40 under forty

The UGA Alumni Association celebrates its 2013 class of outstanding Bulldogs


For the third year, the UGA Alumni Association recognized 40 outstanding alumni under the age of 40. They were selected for their contributions to business, leadership, research, the arts, community, education and philanthropy; their dedication to the University of Georgia; and how well they uphold the pillars of the Arch—wisdom, justice and moderation. Chosen from a pool of about 500 applicants nominated by friends, family, business associates and UGA faculty and staff, the winners were selected by a committee of UGA administrators and faculty, members of the UGA Foundation and the Alumni Association. The 2013 class of outstanding alumni was celebrated at an awards luncheon on Sept. 19 at the Georgia Aquarium.



Laurie Barron (BSEd ’96) Barron is a National Board Certified Teacher, a distinction earned by only 1 percent of U.S. teachers. In 2012, she was named Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year while serving as principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan. Now living in Montana, she is superintendent for Evergreen School District.













Timothy Murphy (BBA ’96) Murphy is a senior vice president of financial planning and analysis for RockTenn, a publicly traded consumer packaging company in Norcross. Under his direction the company has grown from $1 billion to $10 billion and acquired another company, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, in 2011.











Padgett “Pat” Wilson (AB ’96) Wilson is chief operating officer for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, managing an annual budget of $26 million and 170 staff members. He also is executive director of Georgia Allies, a marketing partnership between the state and the private sector that promotes Georgia’s economic development priorities.











Brendan Kyle Hatcher (BBA ’97) Hatcher is an international export and investment strategist with Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development. Previously he served as a diplomat in the Bahamas and Russia, where he addressed issues like human trafficking and religious freedom. In August 2014, he will become economic chief at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest.











Ron Holt (BSA ’97) In 2003, Holt invested his savings in a fledgling maid service. Ten years later, Two Maids & A Mop is the largest privately owned residential cleaning company in the country, with 150 team members in five states. In 2013, he was a semifinalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


















Charlie Bethel (BBA ’98, JD ’01) Bethel is a Georgia state senator serving his second term representing the 54th district. He is director of human resources for J&J Industries Inc. and was named Freshman Legislator of the Year by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 2012. Bethel twice served on the Dalton City Council.










Angela Dotson (BBA ’98, MAcc ’99) Dotson is one of the youngest partners at Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest tax, accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Georgia. A breast cancer survivor, she also serves on the board of directors for Turning Point, a health care facility for women battling breast cancer.



















Shunta Jordan (BSFCS ’98, MEd ’03) Jordan is the J.B. Fuqua Chair of Speech & Debate at Pace Academy in Atlanta and has coached six state championship teams and one national championship debate team. She also is the assistant varsity girls basketball coach and leads summer debate workshops for middle and high school students.

















Dr. Patrick Lucas (BS ’98) Lucas co-founded the Northeast Georgia branch of Compassionate Care Hospice and serves as its medical director. After his residency at Wake Forest University, he joined Hawthorne Medical Associates in Athens and became a full partner. He was chief of internal medicine at Athens Regional Medical Center from 2009 to 2013.



















Robyn Painter (AB ’98) Painter is an attorney and internship coordinator with the Georgia Appellate Practice and Educational Resource Center in Atlanta, where she advocates for convicted criminals on Georgia’s death row. She served in the Peace Corps, developing a public health program in Madagascar, before earning her law degree from Georgetown University in 2004.












Kevin Abernethy (AB ’99) Abernethy is partner at Hall Booth Smith in Atlanta. In 2010, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle appointed him to a four-year term on the State Ethics Commission. The following year, Abernethy became the youngest Georgian to be selected to serve as chairman of the commission. He’s now serving his second term as chairman.


















Dr. Charnetta Colton (BS ’99) Colton is a physician at South Atlanta Pediatrics in Riverdale and Locust Grove. Previously she practiced at Children’s Healthcare Center in Sandersville, where she served on the Washington County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and was medical director of CrossFit Kids. She is also a Christian playwright with two productions to her credit.















