2 2 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Vanessa Addai, Age 26, Albany Technical Engineer Procter and Gamble The majority of my work involves working on equipment upgrades and improvement and safety and savings projects on paper machines that make Bounty and Charmin. I work with my manufacturing counterparts to develop the scope of a project, procure the funding, and execute the design and installation. Outside of my technical role, I also participate in and lead sub-organizations that were created as a support system for different affinity groups at work. The most challenging part of my work is balancing long term projects with the immediate needs of the business. My coworkers and I have different priorities while we work toward one common goal of providing a superior product to our consumers. The challenge is working as a team to make sure the right work is accomplished to meet our goal. Going through school, the classes that I enjoyed most and excelled in were math and science. Engineering seemed like a natural fit. I also enjoy working with people. P&G has given me the opportunity to develop both skills. There are a lot of opportunities to try new roles and work on a vast array of technologies within this one company. I feel that there will never come a time when I won t feel like I am growing personally and professionally. I have learned that if you give people a forum to express their views and concerns and have them involved in the early stages of any project or decision making process, they will not only take ownership of the end product but will be more willing to work towards that end goal. FAMILY: Janet (Mother), Hayford (Father) and Stephen (Brother) EDUCATION: University of Texas, BS in Chemical Engineering in 2006 ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Infants/Toddlers volunteer at The Pointe United Methodist Church and P&G United Way Campaign Femi Anderson, Age 39, Albany Entrepreneur/Service Representative Renaissance Connection/AT&T Corporation I co-own an art and multi-media business called Renaissance Connection with my twin sister, Bummi Anderson. Renaissance Connection LLC helps foster a love for the arts and utilizes the artistic benefits of media technology. I am also a Service Representative for AT&T Corporation. I provide back office support for the customer care department across the Southeast and Midwest region. I also produce training videos for AT&T Albany Center of Excellence. A challenge at AT&T for me is not being able to personally touch each customer. My goal at AT&T is to produce training videos that will help reps do the best job possible to help our customers. My challenge at my business is having so many talented people to help and not enough time. Even though I have a fulltime job, I m committed to helping foster artistic talent and pour into the lives of others. I have been at Bellsouth/AT&T for 12 years and have had five different job functions. AT&T has definitely taught me the meaning of change. My position at AT&T is a result of desire to do something different and pursue my love for communication. I am also a visual artist that has a life-long passion for promoting the arts and multi-media, which led me to start Renaissance Connection. In my years of employment and entrepreneurship, I have learned that change is necessary to grow, and it is very important to follow your passions. Think big and big things will happen. I am known as a behind the scenes person, and I have learned that you don t have to be in the front to make things happen. FAMILY: My twin sister Bummi Niyonu Anderson (an author) is my business partner. My father, Edward Anderson and my mother, Willa Jackson, were heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement in South Georgia, which has greatly influenced me to be proud of who I am. EDUCATION: BA in Fine Arts from Albany State University; Pre-press graphic arts certification from Albany Technical College; currently pursuing a Master's in Instructional Technology from Troy State University. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Board member of the Albany Area Art Council; Founder of Girls Meet Destiny a multi-media mentoring program for girls and young women; Volunteer with Stand Up Again Outreach, Inc; Covenant member of Rhema Word Cathedral under the leadership of Bishop Victor L. Powell; Member of Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative; Southwest Ga Project, Inc. committee member for the 50th Anniversary of the Southwest GA Civil Rights Movement.
3 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Katherine Barnes, Age 34, Albany Corporal Albany Police Department I currently serve the Albany Police Dept as the Program Director for the Albany Police AmeriCorps grant. As the Program Director of the Albany Police AmeriCorps program, I work with neighborhood associations and community members as a planner, community organizer, problem solver, and information link. I serve as a behind the scenes motivator for the cadets to help them reach grant goals of community interaction and strengthening, youth outreach, senior citizen outreach, and member development. I have a very strong passion for my work. I want to make sure that the Albany Police AmeriCorps program and its ten AmeriCorps cadets are successful in making a difference in our community. Every day, I strive to be a leader; one that will motivate the cadets and fuel their desire to get things done! My top goal and personal challenge is to show them that positive programs, gestures, and words can touch people lives in a big way. I was recruited as an Albany Police AmeriCorps cadet when I was a senior in High School. After serving my one year with the AmeriCorps cadets, I decided to follow my career path with the Albany Police Department. I became a Police Officer at the age of 21. I have served within the uniform division and the investigative division. For the past three years, I have served as the Program Director of the A.P.D. AmeriCorps program. Now that I am 34 years old, I realize that family is most important. I am able to take the love, happiness, and support I receive from my family and convert it into the passion I have for my work. I want to share all the positive work we do with our community. That s what motivates me to push the AmeriCorps cadets to make a difference in the lives of others and their lives as well. And whether it s helping a senior citizen or keeping a young person off of the streets, my inspiration comes from the happiness my loving family has instilled in my heart. I am married to the love of my life, Jesse Leon Barnes, and we have two happy children- Jaden Malachi Barnes (age 5 years) and Jordyn Makayla Barnes (age 9 months). I have the greatest parents ever, Wallace and Katherine Dawson. The Chinese proverb that says To understand your parents' love you must raise children yourself is TRUE! I have been an Albany Police Officer for 14 years. Family: Husband: Jesse Leon Barnes; Children: Jaden and Jordyn Barnes; Parents: Wallace and Katherine Dawson; Brother/Family: Dennis & Sandy Dawson (nieces: Amber & Ashley Dawson) Education: High School: Dougherty Comprehensive High School; College: Darton College Activities and Organizations: Stop the Violence; T.A.K.I.N.G.A.U.T.H.O.R.I.T.Y.; Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful; Albany Parks and Recreation Therapeutic Programs; Albany Police AmeriCorps.
4 4 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Dr. Gistacy Brown, Age 34, Albany Early Intervention Teacher, Youth Cheerleading Coach, Tutor Dougherty County School System, Albany Elite Sports, Creative Solutions Tutoring Services As an Early Intervention teacher for DCSS, I provide small group instruction for students that are struggling to meet academic requirements in reading and math. I m founder of Creative Solutions, Inc., where I offer tutoring services to students outside of the school setting. I m also Vice President of Albany Elite Sports, where I coach and mentor 30 cheerleaders. Albany Elite is designed to provide the inner city youth with academic, athletic, team building (cheerleading and basketball), and mentoring services. The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away. As an educator, tutor, mentor and coach I seek to improve the lives of children academically, socially, and emotionally. I realize that I may not be able to reach every individual; however, I feel good knowing that I did everything in my power to make a difference. In the midst of a challenge, I have trust, faith, and belief that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. I have always felt the need to help others. As I studied to become an educator, I often volunteered for various organizations. I soon realized that the purpose of my life was not to be satisfied with making myself happy - but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, and to make a difference in the lives of others. I believe that an educator s work is never done. I am always brainstorming ways to help students succeed and ways to help the community become a better place for our youth. I m inspired by William Penn s quote that says I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. I am the daughter of Mrs. Annette Mackey and Judge Willie Weaver. I m married to Dr. Earnest Brown, Jr. (nominated for 40 under 40 in 2009), and we share 3 wonderful children; Kofi, Jordan, and Peyton. EDUCATION: 1995 Graduated from Dougherty Comprehensive High School; 2000 Graduated with honors from Albany State University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education; 2004 Graduated with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University; 2009 earned Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: Member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Team Captain for Relay For Life; Team Captain for MSWALK. Evie Carver, Age 30, Albany President Assurance Mortgage of Albany, LLC I am currently employed as President of Assurance Mortgage, a wholly owned subsidiary of DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union. As president, I carry the responsibility of overseeing the day to day operations from consulting with clients, processing applications, preparing files for underwriting, meeting operational goals, and promoting the still relatively new business within the community. Recent economic hardships have created added barriers for mortgage applicants trying to improve their financial position through refinancing their homes or simply trying to realize the American dream of home ownership. Since the national real estate and housing market debacle, stricter mortgage underwriting guidelines have made it more difficult to qualify applicants. I take great care to explore all available options when providing guidance to my clients. It is my goal to help each and every client. I began working at DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union in 2003 as a part-time Teller and advanced into other positions including Head Teller and Member Service Representative. In the spring of 2007, Assurance Mortgage opened its doors, and I was tapped to fill the role of Assistant. I then advanced into the role of Mortgage Consultant before becoming President earlier this year. I have been very fortunate to have grown and succeeded as quickly as I have in three short years. I have learned that the Golden Rule of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is essential in my career. I remember how confused my husband and I were when we bought our first home, and I never want to lose sight of how much my clients depend on me as a professional to help guide them through the home buying process. I always try to use terminology people will understand. My personal experiences combined with my professional expertise help me make my clients feel confident about their financial decisions. I married my high-school sweetheart, Jason Carver, in 2005, and we currently reside in Albany, GA, where we are members of St. Paul s Episcopal Church. Jason is the Merchandising Assistant Manager at The Home Depot in Moultrie, GA. He is extremely supportive of my career and volunteer efforts. I attribute my character and determination to the teachings of my parents, Garry and Linda Buzzard. I remain inspired by words of my late father, If you value your privileges above your principles, you will soon lose both. I am a 1999 graduate of Westover Comprehensive High School & attended Darton College. I am an active and passionate volunteer for the Southwest Georgia Regional Chapter of the Alzheimer s Association. My grandmother lost her battle with Alzheimer s in September of 2009, and my family and I witnessed first hand the wake of the disease. I have participated in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer s since 2007 and took on the role of co-chair for the walk in I am currently serving as chair of the upcoming 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer s, which is formally known as Memory Walk. I was honored to represent the local chapter at this year s National & State Walk to End Alzheimer s Conferences. In addition, I volunteer and participate in fundraising efforts for various charitable organizations including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Children s Miracle Network Hospitals; The Salvation Army; The United Way s annual Day of Caring; and Toys for Tots. I am also a member of the Albany Board of Realtors.
