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Board and Staff Directory
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The GEDA Nominating Committee meets annually in the summer to select a slate of Officers and Directors for the coming year.  The Nominating Committee consists of the five current Officers, the Chair from two years ago (Past Past Chair) and three at-large members appointed by the current Chair.  Officers generally start as Secretary-Treasurer and then progress through the positions over a five-year period.

 

Click here for a list of past Board chairs.

 
To submit names for the Nominating Committee to consider for the Officers and Board of Directors, fill out this form and e-mail to Kevin Shea, GEDA President.
Officers
 
Chair 
Anna Chafin 
Anna Chafin

Anna Chafin joined the Development Authority of Bryan County as CEO in November 2013.  She has worked in economic development in the coastal region for over 10 years.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Mercer University with minors in Business Administration and English.  She is a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, Leadership Bryan, Leadership Southeast Georgia and Leadership Georgia.  Anna is chair for the Georgia Economic Developers Association. In 2015, Governor Deal appointed Anna as a board member to the Georgia Student Finance Commission.  She is also a past chair of the Leadership Southeast Georgia Alumni Association and is a member of the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill.  In 2015, Anna was named one of the Top 5 under 40 by Richmond Hill Reflections magazine. Anna and her husband, Justin, are the proud parents of a 4-year-old son named Samuel, and the family lives in Richmond Hill.


First Vice Chair  
Missy Kendrick, EDFP, IOM 

Missy Kendrick Missy Kendrick is the Executive Director for the Barnesville Lamar County Industrial Development Authority. Missy has worked in Chamber or Economic Development agencies for more than 20 years. She is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional and a recognized Chamber Institute for Organization Management graduate. She serves on the Board of GEDA (Georgia Economic Developers Association) as Second Vice-Chair and serves on several local boards in varying capacities.  It was just announced that Missy will be the new President of the Development Authority of Polk County (DAPC) on Monday, starting September 19, 2016, and will be based in Rockmart, Georgia.
Second Vice Chair 
Pat Merritt
Pat Merritt
Pat Merritt, CEcD, is Vice President, Community and Economic Development for Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (Georgia EMC).  Georgia EMC represents Georgia’s 41 electric membership cooperatives (EMCs), Oglethorpe Power Corporation, and Georgia Transmission Corporation in the areas of community and economic development, government relations and regulatory affairs, public relations and communications, and technical training and safety education.

Pat leads the company’s comprehensive statewide community and economic development program that includes providing free and confidential location assistance services to prospective businesses and industries considering a location in Georgia.

Prior to being named Vice President, Pat managed Georgia EMC’s Community Development Team for 16 years while also providing communities in Southeast Georgia and Northeast Georgia with leadership
development and economic development training as well as facilitating numerous strategic planning retreats for local, regional and statewide economic development organizations. She has a total of 30 years of service to the state’s electric cooperatives through her careers at Oglethorpe Power Corporation and Georgia EMC.

Pat is a Past President of the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) and a two-term past board member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA). Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, the Board of Advisors for the Georgia Department of Economic Development and on the Board of the Georgia Allies, Georgia’s public-private economic development marketing partnership. She is past Chair of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development Curriculum Committee and was instrumental in the founding of the Academy in 1993 at the request of Governor Zell Miller.

Pat holds a bachelor’s degree in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from Auburn University. She is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma, a graduate of the Institutes for Organizational Management at the College of Charleston and a 1997 graduate of Leadership Georgia. She and her husband, Buz, live in Tucker, GA.


Secretary-Treasurer
Jonathan Sangster

As general manager of economic development for Georgia Power, Jonathan Sangster is responsible for lead generation, business development and project support throughout the state. Jonathan’s team of statewide project managers facilitate the location, expansion or start-up of businesses wishing to invest in Georgia, helping executives and site location consultants identify potential communities, buildings and sites throughout the state. They also provide access to Community & Economic Development’s wide range of services, including market evaluation, labor analysis and engineering assistance, while also serving as liaison with governmental agencies involved in the strategic location decision process.


Before joining the Economic Development team in January 2013, Jonathan was the senior managing director at CBRE Consulting, a nationally recognized business location and site selection firm. In that role, he led a consulting team that helped clients find “best fit” locations for corporate headquarters relocations, customer care operations, manufacturing, distribution, and research and development operations.
The move to Georgia Power was a homecoming of sorts; Sangster began his career at  Georgia Power as a co-op student in 1977. While at Georgia Power, he held full-time positions in Power Supply Engineering, Procurement, Training and Educational Services, and the Southern Company College. He also served as a loaned executive to the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games in the mid-1990s.


Jonathan is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, Industrial Asset  Management Council and the Utility Economic Development Association. He serves as a Working Partner with Georgia Allies, the state’s public-private collaborative marketing  initiative.


Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology  and a Master’s in Business Administration from Georgia State University. He and his wife, Caroline, live in Dunwoody and are active volunteers at Dunwoody Baptist Church. They have one grown son. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys tennis, softball, music and drama.
 

 


Immediate Past Chair
Greg Wright, IOM  

Greg Wright

Greg Wright serves as President of the Coweta County Development Authority and works to promote Coweta County as a location for new businesses and industries and works to encourage the expansion of Coweta’s existing industrial base.

Wright’s previous economic development experience includes seven years as president of the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce.  During his tenure, the Chamber served as the business catalyst for the development of Central Educational Center, which became the model for technical and adult education in Georgia.  Wright remains a strong supporter of CEC, serving as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors.

Wright served previously as one of Georgia’s representatives on the Board of Directors of the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC).  He is a past chairman of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (GACCE) and has served as an instructor for the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, for Development Authority Board Member Training through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, and for several community leadership development programs. 

In addition to his economic development work, Wright served as legislative director to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and as state director to United States Senator Saxby Chambliss.

A Coweta County native, Wright is a graduate of LaGrange College.  He is a past president of the college’s Leadership Council and was awarded the 2006 Walter Malcolm Shackelford Distinguished Alumnus Award.  He is a 1998 graduate of Leadership Georgia and a 2000 graduate of the Institute for Organization Management through the United States Chamber of Commerce.


Board of Directors

The GEDA Board of Directors consists of the five Officers and twelve Directors.  Each Director is nominated by the Nominating Committee and voted on by the GEDA membership at the Annual Conference each September. Directors generally serve three year terms, so a "class" of four Directors will begin service every year.


Director, 2017-19
Trip Tollison

Trip Tollison serves as the President and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and the World Trade Center Savannah (WTC Savannah).  Before joining SEDA in October 2012, Trip served as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Savannah. 

He received his degree from the School of Public and International Affairs from the University of Georgia.  Upon graduation, he served as an aide in Washington and Georgia for the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives and a Washington-based governmental affairs consulting firm.  

Trip serves as the Vice Chairman of the State of Georgia Department of Community Affairs and Georgia Housing and Finance Authority and Chairman of the Second Harvest Food Bank Board of Directors.  He also serves on the board of directors for the Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority, the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of the Coastal Empire. 

Trip is a graduate of Leadership Savannah, Leadership Georgia and currently serves as a Trustee for the Leadership Georgia Foundation. Trip and his wife, Tracey, have two children and attend Community Bible Church.


Director, 2015-17 
Thomas Croteau
Tom Crouteau
Tom Croteau is Deputy Commissioner of the Global Commerce Division for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  In his current role,Tom has responsibility for GDEcD’s domestic and international business recruitment efforts, existing industry and small business programs, as well as all related marketing initiatives to bring new job and investment growth to Georgia.  Tom joined GDEcD in 1996 and has worked in a number of capacities within the agency for the past 17 years.  Also, he has worked in the economic development programs at MEAG Power (currently Electric Cities of Georgia) and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce going back to the late 1980’s.

Some of the company locations or expansions on which Tom has worked as a Project Manager include Pilgrim’s Pride in Douglas-Coffee County, Medline Industries in Lithia Springs-Douglas County, Dollar Tree in Savannah, DeWaffelbakkers in McDonough-Henry County, and, more recently, Starbucks in Augusta.  He is a part of the Georgia Allies Working Committee and serves on the Georgia Quick Start Industry Services Advisory Committee. Tom holds a degree in Economics from Florida State University.  Tom lives in Roswell with his wife Suzanne and their three children. 


Director, 2015-17 
Ricky McGee
Ricky McGee
In his role as Manager, Technical Services, Ricky McGee is responsible for providing industrial development planning assistance and prospect site planning to Georgia’s communities and Georgia Electric Membership Corporation’s 42 member systems. Ricky, who has worked with the electric cooperatives since 1983, also provides site location assistance to industrial prospects considering Georgia as a place to do business.

During his tenure with the electric cooperatives, Ricky has assisted more than 100 clients from across the state in site planning. This work has included identifying, analyzing and marketing their industrial sites, comprehensive site planning and site analysis services, as well as industrial park feasibility studies and site engineering for prospects on both a county and regional basis. In addition to site planning work, Ricky is responsible for Georgia Electric Membership Corporation’s Economic Development Department’s aerial photography program, GIS and Ga-sites.com website.

Ricky is a graduate of Georgia State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies with a concentration in Planning and Economic Development. Also, he holds a post-secondary certificate in Architectural Drafting and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. Ricky is a member of the American Planning Association and the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) where he serves as a Board Member.

Ricky has two children,Ryan, 31, and Rebecca, 25.


