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Our Four Fathers

We sat down (virtually, of course) with a few men in our community who work tirelessly to make the world a better place.  We think they are worth a round of applause. Join us, this month, in saluting the guys. 

1. Tell us about one or two men who inspired you during your life and career.

2. How do you blow off steam and relax?

3. Giving back is very important to us at Alpharetta Lifestyle magazine. How do you give back your time and/or resources?

4. We pray that by the time this June issue hits mailboxes, we will all be out and about. Where will you go for a special dinner in our community?

John Connors,  MD Plastic Surgery

  1. Reflecting on my life, I have had tremendous male role-models. On a personal level, and even professional, my dad has always and continues to top the list. A scholar-athlete, decorated Vietnam veteran, retired prominent cardio-vascular-thoracic surgeon, father of three (I am the oldest) and husband of 50+ years, he instilled in me his attention to detail, competitive spirit and diligent-never-say-never work ethic that has carried me through rigorous pre-medical and medical school, and helped me survive and exceed during my long yet tremendously rewarding general and plastic surgical training residencies. Always willing to listen and offer his advice, and never willing to “sugar-coat” his opinions, my dad has been there for me through the greatest times and even the most disappointing times of my life. He has been an inspiration to me, not only because of his successes but rather how he has handled and navigated the unexpected disappointments and losses in his life with an aplomb disposition and diehard resilience. At 80 years old, he continues to be my “rock”, my go-to-guy and my inspiration.

2. Running two busy plastic surgery offices, one office with a surgery center in Sandy Springs and one office in Alpharetta, and fathering three teenage boys can be quite busy and awesome at the same – but never overly stressful. To relax, I love exercising – have been training for a triathlon for about 5 years (love the swimming, running and biking BUT too nervous to compete for fear of hurting my hands or my head!), I love to fly-fish, play tennis and golf, and even clown around with my boys – almost daily! Because I spend most of my professional life in the operating room, I love to get outdoors, doing just about anything and I am always looking for a new adventure – skiing, hiking, and exploring. Life is about experiences and the memories they create….working on mine helps me blow off steam and relax!

3. The opportunity that medicine and surgery have afforded me to take care of patients is truly an honor and a privilege. I cherish my profession and the gifts it has given me every day. A number of years ago I started a company, Emergence Surgical Gifts, that identifies children born here in the Atlanta area/Southeast United States with congenital anomalies and defects that are unable to receive immediate surgical care and expedites locating surgical team either in the local area or in the country that has specialized services to manage their diseases. This has been very rewarding for me, the patients that we have taken care of as well as their families. On a more personal level, with the recent COVID-19 Pandemic, I volunteered and donated my medical and surgical expertise services as well as my office’s Personal Protective Equipment and even operating room ventilator to our local hospital system as well as to the national American Society of Plastic Surgeons emergency equipment registry to help support our Frontline Responders and hospitals fighting the unprecedented needs of this terrible disease.

Ford Fry, Restaurateur

1. NYC chef Terrance Brennan once shared some advice that stuck with me. He said to make sure you are big enough so that you are not a slave to your business and you’re able to steer the ship as opposed to being held captive by the ship. That’s really helped me build a great team that I can rely on and that’s then able to use that to grow and develop their own teams.

2. Currently, I’m working out, playing the guitar or hanging out with my family. I’ve been cooking a lot during all this and I really enjoy it. I bounce around from smoking things on the Big Green Egg to some of the more non-traditional recipes that were in my cookbook – the meatballs, braised brisket barbacoa, and things that might take a little more love to create.

3. I enjoy helping people trying to navigate their own careers or start their own businesses. I try to share everything – the staples that really worked for me and advice, contacts, and connections – I feel I had people that stepped up to help me and I want to return that favor. From a restaurant standpoint, we host several annual events and have great charitable partners we support year after year like Camp Life and Georgia Organics.

4. I’m not typically one that would go for fine dining, but I haven’t been to the new Bacchanalia space since they moved from Westside Provisions, and it’s been on my to-do list for a long time now.

Ken Anderson

1.  The first influential man in my life is my father Michael Anderson, who showed me how to succeed in life, and gave me the work ethic to achieve my goals. The second is Dr. Christopher Post, my mentor in medical school, who showed me how to really make a difference in medicine. His mentorship ultimately inspired me to create the American Academy of Hair Restoration Surgery, where we aim to elevate the specialty through education.

2.In the summer I enjoy boating and wakesurfing on Lake Lanier. If it’s nice I’ll take my motorcycle into the north Georgia mountains or to Savannah for the weekend. In the mornings to start the day off right I’m in the home gym, so I get a lot of stress out before the day even starts. When I’m feeling creative I’ll work on my decade-long photography project that focuses on American automobiles. 

3. For the Curing Kids Cancer Cabaret last fall, I volunteered to be an on-stage performer, doing my best Joan Jett impression, guitar and all. I established the Michael Anderson Resident Research Fund at the University of Michigan to fund basic science research into cancer, named after my dad. I also give to 14 separate charities, including Special Olympics, Gratitude America, Make-a-Wish, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Fulton County FOP Shop with a Cop, and Lost-n-Found Youth. 

4. I’m a bit of a foodie, so here are 3 restaurants at which I’m really looking forward to a celebration and a fantastic meal. The best mexican cuisine I have found in Atlanta after a decade of searching is at Hacienda Bar & Grill on Windward. Hands down. The next celebration will be over a brick-oven pizza at Campania on North Main. The triad will be complete with a celebration at Rumi’s Kitchen at the Avalon.

Will Daniel, Alpharetta Rotary Club President

1. My father for sure, I followed his career choice (Insurance) and he was President of his Rotary Club in Gulf Breeze, Fl. where I grew up. He was always positive, fun, funny as can be and people just wanted to be around him.

2. My wife and I are avid boaters and spend time at our place on Lake Lanier as much as we can get up there. When out on the boat, we say we think about a lot of things... but work is not one of them!

3. Alpharetta Rotary checks all the boxes for giving back to our great community. Serving as President, I am just amazed how much this club does for Alpharetta and North Fulton. We supported over 40 local and international charities with either Financial help or man hours. With 140 members, so many great things are accomplished!

4. Not sure which restaurant, but I sure miss roaming around downtown Alpharetta, bumping into friends and just finding a place that looks fun. I miss the food trucks as well, it’s a sense of community, and I can’t wait to get it back.

Businesses featured in this article