5 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Jamaca Coachman, MD, Age 32, Donalsonville Director of Physical Therapy and Wound Care Clinic Donalsonville Hospital I am currently serving as Director of Physical Therapy and Wound Care Clinic at Donalsonville Hospital where Chuck Orrick is hospital administrator. I currently treat individuals who suffer from many impairments which include neurological deficits, decubitus ulcers, balance deficits, and post operative procedures. I have the responsibility to develop individualized treatments techniques to improve functional independence, reduce pain, improve mobility, promote wound healing and prevent disability. I currently have a wonderful staff of four full time employees and three part-time employees to help me fulfill these responsibilities. The one thing I find most challenging about my job is gaining the confidence of patients who have heard the negative aspects of therapy. Those negative aspects refer to PAIN. Many times I encounter patients who have consulted with other patients who refer to therapist as Torture Masters or Pain Inflictors just to name a few; however, as a therapist it is my job to maximize their rehab potential in order to improve their quality of life. I also have to show sympathy as means to gain trust. Having the opportunity to help someone is what I love doing the most. My mother (Jackie Coachman) and father (Wayne Coachman) taught me the importance of helping others, so this aspect of caring guided me towards the profession of Physical Therapy. It is truly a blessing to be in a work related field that not only helps you financially but helps other physically, mentally and emotionally. Having the opportunity to do that in the community that I grew up in is what I treasure the most. Through my six years of being back home since graduate school, I have learned that there is no greater feeling than to be back home trying to make my community a better place for future generations. I have learned that God blesses you to be a blessing to someone else or to be that inspiration that someone needs to keep pushing even when he or she is against all odds. The last thing I have learned is to stay humble. The title of Doctor or material gains will never change who I am as a person or what my goal here on earth is which is to make it to Heaven. I am the son of Wayne and Jackie Coachman, Grandson of the Late Eddie J. & Bertha Henry and Late Willis & Late Rosa Lee Coachman; husband of Angela Coachman and proud father of Jamyiah and Jayla Coachman all of Donalsonville Georgia; younger brother to Ricky Coachman, Sr. I am 1997 high school graduate of Seminole Co. High School, 2001 graduate of Valdosta State University, 2004 graduate of University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences with Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy. Organization & Activities: Chairman of Seminole County Board of Education, partners of Coachman & Blanks LLC, Member of Seminole Co. Recreational Advisory Board, Youth Director of First Flint River Missionary Baptist Association, Member of Seminole Co. Health Board, volunteer coach for Recreational Softball, volunteer athletic trainer for high school athletics.
6 6 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, William Davis, Age 26, Albany Staff Attorney Georgia Legal Services Program I am an attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP). Our mission is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for low-income Georgians. I work directly under a grant from the Goizueta Foundation that allows me to provide legal assistance to Southwest Georgia s Latino community in our 19-county region. I help clients gain access to public benefits, housing, and education as well as help many clients escape from domestic violence situations. I am constantly challenged to find unique and innovative ways to benefit my clients. My clients often struggle with a language barrier that has discouraged them from becoming active in the judicial process, or they might have doubts about the system because they come from places where it is internally corrupt. It is my job as their advocate to make them comfortable so they want to be an active participant in the legal process. In law school, I saw how disparate the system was for those who could afford private attorneys and those who could not. Through my work with Ole Miss Law s Civil Legal Clinic, I saw legal services as a great place to begin my career. I enjoy helping others, and I m grateful to be an advocate for those who might not otherwise be able to navigate their way through the legal system. I am lucky to work with a legal staff that is amazing at what they do. They are zealous in their advocacy, and it motivates me to serve my clients to the best of my abilities. The area s Latino community is a growing portion of our population whose needs need to be met and assessed, so they can be served appropriately. Being relatively new to Albany, I ve loved getting to know this part of Georgia as well as its people. My position with GLSP allows me make an impact and work across Southwest Georgia. I look forward to continued involvement in the region. FAMILY: Parents Barry and Judy Davis of Acworth, Georgia EDUCATION: B.A. Spanish, University of Georgia, 2006; J.D. Law, University of Mississippi, 2009 ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Dougherty Circuit Bar Association; Albany Young Lawyer s Division; Theatre Albany; Emerge Albany Thomas Duck, Age 38, Albany Attorney At Law Thomas V. Duck III, P.C. I am an attorney, a sole practitioner. I am admitted to all trial and appellate courts of the State of Georgia, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. My practice is focused on the areas of Family Law and Criminal Defense. Simply put, I represent real people with real problems. What I like most about the law is that it is constantly changing. Keeping up with those changes can be a challenge, but the biggest challenge in the practice of law is helping people solve real problems. As a Family Law and Criminal Defense attorney, I am privileged to be the person that my clients turn to for help when facing some of life s most difficult issues. Their lives, and sometimes the lives of their entire families, hang in the balance. That is a humbling and awesome responsibility that I take very seriously. It is imperative that I connect on a personnel level with every single client. I actively listen, and let them tell me their stories. Only then am I in a position to know how to help resolve their issues. I was taught from an early age that, when deciding what you want to be when you grow up, you should do what you love. I have always had a desire to help protect those who could not protect themselves. I was also very interested in our legal system and decided that I wanted to become an attorney. Unfortunately, I was not able to go directly to law school, so I began my career as a Police Officer. After some time, I went to law school and became an Assistant District Attorney. I really enjoyed the trial work, but something was missing. I wanted to be able to help people on a more personal level. I decided to move into private practice and begin representing people on an individual basis. I chose to practice primarily in the areas of Family Law and Criminal Defense because they allow me to personally represent people and spend plenty of time in the courtroom. I have learned that one person can make a difference. I can make a difference in the lives of others: my family, my friends, my clients and my colleagues. I can also make a difference in my community, my state and my profession. While I cannot do everything, I can do something and should. I graduated from Columbus State University with a B.S. in Political Science in 1997, and an M.P.A. in I received my J.D. from Atlanta s John Marshall Law School in I am married to Jennifer Davis Duck who works for the Dougherty County School System as a Special Education Teacher. We, along with our son William, attend First United Methodist Church. In 2007, Chief Judge Loring Gray appointed me to the Dougherty County Board of Ethics and I continue to serve on the board. In 2008, I graduated from the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Leadership Academy, and I was elected to serve as a YLD District Representative for the Middle District of Georgia. I was later appointed to the YLD Board of Directors and continue to serve as the Director of Continuing Legal Education. I am the President-Elect of the Artesian City Sertoma Club, a past President of the Albany Area Young Lawyers Division and a member of the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association. I am a committee member of the Albany Chapter of Ducks Unlimited; I am a member of the 2011 class of Leadership Albany and also volunteer for the Flint Riverquarium as a scuba diver. FAMILY: Wife-Jennifer Davis Duck, Son-William Thomas Duck See Duck, page 24
7 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Meghan S. Duke, Age 26, Albany Events & Outreach Coordinator Albany Area Chamber of Commerce As the events and outreach coordinator at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, I organize and oversee all special events and networking opportunities for the chamber including the annual meeting, Business After Hours, Rise N Shine breakfasts, New Member Orientation, Business Expo and golf tournament. I also serve as the welcome coordinator of the chamber, staff liaison for the Small Business Resource Committee and for the community branding initiative, My Albany Rocks. Collaborating successfully with the more than 1,200 plus chamber members in order to promote and stimulate the economic well-being of the Albany Area is challenging and rewarding. The chamber offers many resources to a variety of businesses and industries in our community; each member s investment is personalized by taking advantage of the many benefits and savings the chamber provides. My job allows me to provide our members with the opportunity to network with other local businesses, the reason why more than half of our members joined the chamber. After working under Deidra Langstaff as part of the creative team at Langstaff Marketing, I knew I wanted to work in a field that allowed me the opportunity to help clients realize their business goals through creative and strategic marketing. Marketing isn t just a brochure; it s everything from special and publicity events to press materials and advertising. My most memorable project was creating a bouquet of pink balloons to display at The Veranda every day during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I saved a few of the balloons to remind myself of the simple principles and high standards of excellence that deliver results that exceed client and employer expectations. Glory, glory to ole Georgia. I am proud to have grown up surrounded by Southern tradition, driving on dirt roads, Friday night high school football games, and summers spent on the Flint River. I love Albany for many reasons. As a young professional, it has offered me growth and incredible opportunities to be involved in processes and make the decisions that ultimately shape our community you won t find these opportunities everywhere. Albany is a great place to call home. FAMILY: Daughter of Greg and Jan Duke of Leesburg and proud older sister to Dylan, Adair, Colby and Landon Duke. EDUCATION: I graduated from the University