Published Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Dr. Joe Harless of Newnan died recently. With his passing, Newnan and Georgia and our nation have all lost one of the world’s true visionaries in the field of training and work force development. Our county was fortunate to have him retire here and to call Newnan home.
After a long and distinguished 30-year career as a nationally-respected and renowned consultant to business, industry and the military, Dr. Harless and his wife, Carol, chose to retire in Newnan. With Dr. Harless known in national training and educational circles as “The Trainer’s Trainer,” Coweta County has benefitted greatly from his knowledge and experience.
It was through his leadership and collaborations in the late 1990s that our own Central Educational Center (CEC) came to fruition. To use an old cliché, “the stars aligned” during that period in time when Dr. Harless also published one of his more recent books, “The Eden Conspiracy,” in 1998. Based upon his vast experience and the research for his latest book, Dr. Harless was able to bring together the leadership of the Coweta County School System, Carroll Tech (now known as West Georgia Technical College), and the business and industry community (under the leadership of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce) to form a three component alliance that quickly resulted in CEC. The rest is now history and a simple Google search will bring up countless articles about CEC and its many success stories and replications as the first in the country of this kind of innovative high school and college training program.
Dr. Joe Harless was many things to many people. While he was a somewhat quiet and unassuming man, a great fan of Sprayberry’s Barbeque and of the Redneck Gourmet, he had a tremendous fan base locally and a vast following nationally in training and educational circles.
Although his physical presence will be missed, his legacy is well-established and many people will benefit from his works in many ways for years to come. It was my good fortune to have worked with him over recent years and to be able to call him friend.
Malcolm Jackson, Newnan