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Spring Workshop 2017 Speakers
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Janey AdyJanet Ady, President and CEO, Ady Advantage

As president of Ady Advantage,  Janet has worked with over 400 economic development organizations and utilities throughout North America. She brings expertise in research, branding, and marketing to provide integrated solutions for initiatives ranging from target industry analyses and economic development websites to brownfield re-use and marketing programs and strategic planning. 

Having special interest and expertise in rural economic development, economic development talent strategies, and agribusiness development, she has written books and articles on these topics and authors an industry-leading blog with thousands of readers.

Janet conducts a great deal of field work each year for both her economic development and corporate clients. Over her career, she has interviewed more than 3,000 business and technical decision-makers at a wide range of companies.  Her knowledge of multiple industries allows her to provide value to individual businesses as well as communities and regions targeting specific sectors.

Bill BooneWilliam T. Boone, Entrepreneur Development Specialist, University of Georgia Small Business Development Center

Bill Boone is the Entrepreneur Development Specialist with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center.  He leads the SBDC’s Agribusiness Team, orchestrates the Veteran’s programs, and provides business development expertise, mostly focused in rural Georgia. 

Bill is a native of Sylvester, Georgia, and graduated from Worth County High School.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in 1972 and his Master’s Degree in management from Salve Regina College in 1983.  He joined the Navy as an Ensign in 1972 and served his country as a Naval Aviator for 26 years, achieving the rank of Captain.  

Following his distinguished naval career, he and his family returned to Georgia where he served as Senior Project Manager for Garrett Environmental Consulting, Executive Director for the Worth County Economic Development Authority, Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, and Special Project Manager for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Bert BrantleyBert Brantley, Chief Operations Officer, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Bert Brantley serves as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Brantley was appointed to this role by Gov. Nathan Deal in January 2017. As COO, Brantley manages the daily operations of the agency, handles budgetary and personnel issues for all department divisions, is the principal point of contact for external partners and serves as Executive Director of the Georgia Allies. Most recently, Brantley served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Driver Services. Brantley’s state government career includes four years as director of communications and press secretary during Gov. Sonny Perdue’s second term, and stints in leadership and communications roles at the State Road and Tollway Authority, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Bill Bryant, Retired, Georgia Power

Bill and his wife (Debby Daniel-Bryant) have three grown daughters and two grandchildren.  Bill and Debby live in Spalding County’s Rover community. As an active member of the Griffin First United Methodist Church, Bill sings in the Chancel Choir, teaches an adult Sunday school class (The Forum Class), and is actively serving on a newly created Communications and Technology Committee. His hobbies include digital photography, military history and travel-trailer camping in Georgia and surrounding states. Bill is also an enthusiastic novice in the art of barbeque, grilling and dutch oven cooking.

Bill retired from full time work with Georgia Power, after 36 years, in late summer 2014. He stays busy at home by doing part-time work for Georgia Power and the Georgia Department of Economic Development - no more daily commutes to Atlanta!

Bill has an undergraduate degree in Building Construction and a Mid-Management Program Certificate from Georgia Tech, as well as a Master’s in Urban Planning and Development from Georgia State University. He earned the Certified Planner designation from the American Planning Association. He is a GEDA member.

Lon Bumgarner

Lon Bumgarner, Alliance Theatre, Alliance@Work

Lon holds two Master of Fine Arts degrees, one in Theatre Production from Virginia Commonwealth, the other in Film from the University of Southern California as well as graduate credits from the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, England. His film and commercial credits include the direction and production of independent features as well as numerous shorts and over 60 national and international commercials and industrials. He has taught in a variety of state universities and private colleges and recently retired after twelve years as a member of the theater faculty at UNC/Charlotte. He is also the founder and principle instructor of the Film Actors’ Studio, which for over twenty years has served as a training ground for over 3500 professional actors.

Andrew CarnesAndrew Carnes, Director of Economic Development, Partnership Gwinnett

Andrew Carnes joined Partnership Gwinnett in 2015 and serves as the Director of Economic Development. In this role, Carnes works to develop and maintain relationships with state and economic development partners in an effort to support job growth in Gwinnett County. He works with consultants and companies, alike, to evaluate the available resources in the community and meet the demands of the growing industry sectors. Carnes is also responsible for maintaining close relationships with Gwinnett’s existing industries to support their retention and expansion plans. He has been invited to the international headquarters of numerous Gwinnett companies including locations in Belgium, the Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, and South Korea.  


Anna Chafin

Anna Chafin, Chief Executive Office, Development Authority of Bryan County

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.

Jason ChamblessJason Chambless, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Project Manager & Principal, Thomas & Hutton

Jason Chambless is a Principal and Project Manager for engineering, planning, and design of large tract development and industrial/commercial sites.  This includes infrastructure in developing industrial parks, such as drainage analysis and system design and utility system design for private and government development.  Mr. Chambless’ 21 years of experience includes permitting, construction cost analyses, contract documents, preparing technical specifications, bidding, and construction coordination.


Glenn CornellGlenn Cornell, CEcD, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development - Retired

Mr. Cornell has more than 45 years of business and economic development experience in Georgia. In January of 2003 he was appointed by Governor Perdue to be Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development and charged to lead Georgia's economic development effort. In January of 2008, Mr. Cornell accepted the position of Senior Vice President at Forestar Real Estate Group. In this position he worked with Forestar's senior management in the development and marketing of the company's substantial real estate holdings in Georgia and the Southeast.

Elyse Davis

Elyse Davis, C.C.E., Georgia Power, Northwest Georgia Community & Economic Development Manager

As Georgia Power’s community and economic development manager in the Northwest Region, Elyse assists local communities with existing business expansions, new company locations, leadership development, and job creation strategies.   Elyse joined the Georgia Power team in 2014 after serving as a local community and economic development practitioner for more than 20-years.   She served as President/CEO of chambers of commerce and economic development organizations in Georgia and North Carolina and in those positions helped local community leaders create/retain thousands of jobs.

Elyse is an executive board member of the Southern Economic Development Council and a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, International Economic Development Corporation, and American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association.  She became a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) in 2004.

Meghan Duke


S. Meghan Duke, Economic Development Director, City of West Point, Georgia

Meghan is a next-generation economic developer who is passionate about collaborating with others to create healthier and stronger communities in which to live, work, learn, and play. As the Economic Development Director for the City of West Point and West Point Development Authority, Meghan develops, organizes, and executes strategic plan designed to achieve the City of West Point’s economic development goals and objectives to stimulate expansion of existing industry, and effective recruitment of new business.

She is a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. Meghan is a recipient of Southern Economic Development Council’s 2015 Chairman’s Award as well as Georgia Economic Developers Association’s Penn Worden Professional Development grant.

She holds a Mass Media Arts degree from Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Terry College of Business Certificate in Music Business at the University of Georgia.

Tim Evans

Tim Evans, CEcD, Vice President, Economic Development, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce

Since 2005, Tim Evans has served as the Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of the Gainesville-Hall Economic Development Council.  He also serves as the Treasurer for the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority.  He is responsible for managing business recruitment, expansions and retention efforts by marketing and representing Gainesville-Hall County to key business decision makers in the United States and internationally.  He has had a key role in developing numerous commercial and industrial sites and served as the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority’s project manager for several new business park developments. He is also implementing a retail development initiative for Gainesville-Hall County, Georgia with the support of business leaders, real-estate professionals and elected officials.  

Mark Farmer Mark Farmer, Economic Development Manager, Gwinnett County Government

Mark Farmer is an Economic Development Manager with Gwinnett County.  Part of a team of three charged with enhancing economic development in Gwinnett, Farmer focuses on redevelopment, entrepreneurship, and research & communications. 

Prior to joining the county team in January 2017, he was for six years the Director of Entrepreneurship & Information Services for Partnership Gwinnett, a public-private economic development initiative.  Before taking on the entrepreneurship duties, Farmer served for three years as Partnership Gwinnett’s Research Manager.

