Herrick recognized for lifetime of achievement; Austin dentist praises community efforts of Chamber, volunteers
Published 8:47 am Thursday, October 19, 2017
Dr. James Herrick was delighted to turn the afternoon’s attention away from himself.
He praised everybody else at the Austin Country Club on Wednesday for their community works.
Having a Fortune 500 company in Austin has been wonderful, he said. The Hormel Foundation has been extremely generous financially supporting so many community efforts.
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“But as much as we all appreciate the support, it still requires the hard work of people — people volunteering for the many community organizations who do so much in the community. You see it takes people and all of you are so important to the ongoing viability of this community,”
Herrick spoke at the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting as he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Established in 2002, it had been awarded to 15 people, many of whom were at the luncheon.
“The intent is to salute people who have moved our community forward, recognizing the fact that when business succeeds, good things happen throughout our community,” said Chamber President Jana Gray of the Austin Daily Herald.
Herrick is an Austin native who returned after serving in the U.S. Navy to open a dental practice in 1967, she said. He built a new office in 1977 as his business grew, and later brought in a partner, Dr. Kurt Potach. The business continues to serve Austin as the Potach and Mitchell Dental Clinic.
Potach, who was recently honored by the Austin Public Schools with a Distinguished Alumni Award, introduced his partner and long-time friend.
“If you read his bio, the list of public accomplishments is great and very impressive, and certainly merits this award, there’s no question,” Potach said. “But I would submit to you and argue that that’s just the tip of the iceberg with Jim. His much greater body of work is his investment in others and everyone around him, and his family being a great witness to that, our staff at the clinic business associates, friends that they travel with, without question each person he touches is enriched and encouraged.”
He added that it “meant so much” to have Potach as a role model and that Herrick gave him the “awesome opportunity to return to Austin.”
Herrick gave Potach a hug as he headed to the podium. When he got there, he moved the room’s attention back to his friend. You might have noticed an extra glow around Potach, he said, that’s because “Kurt and Brenda became brand new grandparents for the first time.”
Applause filled the clubhouse.
Herrick thanked the chamber. “I am so appreciative and also very humbled by this honor.”
He introduced his family, including a pair of grandchildren, Thomas and Madison, who were among the first to give him a hug after the ceremony, and then he turned to his wife, Mary.
“Then there is my wife, for almost 55 years, Mary, my best friend,” he said. “We moved back to Austin in 1967 ….and we came to open a dental practice and raise a family. Mary has been by my side ever since, supporting me, encouraging me; I couldn’t be here today without you, Mary.
“Frankly, this award belongs to Mary every bit as much as it does to me.”
In other business
Also at the meeting, the Chamber recognized members who are retiring from the board of directors. They are:
• Past President Tim Fritz of Hormel Foods Corp., who has been on the board since 2011;
• Charles W. Moline of AdvisorNet Financial, a board member since 2012; and
• Marie Fryer of Belles and Beaus Bridal and Formal Wear, and Stephen Waldhoff of the Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea and Austin, both of whom are retiring and have been board members for the past two years.
Appointed to fill Fryer and Waldhoff’s remaining terms are Lindsey Haney, owner of the Style Lounge in downtown Austin and Chris Johnson of Mayo Clinic Health System.
Nominees to the 2018 board were unanimously approved by the membership. No additional nominations came from the floor.
Past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients
2002 — Chuck Wilson
2003 — Jerry Anfinson
2004 — Kermit Hoversten
2005 — Art Scherer
2006 — Jerry Mohrfeld
2007 — I.J. “Jim” Holton
2008 — Bonnie Mogen
2009 — Jack Thill
2010 — Gary Ray
2011 — Craig Johnson
2012 — Charlie Fawver
2013 — Richard Knowlton
2014 — Gretchen Ramlo
2015 — Dave Crandall
2016 — Belita Schindler