Three prominent business executives were honored by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business at its 2016 Alumni Awards and Gala on April 30 in Atlanta.
Two of the Terry College graduates — Bill Young Jr., partner at the General Wholesale Company, and Doug Benn, executive vice president and chief financial officer at The Cheesecake Factory — received Terry’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
Mitch Reiner, partner and chief operating officer at Capital Investment Advisors, received the college’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
All three were honored for their career achievements and for their service to the Terry College and their communities.
Distinguished Alumni Award
William D. (Bill) Young Jr. (BBA ’78)
General Wholesale Company
William D. (Bill) Young Jr. is a partner with the Atlanta-based General Wholesale Company, a family-owned distributor of beverage alcohol. Founded in 1942, General Wholesale is one of the largest private businesses in Atlanta and one of the largest independent distributors of beverage alcohol in the U.S.
Young graduated from the Marist School in 1975 and he is now a trustee at the private college preparatory school, which holds the distinction of being the oldest Catholic secondary school in Atlanta. He earned a BBA in management from UGA’s Terry College of Business in 1978, and he is a past chairman of the Building Terry campaign and a former member of the Terry Dean’s Advisory Council.
He is the only person ever to serve as chairman of the University of Georgia Foundation twice; he currently chairs UGAF’s nominating and governance committee. He is a past member of the University of Georgia Athletic Development Council, a past member of the Leadership Advisory Board within student affairs at UGA, and a current member of the UGA Athletic Board.
Young is a member of the Gridiron Secret Society and a recipient of the Blue Key Service Award from the Georgia Chapter of the National Honor Society.
In 2009, in recognition of their loyalty and service to the University of Georgia, the Young family — including the late William D. Young Sr. (BBA ’54), Bill Jr., and his younger brother Howard (BBA ’82) — was named Family of the Year by the UGA Alumni Association.
Young’s professional affiliations include Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Georgia (past chairman and president); Council of Executive Development for the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of America (past chairman); Invest Georgia Board (chairman); Governor's Advisory Board for the 1996 Olympics (board member); and State of Georgia Personnel Oversight Committee (committee member). He is also a past member of the Young Presidents Organization.
An avid golfer and sportsman, Young is a past president and board member of the Peachtree Golf Club. He also holds memberships at the Capital City Club and the Cherokee Town and Country Club. He is also member of the Nine O'Clocks and the Round Table.
Young and his wife — the former Margaret Chambers, who is also a UGA graduate — are the proud parents of two sons. Recent Terry graduate William D. Young III (BBA ’15) now works at the General Wholesale Company, and his younger brother Brandon is a third-year management major at Terry. Brandon is also a member of the Georgia men's basketball team, having been voted the Most Inspirational Player in 2015 and achieving SEC Academic Honor Roll distinction for the past three years.
To view a video tribute to Bill Young’s life and career, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4263iAG_M2s
Distinguished Alumni Award
Doug Benn (BBA ’76, MAcc ’82)
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
The Cheesecake Factory
W. Douglas Benn is executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, a position he has held since January 2009. Based in Calabasas, Calif., The Cheesecake Factory is a publicly traded, casual dining restaurant company that owns and operates 201 restaurants throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, generating more than $2 billion in annual revenue and employing approximately 38,000 staff members. Internationally, 11 Cheesecake Factory restaurants operate in the Middle East and Mexico under licensing agreements.
In 2016, The Cheesecake Factory was named one of Fortune magazine's “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the third consecutive year. It was the only restaurant company to receive that distinction. In 2013 and 2014, The Cheesecake Factory made Fortune's list of the Most Admired Companies.
As The Cheesecake Factory's chief financial officer, Benn is responsible for all of the day-to-day financial aspects of the company's business, including risk management, financial planning, and business strategy. He is also actively involved in communicating the company’s results and messaging its growth outlook to Wall Street investors.
Benn is a proud double graduate from UGA’s Terry College of Business, having earned both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in accounting, and he credits Terry with giving him the knowledge and the self-confidence to prepare him for a career in the business world.
