D. Wayne Akins Jr., chief retail banking officer of Synovus Bank and a 1985 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has received the college's Alumni Association's Alumni Award of Excellence.
"From the farm field, to the board and exam rooms, our alumni are leaders in a variety of areas," said Elliott Marsh, president of the CAES Alumni Association. "These awards not only allow us to recognize the accomplishments of our fellow alumni, but also the ways in which CAES has contributed to our collective success."
Akins, who was president and CEO of Sea Island Bank in Statesboro for many years, accepted his award at the November CAES Alumni Awards Banquet in Athens.
Even before he attended UGA, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences played a large role in Akins life. His grandfather graduated from the college in 1960. His mother served as a university 4-H Extension agent for 30 years. Akins credits Dr. Josef Broder, associate dean for academic affairs, for helping him find his career path.
From 1998 to 2009, Akins served as the CEO and president of Sea Island Bank in Statesboro. During his time there, Akins directed the strategic growth, profitability and market share of the organization. He led nine executives and more than 140 personnel.
When Sea Island Bank was consolidated into Synovus Bank he assumed a leadership position and now serves as chief retail banking officer for the company, which operates 280 branch offices in five southeastern states.
This year, the CAES Award of Excellence was also presented to Beverly Sparks, former director of UGA Cooperative Extension; Charles Hubert Bronson Jr., former Florida commissioner of agriculture and consumer services and R. Lowry Weyman Hunt, Jr. (Whitey), a sixth-generation Morgan County farmer.
Luke Lanier, assistant vice president of Metter Bank; Allison Perkins, UGA Cooperative Extension 4-H and youth development agent for Bartow County; and Cliff Riner, coordinator of the Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center, will receive CAES Young Alumni Achievement awards.
UGA soybean pioneer John Woodruff, of Tifton, Georgia, and former Rep. Richard Royal, of Camilla, Georgia, were inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame.