Gov. Kemp Announces 77 Appointments to State Boards, Authorities, and Commissions

Staff Report

Friday, July 21st, 2023

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced the appointment and re-appointment of the following 77 Georgians to various state boards, authorities, and commissions.

Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce
Kitty Carter-Wicker currently serves as Medical Director for the Atlanta University Center Consortium Student Health and Wellness Center. After completing her residency in family medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine, she joined the Maternal Child Health team there. During her tenure at the School of Medicine, she served as the Family Medicine Clerkship Director, Medical Director for the Clinical Skills Center and the Clinical Skills Scholar for the family medicine clerkship, Co-Principal Investigator on several training grants, and a member of various committees. For 19 years, she also trained medical students in adolescent healthcare at the Fulton County teen clinic. Carter-Wicker has received several awards, including the Leonard Tow Humanism award, Educator of the Year, and the Dean’s award, to name a few. In 2022, she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Carter-Wicker earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from Morehouse School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Georgia. She and her husband, Robert, have three children.

Board of Natural Resources
Lesley Reynolds is a native of Baldwin County, Georgia. She taught elementary school at Midway Elementary in Milledgeville. Throughout her life, Reynolds has engaged with, and is still engaged with, several organizations that focus on education, Judeo-Christian values, and women’s safety and security. She is an ardent lover of nature, and she spends much of her time hiking and participating in equestrian activities. She also enjoys hunting trips and sport shooting with her family. She is a graduate of Georgia Military College and Georgia College and State University. Reynolds lives in Greensboro, Georgia, with her husband Harold and two children.

Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission
Clay Bennett is a real estate broker and business owner from Rockmart, Georgia. In 2015, he founded King of Spades Realty, a brokerage firm based in Cartersville; and in 2011, he founded Cat Daddy Investments, a firm which acquires, rehabs, and flips distressed residential and agricultural properties. Bennett is also an accomplished jiu-jitsu fighter, having won the 2018 Absolute Black Belt International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) Nashville Championship, the 2018 Black Belt IBJJF Pan American Championship, the 2023 Black Belt IBJJF European Championship, and three different IBJJF Black Belt Atlanta Open Championships. He also holds a 2-1 Amateur mixed martial arts record, a 3-0 record in National Fighting Championship (NFC) Professional Super Fight Jiu Jitsu, and a 2019 NFC “Most Influential Jiu Jitsu Figure” award. Bennett earned a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Georgia and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University.

Chris Haraszti is an orthopedic surgeon who practices sports medicine at the Emory Orthopedics and Spine Center in Decatur, Georgia. He is a passionate jiu-jitsu fighter and has combined his knowledge of combat sports and medicine to treat several professional fighters and athletes. He is currently the reigning National Fighter Championship Masters No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Heavyweight Champion. Dr. Haraszti earned both his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Emory University. After receiving his M.D., he completed his residency at the Tulane School of Medicine. He and his wife, Melissa, live in Atlanta with their three children.

Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Board
Darien M. Sykes was reappointed.

Regina Young is the Principal Engineer for Jordan & Skala Engineers in Atlanta, where she has worked for 22 years. During her tenure, she has worked on projects ranging from transformation of hotels to renovation of the Fulton County Central Library, and she holds a LEED AP certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. She has also led maintenance and renovation projects for buildings across the campus of Georgia Tech, including student dormitories. Young earned her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. She lives in Suwanee with her husband, Tyrone, and their three children.

State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia
Jay Cunningham, Randall Fox, Joseph Hsiao, Buzz Law, Frank “Chunk” Newman, Shirley Smith, and Daren Wayne were reappointed.

Eddie Ausband is an insurance agent and business owner from McDonough. He founded the Ausband Agency in 1991. In 2004, he reorganized the agency as Revanta Financial Group, LLC, which offers financial and estate planning services as well as employee benefits consulting. He is also the owner of SERVPRO of Norcross and Duluth. Ausband is active in his community, serving as chair of the Finance Committee for the First Baptist Church of McDonough and vice-chair for the Henry County Development Authority. He earned a BBA in Business Management from the University of Georgia. Ausband and his wife, Allison, have three children.