Benn met his future wife, the former Mickey Jones, at UGA, where she was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in mathematics and computer science. Shortly after graduation, they got married and moved to Dallas, Texas, where Doug had taken a job with Arthur Andersen. He spent 10 years in the company’s Dallas and Atlanta offices, and one of his tax clients led him to a career in the hospitality industry.
Benn has spent more than 25 years in management roles with restaurant companies. Prior to joining The Cheesecake Factory, he was EVP and CFO of RARE Hospitality, owner of the LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille concepts, prior to that company's sale to another multi-concept, public restaurant company in October 2007.
Outside of his restaurant work, Benn has been a member of the audit committee of the Atlanta History Center, and he serves on the board of the Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation. He has been a strong supporter of the Terry College, having served as a member of the Alumni Board, as well as providing support to various efforts, including the Earl Davis Chair and the Business Learning Community.
Benn and his wife have been married for 38 years, and they have two daughters, Kelsey and Madeline. The Benns are currently enjoying a bi-coastal lifestyle with Doug living and working in California and Mickey living in Atlanta and making numerous West Coast trips. Doug enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, watching Major League Baseball — and, of course, Georgia football. He manages to attend at least four Bulldog games a year, sometimes hopping on a redeye from LAX on Friday night and arriving in time for a noon kickoff in Athens on Saturday.
To view a video tribute to Doug Benn’s life and career, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afZvsv496sI
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Mitch Reiner (BBA ’05)
Partner and Chief Operating Officer
Capital Investment Advisors
Mitch Reiner is a partner and chief operating officer at Capital Investment Advisors, an Atlanta-based company co-founded by his father, Terry alumnus Mike Reiner, whose firm also has offices in Sarasota, Fla., and Tampa.
As an investment advisor, Reiner works with his clients to help them meet their investment goals and objectives. He also advises them on comprehensive financial situations, including business succession, retirement planning, and estate planning. His client base includes people of all ages, from young business owners and experienced industry executives to retirees.
As CIA's chief operating officer, Reiner is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and for driving the strategic initiatives of the firm forward. He also sits on the CIA Investment Committee, where he focuses on the firm's income strategies, including closed-end funds and exchange-traded funds.
Reiner is a proud Georgia Bulldog, having earned a degree in finance from the Terry College in 2005. And he credits Terry’s Leonard Leadership Scholar program with helping to enhance his leadership qualities in preparation for his career in business. The Leonard Leadership Scholars program is highly competitive and selects the top 30 Terry students annually to collaborate with some of the most accomplished and astute business minds in the country.
Both Reiner and his future wife, the former Jenny Menkes, worked in New York while they were in college. Jenny, a public relations major at Georgia, interned at ESPN, while he was at UBS Financial Services.
Reiner is active in his community in Atlanta, as well as at UGA. He is president-elect of the board for WonderRoot, an arts-based community organization in Atlanta. He was also a member of the 2015 class of LEAD Atlanta, a leadership training program for the next generation of community leaders. Reiner was chosen as an originating member of the Atlanta Hub of the Global Shapers organization, which was established by the World Economic Forum to engage the next generation of leaders who will shape the glob al agenda.
At the Terry College, Reiner has been an officer of the Young Alumni Board, and he currently serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the Student Managed Investment Fund.
The Reiners have two children, Micah and Ayla, and the family also includes their Goldendoodle Clayton. The Reiners live in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood of Atlanta, and on weekends you can find them strolling North Highland Avenue in search of dinner, ice cream, or a water bowl for Clayton.
In addition to his devotion to family, Reiner enjoys playing golf, staying in shape, attending Braves and Bulldogs games, and grilling on his Green Egg.
To view a video tribute to Mitch Reiner’s life and career, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lB0q6e-aPI
The Terry College has been presenting its annual alumni awards since 1964. The Terry Alumni Board hosts the spring gala, and proceeds from the event support the Terry College Excellence Fund.