January February 2022 Priceless
Billy Springer’s Field of Dreams BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!
Taking Care of Business
WITH JENNIFER DAVIS
JAW DROPPING DISCOVERIES! WITH STEPHANIE LUKOWSKI
2022’ s Most Inf lu en Wom tial en!
We're Your Home Team! local lenders, local decisions Morris Bank has your experienced mortgage team to help with all of your home-ownership needs.
Morris Bank’s commitment to serve Bulloch County runs deep. Our experienced mortgage team is ready and available to help you achieve your dream of home ownership by oﬀering a variety of products and services to t your needs. Visit us in person or apply online today at www.morrisbank.mortgagewebcenter.com.
Mortgage Services Center in Milledgeville - 2806 N Columbia Street, Suite C
NEARLY A BILLION DOLLARS...AND
FOR MORE Nearly $1 billion. That’s Georgia Southern’s economic impact on Southeast Georgia. We’re proud of that. Not because of what it means for our bottom line, but what it means for Statesboro, and our future together. We’re engaged in public impact research that delivers real-world solutions for our environment, our health and our businesses. We’re devoted to educational programs for kids and families through our museum, our wildlife center, our botanic garden and events. We’re excited about our athletics, and the fans that bring our courts and fields to life. In 115 years, we’ve come a long way — our University and our town — and we’re ready for more. Ready to educate. Ready to innovate. Ready to make Southeast Georgia a better place to live, work and play. BECAUSE READY IS WHAT WE DO.
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from the editor
ESTABLISHED MARCH 1, 2000
elcome to 2022! We are looking forward to a New Year, a brighter future, and any challenges that may come our way. After the last two years of the pandemic, I’d say we’re ready for anything! We’ve seen so much; we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve sighed and we’ve cheered. So here’s to a fresh start and a Happy New Year! I’m happy to introduce Statesboro Magazine’s 2022 Economic Development issue. Each January, SMAG showcases a group of talented individuals who carry the vision of a better Bulloch County forward. For this year’s list, we’ve chosen to acknowledge 15 Influential Women; leaders who have proven records of success in the worlds of business, healthcare and education. In a special section dedicated to these over-achievers, we highlight their accomplishments and ask them questions about their passions and their super powers! We’re also showcasing three exceptional new community leaders in this issue. We have waited three long years to see the new renovations and changes to the Georgia Southern Museum! The wait is finally over! We toured all the exciting exhibits with Education Curator Stephanie Lukowski and explored the marvels of the history of the Coastal Plain of Georgia. We came face to face with the Mosasaur and had flashbacks of the movie Jaws when we stepped inside a shark’s huge mouth for a selfie. There are plenty of new things to see, do, and explore, and Stephanie makes it all so exciting to learn about! Billy Springer knows a thing or two about managing big venues and overseeing big events. He’s spent a lifetime in the American Quarter Horse Association, training horses, competing in roping events and attending his wife’s AQHA competitions. What better man to get to run our Bulloch County Ag Complex? Springer’s professional connections and expertise make the perfect combination for handling and filling our Ag Arena with a variety of great events, like Dog Shows, Ag Expos, and Rodeos! Find out about Springer and all the new events he has coming in 2022! Inside you’ll also get to know our new Chamber Director Jennifer Davis. She’s been on the job a few months now and we’re impressed with her positive outlook and her great spirit! She’s got a proven record of Chamber leadership and great ideas for creating a more vibrant business climate in Statesboro. Along with the Chamber’s faithful membership and a strong board of directors, Davis has created an inspiring Program of Work for 2022 that you’re invited to join in achieving! There’s no better way to start the New Year than with a resolution to read all the wonderful stories we’ve gathered about our great community leaders and their visions for a brighter future in 2022. Here’s to a beautiful & blessed year for all of you! Enjoy!
