Allen Harris, Jr.
Allen Harris, Jr. was born and reared in Johnson City. Harris Manufacturing Company was established in 1898 by William P. Harris. The company was one of the country's pioneer floor covering manufacturers. In 1915, William's son, Allen Harris, Sr., became president. In 1929, Allen Harris, Jr. "officially" joined the firm, although he had worked there every summer since age 14. By the time he graduated from high school, he had worked in every area of the mill.
Allen Harris, Jr. received his bachelor's degree from Washington and University and his MBA from Harvard. During World War II, he served in the Navy as a lieutenant commander. He participated in numerous naval engagements and received several decorations, including the Legion of Merit.
Allen Harris, Jr. took over as president of Harris Manufacturing in 1973. The company continued to prosper, producing quality floor coverings that were known worldwide. In 1983, Harris sold the business to Sweden's Tarkett AB. He continued to serve as a consultant at Harris-Tarkett until his death.
Allen Harris, Jr. gave freely of his time and resources to improve the quality of life in his area. Harris was a long-time supporter of ETSU, establishing the Allen & Ruth Harris Chair of Excellence in Business. He was also active in the Johnson City Medical Center Foundation, The Chamber of Commerce, and numerous other civic projects. Harris was a recipient of the "Spirit of Johnson City" award and was a member of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.