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The Highlands Gala

2014 Heritage Award Honoree, Willis J. Potts, Jr.

It is hard to do justice to the richness, the nuance of Willis Potts' lifetime of community involvement. No matter where he is living or working, his long career has always involved service to others. Since he was a young man, Potts has embraced the notion of volunteerism as a challenge, taking it all in.

He began his career as an engineer at the Union Camp Corporation's Savannah pulp and paper mill in 1969.  Over the course of his career, Potts served as chairman of the Paper Industry Management Association and chairman of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, both international in scope.

After a successful career and a longtime commitment to leadership, education, and service, in 2006 Potts was appointed to represent the Eleventh Congressional District on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents by Gov. Sonny Perdue.  He served as chair of the board from July 2010 to June 2011.

 Always dedicated to serving others, Potts has long been actively engaged with a number of charitable and civic organizations, including the United Way, Boys and Girls Clubs and the March of Dimes.  He has also given over 20 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross. 

In 2008, he was honored with Rome's Heart of the Community Award.  Potts continues to service his community through his involvement with the mentoring program "Community in Schools" and Mercy Senior Care.  Potts is past chairman of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and past chairman of the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority.  He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Wells Real Estate Funds in Norcross, GA and J&J Industries in Dalton, GA.

Potts earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology and completed the University of Virginia's Executive Program.  In 2008, he was named Georgia Tech's Academy of distinguished Engineering Alumni, and in 2009, he received the Dean Griffin Community Service Award from Georgia Tech's Alumni Association. 

Potts and his wife, Glenda, are the parents of three adult children.