Jenny Foss, Editor
Jenny Starling Foss Editor
Joe McGlamery Publisher
Hunter McCumber Senior Creative Director
Mindy Boyette Advertising & Marketing Director
Frank Fortune Contributing Photographer Statesboro Magazine is proudly produced by:
FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION, PLEASE E-MAIL: mboyette@StatesboroMagazine.com FOR EDITORIAL QUESTIONS, PLEASE E-MAIL: editor@StatesboroMagazine.com MAILING ADDRESS: PHYSICAL ADDRESS: P. O. BOX 1084 One Herald Square, Statesboro, GA 30459 Statesboro, GA 30458 p: 912.489.2181 f: 912.489.8613
January February 2022 Priceless
ABOUT THE COVER
About the cover: Stephanie Lukowski came all the way from Grand Junction, SMAG Cover Billy Springer’s Colorado, to become ms Drea of Field Education Curator for the Taking Care newly renovated Georgia of Business Southern Museum. She’s JAW excited to start teaching DROPPING groups about all the ! IES ER OV SC DI SKI WITH STEPHANIE LUKOW wonders of Georgia’s ancient Coastal Plain. Make a trip to the Museum soon to meet Stephanie and come face-to-face with some creatures from the black lagoon! She’s pictured at the Museum in the mouth of a great shark by award winning photographer Frank Fortune. #theFortuneImage. BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!
WITH JENNIFER DAVIS
2022’s Most Inf luenti al Women!
© 2000 - 2022 MORRIS NEWSPAPER CORPORATION 4 statesboromagazine.com
| STATESBORO MAGAZINE
Ric a M ndes iR c a M ndes, a o p u p a l r essayist, retired after 27 years as iD rector of u P blic e R a l tions and e D e v o l m p ent o f re G orgia o S uthern. iH s memories about growing up and il iv ng in o S uth e G orgia inspire ih s rw itings. e H s’ au p blished author and o f rmer newsa p e p r columnist o f r the J A .C
Carolyn Altman a C rolyn tlA man is the iD rector of the o B tanic a G rden at e G orgia o S uthern n U iversity. e hS o h sdl e d grees rf om o C rnell n U iversity, o P rtland tS ate n U iversity, and the n U iversity of e N braska and a h su p blishe,d rp oduced, and taught creative o w rk of all o f rms, incluid ng a d nce, if m l , and rw iting. e hS spends as much time as o p ssible outside, and a h s backa p cked the a P cific rC est, telemarks- ik ed the o N rthe w st, ihw te a w ter a p e ld d the o N rtheast, cycled u E rope, and bike raced throughout the o S uth. e hT se ade v ntures rp ovie d opo p rtunities to e l arn o l cal a lp nts and o h we p ope l il e v among them. e H r son, o C b l y a P rker, and a d ughter-in-a l w Jordan iM e l r, are F ASU musicians o hw o j in a C rolyn on iw o lfd e w r exe p id tions in the o R ckies and river trips through the g O eechee cypress.
Lazar rB own g O e l sby a L zar rB own g O e l sby is the owner of o H ney a C tering and o D a l n’s QB both o l cated in tS atesboro. a L zar attended g O eechee Technical o C e l ge e hw re she earned a u C il nary rA ts e d gree. n I 2012 a L zar o f o l e w d a il e f o l ng rd eam and opened o H ney a C tering and a C .éf e hS enjoys cooking o S uthern o f od iw th an ade v nturous twist! a L zar is n k own o f re h ra f mous cheesecakes of ihw ch she a h s over 100 a lf o v rs. a L zar recently started the o H ney o lB g to share e h r recipes and stories. iV sit e h r at o D a l n’s & o H ney’s new o l cation on o S uth a M in tS reet.
Doy Cae v From a E gle a N tion is a column brought to you by e G orgia o S uthern n U iversity, e hw re e w cherish our a lp ce in the a l rger tS atesboro community. n I each issue, e w o h e p to bring interesting and informative stories to the readers of tS atesboro a M gazine. o D ya C e v is the a M rketing o C ntent a M nager in the ifO ce of a M rketing and o C mmunications at the n U iversity, and resides iw th ih s a f mily in tS atesboro.
Re.v John a W ters Frank Fortune Frank is the national award winning freelance photographer who holds the distinction of shooting 23 years’ worth of covers for StaesborMgzin . He retired from Georgia Southern after having been responsible for capturing the University’s history on film and video for 30 years. Throughout his career Frank’s enjoyed all aspects of photography, including sports, still-ife, landscape, and architecture. He and his wife, Mandy, are the proud parents of Jack and Cate.
iS nce 2005, John a W ters a h s been the e l ad a p stor of First a B tp ist u hC rch tS atesboro. a R ised in a military a f mily, e h spent ih s chio hdl od years in Tokyo, Japan, and e S m l a, a lA bama. e H earned a master’s e d gree rf om o S uthe w stern a B tp ist e hT ological e S minary and a o d ctorate rf om e N w rO e l ans a B tp ist e hT ological e S minary. sA a teenager, e h once o w rked a e w ekend as a circus clon w but now enjoys cole l cting o f untain e p ns, reading across many genres, and iv siting the great catherd als of the o w rl.d iH s iw e f ,y C nthia, is a retired elementary school teacher, and they a h e v two married adutl a d ughters and if e v grandcih rdl en.
