During the Mableton Improvement Coalition/South Cobb Business Association's candidate forum on Thursday night in Mableton, the candidates for Cobb Commission Chairman answered the usual questions they've been asked at nearly every forum. However, the answers to one particular question struck a chord with many in the crowd of about 200.
The questions were submitted to facilitator Joel Cope, MIC President, on notecards. Someone asked the candidates to name the accomplishment of which they were most proud in their career and their greatest failure.
Mike Boyce, a retired Marine, answered first. "Well, there's no doubt in my mind that my greatest single achievement was to convince my wife in 48 hours to marry me," he said with a wide grin.
"As you can tell, I'm a man of action. I don't look back on things that might have been and things I didn't do well. I thank God every day for the blessings I have in my life. I believe that He'll take care of me, and those things I don't do well, He has already forgiven me. So, I try to serve Him every day. And that's why I want to be your chairman. I want to serve Him by serving you. That's the skills I bring to the set," Boyce continued.
Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee answered next.
"I don't think I've reached my greatest accomplishment yet. I'm still working on it. I'm a happily married man. I'm a grandfather, have a son, taking care of a father at home with Alzheimer's. I, too, like Mike, am a born-again Christian, a Methodist, very committed to God first, family second and our country third. My greatest failure as a man was not teaching my children the right way with God, and I regret that. How that experience helps me continue in this is I turn to God first for guidance in every direction, every decision that I make, prior to even my thought process to it because my thinking isn't as good as His. And I trust in His direction period."
However, it was retired East Cobb businessman Larry Savage who pointed out that the question asked about one's greatest professional accomplishment and failure.
Savage said his greatest professional accomplishment is that he worked to successfully "turned around a losing piece of business" that was to be discontinued. However, because of his direction to recruit different salespeople, changed some of its functions and reporting responsibilities, he made it profitable.
As for failure, Savage said, "I don't really do much in the way of documenting failure. Failure is a teacher. Failure teaches a lot more than success, to be honest with you, if you pay attention...What I found for a way out was to work a lot harder and it got me out of trouble...Sometimes when things aren't going well, you just have to work a lot harder."
Former Commission Chairman Bill Byrne said his greatest success and greatest failure professionally are somewhat tied together.
"I think my biggest success was the 10 years that I'd spent in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam era as a helicopter pilot, and the service to my country in a point in time when our country wanted to disavow me. That was a major success from my perspective in coming home and having been spit on, thrown at and disparaged was the biggest disgrace I had for my country."
Byrne said personally, his greatest achievement was that his three daughters bought received college degrees and were debt-free once they received their diplomas. However, as a self-employed landscape architect for more than 30 years, Byrne said he worked long hours.
"That commitment, justified by paying for three kids going through college, justified in my mind not spending the necessary time in being a good father and being satisfied with educating them. Now, I'm going back and trying to revisit that opportunity with my grandchildren and taking a totally different approach with it," he said.
South Cobb Patch will update this story with more details from the Cobb Commission Chairman candidates' portion of the MIC/SCBA forum, so check back later.