Jon Howell (BBA ’99) Howell is president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association. The GHCA represents 95 percent of Georgia’s 359 skilled nursing facilities, a number of assisted living communities and a home- and community-based case management program. Howell also serves on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

















Emily Hanson Scofield (MS ’99) Scofield is the executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s North Carolina chapter. In that role, she coordinated the first Charlotte Environmental Sustainability Week in 2011, and in 2012 she convened the Democratic National Convention’s Energy, Technology and Community Sustainability Legacy Village, bringing together businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations.

















Allen Yee (BS ’99, JD ’03) Yee is an attorney with The Coca-Cola Company, managing litigation for the world’s largest beverage company since 2011. Before that he spent seven years in Dallas with Vinson & Elkins, one of the world’s largest law firms. He also is chairman of the board of trustees for the Sigma Pi Education Foundation.


















Thomas Forsberg (BBA ’00, MBA ’10) Forsberg’s 13-year career with SunTrust Bank has taken him from credit analyst to first vice president and relationship manager and earned him numerous company awards. He serves as a Columbus Airport Commissioner, treasurer for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and member of the Historic Columbus Foundation board of directors.
















Jessica McClellan (AB ’00, JD ’03) McClellan, a specialist in admiralty and maritime law, is a member of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division and one of nine attorneys handling litigation from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She is a co-author of the fourth and fifth editions of Admiralty and Maritime Law.




















Kimberly Black (BS ’01) Black was a member of UGA’s NCAA championship swim team, earning a gold medal in the 4x200 freestyle relay at the 2000 Olympics. In 2001, she was named NCAA Woman of the Year. Today Black is a transplant social worker at Ochsner Health System’s Multi-Organ Transplant Institute, where she provides counseling and support to patients.










Lindsey Groepper (ABJ ’01) Groepper was the first employee hired by Indianapolis-based BLASTmedia in 2005. Eight years later, she’s president of the company. From spring 2012 to spring 2013, Groepper brought in more than $1 million in new business revenue, including acquiring rapper 50 Cent’s new audio brand, SMS Audio, as a client.










Jennifer Jordan (JD ’01) Jordan is principal and owner of The Jordan Firm and recently developed an iPad application called JuryStrike to help attorneys select juries more efficiently and effectively. She is on the board of directors for WIN List, GreenLaw and Blueprint Georgia and was named to Georgia Trend magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2007.



















Mark Anthony Thomas (BBA ’01) Thomas is enrolled at MIT as a 2014 Sloan Fellow for Innovation and Global Leadership, following a stint as director and publisher of City Limits, a New York-based nonprofit news agency that reports on urban life and policy. Thomas was a presenter during UGA’s inaugural TEDx event earlier this year.




















Andy Barrs (MFR ’02) Barrs is founder/CEO of Vega Media Partners, founder of Principle Centered Investments, co-founder/CEO of PharmD on Demand and co-founder of Brossie Legendary Turkey Callers. He serves as chairman of the Emerging Leaders of Georgia Forestry Association and co-founded the Warnell School Young Alumni Endowment for Leadership Training at UGA.










Erin Hames (BSEd ’02) From 2006 to 2010, Erin served as former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s policy director and was executive sponsor for Georgia’s Race to the Top team that secured a $400 million grant for the state. In 2011, she joined the office of Gov. Nathan Deal as deputy chief of staff for policy.



















Ashley Jones (AB ’02) Jones is chief of staff for U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a position she has held since 2007. At the time she was the youngest female chief of staff on Capitol Hill. She oversees the D.C. office and four district offices, manages a staff of more than 20 and serves Barrow as a senior political advisor.

















Jason Carter (JD ’04) Carter is a Georgia state senator representing the 42nd district and an attorney at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore in Atlanta, where he logs many pro bono hours representing the state’s most vulnerable residents. His 2002 book, Power Lines: Two Years on South Africa’s Borders, is based on his experiences with the Peace Corps.



















