Published 10:30 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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Seeing someone flourish in business which reflects that they are truly happy with their occupation makes you realize the ultimate fulfillment beyond family compatibility is to passionately enjoy what you do when it 

As you travel the road of life you encounter many who are overachievers and noteworthy producers. They embrace the work ethic as a gratifying endearment. They consider business an opportunity to identify with the American dream — salt-of-the-earth types who, for generations, have made America great.

I have a friend, one of the aforementioned, with a home in Bogart, just 10 miles west of Athens. His business address is Hernando, Mississippi, however, and when there is a reason for him to go there, he simply goes out to Ben Epps Field in Athens, cranks up his Piper JetProp and flies himself to the Magnolia State where his company remanufactures aircraft container loaders. The sprawling complex of FedEx, the shipping giant, is located 25 miles from Chris’ building and has been a customer of his for years.

When a FedEx package arrives at your doorstep, same as it might in Nogales, Arizona; Brownsville, Texas; Nome, Alaska; Overton, Nevada; Sault St. Marie, Michigan; or Katmandu, it may well have been loaded onto one of FedEx’s 650 planes which daily deliver an average of 6.21 million packages around the world by one of Chris’s efficient container loaders. That is a lot of packages, which require considerable handling which means the entire operation, like the NFL draft, is always on the clock. 

Even today, he can’t wait to settle into the cockpit of his single engine aircraft and rise above scars, debris and littler that one often confronts on the ground. 

Following graduation from Georgia Southern in 1973 with a degree in business finance, Chris’ passion to fly became more and more entrenched. His parental training has served him well. Treating people right became his mantra. He meets people and an instant friendship takes root. Friends find it interesting that Chris is afraid of heights, not the wild blue yonder, but five feet up on a step ladder, for example. He won’t clean his gutters, for example, and he wouldn’t walk across the Sidney Lanier Bridge which spans the Brunswick River.

Ever the gentleman, he has been known to fly a hundred miles out of the way so the turbulence will not make his passenger uncomfortable. He will never fly when the weather is questionable.  

Chris collects old cars; he is always doing something special for his employees. 

Seeing Georgia defeat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl was a memorable highlight for him and enjoying a hot dog and a Bulldog baseball victory at Foley Field, supporting his friend, Coach Scott Stricklin, makes his day. 

Just don’t ask him to climb a step ladder.