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|Annual Conference 2017 Speakers|
President & CEO, The Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Georgia native, Chris Clark, is the President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and his master’s degree in public administration from Georgia College and State University. Prior to joining the Georgia Chamber, Chris served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and as Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Economic Development. Before his state service he was the President of the Fayette County Development Authority and CEO of the Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. Chris and his wife, Tiffany, and their son, Christian, live in Peachtree City and attend Dogwood Church.
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Camila Knowles was appointed as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) by Governor Nathan Deal in 2015. Knowles leads DCA’s work for community development, ensuring that through workforce housing, community infrastructure, downtown development and economic development financing, communities are prepared for opportunities to meet Governor Deal’s top priority: creating jobs across the state. DCA provides funding and technical assistance throughout Georgia, partnering with local communities to create a climate of success for Georgia’s families and businesses. DCA manages millions of state and federal dollars through its 65 programs, 24 of them funding programs.Commissioner Knowles joined DCA after serving as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. She began her career with Senator Chambliss in 2003 as one of the Senator’s designees on the Senate Judiciary Committee focusing on immigration law and policy.
Griffin V. Lynch
Executive Director, Georgia Ports Authority
Griffith V. Lynch is the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, an 1,100- person strong state port authority that owns and operates strategic gateways serving the U.S. Southeast.
As Executive Director, Lynch oversees all port activity involving the deepwater ports of Savannah and Brunswick, as well as inland terminal operations in Bainbridge and Columbus. Directing one of Georgia’s largest economic engines, he administers a $280 million annual budget.
Before becoming executive director, Lynch served as GPA chief operating officer for five years. As COO of the single largest container terminal in North America and second busiest U.S. auto port, he was responsible for sustaining the profitable growth and development of all operations, and maintaining world-class operating standards. His duties included overseeing ambitious capital improvement and development programs for five deep water ports and two inland terminals while maintaining strong relationships with numerous customers, labor officials and supply chain partners.
Kevin Shea, CEcD
President, Georgia Economic Developers Association
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.
Vice President, Publisher of Automotive News
Jason Stein directs the editorial and commercial operations for one of the world’s largest automotive business‐to‐business media organizations.Mr. Stein joined Automotive News as a Detroit‐based reporter in October 2003 before transferring to Automotive News Europe’s Munich, Germany, headquarters in 2005. Two years later, he was named publisher of Automotive News Europe, a responsibility that included the management of the news and commercial operations, covering 32 European countries as well as marketing, digital, audience and event activities. In 2009, Mr. Stein moved back to Detroit to oversee the editorial operations of Automotive News. In 2012 he added the responsibility of associate publisher, then publisher in 2013.In 2016, he oversaw the launch of two new media products: Automotive News Canada, a digital media outlet and a monthly print magazine; and Fixed Ops Journal, a semi‐monthly print magazine focused on auto retail operations.
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development
Pat Wilson was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) by Governor Nathan Deal in November 2016. As Commissioner, he leads the state agency responsible for creating jobs and investment opportunities in Georgia through business recruitment and expansion, international trade and tourism, as well as the arts, film and music industries.
Mr. Wilson previously served as Chief Operating Officer of GDEcD from January 2011 until his appointment as Commissioner. As COO, he managed the daily operations of the agency, directed long-term strategy, managed the agency’s legislative priorities and served as the department’s liaison with the Georgia Congressional delegation and federal government partners. In this role, Mr. Wilson served as GDEcD’s intergovernmental liaison, working with other state government departments and agencies to streamline and navigate regulations for major project locations, expansions and film productions.