Dr. Jim Sears’ days in Junior Achievement started back in the 1950s.
“I’ve been affiliated with Junior Achievement since I think 1957-58. That’s when I was a Junior Achiever myself and it was in Roanoke,” says Sears.
The now President and General Manager of Center in the Square was once a shy teen in Northwest Roanoke.
He says when he entered Junior Achievement he worked in a real company and recruited members.
“You got your product materials, you made your product, you sold your product, you accounted for it and then you closed it out at the end of the term. It was a fantastic experience. It taught us all about business,” said Sears.
He remembers a lot about those days and what he learned from that business, but what really sticks out in his mind is the work a man named Mr. Pedigo put into the program to teach him and his classmates.
“Well, 50 years later or more I still remember his name. Now who do I remember 50 years ago? I remember Mr. Pedigo. He obviously made a strong impression on me about volunteering and helping people in the community, particularly children,” said Sears.
He goes on to say, “He would take us out in his car at night to take our products to sell to homes in Roanoke. We would go to South Roanoke and we’d go up the street to different homes, selling. That took a lot of time. That took gasoline.”
Mr. Pedigo’s impact on Sears’ life taught him about the importance of teaching and molding our youth. He also taught him about salesmanship.
“Regardless of the business that we are in, we all are in sales,” said Sears.