You might think growing up as one of Herman J. Russell's children would guarantee a path to success. Herman J. Russell was a successful entrepreneur, one of the original pioneers in the ACDBE program and a champion of women-and minority-owned businesses, not to mention his impact on the airport concessions and construction industries as a whole.
However, the Russell children were given no special breaks. They were raised to understand the value of hard work, integrity and respect for all people—values that are the foundation of the companies Herman J. Russell founded, Concessions International, LLC in 1979, and H. J. Russell & Company in 1952.
We lived in a middle-class neighborhood, but none of us understood who our dad was in the community, nor did we have perspective of how our family was viewed until we were older.
President and CEO, Donata Russell Ross continues to further her father's legacy, and she believes those same values are what will propel CI into the future as she mentors the next generation, including her niece Mori Russell, pictured here, and her son Zane Major who runs the operations for Paschal's Northside and Starbucks in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.
Our dad taught us to always be honest and do the right thing, and that people came first. We were raised to believe that if something needs to be done, you do it.
He cared about people and it shaped the company's past and we work hard to protect his lessons and legacy. The integrity he lived every day is a great gift he gave us.
Herman J. Russell's commitment to excellence will forever guide us as we continue to build upon his legacy. His rules of success in business serve as guiding principles for all who work within his legacy companies — be honest, work hard, equip yourself for the job and control the growth of the company.
"Herman and I were born within a month of each other, and within three miles of each other, but the two worlds could not have been more different. Everything I was born into was designed to make sure I succeeded; everything he was born into was designed to be sure he did not succeed. And Herman, in his lifetime, overcame all of that."
See the award-winning documentary about our founder, Herman J. Russell, Sr.