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volume 2


number 4

contents departments 5 6 11 62

my perspective bulletpoints components of success press


38 On The Cover: from left to right Walt Miller, Howard Holleman & Robbo Hatcher


Innovators: Macon Business Professionals Explore New Frontiers

Find yourself inspired to be innovators and entrepreneurs by three local professionals.


Jamie Caraway


Economic Impact: The Heartbeat of Middle Georgia

How the Warner Robins Air Force Base Helps Drive the Economy in Macon and Bibb County. Mark Hoerrner


Boys to Men

A growing number of Central Georgians are stepping up to be mentors with the kids who need their support. Rick Maier


Harmony in Macon, in Motion:

The Center for Racial Understanding is a new business and community resource promoting racial harmony. Jessica Walden-Griner


Balancing Act

Dan and Gigi Slagle balance family, work and a personal passion for Macon. Allyson Moody and James Fennell



address Delivering Components of Success

A product of Imedia Group 4360 San Carlos Drive Macon, Georgia 31206 478-314-2285 phone 478-314-2294 fax website: email: Imedia Group Publisher Ronald T. Williams Chairman David S. Canady President Dawn Burkhalter Chief Financial Officer Vicki Mills Sean Waters Tim Anderson Advertising Sales Beth Tamboli Art Director Susie Allen Graphic Designer Designed & Printed by Imedia Group Photography Ken Krakow Photography Contributing Writers David S. Canady Jamie Caraway James Fennell Mark Hoerrner Rick Maier Allyson Moody Sarah Smith Jessica Walden-Griner Ron Williams

address Macon is published bi-monthly by Imedia Group. Copyright address Macon 2006. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited. Advertising rates available on request. The publishers are not responsible for the comments of authors or for unsolicited manuscripts. Distribution is to business executives and developing young professionals in Bibb and surrounding counties. All manuscripts, photos, drawings, or letters will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes, and as such are subject to address Macon’s unrestricted right to edit or comment editorially.


Macon’s Business Magazine


my perspective

From my perspective everything is better at the beach. I have been fortunate to spend several days recently at St. Simons Island – seemingly Macon’s home away from home. While living at the beach might seem ideal, I am content with occasional trips to experience the ocean breeze and toasted peach pound cake at Cargo’s. I find the beach inspiring and humbling. Inspired by the beauty (and of course the multi-million dollar beach homes) and humbled by the force of nature. These excursions put life in perspective for me. I’ve seen the sun rise the last two mornings while walking on the beach. The blue skies in the east at 6:30 quickly transition from blue to pink to orange and then finally blue again with a blazing yellow sun. Anyone who can watch this and not believe in a “higher power” is not looking at the same view. Trips like this make me realize that we often forget the bigger picture. The issues of our daily lives at Rick Maier and Qua Jackson the office, at home and in our community blurs the at the Wesleyan College Gymnasium reality of how fortunate most of us are. Beyond our own personal and corporate success lies a commuweek of being featured in address they were contacted as a direct nity and a world dependent upon our generosity to survive. result of the publication by someone unfamiliar with them and their I think we all have an innate desire to make a difference whether in our own backyard or on a more global scale. When we business. The result was a contract for new business that exceeded embarked on address Macon, we could only hope to have some $50,000. Not bad for making a difference. And all of our non-profit agencies editorialized exclaim what benefit address has been to their small impact on our community and the businesses we represent. marketing and fundraising efforts. Fact of the matter, we humbly recognize that we have exceeded To all of those individuals featured in this issue of address. our expectations. Prime example is local business executive Rick Maier. Maier, a consummate professional and passionate writer, has Thank you for your efforts to make our community better through provided address Macon’s readers a look into the lives of local busi- your work and philanthropic efforts. I hope address will offer ness men who recognize the importance of raising boys to men - boys rewards for you in return. The tide is in but the jury is out. How can you impact the lives of potentially without male role models in their lives. The exciting revelation for us was that Maier upon researching and writing the story others - your family, friends, employees and the strangers you pass was moved to become a Big Brother himself. His commitment to Qua every day? Take a walk on the beach and get your perspective on the big picture. The responsibility of work calls me back home to Macon Jackson will undoubtedly make a difference in both their lives. While Qua a 13 year old, 6th grader, has a home and loving fam- but only after one more ride on the waves. I hope your summer ily, he now has the fortunate advantage of a different perspective vacation was as enjoyable. on life by spending time with Maier and his family. He is experiencing aspects of life that he might otherwise have missed out on. And learning from a “gentle” man how to be professional, successful and personally generous. We certainly do not take credit for Maier’s personal gesture, but we do take pride in connecting the dots of information for him to be able to make an informed decision to fulfill his philanthropic desires. On a different note, one business shared with us that within a

To our mutual success,

David S. Canady Publisher, address Macon 5

Wesleyan College Announces EMBA Graduates Wesleyan College graduated a class of 11 men and women from its Executive Master of Business Administration program during commencement exercises held Saturday, June 24th. 2004 Wesleyan EMBA graduate Keith Moffett, now regional project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, returned to campus to deliver the commencement address. The class of 2006 included (pictured L to R from top to bottom) George W. Burch III, Tahrea Jabbar Grant, Sidney Ahmed Beach, Christopher P. Johnson, Marshey De Vonne Williams, James T. Beverly III, Freddie Lee Pooler, Kimberly Patrice Phelps, Anthony Terrell Pitts-Hill, Delawese Delain Fulton, and Willie Fred Swann. Here, they appear outside the historic Candler Alumnae Building with Dr. Philip Taylor, Wesleyan's Director of Graduate Business Programs. In 2006, the group traveled to the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary through the program's two-week international component where the students study business concepts abroad.

Community Foundation of Central Georgia is Nationally Recognized The Community Foundation of Central Georgia is being recognized for having organizational and financial practices that are in accordance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. The Council on Foundation created the Standards to aid community foundations in establishing legal, ethical, and effective operational practices, to distinguish themselves from other philanthropic vehicles, and to assist the field with self-regulation in a manner viewed positively by the IRS. CFCG was founded in 1993 by a group of citizens interested in encouraging philanthropy and strengthening communities. Since then, CFCG has awarded over $18 million in grants. As a local center for philanthropy, CFCG works with individuals, families, corporations, private foundations, and local non-profits to carry out their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues.

Coliseum Health System Wins Awards Coliseum Health System's Marketing Department proudly announces their media awards for 2006: Central Georgia Advertising Federation Awards: • Gold ADDY Award - "I Care" TV and Print Campaign • Silver ADDY Award - Coliseum Northside Name Change Advertising Campaign Healthcare Marketing Report 23rd Annual National Advertising Awards: More than 4,000 entries from throughout the country. • Gold - "I Care" Print Campaign • Gold - "I Care" TV Campaign • Gold - Nurse Recruitment (continuation of campaign from 2005) • Bronze - Coliseum Health System Identity (new logo, etc...) • Award of Merit - "I Care" Magazine Advertising Georgia Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations • Award of Excellence for "I Care" TV Campaign • Award of Excellence for Nurse Recruitment campaign


Imedia Group is pleased to offer bulletpoints as a free service to our readers for corporate and community promotions.

Blade Uniform Introduces New Technology

bulletpoints• business ventures • events • awards • sales reports • moving • new products

Blade Uniform (Macon) introduced Permanent Fabric Protection, FAB3TM at the National Restaurant Association Conference in Chicago. This new fabric technology creates permanent soil resistance, wrinkle resistance and moisture wicking properties. FAB3TM is part of the fiber and lasts for the life of the fabric and is an exclusive product of Blade Uniform. Blade also announces the use of Fiber Graphic Logo Technology. This process permanently fuses your design to a variety of materials. Using a patented process, impressions are made by aligning millions of colorful micro fibers for a plush texture and indestructible finish. This new process adds comfort and logo detail not available with embroidery. Blade Uniform has specialized in uniform design, manufacturing and distribution since 1991. The company currently provides uniforms for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Checkers Drive In Restaurants, Zaxby’s, Dairy Queen, Bob Evans Farms, Arby’s, Piggly Wiggly, Jack’s Family Restaurants, Great Wraps and The World of Coca-Cola.

Outstanding Service Quality Award winners selected at Security Bank

RDG Ventures First Independent Development Project RDG Ventures, a newly established company specializing in residential homebuilding, has completed the first phase of a new development on Wimbish Road. The Village at Wimbish, located at 617 Wimbish Road, is the first independent project for the company. Native Maconite Ryan Griffin, owner of RDG Ventures, has a background in real estate with a successful history of building in both The Gables at Wolf Creek and in The Hamlet subdivision off of Wesleyan Drive. Griffin knows that economic development and quality living are important to Macon, and with this, RDG Ventures will continue to look for new residential development projects in the area, while specializing in custom homebuilding.

Security Bank announced winners of its annual service quality awards recently. The awards recognize “WOW” service by employees of the bank and its mortgage subsidiary, Fairfield Financial. Winners were introduced and recognized by CEO Rett Walker at a gala affair at Macon’s Crowne Plaza. Laura Eberlein of deposit operations was named the top service award winner for the entire company. Overall winners were Linda Butler of Glynn County, Christie Fuller of Fairfield Financial in Macon, Cindy Strom of Houston County and Cheryl Thomas of Jones County. Bibb County winners included Kathy Barnes of loan operations, Diane Hadden of human resources, Stephanie Smith of retail customer service, and Barbara Jennings of the Pio Nono office.


MidSouth Federal Credit Union Recognizes Scholarship Winners MidSouth Federal Credit Union Board of Directors recently gathered together to recognize the 2006 Tom Bentley Memorial Scholarship winners. This year’s winners include Daniel Corbitt and Jennifer Schottstaedt. Mr. Corbitt, son of James and Susan Corbitt of Macon, was awarded the high school scholarship. A graduate of Tattnall Square Academy, Mr. Corbitt plans to attend Mercer University this fall and earn a degree in computer science. Ms. Schottstaedt, of Macon, was awarded the continuing education scholarship. Currently a sophomore at the University of Evansville, Ms. Schottstaedt is majoring in Theatre Costume Design/Technology and plans to graduate in 2008. For more information on the MidSouth Federal Credit Union- Tom Bentley Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually, please visit the MidSouth Federal Credit Union website at and click on the Services Link.

Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (GEC), a geotechni-

Choice Group Produces Flint Energies’ Award Winning Marketing Campaign

cal and environmental consulting engineering and construction services

Choice Group created and pro-

consulting firm with offices in Macon, Columbus, and Atlanta, is pleased

duced Flint Energies’ Switch n’ Save

to announce the acquisition of the assets of Hill-Staton Engineers, Inc.

