Mr. Mack Willis by Bunnie Jackson-Ransom
Atlanta, GA. June 20, 2011). Mack Willis Sr., a founder and CEO of Summerset Assisted Living Communities, Inc., was the recent recipient of the 2011 "Metro Atlanta Chamber Business Person of the Year Award" in the Experienced Entrepreneur category. This annual award is given to an entrepreneur who has owned their business for at least five years, and has demonstrated exemplary business achievement, customer growth, community leadership, industry influence and entrepreneurial success.
Together with his wife, who is also an integral part of Summerset and one its founders, Mack and Gwen Willis opened Summerset in December of 2000. Located on Benjamin E. Mays Drive in Southwest Atlanta, Summerset opened with 46 suites. In 2007, Summerset expanded with an additional 61 suites and a 4000 square foot multi-purpose room. Many suites have been converted to double occupancy to accommodate the needs of the residents who want more room. Over half of the residents at Summerset are there because of short-term memory loss.
Born in Forsyth, Georgia (Monroe County), Mack Willis says "As far back as my high school years, I can recall my teachers, who were caring and nurturing, teaching me to develop a strong work ethic which I believe has sustained me through my career."
Summerset, probably the only African American owner-operated assisted living facility in the south, is a grand and distinguished grouping of buildings; and it is an asset to Atlanta's Black business base. Mack and Gwen left successful careers to provide a valuable service and to follow their dream. With Mack's MBA background and Gwen's Ph. D. in counseling and psychological services, they proved to be the prefect team.
These (Their) assisted living approach to caring for the elderly grew out of the need to fill the gap between living at home and going into a nursing home. Summerset's residents currently number slightly over 100. The facility is a model institution; and to keep it so, the Willises provide competent professional staff, quality food, comfortable surroundings and life-enhancing activities. Joined by their adult sons, Mack, Jr. and James, who are a welcomed addition to their staff, Summerset provides specialists which include dietitians, licensed caretakers, registered nurses, medical technicians, recreational director, cosmetologist, podiatrist, manicurist/pedicurist, and clergy.The Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Business Chronicle join together to honor outstanding small-business professionals through the Business Person of the Year Awards. This year celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the awards.