With a record number of attendees and event sponsors present, Carol H. Burrell was honored at the seventh annual Sandy Beaver Entrepreneurial Leadership Awards Dinner held on February 24 in Riverside Military Academy’s Alumni Hall.
“Tonight, we honor and celebrate an extraordinary entrepreneurial leader whose vision, passion, determination, personal values, and character emulate the legendary qualities of the awards' namesake, General Sandy Beaver, who served this community and as Riverside's President for over 50 years,” stated President Stanley C. "Staś" Preczewski.
Burrell, homegrown locally just outside of Winder, GA moved back to northeast Georgia from Jacksonville, FL 23 years ago to assist Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) with its primary care network. She was quickly promoted to vice president and chief operating officer in 2004, and then president and CEO in 2011. She has been driven by NGHS’ mission to improve the health of the community in northeast Georgia, and by her own mantra to be better tomorrow than today. Under her leadership, she has led NGHS through unparalleled success with both state and national recognition, as well as growth from an organization with one hospital to now four; 3,000 employees to more than 9,000; and $340 million in gross revenues to $3.4 billion.
The impact of her entrepreneurial leadership and vision for the future cannot be overstated. The flagship hospital Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville has been recognized with many awards including Georgia’s #1 Heart Hospital for 12 consecutive years, as well as Georgia’s #1 Hospital and among the Top 10 in the Nation according to CareChex. Accomplishments include NGMC’s trauma care designation in 2014, the construction and opening of NGMC Braselton in 2015, the acquisition of NGMC Barrow in 2017, the opening of NGMC Lumpkin in 2019, and now, a $544 million patient tower expansion on the NGMC Gainesville campus.
Burrell and her husband, Steve, have two adult children, Lee Burrell and Bradee Aderholt.
“As much as I appreciate and value this honor, it’s not about me, it’s about this entire medical community. So I accept this on behalf of those that are making such a difference, and have demonstrated resilience, perseverance, and strength, especially over the past two years,” stated Burrell as she accepted the award.
The event also included a memorial tribute to previous honorees Frank Norton, Sr, James A. Walters, Jack E. Frost, and special committee advisor Jackie Allred Cooley.
RMA’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program was created in 2014 through the visionary leadership of several alumni. While this was a re-scheduled event, the dinner is held in August each year drawing attendance by community leaders and business owners, as well as RMA trustees, alumni, family, and friends of the Academy.
Proceeds and donations from the dinner help the Riverside Military Academy Foundation provide partial scholarships as need-based tuition assistance so that deserving young men can attend RMA.