry College in 1972. As a college student, Griffin was president of the Intrafraternity Council and Greek Horsemen and a member of Sphinx, Gridiron, Blue Key and Omicron Delta Kappa.

His career in mortgage finance began in 1972 with Citizens and Southern National Bank in Atlanta, where he spent three years. In 1975, Griffin joined Ticor Mortgage Insurance, where in nine years he assumed an assortment of responsibilities, including managing sales and marketing, secondary marketing, operations and risk management. He also served on the mortgage insurance company's board of directors and was president and CEO of Ticor Securities Co.

In 1984, Griffin moved to Dallas and founded Highland Park National Bank and its mortgage subsidiary, the Highland Capital Group. Three years later, he co-founded the Stratmor Group, a privately held investment banking firm. In 1989, Griffin joined Lender's Service Incorporated (LSI), again applying his talents in a number of departments. His tenure at LSI culminated when he was appointed chief executive officer and president prior to the company's acquisition by Fidelity National Information Services in 2003.

As managing director of Fidelity National, Griffin is responsible for leading the company's efforts to provide services to the largest financial institutions in the world.

Griffin's civic involvement includes serving on the Board of Overseers and the Campaign Steering Committee for the Terry College. He recently served on the board of the National Home Equity Mortgage Association and is now a board member of the Title and Appraisal Vendor Management Association. From 1986-87, Griffin served as chairman of the National Cranial Facial Foundation, which raises money for patients with a critical need for craniofacial surgery.

Closer to home in Pittsburgh, Griffin is president of Oakmont Country Club, which will host the 2007 U.S. Open Golf Championship in June. This will be Oakmont's eighth Open Championship, more than any other course in the nation.

In addition to his board service to the Terry College, Griffin has been a frequent guest speaker for students taking the Lessons in Leadership course.

Griffin and his wife Lynn, who also graduated from UGA in 1972, have three children, Whitney, Charles and Cameron.

Jamie Reynolds has enjoyed great achievement in many fields, including real estate, banking and the timber industry, but he is perhaps best known as one of the developers and principal shareholders of Reynolds Plantation, the five-star golf resort and residential community on Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga.

A general business major, Reynolds graduated in 1974 and has made significant contributions to the college, most notably serving as host for the Terry College Gala and Golf Classic in 2005.

Named by Georgia Trend magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2005, Reynolds is vice chairman and secretary of Reynolds Plantation and co-founder and managing partner of American Real Estate Investment Co., which specializes in the acquisition of timberland, farms, commercial properties, residential communities and manufacturing plants.

Once a 10,000-acre hunting retreat, Reynolds Plantation now showcases five award-winning championship golf courses (with a sixth under construction) designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio, the Ritz-Carlton Lodge and a residential community with more than 1,500 homes.

Reynolds was appointed in 1997 to serve on the state's Department of Natural Resources board of directors (where he also served as chairman) by Gov. Zell Miller. He also was a board member for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

He has served on the board of the state's Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism and chaired the board's International Trade Committee. Reynolds was chairman of Georgia's Environmental Protection Division and previously served on the advisory board for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where he was instrumental in establishing the Reynolds Assistive Technology Fund, which has now raised more than $2.8 million to assist people with spinal injuries to seek more independent lives through the use of technology.

Reynolds is on the board of directors for BankSouth and sits on the American Battle Monuments Commission.

He played a supporting role in President George W. Bush's election victories in 2000 and 2004, serving as Georgia Finance Chairman for the 2004 Bush-Cheney Campaign and as state chairman for the Republican National Committee.

A lifelong resident of Greensboro, Reynolds and his wife Kathy have a son, Jamie, who is a junior at the University of Georgia and has recently been accepted into the Terry College.

OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD

Allison Karl O'Kelly graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting from the Terry College in 1994 and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is the founder and CEO of Moms Corps, an Atlanta-based business that works with seasoned accountants, marketing executives, human resource consultants and other executives whose familial responsibilities conflict with full-time work and matches them with companies for contract and project assignments.

While at UGA, O'Kelly was elected to Beta Alpha Psi, Rho Lambda, Order of Omega and Golden Key honor societies and received the Panhellenic Foundation, Dean Tate and Delta Phi Epsilon scholarships. She was also elected president of the UGA chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and was its philanthropy chair.

O'Kelly began her post-undergraduate career at KPMG Peat Marwick, rising to the position of supervising senior accountant before enrolling at Harvard in 1999. She then joined a management training program with Toys "R" Us, where she developed the original Babies "R" Us website and managed the Alpharetta, Ga., Toys "R" Us store.

After the birth of her first child in 2003, O'Kelly found it difficult to balance the home life she desired with her professional responsibilities. She founded O'Kelly and Co., a CPA and consulting firm that worked specifically with small companies and at the same time began to develop the business plan for Mom Corps.

Formed in 2005, Mom Corps supplies top-tier professionals to a growing list of client corporations. By partnering with Mom Corps, these corporations gain added flexibility to operate more productively and cost-effectively, while working mothers are able to achieve a much-desired work/life balance. Mom Corps has quickly expanded to include offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

O'Kelly and her husband Shane have two sons, Nolan, age 4, and Ethan, 2. She's a member of the Georgia Society of CPAs and is active in the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta. O'Kelly has also served as a featured speaker at the Terry Third Thursday series in Atlanta.

DEAN'S DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

Earl T. Leonard Jr. may not have graduated from the Terry College — he holds UGA degrees in journalism and law — but his influence on students in the college is vast as a Distinguished Executive-in-Residence and through the financial commitment he made to establish the Bebe and Earl Leonard Undergraduate Leadership Scholars Program, part of Terry College's Institute of Leadership Advancement.

In 1964, Leonard joined the Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta and worked in Industry Relations. He was elected assistant vice president in 1976, head of Government Relations in 1978 and senior vice president in 1983. During a pivotal 16-year period in the company's evolution, Leonard led the Corporate Affairs division of the soft drink giant, directing the company's communications, governmental relations and public relations.

Leonard has also been a leader in community service, serving on the boards of Special Olympics International, Very Special Arts, the Medical College of Georgia and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In April 2006, he was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the Commission for a New Georgia, a nonprofit independent council led by CEOs and executives who bring innovative thinking and a business perspective to the operation of state government.

Leonard is a former president of the UGA Alumni Society, an emeritus member of the University of Georgia Foundation board of trustees, and a former member of the UGA Athletic Board. He also served on search committees for the university's senior vice president for external affairs, vice president for student affairs and the Richard B. Russell Professor of History. He is also a former chairman of the university's Annual Fund and has served on the Law School Board of Visitors and the Journalism Dean's Advisory Committee.

After his retirement from Coca-Cola in 1999, Leonard pledged $2 million to establish the Leonard Leadership Scholars Program, a two-year comprehensive leadership development curriculum that aids high-achieving Terry undergraduates in developing proficiency for business and community leadership.

Leonard has also proven to be a valued mentor to many Terry College undergraduates. From his office in Brooks Hall, he generously devotes much time to informal meetings and individual conversations with the Leadership Scholars and other Terry students. As an Executive-in-Residence, he also maintains an office in the college's Executive Education Center in Buckhead.

Leonard and his wife Bebe, who also graduate from UGA in 1963, have two grown children, Elisabeth and Chip.

The Terry College of Business Alumni Board of Directors selects the alumni award winners from nominations submitted to the board. Nominations for the 2008 alumni awards are due by July 31, 2007. More information on the awards criteria and nomination process is available at www.terry.uga.edu/gala.