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table of contents
THE CULTURE Always Room for New Discoveries With Stephanie Lukowski at the GS Museum Written by Jenny Starling Foss Photography by Frank Fortune
Billy Springer’s Field of Dreams Written by Jenny Starling Foss Photography by Frank Fortune
Jennifer Davis is Taking Care of Business! Written by Jenny Starling Foss Photography by Frank Fortune
SPECIAL SECTION Statesboro’s 2022 Most Influential Women!
FEATURED COLUMNISTS Words of Life Written by Rev. Dr. John Waters
Buzz Worthy Bites Written by Lazar Brown Oglesby
Garden Variety Written by Carolyn Altman
True Blue GS Written by Doy Cave
The View from Here
Written by Ric Mandes
IN EVERY ISSUE From the Editor Contributors
8 12 64 66
Calendar of Events News & Notes Look Around Transitions 6 statesboromagazine.com
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TAMEKA PHILLIPS EXHIBIT OPENING 5:30 P.M. FREE PUBLIC EVENT MAIN GALLERY AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Tameka Phillips is an MFA graduate in Studio Arts from Georgia Southern University. A first-generation American from New York City, she was always curious about cultures from other parts of the world. Her parents are from Central America, and through them, she was able to learn about Belizean culture and incorporate a global view into her works. www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
STATESBORO MAIN STREET MARKET2GO FRIDAYS – TUESDAYS @ MIDNIGHT STATESBORO MAIN STREET MARKET2GO
Order the season’s freshest local fruits, vegetables and homemade baked goods, preserves, jams, jellies, candies and relishes. You’ll also find locally sourced meat, seafood, spices, dairy and eggs. Home and garden items, honey and locally grown flower bouquets. Shop online Friday – Tuesday at midnight @ https:// statesboromarket2go.locallygrown.net/. Pick-up on Thursday afternoons at the Statesboro Visitors Center, 222 South Main Street or in Sylvania at the Victory Garden General Store, 124 West Telephone Street.
SKYNFOLKS LYNYRD SKYNYRD TRIBUTE BAND 7:30 P.M. $30/PERSON - $28/MILITARY/FIRST RESPONDERS/ CITY & COUNTY EMPLOYEES EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
SkynFolks was formed as a result of some very devoted musicians who wanted to bring a little more to the game than what they’d seen from Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute bands. They knew how discriminating real Skynyrd fans can be so they set their performance bar high...... really high. Brought together by luck, fate, devotion and drive, the original “Core4”, consisting of the three guitarists and bassist, worked to craft with the utmost discrimination exact replications of the music of Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Ed King, and Leon Wilkerson. Every part I splayed exactly like the original recordings. Totally authentic and completely accurate. For tickets visit www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
PAINT-N-PARTY 6:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. $35/PERSON ROXIE REMLEY CENTER FOR FINE ARTS AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
No experience necessary! Just come and have fun with friends and your favorite beverage! (21+ years old to consume alcohol). Price includes a 16 x 20 canvas and art supplies that you will use to create your very own masterpiece. Don’t wait, sign up today! Our instructor Erika Busbee will guide you through the steps to paint your version of the painting-of-the-month. Call us at 912-212-2787 to register. www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
2022 January & February JANUARY 29
PARTS & LABOR LIVE! 7:30 P.M. $25/PERSON EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Based out of the musical hotbed of Macon, Georgia, Parts & Labor has been offering up their blend of rock n’ roll, soul, and blues since the Spring of 2019. Heavily influenced by bands such as the Allman Brothers, The Band, the Grateful Dead, and plenty of funk, blues, and jazz along the way, Parts & Labor has been creating quite a buzz in Macon and beyond. The band first got together for a one-off gig in Macon for a private party in April of 2019. The vibe was good and they decided to keep the fires lit while they kept finding their own voice and getting the lineup just right. The COVID-19 pandemic gave the guys time to start writing and rehearsing original music which has been a total game-changer for the band. Their debut album, recorded at Capricorn Studios in Macon and mastered by John Keane in Athens, features 10 original songs and is available now! For tickets visit www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