of Georgia, Grady College of Journalism and See Duke, page 24 Jason Ferguson, Age 35, Camilla Assistant United States Attorney United States Attorney s Office, Criminal Division, Albany, Georgia I am responsible for prosecuting individuals who violate federal law. A large percentage of the cases that I prosecute involve narcotics-related offenses. We prosecute local, large-scale drug dealers in Albany and the surrounding counties as well as individuals working for drug cartels in Mexico. A typical day may include assisting agents with GBI, DEA or ATF with legal issues surrounding an investigation, reviewing police reports, obtaining a search warrant or conducting a jury trial. I find working with local law enforcement both challenging and rewarding. Southwest Georgia simply does not enjoy the law enforcement resources that one would find in a metropolitan area like Atlanta. It always pleases me, for example, to see officers from Decatur County work together with officers from Lee County to fight crime. It is a challenge because of distance and limited resources, but it is essential to effective law enforcement in this area. My favorite law school professor had previously served as a federal prosecutor. Listening to him tell stories of prosecuting criminals made me realize that state and federal prosecutors play an important role in making a community safe. As a native of Calhoun County, I owe my accomplishments to a solid southwest Georgia upbringing. Becoming a prosecutor in this area provided me with the opportunity to give back to this community and hopefully make it safer. I have found that the people of southwest Georgia still place a premium on honesty and respect. Many times I have prosecuted someone and rightfully advocated for a very lengthy prison sentence but been amazed to find that the person still respects me. I think that you have to let people know that just because you are firm in your position doesn t mean that you operate blindly with no sense of fairness or human decency. FAMILY: Married to Candy P. Ferguson, formerly of Cuthbert, Georgia. We have one Jack Russell Terrier named Roscoe Ferguson, age 12. EDUCATION: I attended law school at Mercer University in Macon where I was a published member of the law review and a nationally-recognized member of the moot court team. I graduated from law school in I received my BA in Political Science in 1998 from Valdosta State University. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: Georgia Air National Guard: Captain, 165th Airlift Wing based in Savannah, Georgia; National Guard Association of the United States: Active Member; Air Force Association: Active Member
8 8 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Brent Fowler, Age 33, Albany Assistant Principal Dougherty County School System I am currently the Assistant Principal at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School. I am proudly responsible, along with my principal, for 90 plus employees and over 830 students. My responsibilities include but are not limited to testing, teacher observations, discipline, employee and student attendance, community relations, and parental involvement. We pride ourselves in having a structured environment in which the teachers can teach and the students can learn. We guard every minute of instructional time and require that our students be prompt and prepared to learn. The most challenging thing about my work at Lincoln is keeping up with the change in education through new initiatives and technology. Our kids are more technologically savvy than they have ever been. Society requires that our students are prepared to be efficient in all aspects of technology as related to education. We no longer rely on textbooks to teach our kids. It is important that we provide our teachers with as much professional development as possible in the area of technology. Our state mandated tests are currently requiring our students to think critically. We are constantly striving to keep all teachers, students, and parents prepared for the future. My parents instilled in me at an early age that a good education was the key to a successful career. My father was a teacher early in his career and my mom was a teacher for 35 years. My dad currently works as a school teacher for Byne Christian School. My mother worked for the Dougherty County School System for all 35 years. I can remember former students of my mother and father seeing them somewhere and telling them what a difference they made in their lives. I knew then that I wanted to make a difference in people s lives and what better way than through their education. I have also had some extraordinary teachers and coaches that molded me into the person I have become. I am a proud part of the Dougherty County School System and especially the Lincoln Elementary Magnet School team. I am part of the best staff, students, parents, and community stakeholders in the nation. I am able to see people make a difference in the lives of children on a daily basis. Our success is directly related to the belief that every child has the right to a great education within a safe environment. I consider it an honor to work with such great people, and it is my desire as their Assistant Principal to help them, in any way, reach their goals and aspirations. It is my responsibility to provide all that is necessary to help the teachers provide the quality education that every child deserves so that they can become a productive member of society. It takes the whole staff to make the difference. I am the father of two beautiful little girls. Their names are Avery Elese Fowler and Cecilia Macy Fowler. It is my prayer that they see my work ethic, my faith in God, and my passion for education. I am a member of Gillionville Baptist Church. I am also responsible for coordinating Boy Scouts recruitment up at Lincoln. I attend the Boy Scouts banquet every year. I am also the Lincoln host administrator for CAAM (Center for African American Male) annual football game at Albany State University. I got my bachelor s degree at the University of West Georgia. I also received my Master s and Specialist in Educational Leadership from Albany State University. FAMILY: Two Daughters- Avery Elese Fowler and Cecilia Macy Fowler See Fowler, page 24 Timothy Fowler, Jr., Age 38, Leesburg Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant Miller County Hospital/ HCA Palmyra Park Hospital I provide Emergency Medical Care to the citizens of southwest Georgia through local area hospital emergency departments. Behind every door or curtain exists a new challenge that allows me to directly make a difference in someones life. Before enrolling in Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant program via SOWEGA AHEC, I held a position in the corporate world. It did not take long to realize that a paycheck wasn t enough. We are most vulnerable during times of accident and illness, being able to be instrumental in the healing process is priceless. I have learned through medicine that regardless of race, gender, social status, or age we as people respond warmly and appreciative to genuine acts of caring. FAMILY: Wife Brandy Fowler, Daughter Anslee 11, Son Caleb 7, Son Gavin 10 weeks; Parents Tim Fowler Sr. and Debbie Taylor; GrandParents Nita Hall and the late Mary McDonald EDUCATION: Albany High School 1991; Darton College A.S. 1993; Georgia Southern University B.S. 1995; Emory University School of Medicine MMSc ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Corporate sponsor and coach Lee County Dixie Youth Baseball; National Health Service Corp; Corporate sponsor Lee County Competitive Cheerleading; Georgia Association of Physician Assistants; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants
9 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Larecia Gill, Age 37, Albany MSN/Ed, RN Darton College I serve as Lead Instructor for the Nursing Care of Women and Children course at Darton College. My duties include: developing syllabus and overall course structure; collaborate on curriculum and exam development; provide student instruction utilizing lecture, demonstration, simulation (SimBaby) and PowerPoint presentations. I serve as clinical instructor for the Pediatric Unit rotation, meet with students upon request, and administer all grades. Everyday hosts a new challenge, and no two days are alike. Teaching nursing students how to practice as competent practitioners is an enormous undertaking and takes patience, time, and a lot of humor. I have learned that by making students laugh, they remember information better. Each day I try to infuse humor into everything I do. I have always had an interest in the medical field but wasn t sure exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I chose nursing because it is an in-demand field, the pay is fair, and would allow me to live independently until I decided on my future. Fortunately, I discovered that being a pediatric nurse is my calling and have expanded my education to allow me to share my inspiration with others Nursing is a profession which makes nurses professionals. We are professionals 24 hours a day/7 days a week, not only when we are on the clock. Therefore, we must act like professionals at all times. So how do we do this? By volunteering in community activities and participating in professional nursing organizations. We should make our communities a better place. I strive to inspire my students to embrace a sense of responsibility towards improving their communities. I seek to instill the importance of professional awareness of nursing issues and support for collective actions among nurses to improve patient care, nursing work environments, and healthcare reform. FAMILY: I have been married for 16 years to SFC Philip Gill. We have two children: Taylor (age 11) and Griffin (age 7). EDUCATION: University of Phoenix; Phoenix, Arizona, M.S.N./Ed, 2007; Albany State University, Albany, GA, B.S.N., 1998; Darton College, Albany, GA, A.S. in General Studies, 1995; Albany Technical Institute, Albany, GA, Certificate, Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate,1995 ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Georgia Nurses Association (GNA); Founder and former President ( ) of the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Nurses Association; currently serve as Co-Chair. Meet quarterly; Darton Association of Nursing Students (DANS) Advisor; National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Sustaining Member; American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