Marketing Campaign that recently was

in Columbus, Georgia. Hill-Staton was formed in 1973 and has been

honored in the 2006 “Spotlight of

active in the Columbus and other markets for over thirty years. GEC's

Excellence” awards program spon-

Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (GEC) acquires Hill-Staton Engineers Assets

Columbus office was started in 1995. All current Hill-Staton employees will be retained by GEC. Tom Staton, founder and President of HillStaton, will join GEC to continue client relations with current and new clients in the Columbus office. Fred Sharpe, P.E., Hill-Staton's chief engineer, will join GEC as the engineering manager of the Columbus office.

sored by the Council of Rural Electric Communicators. The Spotlight Awards competition is an annual event recognizing the top-rated communication and marketing efforts by electric cooperatives. Competing against other

Thomas E. Driver, P.E., President of Geotechnical & Environmental

nationwide electric cooperatives with

Consultants, Inc. and Tom Staton, President of Hill-Staton Engineers,

50,000 or more members, the Best

Inc., believe both firms have common ground in the desire to provide

Marketing Program honor was chosen

excellent service to clients and will be working closely together to

out of more than 700 entries submit-

ensure the businesses are successfully integrated and clients are satis-


fied with the services provided. Mark Carroll, GEC's Columbus Branch

largest of Georgia’s 42 EMCs and the

Manager, looks forward to the integration of the current Hill-Staton

34th largest of the nation’s nearly

employees and clients and the continued growth of the firm.

1,000 rural electric cooperatives.

Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. new Columbus office location is 6202 West Hamilton Park Drive, Columbus, Georgia 31909.

Flint Energies is the seventh

Since the program began nearly 14,000 Flint members have participated in the past 12 months.

SCAD awards stained glass restoration SCAD purchased a Jewish Synagogue in Savannah GA to restore and turn into their Student Center. ATG Studio Inc., a Central Georgia stained glass company, was awarded the restoration of the 36 foot diameter stained glass rose windows. The project is completed and is being installed by ATG in Savannah.


Nichiha USA, Inc. Announces $78 Million Manufacturing Facility in Macon Mr. Tetsuro Yoshida, Chairman and CEO of Nichiha Corporation (Japan), joined state and local economic development officials to announce that the company will build a new manufacturing facility in the Airport South Industrial Park. The $78 million facility will produce interior and exterior fiber cement panels for the residential, commercial and multi family market in the US. "We are very pleased that Nichiha has chosen Georgia for its first location in this country," said Governor Sonny Perdue. Nichiha Corporation has 11 manufacturing plants throughout Japan and two in China. The Macon plant is the first in the U.S. for Nichiha Corporation. Nichiha USA, Inc. has been selling fiber cement products in the United States since 1998. The plant will occupy 60 acres and will employ 100. Construction began June 2006 with production scheduled to begin late in 2007. For more information visit

Sivica Homes Celebrates Grand Opening at The Highlands in Macon Sivica Homes recently hosted a Splash Party to celebrate the official Grand Opening of The Highlands, its masterplanned community developed by Sivica Communities in North Macon. Centered around the community’s Olympic swimming pool, the event welcomed more than 200 residents, friends and invited guests to join the fun, tour the amenities and visit selected homes in The Highlands, regarded as Macon’s fastest growing neighborhood. “With this celebration, Sivica Homes salutes Macon and its residents,” said Irene Hall, Sivica Vice President of Marketing. “We’re proud to present The Highlands as a development of distinctive and very beautiful but affordable homes. We welcome our new homeowners and invite others to join them.” “We have an array of buyers including young families, single professionals and active adults,” said Richard Schippel, sales associate with Sivica Homes.

Patton Albertson & Miller 18th Fastest Growing Firm in the United States Financial Advisor Magazine published its inaugural list of the leading registered investment advisory firms in the United States in its July, 2006 issue. Patton Albertson & Miller ranked 18th in the country and first in the State of Georgia among all firms in the $0 to $100 million category. The firm’s growth rate was 63% and year end assets were $85 million. “Needless to say, we are quite proud of our progress these last three years but are very mindful that our clients have made our success possible. We have never focused on becoming bigger, just better. We believe that if we deliver a superior experience to every client then the growth will take care of itself.” says Jimmy Patton, President and CEO. Patton Albertson & Miller is a multi-family office headquartered in Macon, Georgia with offices in Atlanta and Winston-Salem providing comprehensive financial management advisory services for high net worth clients.


Trading Post Moving & Storage Opens New Facility

Staples Acquires Prime Office

Trading Post Moving & Storage has recently completed their new, state-of-the-art office and warehouse facility. The new 45,000 square foot secure facility will allow the Trading Post to expand its services for moving and storage of household goods, records management, and other contract storage and delivery services. The new facility is located at 4700 Ivey Drive in close proximity to Northern Tool & Equipment. Trading Post Moving & Storage has been providing professional moving & storage services to middle Georgia and beyond for over 75 years with local and long distance moving, office and industrial moving and corporate relocation programs that are second to none.

Prime Office Products, founded in 1999, has been snapped up by Staples Inc. Paul Capelli, a spokesman for Massachusetts-based Staples, says Prime's main appeal was its customer focus, strong management team and reputation for high ethics. Prime Office fits into Staples Contract Division, which also sells and delivers office supplies to companies, according to Owen Davis, a Staples spokesman. That division is part of the Staples North American Delivery business unit, which had $4.2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2004, up from $3.7 billion the previous year, Davis said. "Prime Office Products is a great fit with Staples, as Staples Contract continues its double-digit sales growth," Davis said. "Prime is known for customer service, operational excellence and a great management team, which operates a great outfit and does so with great business ethics. Local Prime Office Products employees Pat Cline and Frank Dowd will continue serving their Middle Georgia customer base.�

ENT Center celebrates 50th Anniversary The ENT Center of Central Georgia is proud to announce its 50th Anniversary. Our practice was started in 1956 by Dr. Claude Pennington. We appreciate the support that the Middle Georgia Community has provided our practice. We will continue to offer comprehensive ear, nose, and throat care including audiological services, allergy care, voice and swallowing therapy and an outpatient Ambulatory Surgery Center. Our physicians want to thank the Middle Georgia Community at this time of celebration. C. Warren Dunn, MD John W. Griffin, MD Claude L. Pennington, MD Keith D. Holmes, MD Alex J. Correa, MD Warren L. Griffin, MD Matthew L. Jerles, MD Sanford G. Duke, MD Ed L. Stevens, MD 10

components of success address Macon is a champion for business and delivers components of success for business, economic development, quality of life and lifestyles. Discover the products, services and resources available in our community and benefit from our collective success. Photography by Ken Krakow Visit online at




up and coming









Sound Sleeper Shane Mobley probably didn’t sleep a wink the night he conceived the notion for his breakthrough business. Mobley has a big heart when it comes to his business, and his biggest soft spot lies in rural health care. The founder and CEO of Southern Sleep Technologies, Mobley’s passion for rural health care stems from his roots in Crawford County. Located in Macon, his company of nearly 30 employees, including four respiratory therapists, diagnoses sleep disorders in patients who come in with breathing trouble or who snore and have been referred to the clinic. Southern Sleep Technologies performs in-house testing, makes a diagnosis, then provides and sets up the necessary equipment, called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The brainstorm began six years ago when Mobley was doing PRN work for hospitals and came across a company from Atlanta performing sleep studies in rural Georgia. Frustrated with what he saw, Mobley saw it as a sign from God and took about 10 months to give the idea a backbone. The backbone, however, was office space the founder shared with his mother and her insurance business, leaving him literally 50 square feet. After several upgrades, Mobley arrived at his current location, nearly 3,700 square feet and once


again, bursting at the seams in order to accommodate the company’s growth. In spring of 2006, however, Southern Sleep Technologies held the groundbreaking for their new, 7,000-square-foot state-ofthe-art facility on Sheraton Drive. The new building has a Tuscan villa design, according to Mobley, making it more like a five-star hotel for the patients. Typically the patients come in at night and sleep at the facility instead of sleeping at home. A technician stays on duty after business hours and observes patients to determine what medical measures should be taken. Studies are performed each day of the week, and each patient has their own room. “There are about 90 million people with a sleeping disorder, so in my opinion, I feel like my service is very much needed in Macon,” says the CEO. According to Mobley, Southern Sleep technologies provides state-of-the-art equipment and is dual accredited by JCAHO and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. What sets the company apart, Mobley suggests, is that they are able to reach smaller hospitals in rural areas. Therefore, Southern Sleep Technologies is able to bring the same quality care as a freestanding center in a much larger city closer to the patients’ homes. Married for 11 years, Mobley has two children, which leaves him little free-time at the end of the day and no trouble sleeping. A 1998 graduate of Macon State College he holds a degree in applied science and is a registered respiratory therapist and a graduate of Northside School of Sleep Medicine. He recently studied strategic finance at Harvard Business School and was a national convention speaker at the Association of Polysomnographic Technologists conference in Seattle in 2002, where he spoke about the future of sleep medicine. Now, the Southern Sleep Technologies CEO spends the majority of his workday expanding the company through new contracts and is constantly trying to streamline the process. But the founder never loses sight of his mission; he wants to be sure his clients know the foundation of his company was built on helping people. Sarah Smith


up and coming

Merging Business and Community But he gave her the chance to return to dealing with the public. How many people would give up an executive appointment and a significant salary increase in order to remain a branch manager? If the branch manager who had taken her place wanted her executive Robin Neisler did just that, eschewing the corporate world to return job, then the two could switch. Her colleague jumped at the promoto her former position as a branch manager at MidSouth Federal tion and Neisler was soon back in front of her customers. She wanted to get back to the branch so much that she didn’t even ask about Credit Union solely because she thrives on customer service. “I like hearing about their lives, usually I make them feel more whether her salary would be dropped back down by leaving the post. “I just love dealing with the public,” she says, “I could probably comfortable by telling them about my life,” she says. “Credit unions try to help people and I am very soft-hearted. If there’s a way I can go to Wal-Mart and be a greeter and be happy. The customers are help people, I’ll do it. I’m not going to tell you ‘no’ unless I have what make the job for me.” Neisler admits to being a bit of a workaholic. She says that even exhausted every possibility. Since I have been here so long, I’ve probwhen she’s on vacation, she’ll call in to check on the staff and answer ably seen just about every program available.” Macon-born Neisler has worked at MidSouth her entire career, questions. This past summer was the first time, she says, that she was having started out during a vocational work program in high school. unable to do so because her cell phone wouldn’t work in Aruba. She will probably work at MidSouth for “a while yet,” she says, From the age of 15 to now, she’s put in three decades at MidSouth; roughly two-thirds of her entire life. She went straight from high but may consider retiring when her husband retires in his early fifties, which are only about three to five years down the road. Until then, school into the corporate world. “I grew up here,” she says. “I’ve never had another job. I’ll never Neisler says she’ll be working, as usual, each day to make a difference in the lives of Macon’s community. transfer to another job. When I retire, I won’t work anywhere else.” Mark Hoerrner Neisler climbed her way up through the ranks at the credit union, working through teller, Robin Neisler with MidSouth client, Sandra Bowen. loan officer and other positions before reaching branch manager. Once there, the company offered her a position as Vice President of Operations. She spent several agonizing months prior to the promotion not wanting to tell her staff that she was moving up, and many had difficulty speaking with her about it for a week after she let them know. “It was horrible,” she says, “because we were such a family. A lot of these people came to my wedding.” After several months at the executive level, however, she let the CEO know the position was not for her because it was so far removed from public interaction. “You don’t want me to tell you his reaction,” she says, laughing. “It wasn’t pretty.”




