junior Achievement Honors FOUR Business Leaders in 2017

With Induction Into ThE Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass proudly announces the following professionals as 2017 inductees into the Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame: 

The late Robert Congleton

Carol Martin Gatton

Mike Scanlon

Al Smith

The 2017 class of Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame Laureates will be officially inducted during a banquet and ceremony to be held on Tuesday evening, May 16th at Keeneland. 

These Laureates are leaders who have exemplified the American Dream.  Their labor and vision have benefited their own businesses, while also improving the quality of life for the entire Bluegrass area.  These business leaders are being honored for achievement in their careers, service to the community and for serving as role models for our youth. 

Since 1989, Junior Achievement’s Bluegrass Business Hall of Fame has annually recognized esteemed leaders of the Central Kentucky business community.  To be considered as a Hall of Fame member, an individual's record of business achievement must demonstrate:  1) courageous thinking and actions, 2) vision and innovation, 3) business excellence, 4) inspiring leadership, and 5) community mindedness. 

Robert Congleton (posthumously) – In 1948, he entered the family retail lumber business, Congleton Lumber Company, where he spent the next twelve years.  Bob is a co-founder of Congleton-Hacker Company, a general contracting firm, where he served as Chairman of the Board.  Long active in community affairs, he was Chairman of the Board of the Lexington Chamber, Treasurer of the Lexington Center Corporation, president of the KY Retail Lumber Dealers Association, presient of Equestrian Events, a member of the Board of Congleton Lumber Company, the KY Horse Park Foundation, Lexington Rotary Club, Lexington Philharmonic Society, The Lexington School, Fasig-Tipton Company, United Way of the Bluegrass, a Lifetime Trustee of Darlington School and Fellow to UK and an elder of Central Christian Church.  In 2001, he was awarded the Year 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Associate General Contractors of Kentucky for his contributions to the construction industry. 

Carol Martin Gatton - Born in Bremen, KY, began as president and general manager of Bill Gatton Motors in Owensboro, Ky., in 1959, just a half-decade after his graduation from college.  That has since mushroomed to Bill Gatton Chevy - Cadillac, which now incorporates eight additional auto dealerships in Alabama, Texas and Tennessee. He also opened a Honda dealership in Bristol, Tenn., where he remains owner and general manager.  In 1995, he made a multi-million dollar gift to the College of Business and Economics at UK, the largest gift ever made to the University. In his honor, the UK Board of Trustees later renamed the college "The Carol Martin Gatton College of Business and Economics." Also donated a large sum of money to the formation of the gifted academy at Western Kentucky, opened in 2007 as the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science, where high school students could finish their last two years of high school taking rigorous college classes.

Mike Scanlon - Mike founded The Zenith Company in April of 2015.  They are the franchisee of and developer of Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafes in Central and Northern Kentucky.   They are a company committed to creating a work environment where people will thrive, help our community thrive and have fun.  They focus on community engagement providing fresh, healthy and cravable food and having FUN.  They operate Johnny Carino’s Italian in Lexington and Southern Indiana.  He is the Founder and Managing Partner of Fleetwood Land Management and the Co-Founder and President of Thomas & King developing 88 Applebee’s in 25 years.  The Applebee’s Restaurants were sold in 2013.  Until recently, he served as the Interim Executive Director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  He remains active in Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, the Hope Center, Catholic Action Center and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. 

Al Smith – Al Smith built a small but significant chain of rural newspapers in Western Kentucky.  He served for 33 years as host and producer of the most important public affairs commentary program in KY.  He was appointed by President Carter as federal co-chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission and continued to serve for a year under President Reagan.  He bought and published the London Sentinel-Echo before selling to Park Enterprises.  He was co-founder of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at UK.   The Al Smith Arts Fellowship is awarded in his honor for the work he did as chairman of the KY Arts Council.  He was a founding President of Leadership KY (he received their annual Flame of Excellence Award last year) and a founding chair of the Shakertown Roundtable.  He was honored by the National Rural Assembly in Washington, DC sponsored by the Ford and Kellogg foundations, as a National Rural Hero in Media in 2007. 

About Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass was incorporated in 1963 with the purpose of inspiring and preparing students to succeed in a global economy.  During 2015-2016, JA’s community volunteers served over 20,000 students.  Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise.  With the support of positive adult role models who volunteer their time, JA enables students to understand business, citizenship, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, ethics/character and work readiness.  These learning experiences establish the foundation upon which today’s students can acquire the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed in a fast-changing world.

Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass opened JA BizTown/JA Finance Park in January of 2017.  JA BizTown serves upper elementary classes with operating “businesses” such as a bank, city hall, utilities center, realty office, restaurant, retail businesses and more.  Students discover the real-life opportunities available in the free enterprise system as they become business operators, taxpayers and consumers for a day.  JA Finance Park provides a practical, hands-on personal budgeting simulation for middle school students.  They learn about the implications of financial decisions, consider the options available, and construct and live within a personal budget. For more information, visit www.jalexington.org.