10 10 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Frank Griffin, Jr., Age 38, Leesburg Executive Vice President/Chief Lending Officer Flint Community Bank. I am the chief lending officer of Flint Community Bank, a young community bank locally owned and managed in Albany, GA. I am primarily responsible for overseeing the lending functions of the bank, and I also play a significant role in the day to day oversight of the entire bank. Letting go is the biggest challenge for me. I am a hands-on type of person and I am somewhat of a perfectionist. Allowing the people that work with me to take charge of a task or project without me being involved in every detail is very challenging. Ironically, letting go should be the easiest part of my job because in reality, I work with an extremely competent, dedicated group of men and women. I was a part-time teller during college and really enjoyed the banking atmosphere. After college, I was led back to the banking industry. Over the years, I have found that there are not many other vocations that have more of a direct impact on people and our community than banking. Daily, I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of my customers. In order of proper priority, I am a follower of Christ, a husband, a father and a banker. As long as I keep my priorities in that order, my life will be a success. FAMILY: I have been married to a lifelong resident of Southwest Georgia, Ashley Whitfield Griffin, for 12 years. We have three children: Jackson, Wyatt and Mallory. I am the son of W. F. and Melvina Griffin. EDUCATION: I earned an Associates Degree in Accounting from Darton College ( 93) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from Georgia Southwestern College ( 96). In June of this year, I will graduate from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Board Member, Lee County Board of Education; Member and Career Sunday School Teacher, Sherwood Baptist Church; Board Member, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Education Committee; Albany Area Chamber Trustee; Darton College Foundation Past Chairman; Board of Lee County Chamber of Commerce
11 Matthew Inman, Age 34, Leesburg Branch Manager EMC Engineering Services, Inc. THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, I am the Branch Manager for EMC Engineering Services, Inc., which provides civil engineering and surveying services to a variety of private and municipal clients throughout Southwest Georgia. I am blessed to be part of a profession where my work has such a visible impact on my community. Being able to drive on safe roads, to have safe drinking water, and to flush the toilet are all due to the work of civil engineers. The biggest challenge we face for both our private and public clients is finding cost-effective, practical solutions to a wide range problems. Our clients have diverse interests each with their own unique set of problems, which require an equally varied approach to help find a solution. Often, the best solution is a very simple approach to the problem that can only be found when we look at the project from a different viewpoint or background. From a very early age I was always interested in solving problems of all types. In middle school a teacher discussed during a lecture that engineers were professional problem solvers, and I knew from that point forward that this was the career I wanted. Many people complain about traffic, poor drinking water, lack of housing and many other similar problems. Civil engineers are able to design solutions to these problems. I ve learned that many communities and private developers throughout Southwest Georgia are not aware of all of the available resources that exist to be able to help improve our local communities. There are millions of dollars available each year for all types of projects such as road paving, grants for water and sanitary sewer systems, housing, and many others that can greatly improve the lives of the people who live here. FAMILY: I have been blessed with a beautiful wife Andrea who is a high school science teacher at Lee County, daughter Bailee, son Drew, dog Tullee and cat Lucky. EDUCATION: I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. Once I learned that I could get my engineering degree in Athens instead of downtown Atlanta that was the only option I even considered. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Member of Leesburg United Methodist Church; Co- Organizer of the Lee County Daddy Daughter Dance; Board Member of the Chehaw Park Authority where I serve on the Planning Committee; Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee for Albany Technical College Civil Engineering Technology program; driver for the Georgia Quail Hunt; Coach for Dixie Youth Baseball Futures Red Team; promoter for the Cell Phones for Soldiers Program. Congratulate their Colleague and Friend Eric Hooper For being selected as one of Southwest Georgia s 2829 Old Dawson Road Albany, Georgia Telephone (229)
12 12 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Ashley Jackson, Age 27, Albany Part-Time Research Specialist Emory Prevention Research Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition I m a student, human services worker, parent/guardian and research specialist. I m a catalyst for change and an unwavering force. My life s work is dedicated to advocating for those unable to fight for themselves. No matter the struggle, I meet the individuals where they are and assist them in powering through. My career allows me to give hope to the hopeless, a voice to the silent and vision to those who lost sight of their futures. The only notable challenge is seeing the impact and feeling the pain of the crisis situation or issue leading to an upset in the life of the individual. Poverty, disabilities, sexual or physical assault are a few of the major upsets that take place in the lives of those in our community. We must stand beside, advocate for and propel those affected toward a positive future even if they feel their future is not promising. While facing many struggles within my life, I chose a path allowing me to search for reasons/answers to challenging situations and help those in need find hope. After the death of my mother, I became guardian to my brothers, both of whom have special needs. I quickly realized a passionate person fueled by love is a force no one can defeat. My endurance powers my desire to help others endure the struggle. I ve realized that ANY person can make a valued impact on the community no matter background or education level. It is exciting to be able to see combined efforts and involvement of Albany s community members working in collaboration. Albany has the potential to soar to new heights, and I m pleased to see young professionals such as those selected for the 40 under 40 and in Emerge Albany propelling this community toward the front line. FAMILY: Daughter, Kylan age one. Legal guardian of brothers, Quentin age 12 and King Family Dental Care Congratulates Dr. Charles King Jr. The Next Generation Demarcus age 17 EDUCATION: Currently attending Darton College studying Human Services & Social Work. My anticipated graduation date is summer I plan to attend Kennesaw State University after graduation with the goal of obtaining a Masters in Social Work. After completing my MSW, I plan to pursue my PhD in Social Work at the University of Georgia. Through volunteer and current work positions, I have also completed 40 hours of training in rape crisis advocacy and sexual assault prevention and certification in human subject s protection and education for research. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: I enjoy time spent with family, travel, adventure/outdoor activities, cars/racing, fitness and professional/spiritual development. Intern through Human Services Program at Easter Seals Southern Georgia; Emerge Albany (Board Member); Lily Pad SANE Center (Crisis Advocate); Chosen To Conquer, Inc. (Board Member); Southern & National Organizations for Human Services; Darton College Human Services Club (Recruiter). Ausha Jackson, Age 27, Albany Strive2Thrive Director Albany Area Chamber of Commerce As the Strive2Thrive Coordinator and key facilitator of the community-based Circles initiative, my role is to facilitate relationships across race and class lines in such a way that low-income individuals receive the flexible, relational support needed to lift themselves out of poverty. The ultimate goal of Strive2Thrive is to engage the community in developing solutions to the systemic barriers that make it difficult for people to transition and stay out of poverty. The most challenging part of my job is taking on difficult issues, changing the mindset of the community and addressing biases that marginalize people. In order to affect system changes, remove the barriers and roadblocks that families are experiencing through new social and public policy, and empower people to be economically self-sufficient, we must be transparent, willing to address our own prejudices, and do so in a no blame environment. A native of Albany, I ve personally overcome many obstacles, including teen pregnancy and poverty. I come from a very middle class family which includes educators, economic developers, and plant engineers. However, as a teen mother, I quickly realized how one bad decision can lead to a life of struggle. Thankfully, I had family support and the social resources needed to help me get back on my feet, complete high school, and go to college. I ve since graduated with a Master s degree and have successfully owned and operated three small businesses, including Creative Solutions Enterprises, a small business coaching and consulting firm that assists aspiring entrepreneurs in identifying unique and creative opportunities in starting a business. Through my success, I wanted to avert other young girls from making the same mistakes I did, so I began volunteering through programs, such as Girls Inc., SIFE, Taking Time for Teens, and the Girls Mentoring Program at my church, Rhema Word Cathedral. In 2009, I partnered with Network of Trust and founded Focus on Finishing, a program that attempts to prevent teen mothers from falling into poverty by encouraging them to complete their high school education and create an action plan for their lives and for their families. This, in turn, has opened many opportunities, including my current position as the Strive2Thrive Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce. No significant learning or change occurs without a significant relationship. In order for the city of Albany to really become the Good Life City where schools are excelling, businesses are thriving, and families are whole, our community must be willing to tackle feelings about class and race diversity and build an economic model that is inclusive of all people. I am a believer that great things happen when people open their hearts and minds to the possibility of true love and genuine relationships that are not based upon the color of your skin or your social status. These are the relationships that will equip us to eventually break the cycle of poverty. FAMILY: I am the daughter of Earl See Jackson, page 24