Sweet Southern Tunes When Mike Roberts was a kid, he would broadcast daily from a low power radio station set up in his house. He had one loyal listener - his neighbor next door. Today, Roberts is still broadcasting, only now with a much stronger signal and with the attention of the entire city of Macon. Roberts owns Foxie Radio, the city’s largest independent radio station and has made big waves in the community, both on and off the air Roberts landed at the number one radio station in Atlanta, WVEE, 15 years ago after short stints in Buffalo, Syracuse and Cincinnati and then moved to the Cherry Blossom Capital in 1997. The pace of Macon fits the native New Yorker like a glove. Still hanging on to his big city property in Atlanta, Roberts spends only a few days a week there, focusing mainly on Macon. “You come into a city like Macon with big ideas, but in order for those to work you have to understand and accept the local city’s pace. The first year was a learning experience, but I probably know as much about Macon as I did about Atlanta.” When it comes to being independent, Roberts enjoys being able to respond to advertisers immediately without going through any corporate red tape. According to the airwaves guru, his small operation of seven full-time and five part-time employees “doesn’t subscribe to hard-core micromanagement. Most people are free to do their jobs.” Foxie 107, an 18-34 mainstream urban station, plays artists like Beyonce and P.I. from Atlanta. Aside from Foxie Radio, Roberts also owns Majic100, near and dear to his heart for one reason: it plays the music he grew up with. Targeting ages 25-54, Majic100 broadcasts the classic soul hits of Luther Vandross, Motown and Stevie Wonder. A typical day for Roberts begins at 4:30 a.m., tuning in to a few rounds of TV and radio news by the time he firsts hits the air at 6:30 a.m. He broadcasts twice an hour until nine, when he takes off that hat and is manager for the rest of the day; he oversees the programming of the station, puts out flyers, and then is off to Majic. Roberts, who would love to purchase other Macon radio stations down the line, is focused primarily on the growth of Foxie 107 and Majic100. And he’s not letting new market trends like satellite radio get in the way. “I think iPods and the Internet are having a bigger impact than satellite radio,” says the station owner. “People are very much influenced to have radio of their own choos-


ing. I’m still a big believer in local radio and I don’t think we’re going anywhere soon.” And from the looks of things, Roberts isn’t going anywhere either; He seems to be another persuaded by Macon and its sweet sounding tunes. Sarah Smith



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International Influence For many Macon residents, the term “Danish” refers to a popular breakfast food. For Christopher Smith, however, “Danish” represents a whole new market for Macon businesses. Smith, a 15-year veteran business and personal injury attorney, has built a livelihood servicing clients in Macon and Georgia. In recent years, however, he’s additionally managed to build a portfolio of international clients in places like Finland, United Kingdom, and Denmark. In fact, his work with Danish companies recently resulted in his being named as Her Majesty’s Consul of the Kingdom of Denmark, bringing Macon’s first ever consulate to town. The appointment is an honorary position. Smith maintains his practice of law full time. “Being the honorary consul is a great opportunity,” Smith says. “Not only for Denmark, but for business relations between our countries. Denmark is an exceptionally good economy to do business with; they have a strong rule of law, strong capital resources, and they are very pro-American. It’s a fantastic export opportunity.” The role of consul is one of service. Much like the role of an American embassy abroad, a consulate provides helpful services to Danish travelers who need assistance in the States. Smith’s post, which used to be housed in Savannah, governs all of central and south Georgia. His law offices now include a small office to house the consulate. Smith compares his role as Honorary Consul to that of serving to the board of a non-profit organization. “We want this to be something special,” he says, “Having a consulate in Macon is really something wonderful because on the diplomatic list, Macon is listed between Los Angeles and Miami. This is a great honor for Macon and for Georgia.” While the role of consul is a great tribute to Smith’s work abroad, he notes that only about 15 percent of his practice time deals with international business. He utilizes the majority of his time representing businesses clients and personal injury victims in Georgia. His international work consists of advising non-U.S. companies on forming U.S. subsidiaries and avoiding issues that deal with his primary focus area – business, personal injury and wrongful death cases. “It’s usually the little things that get foreign businesses in trouble over here,” he says, “For example, most European companies are not familiar with the variety of insurance protection needed to protect both their companies and their employees individually. We know how important such protection is, but foreign employers need assistance in navigating their way through the system to make sure they do not

have any gaps in their coverage. We can profit greatly from their involvement in our economy, so it only makes sense to work with them to create a positive business atmosphere.” The Macon native’s international work has come via word-ofmouth, starting with a single international client who recommended him within the business community. He now represents a large and diverse group of Danish companies and has lectured on U.S. Law in Denmark on numerous occasions. It was through these international dealings with Denmark that brought him to notice of the Danish Foreign Ministry. Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe II appointed him Consul in June. Dealing with international corporations has been a passion of Smith’s since early 2001 when he and other Macon business leaders gathered with representatives from Europe to create the first Georgia European Union Summit, now in its sixth year. The annual meeting promotes goodwill between Italy, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, and others. The next dinner will be held November 9. The relations have been a key part in Georgia’s international business community. In 2001, the foreign investment in Georgia’s economy was roughly $16 billion and has now climbed to over $20 billion. Foreign companies in Georgia employ 135,000 workers and another 35,000 citizens are involved in exporting products internationally. Mark Hoerrner




Restaurateur Feeds Famous Musicians In true Southern fashion, walking through the doors of H & H Restaurant on Forsyth Street is a lot like walking through the back door at Grandma’s house and finding her cooking a true Sunday dinner. The smell of chicken frying, ham baking and collard greens simmering on the stove is enough to transport any Macon resident back to the days when every meal was home-cooked. For “Mama” Louise Hudson, every day is like a Sunday meal. And it’s not just local residents she’s fed over the years, but music legends like Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet, Leroy Parnell, the Wet Willie Band, and even 1960s supergroup Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. “If James Brown is the Godfather of Soul, Mama Louise is the Godmother of Soul Food,” says Bob Johnson. Johnson is a wealth management advisor for Northwestern Mutual and serves as president of the Allman Brothers Band Museum and the Big House Foundation. “I mean she can really cook,” he says. "Lots of people give for various reasons; some with the expectation of getting something back. The beautiful thing about Mama Louise is that when she gave, and she gave early and often, it was never with any expectation of getting anything back. It was for the pure joy of giving. She's a role model for giving in that respect." Mama Louise’s restaurant, opened with partner “Mama” Hill in the late 1960s, moved around a few times before settling at the current Forsyth Street location. The two Georgia ladies have made a career not just of delivering great food, but great hospitality as well. "Word pretty much got around the music world that this was the


place to eat when you were in these parts," Mama Louise says. "All I’d have to say is, ‘Hurry back, darlin,’ and they’d be back alright." “She’s been watching over that whole Capricorn Records bunch for 35 years now and she always makes everyone feel like they are part of her family,” Johnson said. She’s had several honors over the years from local bands and bands passing through Georgia, including her own platinum album of “At Fillmore East,” one of the Allman Brothers’ most well-known hits from Capricorn Records. The Allmans loved her food so much that they actually took her on tour with them as their personal cook. “She didn’t really care who they were,” Johnson said. “Before they had really made it, she treated them like family. After they made it big, she treated them just the same, making sure they always had enough to eat. She’s got a pretty big heart.” At a recent birthday celebration in July, she received additional recognition from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Lisa Love, director of the hall of fame, presented Mama Louise with a plaque that honored the soul food queen for “her role as longtime friend, supporter and nurturer of the many musicians and patrons who have enjoyed warmth, generosity and a satisfying meal…” The same birthday event included serenades from several music legends, including a rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by Otis Redding III. John Charles Griffin of Flat Broke Productions said he was pleased with how the event turned out. “[It] was both an honor and a privilege to be involved in such an outpouring of love by Mama Louise's Friends and Family,” Griffin said. “We packed an overflow crowd of almost 500 people into the Armory Ballroom serenaded by the music of Capricorn Rhythm Section joined by Gregg Allman, Bonnie Bramlett, and Leroy Parnell.” U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., was also present at the event to bestow a congressional proclamation of “Lady” to Mama Louise’s name. Despite all of her honors and the large crowd that turned out for her birthday, Mama Louise kept to her tradition of being a humble woman in public. “Thank you,” encapsulated her few remarks. The following Monday, Mama Louise was right back in her restaurant getting ready for the lunch crowd. It’s a way of life for her that comes as natural as the homecooked meals she makes for her patrons. And she promises that for the next generation of Macon musicians, and truly, all the people who visit her restaurant, she’ll be right there, six days a week, with the same cheerful words. “Ya gotta eat,” she says, smiling. Mark Hoerrner

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Spiritual Healing Finding peace of mind in today’s hurried world of schedules and meetings can be a difficult task. For this reason, Crossroads Counseling Center, located at Martha Bowman Methodist Church, is helping its clients find clarity in a sometimeschaotic world. The counseling center, which is non- profit, began nearly a decade ago when Dr. and Mrs. Don Feibelman, III saw the need for a Christian counseling center. Both members of the Martha Bowman Memorial United Methodist Church, the Feibelmans presented their idea to their pastor, Hugh Davis, who embraced the idea and allowed the practice to be housed on the church’s campus. After deciding to move forward with the project, the church formed a board of directors to determine a vision and mission for the Center. Crossroads specializes in clinical psychology, but also nurtures the spiritual side of those seeking therapy. The Center is one of the only religious based counseling services in the area; each counselor provides clinical psychology combined with spiritual guidance. Dr. Edwin Chase is a Pastoral Counselor at the Methodist Home for Children and Youth and has been involved with Crossroads since the summer of 1999. Before moving to Macon to serve at the Methodist Home, Chase worked at one of the largest pastoral counseling centers in the state - The Pastoral Institute in Columbus. Though he doesn’t provide counseling services at Crossroads, Chase does serve as the Center’s board president. “I think I have helped to strengthen the board. That has probably been my primary contribution,” he says. “The board has gotten a lot stronger.” Chase chose to go into the field because he has always wanted to play a role in helping people. “My heroes have always been pastoral counselors or people in the healing field. I went into ministry with the intention of focusing on counseling the whole time,” he says.