Director, 2015-17 
Chris Pumphrey

Chris Pumphrey is Executive Director of the Development Authority of Douglas County.  Prior to this role, Chris led numerous business recruitment efforts for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  While at the department he worked on new company locations resulting in more than 3,000 new jobs to the state and $850 million of private capital investment. Through his time in economic development, he advised many of Georgia’s communities on improving their competitive position.

Chris grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. He came to Atlanta in 1998 where he earned his Bachelor’s in Economics from Morehouse College. He is a graduate of Leadership Georgia 2010 and Leadership Douglas 2012. He serves as the Chair of the Prosperous Subcommittee for Atlanta’s Regional Competitive Strategy, boards of directors for the Georgia Economic Developers Association, Douglas County Chamber, and Regional Business Coalition and The Atlanta Neighborhood Partnership. He also is on the advisory board for Georgia’s QuickStart program.

Chris devotes a considerable amount of time and energy as a servant leader at World Changers Church International in College Park. He and his wife Rosalind have two children and live in Lithia Springs.  


Director, 2015-17 
Andrea Schruijer

Andrea SchruijerAndrea Schruijer is the executive director for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA). Before joining the VLCIA, Schruijer was senior vice president for the Albany-Dougherty County Economic Development Commission. Her primary responsibilities were business retention and expansion, operations, and development of industrial parks.  

She spent ten years with The Ritz- Carlton Company LLC, serving in different roles. She completed several different levels of training to include: The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Course, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Mastering Sales and Presentations, and customer service training. Schruijer was part of the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award Team and Sales Team of the Year, and she was nominated for Leader of the Year.

Schruijer is a member of the 2012 Leadership Lowndes class. Schruijer has been a member of Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) since 2007. She served as GEDA’s chair for the Special Awards Committee in 2010 and 2011. Schruijer was appointed to the 2012 GEDA Board of Directors to serve a three year term. Schruijer is a member of the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Foundation. She is currently a member in Leadership Georgia Class of 2014.

Schruijer is a native of Cordele, Georgia and a graduate of Georgia Southern University.  She is married to Raymond. They are the proud parents of three children; Justin, Emma, and Willem.


Director, 2016-18  
Mary Ellen McClanahan, IOM
Mary Ellen McClanahan
As Director of Entrepreneur & Small Business Development for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Mary Ellen McClanahan helps find solutions and effective ways to build an entrepreneurial environment to support small business through mentoring, professional development, strategic planning and resource awareness.  She also connects with Georgia’s business and community associations so that thousands of businesses, local leaders and practitioners are aware of resources and opportunities.  She also directs any size businesses to the specific resources they need.

Mary Ellen is also an Existing Industry Project Manager within the Metro Atlanta region.  She calls on growing companies making them aware of state resources and incentives and provides assistance with their growth plans and decision-making process.  She also works closely with the local economic developers with their existing industry support efforts. 

During her 18 years with the department, she helped develop and grow its regional economic development program, the “Entrepreneur Friendly” Initiative and acted as legislative liaison.  Prior to that, Mary Ellen was the economic developer and president of two rural South Georgia chambers of commerce in Dodge and Sumter Counties. 

Originally from Erie, PA and in Georgia since 1973, Mary Ellen serves on the boards of GEDA (Georgia Economic Developers Association), GACCE (GA Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives), Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection, Advisory Council for the Edge Connection, the DeKalb Workforce Investment Board and Sandy Springs Economic Development Advisory Council.  

She is a 1997 graduate of Institute for Organization Management, Leadership Georgia and a 2000 graduate of EDI (Economic Development Institute).


Director, 2016-18 
Charles Stallworth

As a Georgia Power project manager, Charles Stallworth is responsible for facilitating the location, expansion, or start-up of businesses wishing to invest in Georgia. Charles assists companies in identifying potential buildings or sites throughout the state; he also provides market evaluation, construction information, engineering assistance, and serves as a liaison between the businesses and governmental agencies in the site selection process.
 

 

 


Director, 2016-2018
Sean McMillan 

Sean McMillanSean McMillan is the Director of Economic Development for the Office of the Vice President for Service and Outreach at The University of Georgia. Previously, he served as a Regional Director for Georgia Quick Start and the Director of Business Recruitment for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Sean received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his Executive MBA from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. 

 


Director, 2016-2018
Dorie Bacon 

Dorie Bacon is an experienced economic developer with a record of leading regional initiatives, assisting existing business partners, and attracting new industries to communities.  She is the current chair of the 13-county Middle Coastal Unified Development Authority (also known as the Greater Savannah Regional Alliance) and previously served as Chair of the Magnolia Midlands Travel Association.  She was key in the recruitment of Omega Piezo Technologies to Sylvania and in her previous tenure at the Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority assisted with the recruitment of Premium Waters.  She is also currently serving as the Chair of the Georgia Economic Developers Association's Rural Development Special Interest Group.  Bacon holds an A.B.J. in Public Relations from the University of Georgia and an M.P.A. in City Management from Valdosta State University.  In 2015, she became a Certified Economic Developer as recognized by the International Economic Development County.


