Progress: Business

April 4, 2012

Lauding our leaders

Junior Achievement to induct four into Hall of Fame


Dr. Don Thomas

The venerable doctor and former state legislator has called Whitfield County home since birth on July 14, 1933. After graduating from Georgia Southern University, where he met his future wife, Emma Jean Brock, he earned a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Then he came back home.

Thomas has been a family physician in the Dalton area with Whitfield Medical Professional Association for more than 50 years. His career also includes serving as president of the Hospital Board Staff in Dalton. His political career began in 1972 with election to the Whitfield County school board. He served as chairman of the board from 1974 to 1984.


Jim Jolly

As a native Daltonian and a 1959 graduate of Dalton High School, Jolly has kept his hometown on his mind.

In 1967, Jolly joined carpet manufacturer J&J Industries; he became chairman and CEO 22 years later. He retired from the company in 2006. He served as chairman of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s board of directors from 1993 to 1995.

Jolly has a hand in statewide education policy as a member of the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia.

Norris Little

Although Little wasn’t born and raised in Dalton, he’s more than made up for the lost time. A former executive with Shaw Industries, Little has had a profound effect on the community through his work with various community groups.

He began his career at Shaw in 1975 and quickly climbed up the corporate ladder, serving in numerous roles at the company including corporate officer and director, vice chairman, president and chief operating officer, senior vice president of operations and vice president of manufacturing, and now vice chairman emeritus.

Since retiring from Shaw several years ago, Little has remained involved in the community.

Pleas Smith

After graduating from Georgia Tech with a civil engineering degree, Smith knew he would return to his hometown of Dalton to start a construction company. Those plans were put on hold because of World War II and time in the U.S. Army.

Smith first worked for his uncle’s construction company and in the spring of 1948, he and Raymond Whittle won a bid to build a fire hall for the city of Dalton on Murray Avenue.

That project signaled the beginning of the business that would become Smith & Green Construction, now Dalton’s oldest general construction company.


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Progress: Business
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