“I did spend 15 years in the pastoral ministry, and that was a very important foundation in terms of working with young and older people – that laid a good foundation for my work in clinical study.” He believes faith can play a vital role in a person’s mental well-being, and says the religious component is very important in his counseling style. “I’m going to try to help someone think about their situation differently;” he says, “I use the resources of scripture and theology to help do that. When people come to see me part of my work is to help them to heal their image of God.” Crossroads currently has 14 counselors and one psychiatrist. Since it’s official opening in 1998, crossroads has expanded and has opened an office inside Vineville United Methodist Church; that office is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Jamie Caraway


Robert Green, Witten Technologies




Anyone who has seen five minutes of an interesting infomercial can’t deny they’ve thought, at least once, “I wish I could have thought of that,” and while it takes some luck and good fortune to develop an original, one of a kind idea, it also takes hardwork, dedication and guts to get the job done. Rest assured, you won’t find any of address Macon’s innovators on an infomercial, but you might find yourself inspired by their drive and stories of innovative success.


The Computer Assisted Radar Tomography

Imagine hopping into the driver’s seat of a brand new Corvette and being told it was your’s to cruise around in for a few days, but there’s one catch – the salesman hands you a blindfold and says you can only drive the car with the bandanna wrapped around your head. Would you take the keys – and the blindfold? That’s what life was like for utility contractors before WITTEN Technologies developed Radar Tomography. The CART (Computer Assisted Radar Tomography), in essence, performs a CAT-scan of the underground. Originally, contractors were using Ground Penetrating Radar to determine the same thing, but the images gathered were not easy to decipher. Widening roads and urban construction sites were hit and miss; contractors had a 60 percent chance of digging without hitting a pipe or wire. Essentially, they were blind behind the wheel, which caused costly and dangerous mistakes that extended construction times. “Last year, there was 200 billion dollars in construction in the U.S that was relevant to what we do,” Robert Green says. “According to the Society of Value Engineers, the construction industry threw away 14 percent of it. Twenty-eight billion dollars was wasted because you couldn’t see what was underground. That is our market; we went after that waste.” Green, founder and CEO of WITTEN Technologies, along with the late Alan Witten, developed new technology that increases the accuracy of seeing underground from 60 percent to 90 percent. Though the company was founded in Jacksonville, Fla., Green, whose wife Janice has family in Macon, does a considerable amount of business from his home office near Vineville Avenue. The technology began 1970 when Alan Witten and his college roommate, Anthony Devaney, studied Optics at The University of Rochester in New York. Devaney invented the precursor to Radar Tomography – geophysical diffraction

Macon Business Professionals Explore New Frontiers Original CART prototype being tested in downtown Macon


tomography - in 1985, but it took several years to actually understand the physics behind it. “Tony theorized that he could take diffraction patterns and make a holographic image of underground objects. “You had to create a mathematical lens to turn these diffraction patterns into coherent images,” Green says. Green and Witten built upon the technology and created RT, which transforms the information GPR gathered into actual pictures. The WITTEN team constructed the synthetic aperture radar array needed to obtain the underground pictures. The machinery, which can be attached to SUV’s, tractors, etc., uses radar waves to send machine gun-like pulses into the ground. The radar collects massive data and then WITTEN’s software creates three dimensional images of what’s below. The technology’s benefit doesn’t stop at construction and engineering. RT has been solicited by law enforcement, environmentalists and the military. “It’s best military use is with BRAC,” Green says. “Homeland Security has required all bases to map their critical infrastructures…We’re really the only realistic, cost effective mechanism there is.” WITTEN’s name has even been mentioned during the Natalie Holloway investigation. “We find graves really well. That’s not a problem,” he says. “If someone wants to go bury somebody and we have an idea of what acre they’re in, we are going to find (the body).” Green, who owned a utility contracting company before founding WITTEN Technologies, says he hopes RT becomes a standard tool in construction and engineering. And, after several years, the WITTEN team looks to have been successful in reaching their goal. The Florida Department of Transportation has finished a three year study of RT to make it a standard tool. “The Florida legislature recognized the importance of the onset of this technology, changed the FL Statute 556, and are now reversing the flow of liability of utility damage back to the utility company if they don’t use it,” Green says. This means the DOT and the excavating contractors can hold utility companies responsible if damage is done to existing pipes, wires or other utility hardware. In 2004, WITTEN earned the Florida Engineering Society’s “Governor’s New Product Award.” Representatives from the Florida DOT are calling RT a necessity and now, WITTEN can focus on the more commercial aspects of the technology. The company’s recognition has gone far beyond Florida, however. In 2004, WITTEN Technologies was awarded the 2004 Wall Street Journal’s Innovation of the Year Award for Software. In the Wall Street


Journal’s list of the “Best and Brightest Technology Innovators,” WITTEN was fifth overall worldwide. When Alan Witten and Green began WITTEN Technologies over a decade ago, Green says his ultimate goal was to earn money. Now, however, he agrees with his late business partner. “Alan told me once that not everyone is motivated by money,” Green says. “I look now and see that (RT) has become objects of discussion at state and national levels, and I realize that the real reward is that we have created a change and a new term, ‘radar tomography’ in an industry that will endure as long as people want to work underground.” “It’s going to make work simpler, cheaper. That savings will translate into cheaper roads built more quickly. It’s also a safety issue. Fewer people are going to die due to the ability to see where you are digging. As I get older, making change that matters becomes more important to me, than it was originally,” he says.



Investing in technology and new innovations can be a very profitable, but also very risky, endeavor – especially when there isn’t a tangible product to market. But Robert ‘Robbo’ Hatcher, local businessman and Macon native, did just that – and he and his partner, Dr. K.C Adiga - the inventor of the technology and founder and CEO of NanoMist Systems, LLC. - seem to be well on their way to scientific success. After earning his Ph.D in the rocket propulsion area, Adiga investigated fire suppression and protection and had a vision. He wanted to create an environmentally safe alternative to the chemical-based fire suppression products already on the market. The ideal solution is water. After all, water has been putting out fires since the dawn of time. However, the water-based sprinkler systems sometimes caused more harm than good. “When you balance the loss and the gain, yes (the sprinkler system) will put out the fire, but it will cause a lot of damage, so there are only certain areas you can use it,” Adiga

explains. Adiga wanted to do what scientists had been attempting for years – make a water mist powerful enough to put out a fire but safe enough to reduce water damage. After years of theorizing in his lab at Warner Robins’ Advanced Technology Development Center, Adiga invented the idea behind NanoMist – an extremely fine mist that completely engulfs a fire and extinguishes the flames without damaging the surrounding area. This technology is perfect for high-tech data centers, kitchens, libraries and other areas where water damage cannot be afforded. But bringing new innovations to fruition can be a costly adventure, and Adiga was having a hard time finding investors to fund his project. With the help of the late Jerry Wilson, director of the Advanced Technology Development Center, Adiga was introduced to potential investors, but they were not at all receptive to his ideas. He only had an idea – not an actual product – and investors were hesitant to invest in something they couldn’t

Robbo Hatcher with Rajani and Dr. K.C. Adiga. see or touch. “Most of the time investors were not excited because it was very early in the technology and they didn’t want to take a risk,” Adiga says. “This is an out of the box idea – nobody wanted to appreciate it.” The tables quickly turned when Adiga presented the product to his financial advisor, Robbo Hatcher. Hatcher had been looking for a technology to invest in, and after the presentation, he was sold. “While we are focusing now on fire protection, NanoMist has so many potential uses that it looked like a robust technology to invest in,” Hatcher says. “There are other things we can do, and once we get this application done we can go down those roads as well. So it sort of covered our backside in that we had a lot of opportunities to bring NanoMist to different markets, and each one of those markets is large.” Hatcher agreed to invest in the product and the two began to form NanoMist Systems. Adiga serves as president and CEO

of the company, and Hatcher handles the business side of the technology. Adiga’s wife, Rajani, is a business partner. She specializes in Process Technology research and has two Master’s degrees: one in Physics and one in Materials Science and Engineering. The Macon native, graduate of Stratford Academy and University of Virginia Alumnus took the helm as a business partner and used his background in business and economics to ensure the success of the company. Adiga claims, however, that Hatcher’s knowledge stretches far beyond economics. “He is a very value added person to us,” Adiga says. “He surprised us as well as the formally educated fire suppression scientists. He is not supposed to be a scientist, he studied economics, but during most of the fire testing he has helped us.” Hatcher implemented many of the testing procedures used in the development of NanoMist and spent considerable time in the lab in Warner Robins. Hatcher attributes his

scientific background to Stratford. “Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about (Stratford). People don’t think about their high school education as a formative thing, but I leaned heavily on the chemistry and physics that I learned in high school… I couldn’t do what I do now, well, if I didn’t remember all that stuff,” Hatcher explains. “Fortunately, too, K.C is a good and patient teacher. He is able to bring very complex ideas to a point where I can understand them.” Adiga and Hatcher plan to sell their technology to industry leaders in fire protection and suppression. The Navy has expressed great interest in the technology and is currently testing it on its ships. Other industry leaders have also recognized its significance, thus proving NanoMist could be replacing the popular chemical suppressants that invariably produce toxic chemical products. “From restaurant kitchens, to high end facilities like data centers, to aerospace uses, to maritime


uses, all of those are a huge industries or needs in the fire suppression industry,” Hatcher says. “I don’t think we’ll ever replace the sprinkler system in the warehouse, but there are a lot of places where we can put out a fire with less collateral damage, more rapidly, with no chemicals that create all sorts of other problems. That’s a lot of ways we can look at things.” NanoMist Systems has four patents issued and eight patents pending on various high technology topics.

