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Edwards Honored with Bryan School Distinguished Alumni Award

L. Thornton EdwardsL. Thornton Edwards, owner of The Edwards Companies, a retail and distribution firm for national brand snack foods, petroleum and beverages, has been awarded the 2009 Bryan School Distinguished Alumni Award.

The award, which was given at a dinner April 7, is given annually to alumni of any business program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro who achieve success in business and who have made significant contributions to their profession and to the business community.

Edwards, who also serves as principal and president of his company, earned a MBA from the Bryan School in 1974. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business from N.C. A&T State University in 1972.

He began his career in accounting and sales for national corporations including Anheuser-Busch, where he developed and implemented the company’s entry into soft drink can manufacturing. The brewer is now one of the largest can manufacturers in the world.

He established The Edwards Companies in 1991. Under his leadership, the Detroit-based company has achieved sales in excess of $40 million, with projections to top the $200 million mark in five years. The company has represented Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway Restaurants, Shell Petroleum products, Eagle Snack foods, MillerCoors Beverages and some of the top wine brands in the world.

Edwards has been appointed to two terms on the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and has served numerous community organizations focused on youth and education.  He was recognized for his efforts with the Detroit City Council’s Spirit of Detroit Award and the Detroit Public School Board’s Outstanding Service Award.  He is also the recipient of numerous business and industry awards and has been featured in the national publication Franchising World and in national advertisements by MillerCoors Brewing Company.

The Bryan School of Business and Economics is the largest of UNCG’s six professional schools with 400 graduate students and 2,200 undergraduates. It is accredited by AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and is among the top 10 percent of business schools nationwide that have earned accreditation at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both business and accounting.

For more information, contact the Bryan School at (336) 334-5338 or visit

Thornton Edward's Speech

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

  • 2011
    • Ellen Thrower '75 B.S., '78 M.B.A., Executive Director, School of Risk Management, St. John's University (retired)
  • 2010
    • Edward M. Rozynski '75 B.S.,'76 M.A., Vice President of Global Government Affairs, Stryker Corporation
  • 2009
    • Thornton Edwards '74 M.S., Principal, Owner, and President, The Edwards Companies
  • 2008
    • Becky Levin '79 B.S., Founder, Chairman and CEO, Levin & Company, Inc.
  • 2006
    • Martin Green '84 B.S., President, brij Image and Information, Inc.
  • 2005
    • Gary Smith '85 M.B.A., Exec VP and CFO, International Textile Group, Inc.
  • 2004
    • Dianne Neal '81 B.S., '88 M.B.A., Exec. VP and CFO, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc.
  • 2003
    • Dean Priddy '83 B.S., '86 M.B.A., CFO and VP of Admin., RF Micro Devices
  • 2002
    • Joe Pickett '72 M.S., Chairman and CEO, HomeSide International, Inc. (retired)
  • 2000
    • Sue Cole '72 B.S., '77 M.B.A., Regional CEO, U.S. Trust Company
  • 1999
    • Nido Qubein '73 M.S., Founder, Chairman & CEO, Creative Services, Inc. and Chairman, Harvest Bread Company

Page updated: 20-Mar-2012

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The Bryan School of Business and Economics
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
VOICE 336.334.5338
FAX 336.334.5580