Honoring the best in business to inspire the next in business
Junior Achievement of Central Virginia is a nonprofit that helps inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. This is accomplished through programs that focus on smart money management, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. The organization works with schools and nonprofit partners to provide lessons and volunteer mentors who connect education to the world of work.
Since 1988, Junior Achievement has annually recognized esteemed leaders at the JA Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame. This annual gala honors business leaders who are role models to JA students. It serves as Junior Achievement of Central Virginia’s premier fundraising event.
The 36th JA Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame will be held on May 16, 2024. Every year, a cohort of our most prolific business and community leaders receive the region’s signature award, joining more than 125 Laureates in the Hall of Fame.
The leaders who have built the region into what it is today know that our economic vitality depends on the best in business inspiring the next in business. Laureates are accomplished professionals who have made a major, positive impact on the business landscape and contributed to the region’s economic strength. They embody qualities such as business excellence, vision and innovation, inspirational leadership, and community support. Their experiences and successes provide a shining example of what can be achieved with dedication, risk-taking, and good judgment.
We are pleased to induct the following Laureates in 2024:
Ken Ampy, CEO, Astyra Corporation
Ken Ampy serves as Astyra Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s overall leadership, culture, and vision, raising the business community’s awareness of the corporation. His knowledge of technology, business, and problem-solving spans more than 25 years; resulting in numerous awards including the company appearing seven times on the prestigious list of INC. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies In America and five appearances on Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Inner City Businesses in America.
A country boy at heart, Mr. Ampy is very active in the business community. He is directly involved with and has held senior leadership roles in several business and non-profit organizations over the years to include: Virginia Credit Union Board of Directors (current Board Chairman), Maggie Walker Anti-Poverty Commission, ChamberRVA Board of Directors (current Treasurer), and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation Board.
Mr. Ampy is also a business scholar having attended Executive Management Programs at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
Jack Berry, President, Richmond Region Tourism
Jack Berry was raised outside of Chicago. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1974. In 1975 he moved to Salisbury, Maryland to work for the Independent Players Association. Its Executive Director, the late Bill Riordan, managed Jimmy Connors, and Ilie Nastase, and promoted an indoor men’s professional tennis circuit.
In 1979 Norfolk SCOPE hired Berry as the Promotion and Sales Manager of the multi-purpose facility. He moved to Richmond, Virginia in 1988 to become Director of Marketing & Sales for the Richmond Centre for Conventions & Exhibitions. The City promoted him to General Manager in 1990. In December 1992 he was named President & CEO of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau – today known as Richmond Region Tourism.
Berry is a member of the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club Board of Directors, James River Advisory Committee, Virginia Capital Trail Foundation Board of Directors (Treasurer), Virginia Green Board of Directors (Chairman), Henricus Foundation Board of Directors, Metropolitan Richmond Crime Stoppers Board of Directors, St. John’s Church Foundation Leadership Council, and Venture Richmond Service District Committee.
His wife, Lynn, is a Norfolk native. They have three adult children, John, III, Elizabeth, and Rachel.
Joey Smith, Chairman Emeritus, Williams Mullen
Joey Smith served as CEO of Williams Mullen from 1984 through 2010. Under Mr. Smith’s leadership, Williams Mullen grew from 25 lawyers in Richmond, Virginia, to over 300 in 12 offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and London. Gross revenues increased from approximately $4.5 million to $150 million. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Smith initiated six mergers with law firms ranging in size from 20 to 55 lawyers.
His practice includes representing and advising business clients on corporate and business matters, including succession planning and mergers and acquisitions. He has specific experience in closely-held businesses, insurance brokers, and family businesses. His merger and acquisition experience ranges from small family businesses to major transactions involving publicly-traded companies. Mr. Smith also consults with law firms on business-related issues.
He is a past president of the Richmond Bar Association and a member of the American Bar Association, the Virginia Bar Association, and the Virginia State Bar, where he is a member of the Taxation and Estate Planning and Law Firm Administration Sections. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Virginia Law Foundation.
Mr. Smith graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law and Hampden-Sydney College.
Sam Young, President, Astyra Corporation
Sam Young has been President of Astyra Corporation for over 26 years. He is responsible for Astyra’s overall vision, leadership, managing Astyra’s operations, and directing the development of the organization to ensure future growth.
Sam attended Old Dominion University where he studied Computer Science. He also completed the Business Executive Program and the Advanced Business Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Additionally, he completed the NMSDC Advanced Management Education Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Sam is a member of Leadership Metro Richmond (Class of 2005) and Lead Virginia (Class of 2017).
Over the course of his career, Sam has developed technical mastery of enterprise networking, IT hardware systems, and software applications from companies such as Cisco, EMC, Sun, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, and Veritas.
This experience brings a unique perspective to the way he views the world, and is evident in all aspects of Astyra’s technical operations from IT project management expertise to client development. Sam’s leadership, entrepreneurial style, and keen operational abilities were the right combination of skills needed to help evolve Astyra into the award-winning growth company it is today.
Over 3,400 Richmond Region students benefit annually thanks to funds raised from the JA Greater Richmond Business Hall of Fame. The event will be held May 16, 2024 at The Jefferson Hotel. Sponsorships and tables are available – information can be found on JA’s website. If you or your business are interested in supporting Junior Achievement and helping us inspire and prepare the next generation, please visit centralva.ja.org.