Unlike some dictionaries, the online Urban Dictionary doesn’t illustrate its definitions. But if it did, it could do illustrate “steel magnolia” with a picture of Marietta’s Kim Gresh.
Mrs. Gresh spent last weekend as a key part of the ensemble cast of the play “Steel Magnolias” in its sell-out run at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre on Marietta Square. But she fit the definition of what a “steel magnolia” is long before the play ever came along.
HERE’S A TRIVIA QUIZ that will stump most Marietta and Cobb residents: Name one local civic board on which Marietta’s Kim Gresh does not sit or one local charity in which she is not actively involved. The answer? There aren’t any. Well, at any rate, there aren’t many.
Kim Gresh chairs the Board of Trustees for the WellStar Foundation; is chairing the capital campaign for the YWCA of Northwest Georgia; is vice chair of the Friends of the Strand Theatre (after having previously chaired its capital campaign); and is on the board of the Marietta Metro Rotary Club and the Cobb Community Foundation. Until very recently she also served on the boards of MUST Ministries and Chattahoochee Technical College. And those are just some of her more recent charitable endeavors.
As you might have inferred from the above, she is a relentless fundraiser for causes in which she believes. And if that sometimes involves having fun at the same time? Why not! Gresh has been a mainstay of such fundraising events here as the Cobb Arts Ball, the Swordsman’s Ball, the WellStar Foundation Gala and the Heart Association Ball.
But don’t let her brash, extroverted personality fool you. Kim Gresh is not just about fun and games and fundraising. She also is president (since 1999) of family-owned and operated S.A. White Oil Co. of Marietta, which was started by her grandfather. (She was 7 when he was among those killed in the Halloween-evening explosion at Atherton’s Pharmacy on Marietta Square, which was sparked by a natural gas leak.) Her company employs 50 people and sells fuel to around 100 convenience stores. It also delivers fuel to generator-dependent businesses including WellStar, Lockheed, C.W. Matthews, Cobb’s fire stations and the City of Atlanta Public Works Department. More recently, Gresh indulged her entrepreneurial side, starting Mobilized Fuels, which delivers and fuels commercial truck fleets overnight. Her company also was the first supplier of environmentally friendly biodiesel in Georgia.
All told, her two companies have revenues of around $350 million per year and made her an easy selection as the first female member of the Georgia Oilmen’s Association.
A lifelong Mariettan, she lives near the Square with her husband of 29 years, George Hartzog.
IT’S NO SURPRISE that such a person has already racked up an impressive list of honors through the years, including being named the Cobb Chamber’s Marietta Citizen of the Year, Rotarian of the year, the YWCA’s Woman of the Year, the Siegel Institute’s Phenomenal Woman of the Year and the Marietta Schools Foundation’s Alumnus of the Year. She also co-chaired the 175th Celebration of the City of Marietta
This weekend she added another honor to that list when she was named at Saturday’s annual Cobb Chamber of Commerce Banquet as the Marietta Daily Journal’s Cobb County Citizen of the Year.
EACH JANUARY, for five decades, the Marietta Daily Journal has honored those men and women who, through their soaring accomplishments and contributions, have led the way in making our community the best.
Past recipients of the Marietta Daily Journal’s Cobb Citizen of the Year Award, which is handed out at the annual banquet of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, have included former Gov. Roy Barnes, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, former Cobb Sheriff Bill Hutson, retired Kennesaw State University President Dr. Betty Siegel, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, late Marietta Mayor Joe Mack Wilson, former Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens, Strand Theatre executive director Earl Reece and last year’s winner, Marietta Schools Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck.
Kim Gresh has more than earned a place among such esteemed company. Her banner efforts make her an easy and enthusiastic choice as the Marietta Daily Journal’s Cobb Citizen of the Year for 2012.