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Cartledge and Lorton Named as 2013 Laureates for Business Hall of Fame

George Cartledge Jr.
George Cartledge Jr.

This fall Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia, which inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy, will induct two additional business leaders into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame – George Cartledge Jr. of Grand Home Furnishings and Don Lorton, retired chief financial officer at Carilion Clinic.

This year’s 23rd annual event – honoring leaders of the free enterprise system who serve as business role models for our region’s youth – will also induct Jason Bingham, a vice president with Trane North America, as the first-ever Young Entrepreneur.

The laureates will be recognized at the Hall of Fame dinner Nov. 12 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Cartledge and Lorton join 47 other individuals who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“This growing event celebrates the accomplishments of those who have, through their professional and personal sacrifice and commitment to our community, made it possible for others to succeed in business,” said Katherin Elam, president of JA of Southwest Virginia. “Each year we take a moment from our busy lives to honor innovators and leaders who paved the way for so many others and contributed to our region’s quality of life.”

For the first time, the Hall of Fame will honor a Young Entrepreneur.

“Many of our laureates have an entrepreneurial background, and the students we serve are excited about entrepreneurial opportunities in the business world,” Elam said. “By honoring Jason, we recognize excellence in entrepreneurship and hope to inspire the students we serve.”

Laureates were selected by a committee of regional business leaders.

George Cartledge Jr. has been a Roanoke resident since 1952. Born in Atlanta, Cartledge got an early start in his career by selling Coca-Colas on foot. At a young age he knew he could be more productive and sell more Cokes if he put them into a wagon and wheeled them to different apartment buildings.

After his family moved to Roanoke from Atlanta, George attended Crystal Spring Elementary and later Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg. He graduated with a degree in economics in 1963 from Hampden-Sydney College, where he serves as a trustee emeritus.

He has worked at Grand (then Grand Piano) for 50 years, starting in the warehouse at age 13, serving as truck driver, salesman and buyer. His father, George Cartledge Sr., opened his first Grand store in 1953 in Lynchburg, starting the tradition of handing out Cokes to customers.

Today, Roanoke-based Grand Home Furnishings, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, is one of the largest furniture chains in the South, with 17 stores in 15 locations throughout western and central Virginia, east Tennessee and eastern West Virginia.

Cartledge and his wife, Mary Ann, have two children, George III, who serves as president of Grand Home Furnishings, and a daughter, Ann Hoff. They have nine grandchildren.

Cartledge has been active in the community, serving as chairman of the board of Center in the Square as well as on the boards of Carilion Clinic and Hometown Bank. Cartledge also served as a deacon and an elder in the Second Presbyterian Church.

Don Lorton
Don Lorton

Donald E. Lorton Sr., a native of Radford, served as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Carilion Clinic prior to his retirement earlier in 2013.

In high school, Lorton worked as a farm hand and a bagger at Kroger to support his young family. While attending National Business College, instructors noted his acumen for accounting, later he worked in an accounting firm before finding a job in the accounting office at Pulaski Community Hospital.

A few years later he was promoted to the hospital’s CFO. He joined Carilion Memorial Hospital in Roanoke as an assistant controller in 1972 and worked his way to the top financial job. Over the years he created a finance team that spearheaded many innovations in health care that enhanced hospital services and grew Carilion into the region’s top employer.

Lorton has two sons, Don, Jr. and John from his first marriage and two children, Karen and Brent, with his wife, Wanda.

He has been active in Boy Scouts and served as a member of the board and chair of Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia. He currently is a member of Carilion’s Board of Governors.

Jason E. Bingham has developed strategies and processes for leadership programs that have now been adopted across the nation. He is currently responsible for the $1.2 billion Central Territory as vice president for Trane North America. Through Bingham’s efforts during his 22-year career, Trane has received multiple regional and national awards and distinctions.

Bingham frequently gives speeches to help managers move from talent assessment through action planning and business outcomes. He delivers this through a genuine, no-nonsense approach that achieves real results. Although pragmatic, he has a witty humor that keeps the process fun and enjoyable.

He is the author of the newly released book “Cultureship: The ACBs of Business Leadership.”

The event begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. with dinner to follow. Tickets are $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of eight. Proceeds benefit Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia, which has served 479,000 students since its founding in 1957 with innovative programs taught in schools by volunteers from the business community.

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