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Jax Daily Record Thursday, May. 22, 200812:00 PM EST

Three more added to 'who's who' list of area business leaders

by: David Chapman

by David Chapman

Staff Writer

Local business leaders and University of North Florida officials gathered at the Hyatt Wednesday to recognize three of their own during the 11th Annual Prime F. Osborn III Distinguished Business Leader Awards luncheon presented by UNF’s Coggin College of Business.

The annual awards are given to successful area business leaders who exhibit high standards of integrity, ethics, value and character, said UNF Coggin College of Business Dean and Professor of Accounting Dr. John McCallister. Nominations for each winner were given to UNF’s Business Advisory Board, consisting of all former award recipients and other UNF officials, from outside members of the business community.

This years honorees were Zurich Insurance Services Founder, Jacksonville Jaguars and Prudential Network Realty partner Tom Petway, Harden & Associates CEO Ceree Harden and UNF Professor of Economics Dr. Jeffrey Steagall.

“It’s a really special day,” said McCallister. “It’s the 11th year we’ve had this and it remains a way for UNF and the business community to celebrate its partnership.”

Each recipient was introduced by friends and former recipients who talked about the virtues of their business and leadership roles within the community. Petway was introduced by Jaguars partner Lawrence DuBow, Harden by PSS World Medical CEO and Chairman David Smith and Steagall by UNF’s Dr. Earle Traynham.

“I’m extremely honored,” said Steagall. “It really is a who’s who of Jacksonville and to be a part of that means a lot. I’ve always said success comes from taking the right opportunities and UNF really has been the best opportunity for me.”

Steagall has spent 18 years with the school and has helped grow the international business program into one of the university’s flagship programs.

Petway has been one of the school’s supporters since its inception in the early 1970s, he said,

“I’m absolutely proud of the university,” he said. “To see what it is today compared to when I saw it being built from scratch is quite an accomplishment.”

On top of being a supporter, Petway has had numerous business endeavors in Jacksonville as well as countless participation as a civic leader. Petway has sat on and chaired numerous boards and commissions, all on a voluntary basis.

“You’ve heard the saying of someone being a ‘man of all seasons’,” said DuBow, “but Tom really is a ‘man of all reasons.’ He’s done a lot for Jacksonville.”

Harden, CEO of the insurance, risk management and employee benefit giant Harden & Associates, was recognized during the event for his business accomplishments and civic duties, including being on the board at Baptist Health, a longtime member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and former chair of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission.

“I am grateful for the recognition,” said Harden. “This community has given me substantially more than what I could give it in a lifetime and I’m proud to be associated with UNF and the Jacksonville business community.”

The three will have their names honored through plaques that will be on the first floor of UNF’s Coggin College of Business, joining the 34 recipients before them.

Photos courtesy Lauren Sykes Photography

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