 

Director, 2017-19
Lee Chapman 

Lee Chapman joined Jackson EMC in 1988 as a Residential Marketing Representative. He was promoted in 1990 to Jackson EMC’s Commercial/Industrial Marketing Department. In 1998, Lee was again promoted to Director of the Commercial and Industrial Marketing Department before assuming his present position in 2016.  He is responsible for managing all marketing and sales strategies for residential, commercial and industrial power supplies and services in a highly competitive marketplace. Lee and his professional sales team are also responsible for developing and implementing grassroots state legislative initiatives, representing the cooperative at the Georgia Public Service Commission on territorial issues, as well as coordinating and maintaining community involvement.  Lee is also responsible for overall customer service and member satisfaction.

 

Lee received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Brenau College.  He is also a graduate of Leadership Jackson, Leadership Hall, Leadership Georgia, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Management Internship Program.

 

He was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the Georgia Public Service Commission Advisory Committee in 2013, and service on the Board of the Georgia Economic Developers Association.  He previously served on the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the United Way of Hall County Board of Directors, the Gainesville College Board of Trustees, Gainesville Jaycees Board of Directors, March of Dimes Board of Directors, and Gainesville/Hall ’96 Olympic Committee.  Lee also has served as the president of the East Hall High School Tip-Off Club and an AAU Basketball Coach.  He has been named Gainesville Jaycees Young Man of the Year, and was a 1994 recipient of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Silver Shovel Award.

 

Lee and his wife Karen live in Gainesville and have two children that are fourth generation UGA graduates. Go Dawgs!


Director, 2017-19
Andrea Taylor

Andrea Taylor grew up in Coffee County, Georgia before attending college at Valdosta State University, achieving a degree in English and Art.  She then attended The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa where she received a graduate teaching assistantship while completing her Master’s Degree in Art History, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

After finishing her degree, she stayed on as a full-time Professor of Art History, lecturing in the classroom and directing study abroad programs for students to Italy during the summers before moving home to Coffee County in 2008.

After returning to Coffee County, Andrea continued to work for The University of Alabama teaching online courses in Art History as well as working as a staff writer for The Douglas Enterprise for two years before taking a job with the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority as Vice-President in 2010.  After the retirement of her mentor JoAnne Lewis in 2015, Andrea was named Executive Director of the Chamber and EDA.

Andrea has served as the Chairperson for the Rural Development Shared Interest Group for GEDA and the Membership Committee Chairperson.  She also serves on the Board of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Executives (GACCE).  She is an active member of the Douglas Lions Club and serves on the Preschool Committee for Douglas First United Methodist Preschool. 

In her spare time, Andrea enjoys spending time with her family, reading, cooking and traveling.  She and her husband Lee have two children, Grayson (8) and Whitley (3).


Director, 2017-19
Benjy Thompson

Benjy Thompson presently serves as Chief Executive Officer for the Development Authority of Bulloch County.  Before assuming his present position, Mr. Thompson served in the following positions:

  • Vice President for Economic Development, Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Georgia;
  • Director of the Coastal Rivers Water Planning and Policy Center at Georgia Southern University;
  • Acting Assistant Dean of External Relations for the College of Business Administration, Georgia Southern University;
  • Associate Professor of Legal Studies in Business, School of Accountancy, COBA/Georgia Southern University;
  • Founding Director, School of Economic Development, Georgia Southern University.

Benjy was born in Millen, GA.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Southern College in 1990; a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1994; and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University in 2002.  He is married to Delaine Thompson (works for AgSouth Farm Credit, Information Systems Coordinator); one son, Lucas; one daughter, Sarah Kate; two Golden Retrievers, one “hybrid” dog, and one cat.


Staff

The GEDA address is: 75 Fifth St, NW, Suite 1200, Atlanta, GA 30308

Kevin Shea, CEcD, is President of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA), which has more than 700 members and is in its 53rd year of existence.  Shea was hired for the position in July 2014.  Previously, Kevin worked at the Augusta Chamber of Commerce and the Savannah Economic Development Authority.  Also, he served for five years at the state level both as an International Representative and the Managing Director of the Canadian Office of Georgia in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Read more about Kevin here.

Contact Kevin via email at kshea(at)georiga.org or via phone at 404-496-4109.

 

Kelly McLendon, CAE, is the Manager, Member Services of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA). Kelly was hired in September of 2016. Previously, McLendon work for a variety of association is roles including membership, public policy, communications, governance and administration.

Contact Kelly via email at kmclendon(at)georgia.org or via phone at 404-962-4110.

 Kelly McLendon

 

 

 

First Vice Chair 

Connect With Us

75 Fifth St., NW, Suite 1200
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 962-4110 or (404) 962-4109
info@geda.org