It marks the first time a corporation has been inducted into the hall.
“Both laureates have distinguished themselves through outstanding business achievements, community service and philanthropy," master of ceremonies and past laureate Ken Maness noted.
Scott Niswonger, chairman and founder of the Niswonger Foundation, presented Costa with his award, commenting on his leadership and business contributions. In accepting the award, Costa thanked his family members for their unwavering support, including his wife, Gita, and two sons, and his parents, who he said encouraged his passions and instilled the value of hard work in him and his brother at a young age.
He also expressed his gratitude to Eastman and its global team of 14,000 employees.
“I am honored and humbled to represent such an incredible company and to have the privilege of leading such a talented and exceptional team of people,” said Costa. “I’ve worked around many companies throughout my career, but I’ve never worked for a place where the people care so deeply about each other and about showing up each day to give their best and do the right thing.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., presented Eastman’s award and acknowledged the importance of the company to the region and the state.
Eastman Senior Vice President, Chief Legal & Sustainability Officer and Corporate Secretary David Golden accepted the award on Eastman’s behalf.
“Eastman has a strong partnership with Junior Achievement not only here, but in communities across the globe. It is especially gratifying to work with partners to support Junior Achievement, teach the importance of free enterprise and encourage progress and quality of life improvements throughout the region,” said Golden.
Community leaders agreed Eastman’s greatest differentiator is its people, whom they widely praised for their integrity and numerous contributions to the region.
“If there is a problem in this community, we’re going to call Eastman and ask them to help us with it,” said Kingsport Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Miles Burdine. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to give dollars. Usually it is the expertise and caring hearts of their people that help solve community problems.”
Junior Achievement was founded nationally in 1919 and locally in 1966 to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives. The Business Hall of Fame honors those who have played a prominent role in the region and have demonstrated ethics and responsibility; courageous leadership; recognition of a positive contribution to the image of the region; and a reputation for financial achievement, corporate responsibility and public service.