Harry E. "Buddy" Fontaine, Jr.
1999 Honorary Alumni
At the end of 1986, Harry E. "Buddy" Fontaine, Jr., left his job to become an entrepreneur. He and his partner, Alex Knoll, started Southeastern Apparel Finishing, Inc., providing apparel manufacturing companies with stone wash, bleach, rinse, dyeing, and other finishing processes for their clothing products. When the company started, it consisted of one plant and 38 employees at the end of 1987. Today, SAF has grown to two plants that employ over 300 workers at peak production. Fontaine is a native of Johnson City and graduated from Science Hill High School.
He earned a degree in business administration in 1973 from Milligan College, and in 1974 he began working as an assistant district manager of Life of Georgia. After several years there, he left to work for Levi Strauss and Company. Initially, Fontaine was the office manager for the Johnson City plant. Throughout the ten years he worked for Levi's, Fontaine held various positions. When he left at the end of 1986, he was the national contractor manager for the women's wear division. Fontaine is one of four partners in GolfTenn, LLC, which built and developed the Ridges Golf and Country Club, as well as the surrounding residential community. He serves as president of the Ridges and is on the Ridges board of directors. Additionally, Fontaine is a partner and board member of Intronics, Inc., which licenses the manufacture and sales of electronic tensioning devices for the textile industry. His civic and community activities include being a member of the Board of Trustees of Milligan College and serving as the tournament director of the Ridges Intercollegiate Golf Tournament. He actively supports YoungLife and Doe River Gorge. He and his family are members of First Christian Church. He has been a long-time ETSU athletics benefactor, and has supported the emergence of ETSU Golf to national recognition. Fontaine and his wife, Jane, reside in Johnson City. They have three children, Daniel, Susan, and Sarah.