13 Victoria Johnson, Age 34, Albany Assistant District Attorney Dougherty County District Attorneys Office THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, I am prosecutor for the Dougherty County District Attorney s Office specializing in domestic violence cases and crimes against women. Since I am very passionate about prosecuting crimes, particularly crimes against women, it is sometimes disconcerting to see victims of domestic violence return to their abusers where they often place themselves and their children in great danger. Then there are the devastating after effects of domestic violence where young girls choose the same type of relationships that they have seen modeled with their mothers or young boys who copy the violent behavior in their own relationships. Even with all of the training and understanding about all the reasons why the women stay which includes economic dependence, emotional attachment and the fear and the control of the abuser, it is still difficult to see women return and rationalize the behavior of those who abuse them, which in too many situations leads to serious injury or death. During my second year of law school, my cousin was murdered by her husband. We later learned that she suffered silently years of physical and emotional abuse. After my cousin s death and during the proceedings of the murder case, my interest in prosecution grew, and I decided to apply for an internship in the prosecutor s office in Seminole County, Florida that following summer. It was a rewarding learning experience and led to my decision to choose prosecution as a career. The prosecutors in the Dougherty County District Attorney s Office care about the issues of our community, and we care about protecting the community from crimes of all types. We are committed to following each case from its inception to its completion with the upmost respect and concern for the victims and with fervent preparation of the legal issues. FAMILY: I am the youngest of five girls born to Randall and Ethel Harmon. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, I relocated to Albany, Georgia in August 2009 after marrying Aaron Johnson, an Economics Professor at Darton College. EDUCATION: I hold a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in English from University of Florida and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Florida A & M University College of Law. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: I am a board member of the Liberty House, which is a local domestic violence shelter that is committed to reducing domestic violence in our area. My primary responsibilities include approving policy initiatives, recommending resource allocations, and promoting the importance of domestic violence issues throughout the community. I also serve as an Executive Board Member for the Stop the Violence Taking Authority. This local initiative is committed to lowering youth violence by developing recreational activities and connecting them to various social agencies in the area. I also serve my community through ministry and singing. As a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church, I teach Sunday School for 9-11 year olds along with participating in multiple choirs. Recently, I was chosen by Rutha Harris to sing with the Freedom Singers where we perform regionally singing songs from the civil rights movement. Jennifer Johnston, Age 31, Leesburg Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition I am the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer of the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition, a local nonprofit organization with the mission to reduce suffering from cancer in our area. I coordinate and manage all fiscal and operational areas, including grants and contracts, budgets, finances, regulatory compliance, nonprofit governance, personnel and facilities. Managing multiple facets of the organization and ensuring that our nonprofit remains in compliance and adheres to the highest nonprofit governance principles challenges me. Another challenge that exists is looking past the cost to see that the benefit is much greater to meet the mission of our organization. As a child growing up, I always enjoyed and excelled at math, so declaring a math major in college seemed like the best choice. For the first five years after college graduation, I either worked in the financial industry or the nonprofit industry. The career I have made for myself now combines both worlds, allowing me to utilize my financial skills in the nonprofit industry. My faith in God drives me in all that I do personally and professionally. We are here to make a difference, so I try to align myself with God s will for me. Working in the nonprofit industry is rewarding in that you are able to see how needs are met at the most basic level, and I find joy in helping to meet those needs. FAMILY: I have been married to Blair Johnston for 8 years, and we have two daughters, Carly, 5, and Kinsley, 1. EDUCATION: I graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelors in Applied Mathematics and a Masters in Business Administration. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: I am a member of Sherwood Baptist Church where I serve in the choir.
14 14 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Dr. Charles King, Jr., Age 31, Albany Dental Associate King Family Dental Care, Inc. Family and Restorative Dental Services includes the diagnosis and treatment of oral hard and soft tissue disease, preventive treatments, complete oral rehabilitation, and elective cosmetic treatments. The most challenging aspect of dentistry is motivating our patients to be diligent in the care of their teeth and gums. When the patient does what is expected at home, then our job is made much easier, and the patient ultimately experiences fewer episodes of pain and other complications. Also, closing the gap in quality of care between patients within various socioeconomic backgrounds is a great challenge. My father was my initial inspiration for going into dentistry. In addition, as an undergraduate I participated in a summer program at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, where I was shown even more about dentistry and healthcare as a whole that I did not discover in my father s practice. I learned of the wide variety of specialties that oral healthcare offers, from more of a dental student s perspective. This really expanded my horizons and heightened my interest in dentistry. I ve learned that it takes more than just performing your professional trade to be an effective contributor to the community. To whom much is given, much is required. Many organizations are in need of talented individuals who can contribute their time, intelligence, and financial resources and be totally selfless while doing so. That is what an effective servant-leader does. FAMILY: My mother, Mrs. Terry Winston-Bonner, is an education specialist in the Dekalb County School System. My father is Dr. Charles C. King, Sr., current owner of King Family Dental Care, Inc. I have two younger siblings, Tara and Corbin. My dedicated extended family; Mrs. Patricia King, Mr. Charles Bonner, and five stepbrothers and sisters are all supportive of my career and vision in life. EDUCATION: Product of the Dougherty County School System, graduating from Albany High School in 1997; Albany State University (2001) B.S. Biology (Cum Laude); Medical College of Georgia s School of Dentistry (2005) Doctor of Dental Medicine; Bronx-Lebanon Hospital (2006) completed General Practice Residency ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Mount Zion Baptist Church Dr. Daniel Simmons, Pastor; Dental Provider The Samaritan Clinic Albany, GA; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Beta Nu Sigma Chapter; Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity; Leadership Albany 2010 Alumnus; Citizen s Advisory Committee Dougherty County; Open Arms, Inc. Board Member; LOVER OF MUSIC AND TRAVEL!!!!! Jamie Knight, Age 28, Leesburg Branch Manager, Banking Officer SB&T Bank My role with SB&T Bank is to develop and maintain relationships while demonstrating behaviors supportive of company values. As a bank lender, I make consumer and commercial loans that mutually benefit the bank and our customers. I am responsible for leading all sales function and the coaching of team members. Ultimately, my largest responsibility is to manage the profitability of the Oakland Branch. In today s banking environment, the biggest challenge I face is staying abreast of the ever changing government regulations in our industry. We are committed to taking care of our customers to the best of our abilities. Often times, government criticizes banks through the media for our failure to lend money, while at the same time regulations are implemented daily that makes lending money more difficult. My enthusiasm for helping people combined with my passion for finance led me down this career path. When I see customers achieve their personal financial goals or gain ownership in an asset that they have admired for a long time, I am able to sit back and remind myself that I have chosen a very rewarding and important career path. I have learned that there are two types of people, those that have a positive outlook on our community and aspire to bring out the best in it and those who cannot see through our challenges to open their mind to the possibilities. I would encourage our citizens to withhold negative feelings and to grasp the opportunity we have each been given to do great things for our community and its citizens. FAMILY: Married to Lacey (Simmons) Knight for 9 years. We have one daughter, Ivey (8) and one son, Colby (11 Months). We currently reside in Lee County and attend Breakaway Community Church. EDUCATION: I graduated from Georgia Southern University in the Spring of 2005 with a Bachelor s Degree in Finance (BBA) with an emphasis in Bank Management. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Albany Crime Stoppers (Treasurer, Board Member); Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany (Corporate Board Member); Lee County Kiwanis Club (Charter Member, Board Member); Young Leaders Society of SW Georgia (Member); Albany Area Chamber of Commerce (Member); Leadership Lee (Graduate)
15 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Heather Lanier, Age 31, Newton Chief Assistant District Attorney Dougherty County District Attorney s Office I prosecute cases from inception throughout the appellate processes; therefore, I have extensive trial work in Juvenile, State and Superior Courts, but I also prepare the cases for presentment to the Dougherty County Grand Jury. I respond to crime scenes and work with officers during the investigation. I conduct legal training for law enforcement and prosecutors statewide and nationally. I have authored legal memoranda, pleadings, and appellant briefs for the Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. I find that the magnitude of decisions, both in quantity and severity, that must be made on a daily basis to be the most challenging. I must be constantly, keenly aware of the power and effect such decisions and the discretions has on individuals and myself. Deciding whether to prosecute someone accused of a crime is a grave responsibility, and deciding when to use my discretion to seek resolutions that the individuals, the community, and justice demands is arduous and intricate. I come from a law enforcement family (i.e. police officers, probation officer, correction workers, and judges). I knew that I wanted a similar, community service career. I realized that to be a prosecutor one must have an understanding of people, their motivations and their needs, and the wisdom and desire to determine an appropriate course of action. Being a prosecutor requires legal skills and capacity for fairness, compassion, and empathy. (Paraphrasing How to Become a Prosecutor By Julie Reynolds) I love having a career that allows me to draw on and grow every skill that I possess while touching and positively affecting the lives of so many individuals, whether known or unknown or appreciated or unappreciated. It is appealing, challenging, and life-defining. David Frost once said, [d]on't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. I have learned that is a very true statement. As an assistant district attorney, one s mandate to vigorously prosecutor crime while concurrently delivering justice to every citizen often seems like attempting to move a mountain with a teaspoon; nevertheless, where would our community and our society be without those persons so willing