Miles Craig Akins, 70, of Williamsburg
WILLIAMSBURG – On February 3, 2022, surrounded by the love of his family, Miles Craig Akins (“Craig” – 70), succumbed to his 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer and went to join his Lord and Savior Jesus -Christ. Originally from Gadsden, Alabama, Craig was the son of Grady Ward Akins and Mary Hill Akins, both of whom predeceased him. A graduate of Auburn University (BA) and Duke University (MBA), Craig was an avid fan of college sports. He was also a lifelong golfer; never stopping trying to learn the game he loved.
A gentleman with a generous heart, he was intelligent and witty, rarely at a loss for words. He was comfortable speaking in front of a room full of colleagues or strangers, but could just as easily make a child smile. Driven and ambitious, Craig has earned the respect of his supervisors, peers and clients through his integrity and business acumen. He invariably returned from a business trip with the latest volumes on sales techniques or business theories. He was a man of ideas who always tried to find new ways to increase sales or efficiency. There is even a patent in his name on a shelving system intended to reduce stock-outs.
After graduating from Auburn in 1974, Craig began his career in sales and marketing with George A. Hormel & Company in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1980, he joined a training program with The Coca Cola Company, after which he was assigned as a field marketing representative in the Baltimore/Eastern Maryland area. In 1985, after being promoted and transferred to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then to Fairfax, Virginia, Craig left The Coca Cola Company to join the Nashville, Tennessee branch of Coca Cola Bottling Company Consolidated. Hired as a Key Account Manager, Craig quickly became Nashville Branch Manager, then Tennessee Division Manager, then Regional Vice President of the Northwest Region. In 1993, he moved to headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina to lead the cold beverage division and was later promoted to executive vice president of sales for all of CCBCC. After leaving CCBCC in 2001, Craig was employed as Vice President of Sales for Portola Packaging and later as National Account Manager for Display Technologies.
Despite his career success, Craig found great satisfaction in mentoring those who worked with and for him. After moving to Williamsburg in 2007, Craig became involved with the William & Mary Raymond A. Mason School of Business and their Executive Partners program (a mentorship program for students in their MBA programs). Later, Craig expanded his involvement with the school by becoming an adjunct professor in their online MBA program.
Craig is survived by his wife of 41 years, Karen Eareckson Akins; his children, Jamie A. Sawyer (Andrew) of Richmond, Virginia, and Mark W. Akins (Corey) of Charlotte, North Carolina; and a granddaughter, Zoey Sawyer (who affectionately called him “Diyo”, the toddler version of “daddio”.) He was predeceased by a granddaughter, Kinsley Akins. He is also survived by his siblings, Bruce Akins (Betsy), Donna Hagedorn and David Akins (Linda) all of Gadsden, Alabama; and by many nieces and nephews and their children, all of whom happily participated in chase games with Uncle Craig.
The family would like to thank Dr. John Miller and the nurses and staff at the Peninsula Cancer Institute in Williamsburg and Teresa McGee of Riverside Hospice for their loving care.
A visitation will be held on Friday, February 11, 2022 at 11:30 a.m., with a service to follow at 12:30 p.m. at Nelsen Funeral Home, Williamsburg.
Memorial charitable donations may be made to the Craig Akins Scholarship Endowment (5057) at William & Mary (William & Mary Gift Accounting, PO Box 1693, Williamsburg, VA 23187) which helps ensure that students of the William & Mary Business School can afford textbooks and other course materials or to a charity of your choice.
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