He came to Partnership Gwinnett with 20 years business experience, including several as an entrepreneur with Words & Pictures, a writing and photography business he owned. His clients included Emory University’s Public Health magazine, Georgia Tech, and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.  

Kyle Fletcher

Kyle Fletcher, Executive Director, Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority

Kyle is originally from Marianna, Florida.

She graduated from Auburn University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Relations/Journalism and moved to Thomaston in 1992 with her husband, Bob.

 Kyle has served as Executive Director of the Thomaston-Upson County Industrial Development Authority for the last five years. She’s been active as a volunteer in the public school system, serves on the Upson Regional Medical Center Foundation Board, founding member of the Flint River Area Auburn Club and is a member of the Georgia Economic Development Association serving as Chairman of the Rural Development Special Interest Group.

Ralph ForbesRalph Forbes, PE, Regional Director, Vice President & Principal, Thomas & Hutton

Ralph Forbes is a Vice President and Regional Director for engineering, planning, and design of large tract development and industrial/commercial sites.  This includes site selection, land analysis, infrastructure in developing industrial parks, such as major roadways and rail, drainage analysis and system design, and utility system design for private and government development.  Ralph’s 35 years of experience includes site selection consulting, funding assistance, planning, permitting, construction cost analyses, contract documents, preparing technical specifications, bidding, and construction coordination.

Senator Steve Cooch

Senator Steve Gooch, Georgia General Assembly, District 51, Majority Whip

Senator Steve Gooch was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 2010. Senator Gooch is a Republican representing the 51st District, which includes Fannin, Union, Gilmer, Lumpkin, White, Dawson and parts of Pickens and Forsyth counties.

Senator Gooch was elected as the Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus in 2014. Prior to serving as the Senate Majority Whip, Senator Gooch served as the Secretary of the Senate Majority Caucus and as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Senator Gooch serves as Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee and will serve this year as Secretary of the Appropriations Committee. Additionally, he serves on the Finance and Regulated Industries and Utilities Committees and as Ex-Officio on the Rules Committee. 

Lynn Kemp, Designer & Owner, Canoe

Lynn Kemp is the Designer and Owner of Canoe.  Canoe is a lifestyle brand of Bags, Jewelry and Accessories all made in their facility in Blue Ridge, GA.  The company has a retail store in downtown Blue Ridge, as well as an ecommerce website.  However, 70% of their business is via wholesale to over 1200+ stores around the country. Canoe is in permanent showrooms to the trade in Atlanta, Dallas, and Las Vegas, with 25 sales reps on the road.

Tess KincaidTess Malis Kincaid, Alliance Theatre, Alliance@Work 

Tess is very happy to be back on the Alliance stage having appeared here in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Broke, August: Osage County, Moonlight and Magnolias, and The Miracle Worker. Regional credits: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Arena Stage), Seagull (Marin Theatre Company), and seven seasons at NC Shakespeare Festival. Recent Atlanta credits: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Horizon & Aurora), Clybourne Park (Aurora), Private Lives (Stage Door), Dividing the Estate (Theatrical Outfit), Third Country (Horizon), Swell Party (Georgia Ensemble), and eight seasons at Georgia Shakespeare.  Film/TV: Devious Maids, House of Payne, Sleepless Night (2016 release), and I Can Do Bad All By Myself. She is a 3-time Suzi Bass Award recipient and a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Camila KnowlesCamila Knowles, 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. 

Melinda LemmonMelinda Lemmon, CEcD, Executive Director, Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development

Melinda Lemmon serves as the Executive Director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development.  Her department is the single point of contact for the recruitment of new companies, expansion support of existing industries, and the implementation of the community’s economic development strategic plan.


Melinda holds a BS degree in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Tennessee, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma's 3-year Economic Development Institute, and has been a Certified Economic Developer since 2000.  With nearly 27 years’ experience in economic and workforce development, 13 years have been spent serving Cartersville-Bartow County. 