to start digging. I want to be an individual who is willing to accept challenges and hopefully inspire others to do so. I want to be a successful prosecutor for my community, my family, and myself. There is not doubt that I truly love my job and care about my surroundings; therefore, I have learned that if I am steady and dedicated to my beliefs and ideals, success and reward will come. I hope, as a prosecutor, success and reward will come to our communities. FAMILY: Husband, Michael Rooks Lanier, Jr.; Daughters: Lillian Lanier, 4; Abigail Lanier, 1 EDUCATION: Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law, Macon, Georgia, , Juris Doctorate; University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, , Bachelor of Arts; Westwood High School, Camilla, Georgia, ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: A life-long member of Newton Baptist Church, Newton, Georgia. I am Baker County Native and life-long resident. I have always been active in the community and in community service. I frequently lecture and instruct local law enforcement, and recently I was a faculty member for the National District Attorney s Association s Prosecutor Boot Camp at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, which is a nationally recognized prosecutorial training facility. In law school I volunteered with and eventually chaired the charity auction to benefit the local domestic violence service center, and I was recognized by the Association of Women Law Students for that work. Since working in Albany, I have volunteered with the literacy intervention program and truancy intervention program. I have frequently spoken at schools and P.T.O. meetings. I have served as secretary/treasurer of the Dougherty County Bar Association from I have volunteered, coached, judged, and currently serve on a statewide committee for the State Bar of Georgia, Georgia High School Mock Trial Association. I also serve on the advisory committee for the paralegal program at Darton College. I am also active in the Junior League of Albany, Georgia, and I will soon complete my provisional year. Antonio Leroy, Age 37, Albany Interim Director for the Center for the African-American Male (CAAM) Albany State University My job is very intriguing! I assist multiple departments on the campus of Albany State University with recruiting, enrolling, mentoring and fostering incoming male students. Through my involvement with our male mentors, collaborations with other departments at ASU and partners in our community, I assist our students in making the transition from high school to college a smooth one. I oversee meetings, host Saturday Academies, Male Dialogues, Elementary School T- Shirt of Colors Football Game (for 5th grade boys from the Dougherty County School System), Middle School Winter Youth Summits (for 6th grade boys from the Dougherty County School System), Annual National Males Conference at ASU for high school, collegiate and males in our community and surrounding areas and facilitate Spirit Parades. I also oversee federal funds through The Office of Title III that make CAAM a vital resource to our area. It is rare that I find my career challenging. I enjoy helping others in our community on a daily bases to realize their full potential. My passion has been and will always be to inspire students to graduate from high school and get a college degree, be an outstanding citizen, and give back to the community as a high priority. The example my father James C. Leroy projected was impeccable. He molded and prepared me to be the man that I am today. My father was ole school, and he had one saying that I heard early and often, Go Hard or Go HOME! Dad was very inspirational not only in my life but in my brothers lives as well. He worked with children from all over the city. I was blessed as a student athlete, and I dreamed of playing in the NFL (National Football League) for a long time. However, I discovered that my life s work would consist of being a REAL MODEL of success for the youth in our community. I have grown to understand that it takes a village to raise a child. Other influences that molded me were my mother, my teachers, coaches and mentors. In so many words they said, Be the example you seek. I have learned, regardless of the task at hand, one must put his best foot forward. I learned that each person has something unique to offer. I learned in the words of James Baldwin that These youth are all of our children and we benefit by or pay for later whatever they become. I have learned that words such as, Yes Sir, No Ma am, Thank You, Excuse Me, and I m Sorry are oxygen for others soul. Finally, I have learned that decisions, not environment, determine your destiny. FAMILY: Mother - Julia Davis; Antonio Leroy II - 7th grader at Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Art & Akileis Leroy - 6th grader at Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Art (sons); Siblings: brothers - Mr. James Leroy, Sgt. First Class (SFC.) with The United States Army, Mr. Emarlos Leroy, graduate of The University of Georgia and a former member of the Jacksonville, Jaguars. Sister: Mrs. Kizzy (Leroy) EDUCA- TION: Monroe Comprehensive High School, Albany, Ga; Albany State University Health Physical Education & Recreation ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; Little League Head Football Coach with the Parks and Recreation of Albany, Georgia; Cofounder of the 100 Black Men of Albany, Georgia, Inc.; Former President of the Sons of Allan at Bethel AME Church (2010); Albany, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame member Class of 2006; Albany State University Sports Hall of Fame member Class of 2010; Albany State University National Alumni Association Member; Albany State University Foundation Supporter
16 16 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Theodosia Lovett, Age 34, Albany Civil Case Manager/ Psychology Instructor Phil Cannon & Associates/Albany State University I have over 13 years experience in the legal field. Presently I work as Civil Case Manager at Phil Cannon & Associates. This has led to the discovery of my second passion which is the field of Psychology and Adult Education. I currently work Part-time at Albany State University as a Psychology Instructor. In this position I use real world issues as well as text book material to guide students learning and discovery in psychology. One challenge I have is encouraging some students to break out of their shells. Don t take the safe road all the time. I always tell my students I believe in them. The next step is for them to believe in themselves. It s amazing how much can be accomplished when we believe. I have always had a passion for people. This passion led me to the legal field. In the legal field, I realized early that some issues could be resolved if we target several key factors. These factors were lack of education and positive support systems. This is what drove me to take the next steps and continue my education. It is my sincerest hope that my challenges and experiences can be a catalyst for the success of others. I took this road to help encourage individuals to aim high and reach their potential. I believe strength lies in our ability to look beyond what is and look at what will be. In my personal observations, there are individuals out there willing to make positive changes. Their lack of change is not the result of lack of willingness; it is merely the result of inadequate resources and support. If we want to change our community and world, we have to start by stretching our hands out to those fighting to reach back. FAMILY: I am married to my wonderful husband and best friend Kelcey A. Lovett. We have two beautiful daughters Teracya B. Lovett and Jayetta T. Lovett. I am the daughter of Dr. Aill & Mary Mannie. EDUCATION: I have an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice with a Masters in Psychology and am in my last semester of coursework completion towards my doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership and Conflict Resolution. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: I am one of the assistant directors of Youth Against Violence, a nonprofit organization for at risk youth. I have volunteered at Zion Pure Life Outreach as an adult education tutor and mentor. I am in the process of starting my own community outreach organization known as New Mindset. Previously, I have worked with Kiwanis of Southern Rivers and still donate as much time as possible to other outreach organizations in the area. I will forever be of service. Wilena McClain Clark, Age 30, Albany K-12 Account Executive/Technology Consultant Xerox Audio Visual Solutions In this role, the primary responsibilities are to help Educators bridge the digital divide and to prepare students for jobs in today s global economy. My job entails assisting public and private schools in designing 21st Century classroom technology solutions, while providing Educators with the tools, largely a variety of interactive hardware and software, in order to achieve instructional excellence in a modern, digital learning environment. Working with schools within 24 counties throughout Southwest Georgia, I ve learned that no two schools are alike in terms of needs or funding. Many are facing budget cutbacks, leaving schools with little funds to spare for upgrades. As a partner with the education community, I facilitate technology showcases, collaborate with schools and technology centers for professional development and equipment demonstrations, and share fundraising and grant opportunities in order to help to overcome this challenge. It is rewarding to be in a position where I can truly make a difference. What better way than to utilize my education and training to be a resource to educators ensuring every child is prepared for endless possibilities in our ever changing world. Education is the key to the success of our community, our economy, and our future. I chose this career with the desire to remain innovative and effective. By being involved in our community, I ve learned Albany can be a rewarding place to live and work. I am committed to being resourceful and making divine connections that will benefit all involved. Also, I enjoy connecting with other communities, then sharing these positive experiences and contributing these ideas to better our community. If you want to see change, you have to represent change. If you would like to see things moving forward, then never be afraid to initiate progress. FAMILY: I am single and the mother of one. Her daughter, Aiyla Zora Clark is an active, 8- year old honor student at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School. EDUCATION: I am a native of Albany, GA and a product of the Dougherty County School System. After graduating from Monroe High School in 1998, I continued my education in Computer Information Systems at Albany Technical College and Darton College. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: I am the Immediate Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Southern Rivers. I led the organization of this new chapter in July 2009 as Charter President. I am an Ambassador for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2007 I was named an Ambassador of the Quarter. I am also a Board Member of Emerge Albany and one of the founding members. I am a graduate of the 2010 Class of Dougherty Leadership Development Institute and the 2011 Class of Leadership Albany.