Dr. H. Tripp Smisson

The TIS-1200 Nearly a decade ago, Dr. Hugh ‘Tripp’ Smisson, a neurosurgeon at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, came across a medical case that forever altered his life. A 12 year old girl came to the emergency room and suffered from severe, but repairable, injuries after being involved in a car accident along I-75. Despite the doctors’ best efforts, the child passed away shortly after her arrival due to internal bleeding. If doctors could have efficiently transfused blood into the child, her chances of living might have been greater. Smisson’s friend, Richard Cartledge and, at the time, an intern on Smisson’s rotation, witnessed the trauma and knew there had to be a better and more effective way to transfuse blood. “Richard is a very creative guy – he’s always thinking,” Smisson says. “He said one day, ‘I want to show you what I designed,’ and he took me up to a little lab and showed me this pump he designed.” The pump was the prototype for what is now considered a huge medical breakthrough. Now, under the company name Smisson-Carteledge Biomedical, Smisson and his team are testing and preparing to market the TIS-1200, or Thermal Infusion System, which is a portable, battery operated pump capable of delivering fluid into the body at rates from 10 ml per hour up to 1200 ml per minute while warming to body temperature. Though this isn’t the first transfusion system on the market, it is the most efficient at delivering warm blood. Before the TIS-1200, physicians were using equipment the size of small washing machines to transfuse blood. The machine was hardly portable, and special technicians, called perfusionists, were the only ones who had the ability to operate it. It took a long time to warm to prime the machine, and minutes can seem like years when faced with a life or death situation. “Your system can compensate for quite a bit of blood loss, and what happens is your vessels start constricting in your lungs, you tighten up everything so you


can keep your blood pressure up, but once it The pump definitely has the ability to of Georgia is no stranger to medical devises. reaches a certain limit it suddenly drops. save lives. Ambulances will be able to carry it He also started Southern Spine, a medical Without the ability to get fluids back in with them and transfuse fluids on the spot device company that produces clinical techrapidly people die,” Smisson explains. Not instead of having to wait until they reach the nologies for the treatment of traumatic injuries only does the pump efficiently deliver blood, hospital. Smisson and his team consider the and degenerative diseases of the spine. The but it also transfuses it at body temperature, most valuable aspect of the devise to be its two companies – Smisson and Carteledge reducing the risk of hypothermia, which is benefits to the military. Because of Biomedical and Southern Spine – are manprobably one of the most unique and innova- Improvised Explosive Devises used in the aged by, TRIMAX Medical Management. The tive aspects of the product. The team patent- Iraq War, soldiers are faced with the threat of team hopes the company will serve as a teched a process called WaveForm heat transfer, losing limbs and, as a result, lots of blood. nology incubator and encourage biomedical which delivers controlled, warm fluid with- Medics, even those with limited experience, companies to move to Macon. out overheating. The blood pump is in its final stages of will be able to use the device on the scene to Smisson didn’t go at it alone, however. transfuse blood rapidly. Several U.S. senators the FDA approval process, and SmissonHis life long friend and vice president of and congressmen, including Georgia’s Carteledge Biomedical hopes to begin marSmisson-Carteledge Biomedical, Calder Clay, Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny keting it later this year. No matter how finanhas been influential in the development and Isakson and Congressmen Jack Kingston and cially successful the product is, Smisson, Clay marketing of the blood pump. The two grew Lynn Westmoreland fully support the compa- and Field agree: “The pump definitely has the up and attended Stratford Academy together. ny’s efforts and even assisted the team in con- ability save lives,” Smisson says. “That’s probIn fact, their fathers were doctors as well. necting with the former U.S Army Surgeon ably the most rewarding part.” “It’s fortuitous that I get to work with my General, Commander Jim Peake. Jamie Caraway best friend and try to grow the business. It’s Photography by Ken Krakow Smisson, a graduate of the Medical College been a lot of fun,” Clay says. Due to Clay’s expertise in the medical It’s difficult when you’re managing a product of this scope and device field, Smisson asked him to dealing with technologies that have never been done before. manage the business end of the company, but Clay realized he would It’s like trying to manage Edison to invent the light bulb. need help with the FDA process, development, patenting and intellectual property management. TIS–1200 The two were introduced to David Field, a New York native who had over 20 years experience in the medical device field and understood the intricacies of the FDA and intellectual properties. They hired him as a consultant and in 2005 offered him the president and CEO position of Smisson-Carteledge. Field, who works hand in hand with the product engineers, says because the blood pump crosses into new frontiers it can be hard to manage. “It’s difficult when you’re managing a product of this scope and dealing with technologies that have never been done before,” he says. “It’s like trying to manage Edison to invent the light bulb. You’re trying to keep the project on track and within the bounds of the amount of money you have available. That’s been the challenge.” Smisson says the friendship between the three makes for a very rewarding workday. It’s really great because we’re all probably friends first here, and it works out great because we can finish here and go work out together and discuss work the whole time…it takes our workday to about 60 hours a week instead of 40 hours a week,” he says.



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Economic Impact Warner Robins Air Force Base Helping Drive the Economy in Macon and Bibb County

7,257 $254,900,000 These two numbers represent critical figures in Bibb County. The first number is the number of people directly affected by income from Robins Air Force Base and the second number is the amount of salaries and pensions flowing into the county annually. These numbers, however, barely scratch the surface when it comes to how the impact that the base has in middle Georgia. Consider this scenario: Aircraft roll in day after day at Robins . On this day, a lone fighter coasts in for a landing and is directed near a hangar where the plane

will spend the next three weeks undergoing maintenance. While the pilot is on base, he’ll find time to dine out, seek entertainment and visit the base exchange. If he can catch a little leave, he might venture up to tour Macon’s Starcadia or head further north to Helen, Ga. to take in Oktoberfest. All told, during his time at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, he’ll spend nearly $1000 of his military salary. That’s money going into Georgia’s economy. The funds he spends directly will benefit local merchants who will then reinvest that money into salaries and supply purchases. The salaries of the employees will then be spent on local groceries, utilities, property concerns, impulse buys, entertainment, healthcare expenses and general infrastruc-

Mike Chumbley (co-owner) and Allen Peake (owner), Cheddars Restaurant.

ture. Then there’s the state tax to consider from these purchases – money going directly into the state’s coffers. Billions of dollars are generated by Robins each year, buoying up the middle Georgia economy. Robins Air Force Base is the largest industrial employer in the state of Georgia. It accounts for the direct livelihood of more than 25,000 people and accounts for at least $4.2 billion in annual revenues. And that last figure is a “best guess,” according to figures compiled using a formula created by the Middle Georgia Regional Development Center. The truth is that Robins is woven so tightly into the fabric of middle Georgia that a true count of the economic impact is impossible with current measurement standards. While the

RDC’s average estimate is healthy, the true numbers of how many people in Georgia are affected by the base’s revenues, contracts and general salaries are staggering but tough to pinpoint. To truly understand Robins’ importance look no further than the 21st Century Partnership, a consortium of local business leaders dedicated to telling Robins’ story, led by an exceptionally fervent supporter of the base. Mary Therese Tebbe, after more than a decade in broadcast news, came to the partnership to help evangelize Robins and its support of middle Georgia. The partnership was formed in 1993 by the Middle Georgia Military Affairs Council, primarily in response to the U.S. military’s Base Closure and Realignment Commission’s (BRAC) listing of the base as one under consideration for closure.

Walt Miller, GIGA

Anyone who lives in Houston or Bibb County and says that they don’t depend on the base simply doesn’t understand how deeply ingrained in the economy the base is. Allen Peake


“That was kind of a wake-up call to middle Georgia at the time,” Tebbe says. “We serve as a liaison for Congress, middle Georgia and the base. We have stayed focused on the future, not just because of the BRAC issues, but because we want to continue to grow that partnership between the military and the community.”

The base and its origins Right after World War II, the military was locating new bases all around the nation. In most cases, the bases were put into existing cities or towns that could offer an immediate support network for the personnel stationed there. With Robins, which will turn 60 next year, only the town of Wellston and the small airfield Robins Field were in place. The infrastructure to support the base grew up around it. Through the years, the mission at Robins has grown. Most base operations are evolving creatures, but Robins has been an amalgam of military purposes all rolled into one. Originally, the base was one of five Air Logistics Centers but is now one of only three around the country along with Hill AFB in Utah and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma. These centers support combat operations all over the world. Until recently, Robins was home to a fleet of refueling tankers, which were moved by BRAC during the last round of base closures and realignments. Robins has always been largely involved in aircraft repair and maintenance. Sixty-five different military organizations are housed at Robins and the base has ample room to add future missions. The city of Warner Robins literally developed around the base, blurring the lines between military and civilian communities. While the military mission is still exactly that – a proud, storied military mission of air support and logistics – many local, state and national businesses have developed as a result of the base’s influence.

The Financial Picture – weaving the web of dollars flowing in middle Georgia Restaurateur Allen Peake is a local business leader who owes much of his current business to the economy generated from the base. A former president and CEO of RMS Family Restaurants, a 130-restaurant chain that grew significantly under Peake’s leadership, he now owns three Cheddar’s and 12 Captain D’s franchises in middle Georgia, many of which are patronized by personnel from Robins. “A large part of my business has come from the base,” Peake says. “Anyone who lives in Houston or Bibb County and says that they


Beverly Olson don’t depend on the base simply doesn’t understand how deeply ingrained in the economy the base is.” The “Robins” economy has so many facets that it’s hard to categorize properly. According to Robins’ Public Affairs Office, 2,299 base personnel lived in Bibb County in 2005 and received $154.4 million in salaries that supported area businesses. Another 4,958 retirees live in the county and receive an annual income of $100.5 million. Together, these groups account for about 11 percent of the combined $1.96 billion in salaries and retirement wages paid in middle Georgia in 2005. The retirees are a robust community. More than 25,000 military retirees live in middle Georgia with roughly 6,500 of those being retired Air Force personnel and another 18,000 or so comprising a cadre of retired civil service employees. All of these individuals directly affect the financial well being of the 28 middle Georgia counties. Seventy-five percent of those retirees are located in Bibb, Houston, Laurens and Peach counties. Contracts play a large role in the life of the base but a slightly lower role in the overall economic impact to Bibb and Macon. The contracts that are either housed at the base, in surrounding communities, or in Atlanta at firms like Lockheed Martin represent $4 billion in military dollars flowing into the state. About $140 million of those contracts went to firms in middle Georgia, with $200,000 flowing directly to Bibb County. GIGA Inc. is a supplier of generic and specialty tools and supplies to both contractors and base personnel at Robins. The company was started by Sidney Miller, a World War II veteran who had dabbled in war surplus sales. After a long agricultural career, Miller and some investors created GIGA to be the

“place you go for the stuff you need” for military operations. His son, Walt, joined the company in 1981 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. “The base is a portion of our business,” Walt Miller says. “Though we serve the full military, we started out serving Robins long ago and still provide some of their most key contractors with the tools and supplies necessary. The base helped provide the foundation for our business.” Entertainment venues also benefit from the base personnel, according to Beverly Olson, owner of the former Macon Knights arena football team and the Starcadia entertainment complex, which receives more than 250,000 visitors each year. The fact that Starcadia offers a 50 percent discount to military personnel draws quite a few visitors each year from the base. She estimates that 22 percent of her attendance at the Knights’ games is from Warner Robins. “It’s a spider web effect,” Olsen says. “The money spent by the civilian and military people on the base just spreads out so far, it’s really hard to track.” Business, however, is not the only recipient of the economic upside of a large industrial employer like Robins. Bibb County schools receive a significant amount of property tax revenue generated by workers and retirees from Robins living in the county. Further, the base contributed $100,000 in 2005 for school aid funds to Bibb County Schools and Macon city schools. The overall state contribution to local school systems exceeded $2 million. The base is also one of the least expensive to run in the continental United States. Tebbe says that the base runs the lowest labor cost for civil service personnel and the lowest perdiem cost the 48 contiguous states. The cost

Ben Hinson

We need to be proactive about demonstrating to the world just how important this base is to middle Georgia – to Georgia as a state – and to the nation. Ben Hinson of living is 10 percent beneath the national average and the general labor force cost is below average. Tebbe indicates that this is from efficient management as well as the base’s location in the U.S.