Ryan MacDonald, Manager of Strategic Operations & Planning, Georgia Ports Authority

Ryan Macdonald is the Manager of Strategic Operations & Planning for the Georgia Ports Authority.  He has over 20 years of experience in the logistics industry, mostly port focused.  After graduating from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business in 1995, Ryan started his career in logistics with Stevens Shipping & Terminal Company, a regional shipping and stevedoring company based in Savannah, GA.  In 2005, he became an employee of the Georgia Ports Authority and was primarily engaged in the area of terminal operations review and process improvement.  In his current role, his responsibilities have shifted to mid-term and long-term planning for the organization which involves all aspects of the port operation and more recently with a focus on inland port strategy development and implementation.


Dan McRaeDan McRae, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Dan McRae is a partner in the Atlanta office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a national law firm. Dan leads the Finance Team that handles the development and financing of private and public projects and public/private partnership projects, or P3. Dan has handled finance and investment transactions amounting to billions of dollars for private companies, local authorities, and local governments. Dan was honored by receiving from the national Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) its 2015 Georgia Finance Roundtable Excellence Award for Leadership. He received the only “Bond Counsel of the Year” award from the largest issuer of revenue bonds in the State of Georgia. Mr. McRae was the first practicing attorney to be elected a director of the Georgia Economic Developers Association. He is a recipient of the Rip Wiley Award, GEDA’s highest award for achievement in economic development.

Darin Mellott

Darin Mellott, Director of Research & Analysis, CBRE, Southwest Region

Darin Mellott is the Director of Research and Analysis for CBRE’s Southwest Region. In this role, he analyzes the impact of economic developments on property markets, identifies market trends, helps formulate “house views” and consults with clients. Darin is also a part of CBRE’s Americas Research Leadership Team and has authored various national and global papers for the firm.

In addition to being active in the real estate community, Darin serves on various boards and is often called upon to provide analysis on a wide range of issues, including community initiatives and economic matters.

In 2016, Darin was appointed as a Senior Advisor to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. His role is to advise the policy institute’s leadership and serve as an ambassador for the organization.

Chris Pumphrey

Chris Pumphrey, Executive Director, Development Authority of Douglas County

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. 

Scott Poag

Scott Poag, CEcD, Director of Business Development, Williams & Associates

In March of 2017, Scott joined Williams & Associates as the Director of Business Development. During the past seven years, he has been a local economic developer in both Georgia and North Carolina.  Scott has announced over $750,000,000 in new capital investment and over 5,800 net new jobs in the communities he has served and has successfully worked with a full range of companies from startup to Fortune 500. 

Recently, Scott was named to Augusta’s “Top 10 Young Professionals to Watch” list, a “Distinguished Young AFCEAN” by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, and was named as a “40 under 40 Rising Star in Economic Development” by Development Counselors International. 

Andrea Schruijer

Andrea Schruijer, Executive Director, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority

Andrea 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.

Heather Seckman

Heather Seckman, Director of Economic Development, Rome Floyd County Chamber of Commerce

Heather Seckman is the Director of Economic Development for the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and is responsible for creating and maintaining jobs for the Rome and Floyd County area since January 2002. The Rome and Floyd county area are the home of small business, manufacturers, healthcare and educational facilities. Her role at the Chamber involves tailoring marketing material, presentations and community tours to specifically meet the needs for each individual company. The company needs relate to available land or building sites, suitable buildings, an educated workforce, accessible suppliers and available and adequate utilities.

Seckman is responsible for the planning, and execution of the Economic Development Committee, the Hospitalities and Amenities Business Council, the Economic Development Summit, the Future Industries Initiative, the Development Authority of Floyd County and the Rome Floyd County Development Authority.  

Marisa Simpson, Director of Economic/Community Relations, Atlanta Gas Light

With over 15 years of political campaign strategy and constituent management experience, Marsay currently serves as Director of Government Affairs for Southern Company Gas.  In this role, he manages government affairs  strategy and directs economic development, community relations and corporate stewardship policy. He has held previous positions as State Director, Director of Field Services and Regional Representative for Former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss in both the U.S. Senate and U.S House of Representatives.