17 Monica Mennite, Age 29, Albany Doctor of Audiology Albany ENT and The Hearing Center at Albany ENT As a Doctor of Audiology, I specialize in evaluating and treating infants, children and adults who have hearing and balance disorders. I conduct a wide variety of tests to determine the exact nature of an individual's hearing or balance problem and present a variety of treatment options, including amplification (hearing instruments) and aural rehabilitation. My job is to help patients with hearing and balance disorders obtain a better quality of life despite their ear-related problems. One constant challenge I encounter is convincing patients of the severe impact that hearing loss can have on their quality of life. The resistance that patients have in getting appropriate treatment is typically a result of a previous bad experience or the stigma of hearing instruments. I always knew I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives. I wanted my career to bring a smile to others and give me a sense of personal fulfillment at the end of the day. Audiology fell into my path when I was a social worker dealing with children referred for emotional and behavioral problems. To my surprise, I learned that many of these children were falling behind in school simply because of undiagnosed hearing difficulties. I often open presentations with the Helen Keller quote Blindness separates you from things; deafness separates you from people, which is something I ve found to be very true. I love seeing the delighted husband and wife who, as a result of a new hearing device, can now communicate after years of confusion and frustration. Such experiences make my job very rewarding. THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, David Milliner, Jr., Age 38, Albany Local Business Owner and Non Profit Managing Director Milliner Enterprises Catering & Design; East Baker Historical Society Non Profit Group and Commercial Kitchen As a local business owner and as a part of an area non-profit group, we partner with several agencies and organizations to create food based businesses and jobs in Southwest Georgia. Each day, we pray for ways to feed people mentally, physically and spiritually. Through educating and motivating the total person, we help build legacies and invest in the next generation via economic development. Wanting to do so much for so many as fast as possible can sometimes be frustrating. We work in a rural area and we all know funds are quite limited, meaning we depend on God to see us through to the end. It is important to slow down, get out of God s way and remember His promise. We did not choose Him, He chose us and appointed us to bear much fruit A love for art led to this career path. Drawing, sketching, painting and the like all pointed to the ultimate canvas an empty plate. We all have to eat and God wants us to feed His sheep! Remembering we have not arrived, made it to the finished line or gotten to the point where we cannot improve, are all constant reminders of how much more work we have to do. This keeps us humble. It is never about us, but about God and Jesus Christ. FAMILY: A native of Albany, Dougherty County, GA, I am the first born son of See Mennite, page 25 David, Sr. & Maggie Milliner. I have an older See Milliner, page 25 Congratulates Vanessa Addai for being selected as one of Southwest Georgia s The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company, Albany, GA Touching Lives, Improving Life.
18 18 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Megan Paulk, Age 27, Sylvester Branch Manager DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union As Branch Manager of DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union s main office, I manage ten employees and carry the responsibility of the day to day operations of the branch including a number of behind-the-scenes processes as well as servicing members needs. On any given day I can be found assisting members with lending needs, opening accounts, and occassionally even helping out on the teller line. I generally surprise at least one person a day when they walk into my office and realize I am the branch manager. At only 27 years old, I have advanced to a management position supervising a team of tellers and financial officers. I feel that my strong work ethic, optimistic attitude, self-confidence, and good decision-making skills have helped me overcome any age barriers and gain respect as a manager. I never imagined when I graduated high school ten years ago that my career would be in the financial industry, especially management. After high school I started working parttime as a teller while attending dental hygiene school. After realizing I was headed down the wrong career path, I started taking business management classes and further developing my career in the financial industry. I advanced into positions including Lead Teller, Financial Services Officer, Assistant Branch Manager, and currently, Branch Manager. I have learned that with hard work and dedication it is possible to start at the bottom and work your way up no matter what your age. I believe it is an advantage to be a manager that has worked my way up because I have been in the shoes of every person I supervise and understand situations they maybe presented with. I married my high school sweetheart, Ryan, in September He is a great supporter in every task I take on and is always encouraging me to reach higher in my education and my career. Ryan is an electrician with Albany Electric. Our only child is a 3 year old black lab, Sadie. I graduated Cum Laude with an AAS in Management from Darton in 2006 and received Star Student in Management Award for the 2006/2007 school year. While in attendance I was a member of Alpha Beta Gamma business honor society and Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society. I am currently pursuing a BBA in HR Management from Georgia Southwestern State University. I am highly involved in the Worth County American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I have been a committee member since 2007 and served as treasurer in I support WCHS Band Boosters by volunteering at football concession stands. I have volunteered at the Snickers Marathonsince As an employee of DOCO Regional FCU, I participate in team fundraising efforts and activities for various charitable organizations such as The Alzheimer s Association s Annual Memory Walk, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society s Light the Night Walk, Children s Miracle Network, The Salvation Army, and Toys for Tots. Elizabeth Perkins, Age 29, Leesburg Interim Dean of Humanities Darton College I serve as the Interim Dean of Humanities as well as assistant professor of English, ACCEL program coordinator, English department coordinator, and online lead faculty member for literature courses. I work with the administration, faculty, staff, and students at Darton College to ensure that the Humanities division is successful and its students are well prepared for transfer programs or careers. I also help high school students who are or would like to be dually enrolled. Although I enjoy a challenge, the most challenging thing about my work is wearing so many hats! A dean is a representative for the students to the faculty, for the faculty members to students, for the administration to the faculty, and for the faculty to the administration! It can be difficult to try to make everyone happy, but effective collaboration and communication between all parties can make it happen. I have always loved helping others, and I began tutoring when I was 13. By the time I finished my master s degree, I knew higher education was my calling. Darton College has given me so many opportunities, and I have always wanted to contribute to an institution beyond the classroom. I am grateful to have been appointed to positions that have allowed me to grow as a person, a leader, and an instructor. I have learned that you can accomplish just about any task with the help and guidance of others. I have been very lucky at Darton College to have so many amazing colleagues and supervisors who have helped me in multiple ways. Since moving to Albany, I have also made amazing friends here who help to make my life so much more full! In summation, I have learned that asking for help only makes life better. FAMILY: Married to Brian Perkins, Broadcast Journalism Coordinator at Darton College. We have two dogs (Déjà and Oliver) and two cats (Geneviève and Strappey McGhee). EDUCATION: M.A. and B.A. in English from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Sigma Kappa Delta (English Honor Society) advisor; Member of Emerge Albany; Alpha Gamma Delta alumna. Since 2007, I have worked with the Darton College Dance Company and Darton Players in several different capacities: backstage manager, lighting technician, box office representative, hair and make-up designer, dancer, and actress.
