Icons of industry honored by Junior Achievement

Icons of industry honored by Junior Achievement
Harry Frisch flanked by his sons Ben (left) and Karl (right)

Nearly 200 friends and family members of Harry Frisch and W. W. “Bill” Gay were on hand Nov. 13 at UNF’s Adam W. Herbert University Center to celebrate with them as they received Lifetime Achievement Awards from Junior Achievement of North Florida (JA). 

Frisch, 94, and Gay, 91, are two Jacksonville icons of industry who have climbed the stairway of success during their lifetimes and shared that success generously with many in their community, including Junior Achievement of North Florida. 

Harry Frisch and W.W. “Bill” Gay with Junior Achievement emcees Josh Miller, Michael Esguerra and Sabrien Bishop

Harry Frisch and W.W. “Bill” Gay with Junior Achievement emcees Josh Miller, Michael Esguerra and Sabrien Bishop

Chartered in 1963, with Gay a member of the founding board of directors, JA of North Florida promotes workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs for students K-12. JA of North Florida has grown from reaching 225 students in 1963 to reaching 60,000 students this year.   

Co-chairs Ronnie Fussell, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Jeff Edwards, chief financial officer for Beaver Street Fisheries, both long-time supporters of JA, were credited with initiating the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Awards. 

Presenting the award to Gay, founder and CEO of W. W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc., Fussell noted that Gay had been a major role model and mentor for him, and had tirelessly promoted and supported JA throughout his long career. Calling Gay an “institution” in North Florida, Fussell praised Gay’s business acumen and philanthropy and his passion for helping children.

Jeff Edwards, who has been with Beaver Street Fisheries for 35 years, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Frisch, chairman of the board of Beaver Street Fisheries.

Describing Frisch’s challenges in his native Vienna, Austria, and again in Palestine (now Israel), and again when he and his family immigrated to Jacksonville, Edwards talked of how Frisch has worked with four generations of his family for more than 60 years to build the business, and praised Frisch’s philanthropy and generous support of countless community nonprofits, including JA of North Florida.

By Susan D. Brandenburg
Resident Community News

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