Lee Chapman is Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Jackson EMC. Previously, he has served as Director of the Commercial and Industrial Marketing Department before he was named Vice President of Marketing, Member Services and Legislative Affairs. Before joining the organization, Chapman served on the staff of U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. He also previously served on the Georgia Public Service Commission Advisory Committee and the Board of the Georgia Economic Developers Association. Active in his community, he is a graduate of Leadership Jackson, Leadership Hall, Leadership Georgia, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Management Internship Program. Chapman also previously served on the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the United Way of Hall County Board of Directors, the Gainesville College Board of Trustees, Gainesville Jaycees Board of Directors, the March of Dimes Board of Directors, and the Gainesville/Hall ’96 Olympic Committee. He earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia and an M.B.A. from what was then known as Brenau College. Chapman and his wife, Karen, live in Gainesville and have two children.

Corey Ferguson is the Principal and Vice President of T. Dallas Smith & Company, LLC, a real estate firm based in Atlanta. In his current position, he uses data analytics to assist corporate clients in securing real estate solutions. In total, he has almost 20 years of experience in commercial real estate. Before T. Dallas Smith & Company, Ferguson worked as a corporate real estate specialist with Kimberly-Clark Corporation and as a Senior Leasing and Property Manager for SugarOak Holdings. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Ron Clark Academy, a member of the Board of Directors for the Dave Krache Foundation, and the Mentorship Vice Chair for the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. In 2022, he was named to the Leadership Cobb Class of 2022-23. Ferguson earned a B.S. in Finance from the University of Alabama, where he played Division 1 football. He and his wife, Leslie, live in Mableton with their three children.

Doug Lambert is a businessman and entrepreneur who founded Southeastern Hospitality Services Inc., which built eight hotels in Statesboro and Savannah. Prior to opening his business, he worked at Franklin Equities, Inc., where he spent 25 years and led the operation of several hotels and restaurants across the southwest. During his long and dedicated career in the hospitality industry, he served on the American Hotel & Motel Association, the Georgia Travel and Hospitality Association, the Staybridge Suites National Advisory Board, and other industry organizations. Lambert attended what is now Georgia Southern University where he earned a BBA in Marketing. He and his wife, Karen, live in Statesboro and have five children and six grandchildren.

John Thomas is a public utility professional from Dalton, Georgia, and currently serves as CEO of Dalton Utilities. Previously, he served in the U.S. Navy for four years as a Surface Warfare Officer and achieved the rank of Lieutenant. After his service, he returned to Georgia and began working at Dalton Utilities where he held multiple positions before being named CEO. Very active in his community, he has been on the board of directors for Georgia Northwestern Technical College since 2016. Thomas earned a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Auburn University, where he also joined the Naval ROTC program. He and his wife, Julie, live in Dalton and have four children.

Georgia Composite Medical Board
George Harrison is the Chief Medical Officer for Fairview Park Hospital in Dublin, Georgia. After receiving his medical degree, he did his residency in family medicine at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He has spent his career practicing family medicine, serving as a medical officer at many of his previous medical practices, including as hospitalist medical director at Eagle Hospital Physicians and Fairview Park Hospital. He earned his bachelor’s degree and M.Ed. from Alabama State University, his medical degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine, and his MMM from Tulane University. He lives in Bonaire, Georgia, with his wife Ida, and together they have three children.

OneGeorgia Authority Overview Committee
Butch Parrish was reappointed.

Larry Walker, III serves as the Senate Majority Caucus Secretary and chairs the Senate Committee on Insurance and Labor and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. He was elected to the State Senate for Georgia’s 20th District in 2015, representing the citizens of Bleckley, Dodge, Dooly, Houston, Laurens, Pulaski, Treutlen, and Wilcox counties. He is active in the middle Georgia community, serving on the board of numerous organizations, including the Methodist Home, the Museum of Aviation and Morris Bank, and as a past Chairman of the Perry Downtown Development Authority, Middle Georgia Technical College Board, and Vice-Chairman of the Houston County Development Authority. Walker was born and raised in Perry. After graduating from the University of Georgia, he worked as a staff accountant for The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta before opening several successful small businesses, including Walker Insurance Agency. He and his wife, Adrienne, reside in Kathleen and have three sons.

Board of Corrections
Stacy Jarrard was reappointed.

Bruce Carlisle is the former Chief of the Lavonia Police Department, where he served 22 years as an officer and 14 years as chief. During his time as Police Chief, Carlisle served as a member of the Board of Public Safety. He also served as a member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which contributes to improvements in the Georgia criminal justice system using grants, research, and legislative proposals. In 2018, he was selected to become District Chairman of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. He currently serves as the Elections Supervisor for Stephens County, a position which he has held since retiring from the Lavonia Police Department in late 2022.

