‘A rare person indeed’
WEST POINT — A passionate worker and family man, innovative thinker and community-minded philanthropist. Those were common themes shared by friends and family who remembered the late Randy Jackson on Thursday.
The chief administrative officer for the Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant in West Point died suddenly on May 20. Thursday, hundreds of people came to pay their respects at a packed Kia Training Center for a public celebration of life service.
“I am very thankful I had the opportunity to call him my friend,” said Gov. Nathan Deal, who opened the ceremony. “He was a great ambassador, not just in the state of Georgia, but literally around the world.”
He lauded Kia for hiring Jackson, who “served them well,” Deal said.
“He has made sure the workforce is successful worldwide,” he told the crowd. “All those that are here today I’m sure can attest to that.”
He credited Jackson’s hard work for helping create up to 15,000 jobs in Georgia associated with Kia and its suppliers.
“He was a rare person indeed,” Deal said.
Jackson also was a proud father and grandfather, as all speakers noted. His granddaughter, Scarlett, was the apple of his eye.
Hyun-Jong Shin, president and CEO of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, recalled Jackson’s passion for KMMG and his family. He also noted Jackson’s focus on employees.
The Rev. Arthur Williams said Jackson was always talking about family and friends.
“He was always talking about people,” Williams said.
Jackson’s focus on people was apparent in his initiatives to help people in the community, Williams and others noted.
“He saw he had the means to make life better,” Williams said. “Whatever he put his hands on prospered, whatever he touched moved in a positive direction.”
Speakers noted his contributions to THINC College and Career Academy for career-focused high schoolers and the AWIM program to help inject more science, technology, engineering and math curriculum into public elementary schools.
“He was trying to get his community better,” Williams said. “He was trying to get the people around him better.”
Deal noted it was fitting the ceremony was held at the training center, a facility Jackson was proud of. He said Jackson relished the learning taking place at the facility.
“He encouraged learning to obtain skills for employees to be not only successful at Kia, but in life,” Deal said.
Jackson’s son, Jamey Jackson, said his father left huge shoes to fill, “bigger than I can ever hope to fill.”
His father wanted to see people work united toward a common goal, “in the case of Kia it was to become the number one auto maker in the world.”
He hoped the company and employees would continue that goal and to adhere the “Kia Way” his father had championed, and the younger Jackson said was the foundation of KMMG. That included not just making the facility a top company, but improving the quality of life for employees.
“I sincerely hope you can continue as workers and as individuals to become the best of the best you can be,” he said.
Jamey Jackson ended the ceremony by asking all attendees to rise and give his father “one last standing ovation that, wherever he is, will let him know that he will be missed, that will shake this building and possibly break barriers.”
The crowd obliged.