Michael Mannina (ABJ, BBA ’04) Mannina rose from an internship with U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson to become the U.S. Treasury Department’s top diplomat to Saudi Arabia, where he works closely with the Saudi government and private sectors to promote regional economic stability and growth, strengthen financial markets, combat terrorist finance and implement U.S. economic sanctions.















Travis Canova (BBA, MAcc ’05) Canova began his career with KPMG in Washington, D.C., before joining Science Applications International Corporation, where he led international financial, operational and regulatory compliance audits in France, Germany and Kuwait. Today Canova is a certified fraud examiner and a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Atlanta division.
















Kira Fonteneau (JD ’05) In 2006 Fonteneau left a private law firm to establish The Fonteneau Firm in Birmingham. In 2013, she was appointed to establish and oversee the state of Alabama’s largest public defender office. She is now responsible for recruiting, managing and training 39 attorneys and 29 support staff members.


















Nathan Hardeman (BBA ’05) Hardeman lives in Guatemala and is executive director of Engadi Ministries International, an organization he co-founded that provides a safe family environment and education to hundreds of at-risk boys living in Guatemala City’s dangerous Zone 18.



















Richard T. Scott (BFA ’05) Scott is a contemporary figurative painter whose work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the U.S. and Europe, including in Le Grand Palais in Paris and the Palazzo Cini in Venice. In December 2012, American Artist magazine named him one of the “25 Artists of Tomorrow.”


















Logan Smalley (BSEd ’06) Smalley oversees TED-ED teams that produce original content for educators. He is probably best known as the director, editor and composer of “Darius Goes West,” which documented the cross-country journey of Darius Weems, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Since its 2007 release, it has helped raise $2.3 million for the disease.



















2007 Jinali Desai (PharmD ’07) Desai is senior director of market health and wellness for Walmart, where she improves the affordability, accessibility and quality of pharmaceutical care for clients and manages a business unit with sales of more than $100 million. She is fluent in Swahili, Gujarati and Hindi, and conversant in French and Spanish.

















Tosha Hays (BSFCS ’07) Hays is senior director of design for SPANX in Atlanta. She has also been a merchandising assistant with Tommy Hilfiger and a sales coordinator for Union Bay. Her fashion line, Tosha Hays Inc., won the Fresh Face Award from Women’s Wear Daily.

















Michael McConnell (AB ’07) McConnell began his U.S. Air Force career in North Carolina as an aircraft maintenance officer, overseeing 600 employees and $5 billion in aircraft. After returning from Afghanistan in 2009, he returned to Athens as an assistant professor of aerospace science and operations flight commander with the UGA Air Force ROTC.


















Irving Steel (AB ’08) Steel moved to China in 2008 and founded Original Life Ltd. and Green Drinks China in Shanghai, a nonprofit that is attempting to provide clean, affordable food for the Chinese people. Steel established the China Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association and received a Rotary International Leadership Award from Rotary Shanghai.
















Albert Glover Way (PhD ’08) Way, a scholar of cultural and environmental history, is an assistant professor of history at Kennesaw State University. He uses his background to advocate for sustainable land management. Way is on the board of directors for the Altamahaw Riverkeeper Inc., an environmental group that protects the river’s watershed.



















2009 Kim Nogi (ABJ, BMus ’09) Nogi, a former member of the Redcoat Marching Band, is the publicist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She coordinated the first “Music Appreciation Night” at Turner Field and was the force behind a number of other ASO events, including a music education benefit with Steven Spielberg and John Williams.










Raegan Tuff (PhD ’09) Tuff is a senior public health analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, managing agency-wide technology solutions and tracking prevention and control activities for all 50 states. She is also CEO and founder of The Art of the Living, an entertainment and performing arts company.




















Kevin Scott (AB ’11) Scott co-founded the ADDO Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta that offers leadership programs to high school and college students. In 2012, the institute received the Governor’s International Award for “Best New Company of the Year.”




















Rodney Bullard (MBA ’12) In 2011, Bullard was named the first executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation. He led efforts to establish the Junior Achievement Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center in Atlanta, a $10 million facility in the Georgia World Congress Center where more than 30,000 students learn about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and economics.