Georgia Ports Authority
Kent Fountain was reappointed.

Trey Kilpatrick serves as Chief of Staff for the Governor's Office. He joined Governor Kemp's administration in 2020 after 10 years serving U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson in various roles, including deputy chief of staff, senior advisor, political director, state director, and campaign manager. Prior to his time with Isakson, Kilpatrick was a vice president for Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc., an Atlanta-based investment firm. Kilpatrick earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with his wife and three children.

Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority
Dena Adams, Charles Baker, Nancy Thrash, and James Weidner were reappointed.

Joint Study Committee on Dual Enrollment for Highly Skilled Talent at Younger Ages
Jill Oldham is co-owner of South River Counseling and Consulting. She spent much of her career working in public school systems, providing individual and group counseling for students, parent support groups and skill-building groups, transition groups for students, assessment preparation, testing and screenings, career and pathway guidance and consultation, support for special needs, and over 500 individual students. She has provided countless hours of consultation and advisement to educators, parents, post-secondary institutions, and agencies. Oldham continued her career in education as a school administrator, working on program development. She received her master’s in education in Counseling from the University of Georgia, and went on to pursue her National Certified Counselor credential before obtaining her Professional Counseling license through the State of Georgia. She also earned an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership through Mercer University.

Board of Community Affairs
Gilbert Barrett, Albert "Al" Hodge, Tim Le, Frank Turner, and Vince Williams were reappointed.

Bob Duncan is a utility business professional from St. Simons Island, Georgia, who has extensive experience in consulting, business development, and senior management for public utilities. He is Principal and General Partner of Duncan Builders, LLP, a construction company based in Saint Simons that specializes in residential design and renovation projects. Before his current position, he worked as a manager for Duke Energy in Lake Mary, Florida, where he handled distribution rights of way for integrated vegetation management. He currently serves as vice chairman and finance committee chair of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission, of which he has been a member since 2018. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Southern Tech, a division of Georgia Tech. He lives in St. Simons with his wife Bonnie, and together they have an adult son.

Kwanza Hall is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and former United States Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, a seat to which he was appointed after the death of former Congressman John Lewis in 2020. Before serving in Congress, Mr. Hall served as a member of the Atlanta City Council for the 2nd District, on the Atlanta Board of Education as Vice-Chair of the Audit Committee, and on the Atlanta Development Authority. He has also served on the boards of directors of the World Affairs Council, Leadership Atlanta, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. He is now the CEO and Managing Partner Chattahoochee Trails, an organization dedicated to promoting water reclamation and recreational development near the Chattahoochee Riverfront in Atlanta. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Georgia Commission for Service and Volunteerism
Semba Brittian, Kathy Colbenson, Matthew Campbell, Christy Ellerbee, Cayanna Good, Jennifer Guynn, David Hamilton, Cynthia Jenkins, June O’Neal, Rosla Plant, Kristie Sharp, Aimee Simpson, Michael Smith, Myra Tolbert, and Ann Rosenthal were reappointed.

Board of Driver Services
Britt Fleck and Bob Pierce were reappointed.

Board of Human Services
Randy Smith was reappointed.

Bona Fide Coin Amusement Machine Advisory Board
Shawn Fellows is a 35-year veteran of the coin-operated amusement machine (COAM) industry, beginning his career as a machine technician and now working as CEO of Diamond Amusements, Inc., which he founded in 2007. Throughout his career, he has worked at companies that have provided COAM services to most of the Southeast, and he has served on several state and national COAM trade associations. Fellows has also been a member of the Georgia Amusement Music Operator Association for more than 20 years and has served as the association’s president since 2016. His current company, Diamond Amusements, Inc., provides juke boxes, pool tables, and COAMs to veteran and fraternal lodges across Georgia and is one of the fastest growing COAM providers in the state. Fellows lives in Dacula and has four children.

Stone Mountain Memorial Association Board of Directors
Rev. Abraham Mosley, Carolyn Meadows, Jeff Mullis, and Erica Rocker were reappointed.

State Forestry Commission Board of Directors
Ember Bishop Bentley was reappointed.

Board of Juvenile Justice
John Edwards was reappointed.

Council for the Arts
Colt Chambers was reappointed.

