QUINCY — Terry Austin and the late George Irwin were inducted 52nd and 53rd into the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame during the organization’s annual meeting on Wednesday.
“My life has been quite interesting and my work life has been very interesting,” Austin said. “My goal was to make a positive impression on the world and I think I’ve succeeded in that in both metal casting and real estate. This honor today confirms that for me.”
In 1987, Austin founded the Austin Group, a consulting firm that enabled him to work with numerous local companies on complex casting projects. Austin had said in starting his own business that he had no income or prospects, but he had confidence and a willingness to listen.
Roger Leenerts, a former owner of H and B Quality Tooling Inc., said one of Austin’s most significant accomplishments was working on prototype castings for Tesla before the company made electric vehicles.
“We were able to machine these castings, and it was a lot of fun just to say that we were part of the early days of this electric car company,” said Leenerts.
In 2005 Austin bought his first commercial property and together with his son Bret founded Austin Properties which focused on real estate redevelopment in the heart of Quincy.
Irwin, who died in 2020 at the age of 99, founded the Quincy Society of Fine Arts, but his work reached far beyond the city and he has been recognized by five different US Presidents.
Irwin’s sister, Suzanne Irwin-Wells, said he was one of a kind and she doesn’t think there will ever be anyone in Quincy or the entire country who has founded or co-founded so many arts organizations.
He set a standard of excellence that inspired people to get involved in the arts, even if they’re not artists or musicians, she said.
“He was an amazing person and the fact that he chose to do so much in his hometown when he could have gone to New York, he could have gone to Paris, he could have gone to London, Chicago (or) anywhere being able to go and he chose Quincy, I think that’s an extraordinary gift to this community,” said Irwin-Wells.
In addition to the arts, Irwin-Wells said her brother also restored numerous historic buildings in Quincy, including the Dr. Richard Eell’s House and the William S. Warfield House.
Hal Oakley, Irwin’s attorney and executor, accepted the award on Irwin’s behalf. He said Irwin is an example of a Quincy business leader who has invested in a better quality of life for the city and its residents.