Member Spotlight:

Congratulations to Ralph Staffins, CEcD


Ralph C. Staffins, III, Executive Director, Forward McDuffie – Thomson, GA - recently earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).  Congratulations!  Click here to read more.

We are pleased to introduce Jim Finch as GEDA’s Interim President. Jim will serve in the interim position until we identify the next GEDA President. Jim has been a member of GEDA for twenty-five years. He served as Chairman of the GEDA Board in 2006. Jim received the GEDA Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence in 2009, and the GEDA Honorary Life Member Award in 2010.  Jim can be reached at

Congratulations to Shane Short!  After 19 years serving the development authority of Walton County, Nancy Kinsey retired in September. After considering numerous applicants, Shane Short was selected to serve as the EVP of the development authority of Walton County. While in Jackson County, the membership almost doubled and many new programs were started. Shane had a superior recruitment program in Jackson County where he served as leader of the chamber and development authority.  He worked with many companies to locate including Home Depot, Kubota, Toyota.

The Clarksville-Montgomery County, Tenn. Economic Development Council (EDC) Executive Board announced last week that Cal Wray, 35, of Dublin, Ga., will assume the reins as the Executive Director.  Click here for the full story.

Jerald Mitchell, formerly of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, accepted the role of Director of Economic Development of the Atlanta Beltline, Inc.  Congratulations Jerald!

Congratulations to Blair Burns!  She has accepted a position with Deloitte as the Manager for Credits and Incentives. Blair started with GDEcD in May of 2007 and has worked in several capacities, including on their Existing Industry and Corporate Solutions Teams.

Johns Creek Advantage's new President and Chief Executive Officer is GEDA member, Courtney Bernardi. Click here for the full article. 

Three GEDA members became Certified Economic Developers in 2013:

  • Stephanie Quattlebaum, CEcD, Central Savannah River Area Regional Commission
  • Justin Strickland, CEcD, Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission
  • Andrea Griner, CEcD, Houston County Development Authority

Click here for the full list of 2013 CEcD Graduates from IEDC.

After five years at Georgia EMC, Niki Knox has accepted the position of Director of Governmental Relations with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.  Congratulations Niki!

Congratulations to Terry Schwindler on her selection as the Economic Development Director of the Putnam Development Authority in Eatonton, Georgia!

On September 12, at the Annual GDEcD Tourism Awards Gala, GEDA Member, Bruce Green, was very fittingly honored by his peers with the Tom Kilgore Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations Bruce!

Congratulations to Lisa Collins, CEcD, EDFP!  She has accepted the position of Director of Economic Development with the Cook County Economic Development Commission.

Chris Cummiskey will join Southern Company as chief commercial officer of Southern Power. Governor Nathan Deal today announced that he has nominated U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s chief of staff, Chris Carr, to succeed Chris Cummiskey as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Congratulations to both of them!  Click here to read more.

Congratulations to Becca Hardin!  She is the new Vice President-Business Development with Batson-Cook Company.

Bill Mitchell, President of the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber, was presented with GACCE's top award, the GACCE Executive of the Year Award Honoring Kent Lawrence. Congratulations Bill!

Congratulations Gretchen Corbin! On June 20, Governor Nathan Deal announced the departure of current Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Mike Beatty and his successor Gretchen Corbin. Corbin will take the helm at the Department of Community Affairs on August 1st. Click here to read the full story.

Congratulations Tom Croteau! Croteau will become GDEcD's Deputy Commissioner for Global Commerce, who moves from his current position as Division Director for Projects.

Congratulations to Josh Fenn!  "Josh Fenn, currently the Executive Director of the Development Authority of Bryan County Georgia, has been named President/CEO-Economic Development Director of the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce and will be starting in that capacity on July 22, Chamber Chairman Mark Valentine announced Wednesday."

Congratulations to Nathan Sparks! The Okaloosa County Economic Development Council (EDC) is pleased to announce that Nathan Sparks has been selected as Executive Director of the organization.

Congratulations to Ryan Moore and Beth Eavenson on their new positions!  Ryan Moore was named Director of Athens-Clarke County's New Economic Development Department.  Beth Eavenson, a student member, will start at the Development Authority of Elberton, Elbert County & Bowman on April 22.

Congratulations to GEDA member Mark Lytle, the University System of Georgia’s new vice chancellor for economic development!  Click here for the full article.

Congratulations to Matt Forshee! "Matt Forshee, President/CEO of the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA) has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s “40 Under 40” awards, the first-ever awards program recognizing young talent in the economic development profession." -FCDA

Congratulations to J.R. Charles!  Melissa Leitzsey said yes at Falls Park in downtown Greenville on December 15th!


FIll out this form and send it our way!