Facing the future – keeping the base open “If that base went away,” Peake says, “it would be nearly impossible to continue operating these restaurants.” That’s one of the reasons Peake is so supportive of the 21st Century Partnership. Tebbe paints a more dire picture for closure. “Life as we know it here in middle Georgia would stop,” she says. “This base is the economic engine of all engines here in Georgia, and I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees with that. You’d see an economic vacuum here in middle Georgia that would consume so many people and result in a lot of economic casualties.” Local businessman Ben Hinson was one

of the first people to support the 21st Century Partnership and to recognize the impact of the base on the state’s financial health. His company, Mid-Georgia Ambulance, serves as the base’s ambulance service. All told, his business, which is the largest ambulance service outside of Atlanta, handles about $130 million in revenue in middle Georgia, a number that could sharply decrease if the base were closed by BRAC. “I like to use the analogy of pulling the plug in a bathtub,” Hinson says. “If that were to happen, so much of what we know of middle Georgia would just disappear down the drain. We’d definitely see a decrease in business as people moved from here to other places where they could find work.” Hinson partnered with Tebbe early on and his company has remained a financial contributor in keeping the 21st Century Partnership running constantly. “The partnership is something that needs to be there all the time,” he says, “not just

every time BRAC comes to visit. We need to be proactive about demonstrating to the world just how important this base is to middle Georgia – to Georgia as a state – and to the nation.” Hinson is proud to serve Robins. While Robins is a small but significant part of his revenue, he sees the mission that Mid-Georgia Ambulance fulfills as one of giving back to the base that’s been the underlying current for helping grow his business – by acting as the heartbeat of the people of middle Georgia. So far, the 21st Century Partnership has fended off several rounds of BRAC evaluations, usually gaining or losing personnel as the military shifts operational groups around. But the Partnership is ever-vigilant, Tebbe says, as she hopes to continue to raise public and political awareness of the impact of Robins AFB. Mark Hoerrner Photography by Ken Krakow



Howard and Titus

Boys to Men How four generous guys improve our community, one young man at a time

Howard and Titus Ask anyone you admire for the secret to their success and they will most likely credit a parent, teacher or close friend who provided guidance during their formative years. Unfortunately, several thousand school age children in Central Georgia don’t have good role models in their lives and face a high risk of dropping out of school or making other bad decisions that could negatively impact the rest of their lives.

Thankfully, a growing number of

Central Georgians are stepping up to be mentors, and more agency resources now exist to match them up with the kids who need their support.

oward Holleman stays quite busy balancing activities with his family, career as a partner in the accounting firm of McNair, McLemore & Middlebrooks, church and a variety of community organizations. But every week he makes time to spend with his ‘little brother’ Titus. Holleman’s connection to Big Brothers began 20 years ago. “I was two or three years out of college and felt a tug to do something in the community,” says Holleman. “I hoped that by becoming a Big Brother I could have some positive impact on the graduation rate in Bibb County schools.” Holleman met Titus through Big Brother’s after school program. Over the years, as Titus graduated to Miller Middle School, they began getting together one-on-one in the agency’s community program. “I’m not trying to be a father figure. I just try to add another dimension to his life – sharing activities, offering help if he needs it. I want him to understand how critical it is to take school seriously and that making a few sacrifices now will lead to big rewards later,” he says. Holleman sees Titus nearly every week. “Sometimes he eats supper with my family on Sundays. Sometimes we do things together and other times we just talk. Most of our conversations revolve around sports or current events, but you never know how visiting my office or watching the way I manage my time can give him a different perspective on what it takes to have a career in the business world. And of course, the time I spend with Titus always reminds me of the important things in life,” he says. His positive experience over the years also led Howard to serve BBBS on the board, as chair, treasurer and on the advisory board. “We’re not looking for volunteers to be Santa Claus or surrogate fathers or babysitters,” says Dianna Glymph, President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Heart of Georgia. “We simply want to share friendships and values.” Under Glymph’s leadership, BBBS has grown from 43 mentor matches in 2001 to 1,261 matches in 2005. They serve kids ages 5 to 18 in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and Crawford, and plan to expand soon to Twiggs and Laurens counties.



JP and Darryl onathan Pitts, or JP as his friends call him, grew up in Jones County in a supportive, traditional family. After graduating from Valdosta State, he joined Macon Occupational Medicine to take charge of the mobile health unit that visits companies to perform hearing, drug, alcohol and pulmonary testing. Pitts became aware of The Mentors Project of Bibb County after speaking with Director June O’Neal. He was matched with his ‘protégé’, Darryl, a freshman at Central High School. “Darryl is real active in choir and youth activities at his church,” says Pitts. “I want to help him prepare for college and the challenges of the real world.” Pitts and Darryl talk on the phone and participate in functions organized by Mentors Project such as classes on business etiquette and life skills. “These young men need to learn the basics, such as a proper handshake and good money management habits. One of my goals is to create a ‘savings club’ where the protégés can visit financial institutions and open their own account,” adds Pitts. “Being a mentor made me step out of my comfort zone, to get involved with the issues we face in our community. And the experience has challenged me to better organize my time between home, work and volunteering.” The local Mentors Project chapter was organized in 1990 by the Education Committee of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce as a way to increase the graduation rate in Bibb County high schools. Over the past few years the agency has grown from a handful of mentors in one school to more than 130 mentors in nine schools. “I wish I had a hundred like Jonathan,” says O’Neal. “He’s the salt of the earth. People like Jonathan help turn our students into successes instead of statistics.” “My wife Keisha is a school teacher at Gray Elementary, and she’s very supportive of my involvement as a mentor,” says Pitts. “I really believe that this experience will help me become a better family man when we have our own children.”


“My wife Keisha is a school teacher at Gray Elementary, and she’s very supportive of my involvement as a mentor. I really believe that this experience will help me become a better family man when we have our own children.”


JP and Darryl


Mark and the Georgia Industrial Children’s Home

Mark and the kids at the Home ark McMullan, youth minister at Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church and a volunteer at the Georgia Industrial Children’s Home, has a great turnaround story of his own. “Years ago, I hung out with the wrong crowd and did some things I’m not proud of,” says McMullan. “I had wonderful parents, but I was headed in the wrong direction and it was beginning to haunt me. One day a good friend sat me down and reminded me that the Lord forgives whatever we’ve done wrong. That’s when I decided to change course. Now I have a wonderful wife, two jobs and I’m going to college. And I’ve found a way to give back through the Children’s Home.” McMullan is completing his degree in mechanical engineering at Mercer University while he works full-time at Robins Air Force Base and part-time as a youth minister. Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church has supported the GICH for many years. When McMullan joined the church four years ago, he jumped right into the program, visiting the Home on Thursday nights for Bible study. “Some of the kids also like to meet in small groups, and we take them on church sponsored activities such as Six Flags, Whitewater and bowling,” he says. Most of the residents at the GICH have troubled pasts. “Many have committed serious crimes or have been the victims of serious crimes,” notes McMullan. “Some are one step away from the Youth Detention Center. The kids at the Home can be very challenging but that’s where a mentor can make an enormous difference in their lives.” McMullan relies on his own life experiences to relate to the young people. “Other than a couple youth ministry conferences, I’ve had no formal training in mentoring. I like to share lessons from my own past to teach and guide the kids, some things to avoid and others to follow,” he explains. The Georgia Industrial Children’s Home was founded in 1897 by Rev. William Mumford to care for abused, neglected or abandoned children and adolescents. About 50 kids ages 8 to 15 live in cottages on the 172-acre property that was once a working farm. Tammie Greene, director of development and public relations at GICH, adds “we focus on children who need more than foster care. The residents at GICH need special attention from wonderful people like Mark.” Greene knows what it takes because she and her husband David also spend a lot of time with the children at the Home.


Becoming a mentor There are many more boys who need a positive role model than there are men to serve them in Central Georgia.“We always need more money and men, particularly African American men,” says O’Neal. If you enlist as a mentor you can expect to be carefully screened – both from a background perspective and to identify your personal interests to match with a child. And while mentoring can be very rewarding,“it is not always easy,” adds O’Neal.“There are often barriers in communicating and the young people are not always where they said they would be when you go to pick them up. It takes a special man to put the ‘men’ in mentoring.” While the missions of the various agencies vary somewhat, the need is so great that they work together whenever they can.“Big Brothers collaborates with Boy Scouts and The Mentors Project by referring candidates and seeking joint grants,” adds Glymph. Whether you serve a little brother, a

“Some [of the residents at the GICH] are one step away from the Youth Detention

protégé or a Scout, mentors play a vital

Center. The kids at the Home

role in our community. As the Mentors

can be very challenging but

Project slogan states: "To the world you might be just one person, but to one

that’s where a mentor can

person you just might be the world."

make an enormous difference in their lives.”


