News Release

For media information, contact:
Zaundra Brown
Director of Public Relations and Information
404.297.9522, ext. 1757


DTC President Wins Leadership Character Award

September 26, 2011

The newly-appointed acting president of DeKalb Technical College (soon to be Georgia Piedmont Technical College) wins the Turknett Leadership Character Award in the education arena. Turknett Leadership Group announced Larry Teems as the recipient of its eighth annual Leadership Character Awards at a luncheon held at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta September 15, 2011.

FHLBank of Atlanta was the presenting sponsor for the awards this year, and GV Financial was the silver sponsor. Turknett Leadership Group presented the awards in partnership with Kennesaw State University. Out of fifty-six outstanding leaders nominated this year’s award recipients were:

CEO/President/Managing Partner Category – Ralph de la Vega, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets
Executive/Manager Category – John C. Yates, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLC  
Nonprofit Category – Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva, Project GRAD Atlanta, Inc.
Education Category – Larry Teems, DeKalb Technical College
Inspiritor Category – Ross Mason, HINRI

A four person advisory group consisting of Oz Nelson, retired chairman and CEO of UPS, Conchita Robinson, president and CEO of C. Robinson Associates, Inc., Dr. Betty Siegel, president-emeritus of Kennesaw State University and W. Thomas Smith, Founder and Managing Partner of Total Technology Ventures selected the winners from this year’s 56 nominees. The four were also presenters for the awards at the Georgia Aquarium.

Teems was nominated for the award by Gale Belton, DeKalb Tech’s Director of Human Resources. “No matter when you call Larry, or for what matter, he is willing to assist, even when the problem was outside the departments for which he was responsible. He was willing to help find a satisfactory solution for the good of the College,” says Belton.  The awards luncheon was attended by DeKalb Technical College’s leadership.  Teems was appointed acting president of the college on August 1, 2011.  Both the nomination and the award came as a surprise to Teems who says, “I am truly honored and humbled to even be nominated for this prestigious award.  The nominees within the education category are outstanding individuals who are the bedrock of education within our community. The selection committee was faced with a difficult task in narrowing the field to one winner.  I accept the award on behalf of all educators who set the standard of excellence in character and dedication.”  Teems will lead the College during an exciting transition as DeKalb Technical College changes its name to Georgia Piedmont Technical College effective October 1, 2011.

Jim Huling, previous award-winner and Managing Consultant, FranklinCovey’s 4 Disciplines of Execution, gave an inspirational address entitled, "Breakthrough Standards." Huling spoke about the power of those who set the highest standards (as in the Leadership Character Model) to not only raise their own performance, but to have the far greater impact of inspiring generations of future leaders to go even further.

Turknett Leadership Character Awards recognize individuals who demonstrate character in the way they lead others: high levels of integrity; relating to employees, customers, suppliers and others with respect; and maintaining a culture in which everyone takes responsibility for achieving results while upholding the organization’s core values.  “The awards were instituted in 2002, at a low point in business, when there were stories day after day about dishonesty at companies like Enron and HealthSouth” said Lyn Turknett, co-founder of the awards with her husband and partner Dr. Robert Turknett.  “We believe that most business people are decent and honest, and we wanted to find a way to recognize leaders of character.”

Tamara O’Neill, President, Careers on Course and this year’s award nominee remarked, “I had a wonderful time at your luncheon! It was impressive, impactful, warm and seamless, with all the right touches. It reflects your work style and integration with the business community.”

Turknett Leadership Group is a management consulting firm based in Atlanta that has assessed and developed high level leaders and their organizations throughout the U.S. for more than 20 years. Using sophisticated assessment tools and leadership coaching, the Turknett professional staff combines extensive psychological expertise in the behavioral sciences with practical business sense and executive management experience. They serve small, mid-sized and large organizations such as AGL Resources, American Cancer Society, AT&T, Bennett International Group, CSM Bakery Products, DeKalb Medical, Emory University, Equifax, Georgia-Pacific Corp., and Kroger Company. For more information visit

DeKalb Technical College, a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, promotes a student-centered environment for lifelong learning and development, encompassing academic and technical education for employment in a global community.  Effective October 1, 2011, DeKalb Tech will become Georgia Piedmont Technical College. The college has nine centers of learning in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale, and Morgan counties. DeKalb Technical College currently has more than 5,000 students enrolled in diploma or degree programs and more than 9,000 in adult education classes.  Academic and Technical programs at DeKalb Tech cover more than 120 different occupations.  For more information, visit our website at

Photo:  Acting President of DeKalb Technical College, Larry Teems accepts award from Dr. Betty Siegel

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. In August 2016, Georgia Piedmont was ranked among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 74.3 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 98.7 percent placement rate. With nearly 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is among the largest in the state. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Lisa Peters, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Dr. Debra Gordon, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-103 for assistance. For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.