19 Carol Pierzchajlo, Age 29, Albany Residential Clerk/Billing Assistant Albany Advocacy Resource Center (Albany Arc) Trey Pippin, Age 33, Albany Manager Renewable Properties, LLC and Pippin Farms, LLC I manage 2000 acres of pecan production in Southwest Georgia. In addition, I developed and built the largest private solar farm in the state of Georgia on a pecan farm near Arlington, Georgia in early This installation is used to offset power consumption on the farm. Later in 2010, I surpassed my own record and developed the first utility scale solar project in the state near Blairsville, Georgia. I plan on continuing to expand the solar business with an additional three mega-watts in projects slated to begin later in Every day is a new challenge. No day is ever the same and each day brings its own set of new challenges, many of which I have not faced before. Because we are a growing small business, I have to wear many different hats from management, accounting, marketing and project development. Balancing my time between family and work is also a challenge. It takes a lot of my time and energy to move along new projects. It is difficult to balance the two. Even though some people in Jacksonville, Florida gave me odd looks when I told them I was quitting my engineering career to become a pecan farmer, farming was a natural fit for me. The solar business actually started because of our farming operation. In the constant quest to cut costs, the staff at the USDA advised us to research solar. Since that day, we have continued to expand the solar business. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. - Proverbs 3:5,6 Even though I know I fail sometimes, I try to let my faith in God lead all my decisions in life. FAMILY: Without the support of my family, especially my wife, I know I could not do what I do in my career. Wife: Shena Pippin Children: Sarah, Barbara, and Mangham; Parents: Barbara and Clarence Pippin EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering from the University of Georgia. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZA- TIONS: Active member at Gillionville Baptist Church where I serve as a K-5 Sunday school teacher, Georgia Solar Energy Association member, and Georgia Pecan Growers Association member. THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Albany Arc is a nonprofit organization that serves individuals throughout Albany with various types of mental and physical disabilities. We currently have about 130 people we serve in our Residential Program. I am in charge of collecting and documenting Monthly Direct Care Staff documentation that is turned in to me on a monthly basis. I record what is missing and what is accounted for and report to my Supervisor. I then have to follow up with staff on what is still missing. I also use Word Perfect and Excel to complete various tasks. I have been with Albany Arc for four years now. One thing I find challenging about my job is getting all the things that are required for monthly documentation completed and accounted for. The mass paperwork that comes in monthly can be challenging to keep with the correct client and filed where it needs to be. I have wonderful coworkers in the Residential Department where I work that are always willing to lend a hand if I get overwhelmed. My Mother started with Albany Arc a few years before I did. She found out that they offered affordable, accessible residential housing. I was put on a waiting list and a year or so later I was accepted for the housing. My Mom has always raised me to be very independent and self-sufficient. She is the reason why I am as successful and independent as I am today. I would not be here without her! My Mom is my biggest fan and my number one supporter. I have learned over the years that if you surround yourself with positive upbeat go- getters that you will eventually follow in their footsteps. I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family that continues to encourage me daily even though we're all grown and on our own paths now. I have had and continue to have wonderful supportive friends in my life as well. FAMILY: I am a triplet. We are all one minute apart. Two girls and a boy. My sister is married and has two beautiful children. Ellie, my niece, is almost three and Jake, my nephew, is almost a year old. They live in Seattle, Washington. My brother lives in Austin, Texas and is currently attending culinary school. I also have a brother who is nine years younger than we are. He is attending ABAC in Tifton. EDUCATION: I graduated from Tift County High School in May of I attended Tift Area Technical College for two years and obtained a certificate in Medical Reception. I also took a few semesters in Cosmetology at Tift Area Tech and a semester at Albany Technical College. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: I was a member of the Tift County Choral group all the way through high school. I am a 2009 graduate of Dougherty Leadership Institute. I am also a 2010 graduate of Leadership Albany. I am a member of Emerge Albany and a volunteer at Chehaw.
20 20 THE ALBANY HERALD 40 UNDER 40 Sunday, April 24, Gordina Porter, Age 30, Albany Coordinator for the Program of Exceptional Children Mitchell County School System I, Gordina Porter, oversee special education procedures for the Mitchell County School System. These procedures encompass insurance of compliance with state and federal guidelines, submitting thorough reports, data, and information, serving as a liaison between teachers and administrators for the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the Individualized Educational Program for assigned students, and serving as a resource to school personnel on the nature, causes, and solutions to learning problems of children. Although there are duties and responsibilities established for my position as well as other special education staff members, often times it is a challenge holding others accountable for balancing children's needs with state and federal mandates. As an 8th grader, I volunteered as a tutor in an intellectual disabled classroom. This experience inspired me to become a special education teacher. There was something in me as a child that motivated me to teach. I believe my passion to teach may have been a calling from God. "Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good gets better and your better gets best!" As educators we are charged with the duties to not only teach but to inspire those around us. We inspire others to build bridges that will W J EFFEREY AKEFIELD S For Being Selected OUTHWEST G EORGIA S lead into the world of endless possibilities. We inspire societies to create the impossible. We are the advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves. FAMILY: In all that I embark upon, my family has been my support system and the biggest group of cheerleaders for encouragement and strength. I have been married to a devoted husband, Orenthal Porter, for three years. We have two amazing children, Tyree and McKenzie Porter and a hyperactive Yorkie, Mason Porter. EDUCATION: I completed my elementary and secondary education in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1999, I graduated from Tri-Cities Visual and Performing Arts Magnet High School. I am a 2004 and 2006 graduate of Albany State University, with a bachelor s degree in Special Education and a master s degree in Interrelated Special Education. ACTIVITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: I am a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, under the spiritual leadership of Dr. Daniel Simmons. It is here that he teaches us the importance of giving. Luke 12:48 teaches us, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Through my sorority, Congratulations Cedar Ave., Albany, GA Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., I am able to participate in several community activities that allow me to give back. One initiative that I participate with involves mentoring young ladies from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. This program serves as an avenue to mentor young ladies from middle through high school, providing various services that include simple conversations (girl talk), tutorial, and engaging activities that otherwise they may not participate. I may not be able to offer all the riches of the world, but I do have time to share. My hope is that my contribution will inspire another young lady to grow up and volunteer her services to others. As a participant with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Graduate Teacher Academy, I have been given the opportunity to further develop my teaching and leadership skills. This program was developed to provide high-potential, novice teachers with information, technology, teaching techniques and skills, and opportunities for networking with other teachers across Georgia. Jenny Savelle, Age 31, Leesburg CEO Bishop Clean Care, Inc. I am a joint owner of Bishop Clean Care, Inc. with my husband Jud Savelle. The business was founded by his grandfather in Albany in 1952, and we purchased the business from his mother in As CEO I am responsible for company and financial strategy, human resource planning, account management and business development. With a background in Industrial Engineering, continuous process improvement is always in my job scope. Running your own business requires so much attention to many details and aspects of your work. What makes my job challenging is staying focused on my daily duties as well as long term vision. It is very easy to get caught up in a firefighting mode. It is important to prioritize, be proactive, and delegate when possible. Additionally, to set time aside on a regular basis for recap, planning, and strategy purposes. I climbed the corporate ladder in Atlanta for 5 years after graduate school. I worked long hours and was getting promoted rapidly. However, in the back of my mind, I did not feel fulfilled. My husband and I always wanted to work for ourselves. It was an easy decision to purchase the family business when my mother-in-law was ready to retire. It s great to be able to make decisions and be responsible for the impact. I was born in Beijing, China and have always been a city girl. I had my doubts about moving to a small Southern town. It was new to me to see people I recognized in the grocery store and how everyone seemed to know everyone else. In the past two years I have learned to really appreciate the slower pace of this more intimate community. I have been married to my college sweetheart, Jud Savelle, for 7 years. We welcomed the arrival of our son, Ethan Kai Savelle, this March. I graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering with high honors in 2002 and a M.S. in Industrial Engineering in 2003, both from Georgia Tech. I serve on the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees for Girls Inc. of Albany. I am the Regional Chair for the 2011 American Heart Association s Albany Heart Walk. I am an active member of 1st Presbyterian Church of Albany. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, dancing, cooking, outdoor activities, and attending Georgia Tech events.