The right person, in the right place, at the right time - that was John Hill Bailey, in Danville, in the 1960s.
Forty years ago, as many of the nation's big companies were looking to locate new plants outside the "Rust Belt" of the Northeast and upper Midwest, John Hill Bailey was ready to welcome them to Danville.
His simple, Southern friendliness, his technical expertise as an electrical engineer and his integrity proved irresistible. The result: thousands of local jobs for local people at high-quality companies, thousands of families whose standard of living was greatly enhanced - without moving to a large city.
John Hill Bailey, who died Sunday at the age of 89, didn't singlehandely change Danville from a sleepy college town surrounded by farms to the diversified community it is today, but it's undeniable that his leadership was the key factor in that transformation.