How to become a mentor …or make a contribution to a mentoring agency

“The first time I attended a function when I was considering getting involved as an adult, I realized immediately that the direct interaction Scouts have with

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Heart of Georgia 777 Walnut Street Macon, GA 31201 Contact: Susan Allen – 745-3984

their leaders – who are all good, solid role models – creates a strong bond that provides positive mentoring.” mentors_project.asp 484 Mulberry Street Macon, GA 31201 Contact: June O’Neal – 765-8624

Boy Scouts of America, Central Georgia Council

Chuck and the Scouts uggling family, work and community commitments is an everyday challenge, but Chuck Harmon, Wachovia’s market president for Middle Georgia, makes special time for the Boy Scouts. “Scouts learn teamwork, leadership and responsibility – values that go a long way toward a healthy and bright future,” Harmon says. “The first time I attended a function when I was considering getting involved as an adult, I realized immediately that the direct interaction Scouts have with their leaders – who are all good, solid role models – creates a strong bond that provides positive mentoring. It was an easy decision to sign on for a first term (as president of the Central Georgia Council) and an even easier decision to re-up for term number two.” “The same open management style and trust in a strong team that is effective at the bank works well for me on the Council. I take the same level of ownership in volunteering with the Scouts as I do at my job with Wachovia. The goals are similar, to make both organizations bigger and better,” he notes. “Chuck is a walking merit badge,” says Irby Small, Scout executive for BSA’s Central Georgia Council. “He does a fantastic job of motivating everyone in the organization and serving as a role model for the boys. Scouting encourages peer-to-peer as well as adult-to-youth interaction, and Chuck makes sure that all of our areas – programs, membership and finances – work together smoothly.” Since it began in 1910, Scouting has evolved with the times. “Boys have so many ways to occupy their time these days,” says Small. “More than ever, Scouting plays an important role in helping young people make the right choices. We try to make character building, fitness and citizenship fun.” Rick Maier Photography by Ken Krakow



The Mentors Project of Bibb County 4335 Confederate Way Macon, GA 31217 Contact: Irby Small – 743-9386

Georgia Industrial Children’s Home 4690 N. Mumford Rd. Macon, GA 31210 Contact: Tammie Greene – 474-8220

Chuck and the Scouts


478.314.2285 A publication of Imedia Group.

Anita Ponder and Sharon Patterson


Harmony in Macon,

in Motion:

The Center for Racial Understanding Publisher’s Note: When it comes to racial division, Macon residents and business leaders alike have strong and often differing opinions on the severity of the situation and the resolve. Fact of the matter, race relations is a serious issue locally, nationally and internationally – and it is not all “black and white”. Race relations affect the viability and salability of our community. While many have discussed the issue and fewer have tried to implement a strategy, a grassroots effort by several of our notable community leaders has resulted in the introduction of a community and workplace race relations liaison deemed The Center for Racial Understanding. Race plays a significant role in how we and others perceive our community. This is one additional piece of our economic and quality of life equation that cannot be left unresolved.

t all began with a candid conversation three years ago during a break at a leadership retreat. City Council President Anita Ponder, Bibb County School Superintendent Sharon Patterson and Jo Wilbanks, the retired Central Regional Distribution Manager for Georgia Power, saw the same problems in local race relations – specifically the need for open dialogue, dealing with harmful perceptions and socio-economic disparities. “We brainstormed about how we could bring our community together in an atmosphere where people could talk openly and honestly about race and anything that might be on their mind without any reluctance,” Ponder recalls. “It was our opinion that dialogue would create a better understanding, and thus a more harmonious community.” The brainstorming later continued with Peyton Anderson Executive Director Juanita Jordan. “We were all lamenting the fact that it is so difficult to move the community forward and decided to try and do something about it,” Jordan says. “All our issues eventually wind up with someone playing the ‘race card.’” Together the four women came up with the idea that the first step they should take is to approach other community leaders for their takes on the topic. Jordan began sending out letters, serving as an invitation to participate in their dialogue on the state of race relations within the local community.


Juanita Jordan at the Douglass Theatre, a beautifully restored historically black theatre.

“We invited about 25 or 30 people,” recalls Jordan. “Among the first to respond – Billy Pitts, Alex Habersham, Dr. Kirby Godsey, Emily Myers, Carey Pickard and Starr Hutchings Perdue. We had several members who liked what we were doing and asked to be a part, and then the initial group identified others that should be included.” “As part of the dialogue, it was the consensus that before we, as a community leaders, could go out and try to engage the community, we had to deal with the issues and perceptions ourselves – as a group. We needed to be open and honest about issues involving race and economic disparities amongst ourselves first before broadening our scope,” adds Ponder. In order to accomplish this, Jordan found professional facilitators who specialized in working with communities trying to improve race relations. The first meeting was led by a representative of Georgia Power who specialized in diversity training. Additional meetings were held with facilitators funded by Peyton Anderson and the Knight Foundation. “It was at this point,” says Ponder, “that the group decided that we needed to formalize our efforts and work towards having a facility whose full-time mission would be to help create a better understanding about race.” For almost two years, the group worked collectively, and as individuals, to better their understanding of the needs for racial harmony, as well as preparing themselves to act as facilitators when their dialogue was put before the entire community. Jordan says a three-prong approach was devised. “One prong was to get to know each other personally in settings outside business,” she says. The next step was to include the larger community. “We decided to do that through the churches,” says Jordan. “We had a luncheon for 10 percent of the clergy and explained our vision and asked them to help. We followed up with asking five of the clergy to join our organization and that group brought together the downtown clergy and formed an association of churches downtown.”

The folks who founded this non-profit really understood that our community needs a more consistent focus on these issues and concerns that so often keep us being all that we are supposed to be as a community. Rev. Cameron Pennybacker 50

The final prong would involve William S. Hutchings Career Center, a non-traditional magnet school that offers college preparatory curriculum in addition to vocational technical training options. And with that outline in the mind, the Center for Racial Understanding was born. Fast forward to present day. On March 13, 2006, the Center for Racial Understand officially opened its doors. Found at 344 Second Street, the modest office space is a physical representation of a plan, tagged “Harmony in Macon,” in motion. And its downtown location, directly across from the Confederate soldier statue at the Cotton Avenue apex and just a few doors down from African Americanowned beauty parlors and barbershops, is an ideal paradigm. Rev. Cameron Pennybacker began his job as the CRU’s Executive Director in late January. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Pennybacker holds a Masters of Divinity from Atlanta University’s Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). ITC is the preeminent training ground for African American pastors. Over half of the black clergy in America who hold a Masters of Divinity receive their degree from ITC. “I was very often the only white student in the room,” says Cameron of his unusual

background. “I had to preach several times to the entire community and it was a great privilege that I hope I did well. It solidified [my calling], but it also gave it some resources... Folks know I mean it when I say I have a commitment to do this work.” It was during seminary that Pennybacker was introduced to Macon. He spent two years as the Senior Minister of First Christian Church on Vineville Avenue, and before arriving at the CRU, worked as a consultant for a local healthcare initiative supported by the Mercer University School of Medicine. Pennybacker also serves as director of Chautauqua Institution’s New Clergy Conference, a national, interfaith conference setting for newly ordained Jewish, Christian, and most recently, Muslim clergy. Like the CRU, the conference is founded on the notion of community engagement and focuses on social progression. Judging from his background, it seems as if Pennybacker was predestined for his new role as director of the CRU. He quickly made his presence known in the community by actively participating in local discussions on race relations. “Being drawn to race and justice work, I wanted to be involved in those conversations. Most of those groups are open – they’re there if you want to be there – but

the Center for Racial Understanding, however, had a different beginning. The folks who founded this non-profit really understood that our community needs a more consistent focus on these issues and concerns that so often keep us being all that we are supposed to be as a community,” he says. Theresa Robinson is the Assistant to Central Region Vice President at Georgia Power. Since the inception of the Center, she and Jo Wilbanks worked closely together on CRU’s Steering Committee. “[Pennybacker] ‘gets it,’” she says. “He is approachable, a great listener and comfortable around people different than him. He wants to see the Center be successful and he has taken ownership of the Center’s mission.” Part of the mission statement of the CRU is, “We acknowledge as a community that ours is a common future.” Although the Center’s doors recently opened, the organization’s involvement in Hutchings Career Center is at the forefront of its goals and it is through that involvement that Macon’s future is already being changed. Currently, the CRU is looking to fill a staff position, shared with the Bibb County public school system, to work directly with Hutchings and focus on coordinating internships for the current students and job placement for the graduates.

Rev. Cameron Pennybacker

“I feel that one of our biggest challenges in this community is to close the socio-economic gap,” says Ponder. “The CRU board and steering committee felt that perhaps the most effective way to ‘close the gap’ was by helping young people find a good job once they graduate from high school. So, we decided to work with the students of Hutchings Career Center in preparing and helping them to get good jobs. I personally feel that once we start to close the economic gap between our citizens, it will in turn help with some of the perceptions we attribute to race.” Robinson serves on the CRU’s subcommittee that directly interacts with Hutchings. One of those direct initiatives is “Wonderful Wednesdays,” a concept developed by the faculty and administration of Hutchings that brings members of the community into the school to share their professional insight. Robinson’s presentation focuses on etiquette, and ranges from handshakes and eye contact to table manners and interpersonal skills. Robinson says it is her hope that the students take what they learn with them after graduation. “The Center is committed to Hutchings, so my hope is that the partnership will continue to grow, and much like the Center’s growth, we will begin to see measurable and positive results from Hutchings’ students,” she adds. Pennybacker says it’s not just the students’ future that is invested in initiates like Hutchings. “There is also the self-interest in this,” he says. “We know that our future is a shared future. And what’s good for the community is ultimately good for businesses here. What’s good for the children is ultimately good for our corporate structure 30 years down the road . . . The better communication we can have between the business world and this particular high school setting, the better off we’re going to be.” With the CRU operating as a 501(c)3 organization, funding has been critical since

Theresa Robinson on site at the William S. Hutchings Career Center.

the Center’s inception. “You know that people are literally invested in the project when they themselves are stepping up to the plate, not only in terms of leadership, but delivering financial resources and making the ask in the community. . . people are putting their money with their mouth is,” says Pennybacker. So far the Center has been funded by donations and grants from private businesses, individuals and foundations. However, Pennybacker is quick to point out, “the end goal is not development. The end goal is the presence that allows for racial understanding and diversity – thriving community, greater opportunities – and it may take development to make this happen, but we want to make it clear that it is a means to a greater end.”

