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Award winner learned to organize from father

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com · 340-2445

ATHENS — A father’s memo pad.

No, that hasn’t single-handedly led to the development of new shopping centers and restaurants in Athens.

But the boy who watched his father jot down notes on that pad and then stick it back in his shirt pocket has grown into a man who is spurring economic growth for the city and Limestone County.

With that memory of his father, Art Ming, developer Bill Ming starts each day at 5 or 6 a.m., making notes. He then spends his day marking off items on his lists. That’s how the owner of Ming Enterprises juggles work, family and community commitments.

“I guess I’ve been blessed with the same skills my dad had at being organized,” Ming said.

A list of economic successes is what Ming heard Thursday when the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce surprised him with the Business Person of the Year Award during its annual luncheon.

Among Ming’s developments that Debra Gooch of the Better Business Bureau named were the industrial park on Interstate 65 at Greenbrier, the shopping center on Capshaw Road at East Limestone Road, the new Publix coming to Lindsay Lane at U.S. 72, the explosion of businesses at U.S. 72 and I-65, and a new complex across from Wal-Mart on U.S. 72.

‘Passion for Athens’

“He has a passion for Athens,” Gooch said. “He is for promoting growth and prosperity in Limestone County.”

Gooch said Ming learned his aggressiveness on the football field. He played on Athens High’s 1975 championship team and got a scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University, where he was captain his senior year.

“I’m sold on Athens,” Ming said. “I’m for making money, but I also try to make Athens a better place.”

Ming does that, Gooch said, while making time for his family and community. He is a deacon at First Baptist Church in Athens and was a founding director for the city’s Boys and Girls Club. Ming also serves on the Athens State University Foundation.

He is a husband to his wife, Susan, and a father to his children Sarah, Elizabeth and William. He also spends time with his mother, Attie Ming, whose husband died 12 years ago.

“My dad was probably my biggest fan,” Ming told the audience as he fought back tears. “And my greatest asset is my family.”

Award winners

On Thursday, the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce also honored:

Rick Mould, Citizen of the Year Award — Mould had a medical emergency and was unable to receive his award. The chamber and Athens State University President Jerry Bartlett will do the presentation in May at the chamber coffee. Mould is vice president of University Relations at Athens State. Ray Neese, outgoing chairman of the chamber’s board, and Hugh Ball, chamber president, said Mould participates in sports with his children, is instrumental in the annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention and works with nonprofits on use of university facilities.

Tom Hill, Public Servant Award — Hill is president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association. Presenter Tony McCormack said Hill deals with engineers, bankers, government officials, attorneys and the media to create economic opportunities for Limestone County. Under his tenure, Limestone has attracted industries such as Quality Culvert and has had an area near Calhoun Community College named a Tennessee Valley Authority Megasite. Hill is a board member of United Way and a chamber ambassador.

Pat Lewis, Tourism Award — Lewis has served as Tourism Council chairwoman for two years, and has been involved with tourism for 10 years. Tourism Director Jeanette Rich said Lewis works to make Athens and Limestone County a tourist destination. Lewis also belongs to 25 volunteers organizations.

Holly Hollman

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