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Intersection on Highway 400 named in honor of service-minded pillar of Dawson County community
State Rep. Will Wade and State Sen. Steve Gooch stand with Mike Berg and his wife Jane on May 25 after officially renaming the intersection at Highway 400 and Dawson Forest Road the Mike Berg intersection. - photo by Erica Jones

The intersection at Highway 400 and Dawson Forest Road officially has a new name in honor of one Dawson County resident and longtime public servant. 

During the May 25 meeting of the Rotary Club of Dawson County, State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and State Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) read a resolution officially dedicating the intersection as the Mike Berg intersection. 

“We recognize people at the capitol from time to time for different things that they do or have done; we get that opportunity occasionally,” Gooch said. “We made a resolution... to name the intersection after Mike; that was signed and put into law by Governor Kemp last year.” 

While the resolution was signed into law last year, the Department of Transportation officially installed the new signs at the intersection just a few weeks ago. The original plan was to surprise Berg with a ceremony and official unveiling of the signs, but when the coverings were unexpectedly taken off the signs before the ceremony was planned he quickly started receiving calls about them. 

“I was so surprised; they passed it last year and Steve didn’t tell me, he told my wife so we could have a big surprise unveiling there,” Berg said. “Then all of a sudden they put the signs in so it was already unveiled, so that’s why they did this [presentation] today. My daughter called me and said ‘Dad, why is your name there at Dawson Forest and 400?’ and I had no idea.” 

The intersection at Highway 400 and Dawson Forest Road in Dawson County is now dedicated to local man and longtime public servant Mike Berg. - photo by Erica Jones

Berg served in the Army and as a manager with the Georgia Power Company and is now the principal for Mike Berg and Associates, Inc. and the CFO for his wife Jane's company, Marketing Incentives. 

Throughout the years, he has been involved with boards and organizations in several Georgia counties, including Dawson County. He served as District 3 Gwinnett County Commissioner from 1985 to 1989, Chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners from 2005 to 2017 and as the president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia from 2013 to 2014. 

Berg has also been heavily involved in several local Rotary clubs for 38 years, including serving as an Area Four Assistant Governor from 2017 to 2020 and as the 2021-22 District Governor for Rotary District 6910. 

One of Berg’s favorite memories from serving on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners took place at the intersection directly next to where the intersection now dedicated to him is, back when both Kroger and Publix were looking to move into the Dawson County community. 

“The developers for Publix and Kroger came to me at the same time and said ‘we need a light to get into the development’ so I talked to DOT and they said they’d be glad to put a light in as soon as they start development,” Berg said. “I asked [DOT] could I give them a check from the Dawson County Commission and they could hold on to it, then as soon as they start development they can just tear the check up, but the commission said no, so I wrote them a personal check for $136,000 and told them to just hold onto it until they started developing there and then tear it up.” 

“And I didn’t tell my wife about it until it was all over,” he added, laughing. 

Berg already has several different structures in two different counties with his name on them, including the Dawson County courthouse which was built while he was serving as the chair of the county’s board of commissioners. 

“I have my name on two courthouses, one jail, two parks, two libraries and one sewer plant,” Berg said. “The courthouse has my name on it because we did that during that time; the rest of it is Gwinnett. I’ve got my name on a lot of stuff, and this one is permanent, because when a building comes down it changes but this will be there forever.” 

He added that he’s enjoyed getting several phone calls from friends and family members who have noticed his name on the intersection signs since they were installed. 

“About three weeks ago I got a call from a guy I hadn’t talked to in 12-13 years and he called me and said ‘I’m at the corner of Dawson Forest and 400 and a cop pulled me over because I was speeding; I looked up and saw your sign. Can you fix my ticket?’,” Berg said. 

Gooch said that getting the resolution signed to name the intersection in Berg’s honor was a very worthy project to spearhead. 

"Mike and I have known each other for a long time; we started out in local government together,” Gooch said. “Georgia 400 has changed a lot in the last 23 years and it’s going to continue to change, good and bad. Most of that change is because of the leadership of local governments; it’s not always one person that does it, it’s a team, but it takes a leader of that team. Mike Berg has truly been a leader of this community for many, many years.” 

And Berg is a worthy man to name the intersection after, Wade added, as his whole life has been dedicated to service and his community. 

“I’ve known Mike for a long time, and one of the things that I think stands out about him is steadfast leadership,” Wade said. “You can see the mark of what he’s done and what he’s accomplished in his life, and it’s all tied back to that core center of who he is.”