Bryan Brooks is a retired human resources professional and current museum docent at the High Museum of Art, where he provides guided tours and special programs to audiences ranging in age from kindergartners to seniors. Since being at the High, Brooks has served as Chair of the Docent Board and Chair of the Docent Enrichment Committee, and he received the 2019 Docent Service Award for his volunteer efforts. He also served nationally as the Southeast Regional Director of the National Docent Council of North America, where he helped develop docent training programs for museums throughout the region. He now co-chairs the National Docent Symposium and serves as a member of the Arts Council Ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. Before his involvement in the arts, Brooks worked for 35 years in human resources, with most of that time spent in the banking industry. He lives in Atlanta with his husband, John.

Kasey Carpenter is a resident of Dalton Georgia, represents House District 4, and is Chairman of the House Creative Arts and Entertainment Committee. Chairman Carpenter operates multiple businesses in the hospitality industry in Dalton, Georgia and supports numerous charitable organizations that bring the arts to Whitfield County. Chairman Carpenter attended the University of Georgia, graduating with honors with a bachelor’s degree in Finance in 2001. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Creative Arts and Entertainment Committee, Chairman Carpenter has served on the board of Dalton’s Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau. He also serves as Secretary of the Industry and Labor Committee and Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee. Chairman Carpenter is blessed to be married to Julie Carpenter, his amazing wife of nineteen years. They share four children together, Camp, Dunkin, Sidey, and Ellis. When he is not burning the candle at both ends in service to his family and to his community, he takes pleasure in attending musical events, which is one of his main hobbies.

Linda Nicholson is an artist and owner of Red Bird Farm Pottery, a pottery business located in Barnesville, Georgia. Before starting her business, Nicholson spent over 30 years of her career as an art educator, working at Wheeler High School, Kennesaw Mountain High School, and Creekview High School where she was the Department Chair of Fine Arts. During her education career, she had the opportunity to serve as an interview judge for the Governor’s Honors Program and she also piloted Advanced Placement Studio Arts classes in Cobb County. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Education Certificate from the University of Georgia and her Master's of Education from the University of West Georgia. She and her husband, James, live in Canton and have two children.

Joanne Chesler Gross is a former government relations professional and current dermatological practice director from Atlanta. After spending most of her career in public affairs and government relations, she transitioned to her current position as the director of the Georgia Dermatology Center in Cumming. Previously, she owned a public affairs consulting firm, JCG Public Affairs, and worked as director of government relations at The Home Depot. She is also a passionate supporter of the arts, having served on the boards of the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Symphony, and ArtsATL. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Emory University and completed graduate course work at Georgia State University. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Alexander.

Board of Trustees of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia
Kenneth Dyer, Miriam Shook, and William Sloan, Jr. were reappointed.

Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia
Rhonda W. Barnes was reappointed.

Board of Trustees of the Public School Employees Retirement System
Rhonda W. Barnes was reappointed.

Board of Trustees of the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund Commission
Pauline "Polly" Hale was reappointed.

Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission – Hearing Panel
John Herbert “Herb” Cranford, Jr. currently serves as District Attorney for the Coweta Judicial Circuit. He was born and raised in Coweta County and is a third-generation prosecutor. In February 2018, Cranford was appointed as District Attorney to fill the remainder of his predecessor’s term and has been elected to the position twice since then. Previously, he worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the same office, working in both Carroll County and Coweta County. During his career, he has successfully prosecuted a variety of crimes, including rape, child molestation, and murder. He has received recognition for his focus on prosecuting criminal street gangs, including obtaining the first guilty verdict in a gang trial in the Coweta Judicial Circuit. Cranford earned a bachelor's degree in Religion from the University of Georgia and his J.D. from the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law.

Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission – Investigative Panel
John Ott currently serves as a Senior Superior Court Judge for the Alcovy Judicial Circuit, from which he retired in 2022 after 32 years of service on the bench. He first started on the circuit as an Assistant District Attorney and quickly worked his way up to becoming the circuit’s District Attorney, serving from 1984 to 1990. In 1990, he was appointed to serve as a Superior Court Judge; and in 2005, he became Chief Judge for the Alcovy Judicial Circuit. During his tenure, Ott served as the Administrative Judge for the 10th Judicial Circuit, as a member of the Executive Council of the Superior Court Judges, and as a member of the Judicial Council for the State of Georgia. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Monroe and have two children and four grandchildren.