From opening avenues of dialogue to bringing together the downtown clergy and throwing itself into the career paths of the next generation that will define Macon’s community, the newborn Center for Racial Understanding is only beginning to discover how to diffuse Macon’s racial troublespots. Some of it will happen as it comes along. “We want to maintain some resourcing and some flexibility so that we can be responsive to the problems that arise in the community, but also to opportunities beyond our forte,” says Pennybacker. While some endeavors of the CRU will be obvious, others will be subtle, yet proactive for Macon all the same. “That means on every front,” he says. “On the housing front, the political front, the educational front, the social front – every facet of life touches upon how we relate to one another, and this Center can make a positive claim to that kind of future.” Jessica Walden-Griner Photography by Ken Krakow

Imedia, Inc. and address Macon have formed the address Junto. The purpose is to bring together a collective group of business and educational professionals for mutual improvement and to serve as a business networking and community action forum. The address Junto will also provide a sounding board for editorial input in the address Macon. address Junto Members Steve Slade Molly McCurdy Pearson Dr. Alex Correa Waverly Golson Tricia Bevill Paulin Dr. Seth Bush Rhonda Koplin Vicki Mills Cyndey Busbee Sue Chipman Mike Killen Reginold Tabor Allen London Brandon Mercer Aimee Jackson Hall Dr. Juan Lee Eli Morgan Laura McMaster Elizabeth Hardin Dan Davis Steve Farr Kathryn Dennis Pam White-Colbert Christi Horne Sean Waters



Balancing Act Daniel &Georgia Slagle

L Local business professionals, Daniel and Georgia Slagle, share a deep commitment to the Macon community. “We believe in working hard to do our part to support Macon,” say Daniel and Georgia (known to most as Dan and Gigi). With their long list of contributions, they do much more than “their part” to help the Macon community thrive. From participation in Leadership Georgia as well as active involvement with the Children’s Hospital to supporting the Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia, it is clear that these parents of two manage their busy careers and family

life with great balance, while they generously give time and energy to the community they love. Dan and Gigi met in 1983, while both were attending Georgia College (now known as Georgia College and State University) in Milledgeville, Georgia. To this day, and always with a smile, Dan fondly recalls: “We met in Art 101; Dr. Brown’s class. Gigi sat one row over and one person up from me, and my roommate actually sat behind her. I knew I loved her in that art class.” The two soon became friends, but their friendship

Dan, Gigi, Daniel, Sara Lyn and family pet, Tiny.


quickly developed into a romantic relationship that has lasted well beyond college. They were married in October of 1989 and together, they set about establishing what would become lifetime roots in Macon. Just following graduation, Dan was hired into a sales position with Motorola in Macon. He spent eight years with Motorola, earning valuable sales and marketing experience. In 1997, Dan was hired by Cox Communications to create and manage Cox’s commercial business sector. At the time, Cox was still in its formative stages and was working to create

From 1997 to 1999, while Cox upgraded their network, Dan was promoted to the joint role of Director of Marketing and Customer Operations. Dan recalls, “I went from a one man show to becoming the Director of Marketing and Customer Operations with fifty-five people reporting to me. It was completely new to me, and I had to rely on the knowledge and expertise of my employees.” Dan served very well in this capacity. It proved a great experience as he was exposed to newer facets of the corporate business world and in particular, the challenge of managing people. Ultimately, it was his own lack of experience in customer operations that helped him develop a management philosophy that he employs to this day: “To get out of the way, and empower people. I have found that those closest to the problem often have the best solution for it,” he says. Dan often implemented the solutions recommended by those who identified barriers to customer satisfaction, and within one year, his team was recognized as Cox’s top performing customer call center. By early 2000, Cox Communications was prepared to launch their newest business unit: Cox Business Services. Cox

an operation that exclusively focused on business customers. “I started with Cox in July of 1997, but by November, I was worried that I had made a mistake,” recalls Dan. Cox Communications was shifting from a focus on solely providing residential cable service to becoming a broader communications provider to all segments of the market. Paradoxically, while the company was still in the process of upgrading their network for this cutting edge technology, Dan’s challenge was how to personally contribute to the company until the network was ready.

... it is clear that these parents of two manage their busy careers and family life with great balance, while they generously give time and energy to the community they love...


Communications created Cox Business Services to offer business customers an expanded communications portfolio. The company mission was to provide small, medium and large businesses alike with telephone, internet and video services as well as voice, data, and video transport solutions over Cox’s extensive fiber network. Dan was selected in 2000 to lead this new unit and accepted the position of Director of Cox Business Services for the Middle Georgia market. In this current role, Dan manages a


team of sales, marketing, engineering, and operational support employees and sets the strategic direction for growth in this important division of Cox Communications. In addition to a belief in hard work, Dan also believes in having a personal stake in his community. His own on-going participation in numerous associations steadily increases his awareness of business trends at the local and state level, but, most importantly, his efforts serve to make a difference. Dan currently serves on the boards of the Children’s

I love being with my clients at their locations where I can learn so much about their needs. There, I can provide sound financial advice that will directly benefit them. Gigi Slagle Hospital, the Mercer Executive Forum, as well as Macon Arts. He is also a member of the executive boards of the Big House Foundation, 21st Century Partnership, and the Cox Capital Theatre. He works with Newtown Macon on the properties committee and is a member of the Senior Executives Group of the Macon Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Dan, and wife Gigi were both selected to participate in Leadership Georgia, a highly select group of Georgia business leaders who dedicate time over the course of one year focusing on the statewide goal of “creating a better Georgia.” Clearly, all of Dan’s activities serve as a testament to the unique caliber of his leadership. While Dan’s career keeps him focused on capturing market share, Gigi concentrates her efforts on developing financial strategies for her clients in her profession as a Certified

Public Accountant. Understanding the complexities of finance has always been easy for Gigi, who knew by her freshman year at Georgia College that she would pursue a major in accounting. Upon graduation, Gigi interviewed with many Atlanta-based accounting firms, with a resume that was notably highlighted by a four-year academic scholarship as well as summa cum laude honors. Of her many job offers, she selected a position with the accounting firm of Brooks, Worsham & Company. There, she gained two years of valuable professional experience before she moved from Atlanta to marry Dan and establish a life in Macon. Upon settling in Macon, Gigi joined her current firm, Howard, Moore & McDuffie, P.C. Established in 1982, the firm focuses on providing consulting, tax, accounting, and auditing services to small and medium-sized

businesses as well as tax and financial planning for individuals. In addition to assisting individual clients, the firm also specializes in working with privately held businesses and non-profit organizations, two niches Gigi particularly enjoys. “I love being with my clients at their locations where I can learn so much about their needs. There, I can provide sound financial advice that will directly benefit them,” says Gigi. Her expertise makes her an integral part of her clients’ business. Gigi’s dedication to professional excellence led her to an equity position in the company in January of 1996, when she became one of the three shareholders of Howard, Moore & McDuffie. The firm has a total of fourteen employees who provide a variety of services to a broad-based Georgia clientele. With eighteen years of public accounting experience, Gigi offers much


I moved around a lot as a child so it is important that our children grow up and know where home is. We have been blessed and have no desire to leave. Dan Slagle more to clients than just tax preparation. “I have two talented partners and a great team who work together for our customers. Every client receives the benefit of our collective experience,” she says. Ranging from auditing employee benefit plans to providing consultation regarding internal accounting controls, no detail is left to chance, and clients certainly benefit from Gigi’s advice. Gigi is keen to maintain an up-to-date professional education through active participation in a number of professional associations such as the American Institute of CPAs and the Georgia Society of CPAs. Additionally, she has served as president of the regional chapter of the Georgia Society of CPAs, and was a member of the organization’s state board. Also a participant in Leadership Georgia, she maintains memberships in several Macon organizations including the Rotary Club of Downtown Macon, the Career Women’s Network of Macon, and Martha Bowman Methodist Church. She has served as treasurer and member of the finance committees of the Girl Scouts of Middle Georgia, United Way of Central Georgia and is currently serving in this capacity on the board of the Medcen Community Health Foundation. Her active involvement with these groups and her strong professional reputation is quite impressive.


As they each manage high-profile business careers, Dan and Gigi balance their respective professional pursuits with the parenting priorities of their two children (Daniel, 12, and Sara Lynn, 8). Gigi is quick to point out, “We could not balance all of our responsibilities without Sara Beth Lanford caring for our children after school.” The Slagles provide guitar lessons to help Daniel hone his talents and offer encouragement and support by attending his baseball and football games. Daughter Sara Lynn is the artist of the family, studying both art and dance. Gigi and Dan encourage Daniel and Sara Lynn to pursue the possibilities of their passions, as they themselves believe in fully exploring Godgiven talents.

Occasionally, professional demands and volunteer commitments require one or both parents to be absent during evening family time. “On those occasions, we call granddad,” says Dan. “My father lives in Gray, so he is close by. He has been a great resource for us, backing us up and saving the day many times by keeping our children.” Gigi and Dan gain great personal satisfaction from being so actively engaged in their community. They attribute success in life to being blessed with a wonderful family and caring friends, both of which are of the utmost importance to them. “We love Macon’s sense of community and the incredible friendships we have with so many people,” says Gigi. By all accounts, their Macon roots now run deep. The family remains committed to a Macon life as Dan has forgone opportunities to move into larger markets with Cox Communications. As well, Gigi could easily parlay her talents to serve ano-ther market, but as a local business owner, she has no intentions of leaving. “In addition to our friendships and nearby family, Macon’s size and amenities are a huge plus for us,” Dan explains. The area’s low-cost living and tightknit community offer a lifestyle where close friends are the norm, and driving never involves big-city traffic. “We have a great church, a fantastic school in FPD and great jobs respectively. I moved around a lot as a child so it is important that our children grow up and know where home is. We have been blessed and have no desire to leave,” says Dan. Adds Gigi, “Macon is home.” Allyson Moody and James Fennell Photography by Ken Krakow



Dr. Fred Schnell

Lisa Love

Executive Chef Jim Palmeri

Shelley Pederson

Schnell Elected President of Community Oncology Alliance

Love Named Director of Georgia Music Hall of Fame

Palmeri is the New VP of Hospitality

Pederson Goodwill Catering and Convention Sales Manager

Jay McElrath

Jim Manley

Renee Jackson

Jason Tomberlin

Northside Mortgage Hires New VP

SunTrust Announces Promotions

Jackson joins Suntrust Bank

Tomberlin joins SunTrust Bank

Cindy Minter

Pat Topping

Kathy Love

Vicki Mills

Central Bank Announces Minter as New Assistant VP

Appointed to International Economic Development Council Advisory Committee

Interim President Central Georgia Technical College.

American Advertising Federation National Board Member as 7th District Governor.

Lauren Hamblin

Jennifer Williams

Lindsey Giles

Kristina Chance

Chamber Announces New Marketing & Communications Manager

Chamber Announces New Accounting Assistant Manager

Chamber Announces New Special Events Manager

Chance Joins Patton, Albertson and Miller



ART ON THE AVENUE Fine Art Gallery

Artists: Debbie Anderson concepci贸n Teresa Griffith Gloria Smith M J Venrick

"Kenya" by concepci贸n

open: Tuesday - Friday 11-5 and by appointment 2322 Ingleside Avenue Macon, Georgia 31204


"St. Joseph's" by M J Venrick

"Landscapes" opening reception Tuesday, Sept. 26, 6-9pm public invited






1 3 0 N o r t h C r est Blvd, Suite B, Macon, GA



Len Fickling

Allen Freeman

Sheila Scales

Wendy Holmes

Fickling joins Fickling & Company

Freeman joins Fickling & Company

Fickling & Company Promotes to Commercial Property Manager

New Director of Commercial Property Management

For detailed information on these and other individual press releases visit address Macon’s website. Julia Wood

Melissa Methven

Jalynn Hudnall

Promoted to Director of Communications for Goodwill Industries

Joins MidSouth FCU as Marketing Assistant

Hudnall to Co-Chair 2006 Memory Walk


EXPERIENCE. "That's The Difference"

Mike Elliott, Tommy Bush, Joey Tidwell LJL Truck Center, Inc.

2855 Broadway

Macon, GA 31206

Phone: (478) 784-3100

Tim Leskosky, President

4441 address macon  
4441 address macon  

volume 2, number 4