Marsay serves as a member of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Board; Chair of the Georgia Tourism Foundation; member of  the Georgia Academy Board and a member of Leadership Georgia Foundation.

A native Georgian, Marsay earned his Bachelor Science from the University of Georgia. He and his wife Aimee reside in Lilburn, Georgia with their daughter Idalia.

Sydne Smith, Director of Government Relations and Policy, Georgia Department of Economic Development

Sydne Smith serves as the Director of Government Relations and Policy for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the state’s lead governmental organization for promoting, marketing and supporting economic growth.  Mrs. Smith serves as a liaison between the department and state, local, and federal governments.  In this role, she is also responsible for identifying legislative opportunities and challenges as well as policy solutions for positive economic growth in Georgia. 

Smith previously served as a key member of Gary W. Black’s leadership team at the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  Joining the Department of Agriculture in January 2011, Smith helped create and implement Black’s vision for the agency as well as modernizing and updating the agency to serve the State’s largest industry, agriculture.  As Director of Public Policy, Mrs. Smith’s focus was on outreach with members of the Georgia legislature, Congress, federal agencies and other state departments.  

Rober Tutterow

Roger Tutterow, Professor, Economics, Finances & Quantitative Analysis, Kennesaw State University

Roger Tutterow’s analysis of the economic, business and political environments have been featured frequently in a variety of national and state media. He has served as a consultant on financial economics and statistical modeling for corporate clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to closely held businesses.

In addition to his professorship, Tutterow also serves as director of the Econometric Center, an applied research center affiliated in KSU’s Coles College of Business. He also serves as chief economic advisor for the Henssler Financial Group, an Atlanta-based investment advisory firm, and as a strategic advisor to Georgia Oak Partners, a Georgia-focused private equity firm.

Prior to rejoining KSU, he held faculty and administrative appointments at West Virginia University, Georgia State University and Mercer University. He has also served as a visiting professor at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and at the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea. 

Representative Sam Watson

Representative Sam Watson, Georgia General Assembly, District 172

Rep. Sam Watson was elected in 2012 to represent District 172 which includes portions of Colquitt, Tift and Thomas counties. He is a farmer and agri-businessman.

Rep. Watson was raised on the family farm and graduated from Colquitt County High School in 1997. He earned his Associate’s Degree from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Georgia majoring in Agricultural Education. He is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Georgia, a 2011 graduate of Leadership Colquitt, and a 2009 graduate of the Georgia Agri-Leaders Forum. 

Stacy WatsonStacy Watson, General Manager, Economic & Industrial Development

Stacy joined the Georgia Ports Authority in 1992.

Stacy has held numerous positions within the Georgia Ports.  Prior to becoming the General Manager of Economic & Industrial Development Stacy held various management positions within the GPA to include Marketing , Container Operations and Ship Operations.  Stacy is a graduate of Leadership Savannah and Leadership Georgia.  Stacy is a Board Member of the Georgia Ports Authority Credit Union, Union Mission Inc., Past Chairman of the Better Business Bureau of the Southeast Atlantic and Past Committee Chairman and current member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association. He is also a member of the Propeller Club of Savannah and the Transportation Club of Savannah. Stacy earned his A.S. in Business Administration from Middle Georgia College in Cochran, Georgia.  


Shelley Zorn

Shelley Zorn,  Executive Director, Thomasville Payroll Development Authority

 Shelley Zorn joined the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority as Executive Director in January of 2014. She is responsible for new industry recruitment, retail recruitment and existing industry support.  She has seventeen years of experience in economic development.  Previously she was President of the Ashburn Tuner County Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority where she recruited new industries, retail and restaurant establishments as well as directing tourism efforts and downtown development. Previous to her time in economic development, she was in banking for fifteen years, specializing in commercial lending and marketing. She majored in Finance at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Her husband Gerald has worked for Coveris in management for 38 years and they have one daughter Madelyn, who is currently attending her second year of college. 

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