Corinth’s Sandy Williams has been an integral part in providing Coke products to people around the world for over half that span.
Williams, Board Chairman of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works, was among three recipients of the “Living Legend” award presented for outstanding contributions to the bottling system. The University of Mississippi graduate was part of the inaugural presentation of the award as selected by members of the bottlers’ association. He received the honor during the 100th celebration of CCBA at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Ga. on August 19.
“Sandy is very deserving of this wonderful honor,” said his brother and President of Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works Kenneth Williams. “He has given a great deal of himself in serving our industry for over a half century.”
Cookie Rice, of Springfield, Mo., and Wes Elmer, of Northern New England, also received the award.
“I knew I was among 14 who had been nominated, but I had no idea I would receive the award,” said Sandy Williams.
The CCBA was formed in 1913 when the size of the Coca-Cola bottler’s territory was determined by the delivery capacity of a mule. Currently, the global fleet of Coca-Cola delivery trucks is larger than UPS and FedEx combined.
“Since the earliest days of Coca-Cola, our bottling partners have been integral to the Coca-Cola system’s growth and success,” said Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas. “With the help of the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association, our Coca-Cola products are refreshing the world, inspiring moments of optimism and happiness, more than 1.8 billion times per day.”
“While Sandy personally received this honor, it reflects very positively on our company’s employees and owners,” added Kenneth Williams. “I’m very blessed to have spent my entire career working in the family business hand-in-hand with my brother.”
After graduating college, the Corinth High School grad returned to Coca-Cola Bottling Works where he and Kenneth expanded the business to include franchises for both Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper from Lexington, Tenn. to Tupelo. During that time, they also started Refreshments, Inc., a full-time vending and catering company.
“We have seen a multitude of changes since we first started,” said the past president of the bottlers’ association. “We started with three products, Coke, Orange Crush and Nugrape, and now we have over 300.”
In his over 50 years of dedication to Coca-Cola, Williams’ involvement has been on a local, regional, and a national level. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors of the American Beverage Association and is on the Board and Executive Committee of Gulf States Canners, Inc. Williams is also past president of several entities in the soft drink industry including the national organization, Main Stream Council of Coca-Cola Bottlers, Coca-Cola Bottlers Association of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Soft Drink Association.
“Our business is a team effort between the owners and dedicated employees,” said the award recipient. “A great deal of our success is owed to our employees.”
Williams and Corinth Coca-Cola Sales Center Manager Randy Humphreys made the trip to Atlanta, carrying the company’s old yellow pickup along with them. The truck was displayed in front of the World of Coca-Cola.
CCBA has played a critical role not only within The Coca-Cola system but in the industry for the past 100 years. From its early adoption of the iconic contour bottle to the development of product liability protection, the Association has been at the forefront of innovation in the beverage industry. As product and packaging development accelerates, the ingenuity and close partnership of Coca-Cola’s independent Bottlers is more crucial than ever.
“Over the past century, The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association has continually developed and redefined the beverage business,” said John Gould, Executive Director of CCBA. “Now, we eagerly renew our promise for the next century to enhance the business of our members, to unite the system through new opportunities and challenges and to leave communities better and happier than we found them.”
The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association has been serving Bottlers and helping them thrive for 100 years. Today the Association’s membership includes all 69 independent, American Bottlers of Coca-Cola, as well as associate members in Bermuda and Puerto Rico. CCBA’s core mission is to help build the long- term sustainable value of its Members by growing their businesses and supporting their efforts to connect with their communities. The association is proud of the unique and special role it plays in the success of the world’s most recognized trademark and a Business System that has meant so much to so many.
“The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association helps empower us as members to leave a positive mark everywhere we do business,” said Claude Nielsen, chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola United, a CCBA member. “As a local face of Coca-Cola, our company is privileged to play an important role in the communities in which we operate and contribute to the success of the world’s most recognized brand.”