2009 Award of Honor
Charlie became a proud graduate of ETSC and a newly minted 2 nd Lt in June, 1960. Initially intending to make the Army his life's occupation, and while military service remained a lifetime affection, upon leaving active duty he instead began a career in book manufacturing at Kingsport Press. While serving at Fort Jackson in SC he had met his wife Martha, a University of SC graduate and an elementary school teacher. She was later to teach 25 years, almost all of that in Johnson City. Charlie served in virtually every manufacturing position at KP. He was the youngest person to be named a plant manager and subsequently was promoted to head the KP Sullivan Street plant. At 1,200 employees, it was KP's largest plant. Following that assignment he was named to head Halliday Lithograph near Boston which like KP was a division of Arcata Corporation. After five years at Halliday he was named CEO of Kingsport Press, the largest of the Arcata companies with 3,300 employees.
In 1985 Charlie, along with other investors and operating partners, founded Southeastern Color Graphics in Johnson City. Over the span of the next 15 years with Charlie as CEO and Board Chairman, SECG grew to become a nationally respected book manufacturing firm serving the nation's premier book publishers and employing 450 skilled and dedicated people. In 2000 SECS was sold to Banta Corp (NYSE). Subsequently Banta was acquired by RR Donnelley (NYSE). Donnelley continues to operate the SECG facility in Johnson City.
Charlie and Martha have twin girls. Lockie is a freelance author and an adjunct professor of English at Warren Wilson College. She and her husband Zack, who heads an EDP operation for Aquent Corp, live in Asheville. They have two children, Pascalle and Graham. Mitzi (MJ) is a resident in psychiatry at Medical College of Georgia. Travis, her husband, is currently a resident in surgery at ETSU. He will rejoin MJ this summer in Augusta when he begins a residency in family medicine at MCG. MJ and Travis have one son, Cameron Charles. MJ and her first husband, Frank, who is VP of Finance with Krupp Corp, have two children, Bishop and Isabella.
Charlie has served on the ETSU Foundation Board as well as on several civic, hospital and bank boards. For seven years he was chairman of the church council of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Johnson City. He was a founder and is currently a director of TriSummit Bank which has offices in each of the Tri-Cities. Charlie and Martha are also members of the ETSU Foundation Bronze Society and they created and continue to support a scholarship endowment in memory of Charlie's mother, Lula Montgomery.