Georgia Family Business of the Year Winners Announced

The Cox Family Enterprise Center‚ based at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State…

Georgia (Feb 16, 2006) — Georgia Family Business of the Year Winners Announced

Terri Thornton


Contact: Terri Thornton‚ 404−932−4347‚

The Cox Family Enterprise Center‚ based at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University‚ has announced the winners of the 2006 Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards‚ including the Cox Century Award‚ which honors successful Georgia−based businesses that have been in business for at least 100 years.

The winners and finalists are:

Cox Century Award
Patten Seed Company‚ Lakeland

Large Business
National Distributing Co.‚ Atlanta

ECI Group‚ Marietta
Fieldale Farms Corp.‚ Baldwin

Medium Business
Southern Orchard Supply Co. (d.b.a. Lane Packing Co.)‚ Fort Valley

Bowen Family Homes‚ Duluth
Piedmont National Corporation‚ Atlanta

Small Business
Mimms Enterprises‚ Roswell

CITISCO‚ Inc.‚ Gainesville
Warren Assoc.‚ Inc.‚ Macon

“For fifteen years‚ the Cox Family Enterprise Center has honored the best in Georgia−based family businesses‚” says Cox Family Enterprise Center Director Joe Astrachan‚ Ph.D. “Once again we have a great group of winners and finalists who have withstood the test of time‚ and flourished due to strong values and savvy business sense.”

The Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards ceremony‚ co−hosted by Georgia Trend magazine and the Cox Family Enterprise Center‚ will be held Wednesday‚ May 24 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. This year’s keynote speaker is Tony Pritzker of the Pritzker Group‚ a private investment firm. Pritzker is the grandson of A.N. Pritzker‚ who founded the Hyatt hotel chain and created the industrial conglomerate Marmon.

For tickets or more information‚ call the Cox Family Enterprise Center at 770−423−6045.

Patten Seed Company

In 1893‚ R.L. Patten and his brother W.F. Patten opened a general merchandise store in Lakeland‚ Georgia. In 1947‚ R.L.’s son Lawson Patten opened a seed cleaning business in his father’s cotton warehouse. That same year‚ Lawson’s daughter Nell married Bill Roquemore‚ a B−26 pilot in World War II. Roquemore helped the company grow into a thriving operation with 350 employees at 25 facilities in four states. Patten Seed‚ incorporated in 1954‚ is now a leader in the turfgrass‚ sod and seed industry. It also handles planting and contract maintenance of golf courses‚ and at one time owned twelve 18−hole courses. It also operates a pecan business and raises container−grown nursery trees.

Financially‚ the company is on firm footing. Over the past five years‚ turfgrass and sod sales have increased 15% annually‚ and international sales have jumped 50%. The company is also committed to the community. Family members have held several local political posts and served on public service−related boards. They’ve also raised funds to help Hurricane Katrina victims‚ volunteered with the Boy Scouts and other organizations‚ and donated sod to Habitat for Humanity.

National Distributing Company‚ Inc. (NDC)

In 1942‚ the Davis and Carlos families became equal partners in National Distributing Company‚ Inc. (NDC). The firm now has 2‚800 employees in ten states. It is the fourth largest alcoholic beverage distributor in U.S.‚ and one of the largest privately owned and operated companies in the state. Despite different cultural backgrounds‚ the two families made the business work through their common values and commitment to family.

They have contributed to a dozen nonprofit organizations‚ and many community institutions bear their names‚ including the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University and the Alfred and Adele Davis Academy. They have recently restructured the management team and added an advisory board‚ which means the company will continue to grow and thrive for many more generations to come.

Southern Orchard Supply Co. (d.b.a. Lane Packing Company)

Since 1908‚ five generations of the Lane family have dedicated themselves to growing the best Georgia peaches and pecans. The American Fruit Growers Association counts the firm among the nation’s top 100 growers. In addition to a farm and the largest peach packing facility in the state‚ the enterprise runs the Roadside Market‚ Just Peachy Gift Shop‚ Peachtree Cafe and a full−service mail order department. Five generations work in the business‚ including Duke Lane‚ Jr.‚ the company’s president. Lane Packing brings more than 200‚000 yearly visitors to Fort Valley‚ which is why Gov. Perdue chose it as the site for a 2005 bill signing promoting agri−tourism. In addition to providing much−needed jobs‚ the company also donates time and money to dozens of nonprofit and educational groups.

Mimms Enterprises

Founded in 1929‚ Mimms Enterprises is the fourth largest owner of real estate in Atlanta‚ with more than 100 properties and 1‚000 tenants. Mimms buys and upgrades shopping centers and industrial properties‚ which helps create new jobs and expand the local tax base. The company maintains a family atmosphere‚ and serves its 40+ employees a free family−style lunch every day. Community service projects include the Boys & Girls Clubs‚ as well as a center for homeless women‚ a math and science charter school and several churches. They also inaugurated the Malon D. Mimms Oratorical Competition‚ to help Cobb County school children overcome their fear of public speaking. The brokerage community considers Mimms the first choice for many deals because it is always true to its word.

Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of 18‚500 from 132 countries. The third largest state university out of 35 institutions in the University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit