Each year, the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership honors persons with the designation of one of the following awards:



The Heaton Award recognizes those who exemplify good human relations skills in their positions as leaders. It is presented to those who, through their effective leadership and supervision of others, best exemplify the philosophy and principles of the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership.

John C. Holley, U.S. Army, Retired

John C. Holley was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but was raised in Windsor, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina A&T State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry in 1961. At the same time he was designated a Distinguished Militarty graduate and commissioned a Regular Army Second Lieutenant of Artillery. Additionally Holley is a graduate of the United States Army command and General Staff College, the United States Air Force War College and holds a Master of Arts degree from American University in Washington D.C. 



Holley's military assignments included executive management, personnel management, organization assessment and operation training. His 30 year career span saw him operate as a progressive manager and key leader in numerous fast-paced organizations in the continental United States and overseas.  He commanded units in the Army from platoon to brigade level, and was a staff officer at the highest level of the Department of the Army structure. Holley retired from active duty in June 1991 as a Colonel at Fort Gillem, Georgia, where he was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Second United States Army. 



In January 1992, Holley became the President of the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation, a teaching foundation for youth which keys in on basic leadership; enhances self-esteem and pride in accomplishment; supports a positive value system of education, hard work, positive attitude, honesty, concern for others; and, finally, instills a commitment to creative, intelligent and ethical public service. He retired from this position on 1 October 2010.  

Holley's civic and non-profit organization associations have included Kiwanis International, Boy Scouts of America, the Association of the United States Army, North Carolina A&T University Alumni Association, Member of the Sacred Praise United Methodist Church, 100 Black Men of America, Board Member of the Community Council of Metropolitan Atlanta, Board member for the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership, and the 2099 Investment Club. In each of these organizations he has held positions of leadership. In Kiwanis International, he has served as club secretary and president, has been Lt. Governor (twice), served as Governor for the Georgia District, Chairman of the International Committee on Diversity, and is a Past Trustee for the Kiwanis International Foundation. Currently, he is the Vice President for Membership, Organization & Chartering for the North Georgia Conference of United Methodist Men. He volunteers weekly at local elementary schools in the community. He is the Georgia District Coordinator fo the Eliminate Project, a global initiative taken on by the Kiwanis International and UNICEF to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide by 2015. The task is to raise $110 million by 2015. 

Holley is married to the former Harriett Neal of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and they have two children, John and Barbara.

Congratulations John Holley on your recognition as the 2014 Heaton Award Winner!



First Place Award Winner

Lauren Edwards, Auburn University MBA Program

Lauren Edwards is a second year MBA student at Auburn University, graduating December 2014.Lauren enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, tailgating at football games in support of Auburn's football team, and being around family and friends. She is currently involved with several organizations around campus serving in leadership roles, works with the Auburn Athletic Department as a graduate assistant, and serves at her church as a greeter and events coordinator. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in quality assurance or strategy consulting. In the future Lauren would also like to go back to school to earn her PhD in Organizational Leadership or Organizational Psychology. 

Second Place Award Winner

Mae Margaret Davis, Auburn University MBA Program

Mae Margaret Davis is a candidate for an MBA with a graduate minor in economic development from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University, and is expected to graduate in December 2014. Mae Margaret graduated from Auburn University in May 2013, with a B.A. in Public Relations. She also serves as a graduate assistant for the Department of Marketing for the college.


Eskew Legacy Award - Robert "Bob" Eskew

Leann Barr, AMERICAN Cast Iron Company

Leann Barr was nominated for the  Eskew Legacy Award by the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership Board of Directors for her executive leadership and service to the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership from 1995 - 2006.

Leann Barr Graduated from Auburn University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management , and a minor in Education. She holds a certification as a Targeted Selection Interviewer. 

Ms. Barr joined AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company in 1973 as a statistician, and later became the director of the Human Resources Division, and Manager of Personnel Administration and Records. AMERICAN employs about 3,000 people at its Birmingham facility and subsidiary locations. A pioneer in the human resources field, AMERICAN believes in treating all - each other, our customers and our neighbors - the way we want to be treated. This Golden Rule philosophy has been the guiding principal of the company since its founding in 1905. Ms. Barr retired from AMERICAN in January 2014.

From 1995 - 2006, Ms. Barr served on the Blue Ridge Conference On Leadership Board; serving as board chairman from 7/1998 - 7/2000. During her tenure, Leann Barr led the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership, Inc. during its transition from a privately operated 501(C)3 in Atlanta, Georgia to its current location and administration at Auburn University. 

Ms. Barr's civic and professional affiliations include Society for Human Resource Management; Birmingham Society for Human Resource Management; National Management Association, ACIPCO Chapter; ACIPCO Leadership Association; Executive Advisory Council for Special Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Alabama Health Care Council; Blue Ridge Conference On Leadership Board of Directors, Chairman; Director of INROADS/Birmingham Policy Board; Board of Directors Junior Achievement of Greater Birmingham Inc.; Board of Directors Birmingham Urban League, Inc.; Chairman, Birmingham Urban League, Inc.; Momentum Advisory Board; Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, Inc. Board of Directors; International Women's Forum Georgia. 



Charles Stephens, AMERICAN Cast Iron Company, retired






Eastman Credit