BEHOLD, HERE COMETH THE DREAMER SPOKEN WORD ARTISTS CELEBRATE THE LIFE & LEGACY OF THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. 7:30 P.M. $20/PERSON - $18/MEMBERS/MILITARY/FIRST RESPONDERS/ CITY & COUNTY EMPLOYEES $15/STUDENTS EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Recognizing the importance of original writing in our society, this series has become an annual favorite bringing together young emerging writers and poets with established spoken word artists such as educators Derrick Bailey, Kimberly Foxx, and Dr. Lindamichelle Baron. The evening is structured to give the young writers / rappers a chance to perform their works and, after intermission, an opportunity to experience an accomplished wordsmith like this year’s Guest Speaker, Dr. Stacy Smallwood. Dr. Smallwood is an Associate Professor of Community Health in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and an affiliate faculty in the women’s Gender and Sexuality studies program at Georgia Souhern University. If you wish to present your original work, please contact the Averitt Center for information and an application form. www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
S END US YOUR EVENTS! EMAIL THEM TO EDITOR@ STATESBORO MAGAZINE.COM
THE COMEDY OF ZOLTAN KASZAS 7:30 P.M. $25/PERSON EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Comedian Zoltan Kaszas is best known for his Dry Bar Comedy Special “Cat Jokes,” a clip of which has over 60 million views on Facebook. Zoltan has three full specials up on YouTube “Cat Jokes,” “Modern Male,” and “Dancin’ with Drunks.” All three have a combined total of over six million views on YouTube. He is also heard regularly on SiriusXM, has performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is the winner of The Seattle International Comedy Competition. This will be Zoltan’s second visit to Statesboro. He headlined Barefoot Comedy on the same date exactly three years ago. Collin Moulin of Barefoot Comedy will be the opening act for The Comedy of Zoltan Kaszas. For tickets visit www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
F1RST FRIDAY EVENT – DOWNTOWN DATE NIGHT 5:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. WEST MAIN STREET’ DOWNTOWN STATESBORO
Enjoy an evening stroll down West Main Street with shopping, music, art, and S’mores. Treat your Valentine to dinner at one of Statesboro’s fine restaurants. www.statesborodowntown.org.
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AMERICANS AND THE HOLOCAUST EXHIBIT OPENING & RECEPTION 5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. FREE PUBLIC EVENT ZACH S. HENDERSON LIBRARY GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
Georgia Southern University’s Henderson Library is one of only 50 U.S. libraries selected to host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that examines the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. Americans and the Holocaust will be on display at Henderson Library on Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro campus, along with a series of related special programs on both campuses from February 1 to March 11, 2022.
FEBRUARY 17 – 20
THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES - CAPS & GOWNS 7:30 P.M. FEB. 17 – 19 3:00 P.M. FEB. 20 $30/PERSON - $28/MEMBERS/MILITARY/FIRST RESPONDERS/ CITY & COUNTY EMPLOYEES $15/STUDENTS EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
DRY BAR COMEDY – BACKUP QUARTERBACK ANDREW RIVERS 8:00 P.M. $20/PERSON - $18/MEMBERS/MILITARY/ FIRST RESPONDER/CITY & COUNTY EMPLOYEES $15 STUDENTS EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Barefoot Comedy and the Averitt Center for the Arts have teamed up once again to bring a full season of established and up-and-coming comedians to the Jan Brown Anderson stage of the Emma Kelly Theater. Savannah native Collin Moulton, who is one of the most sought-after headliners in stand-up comedy today, is the creator and host of the six-show series. He is known for his fast-paced and highly engaging mix of clever stand-up and physical comedy. He and his guests will draw on life experiences, current events and personal observation to create a hilarious and memorable show. www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
FEBRUARY 11 PAINT-N-PARTY 6:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. $35/PERSON ROXIE REMLEY CENTER FOR FINE ARTS AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
No experience necessary! Just come and have fun with friends and your favorite beverage! (21+ years old to consume alcohol). Price includes a 16 x 20 canvas and art supplies that you will use to create your very own masterpiece. Don’t wait, sign up today! Our instructor Lori Ward will guide you through the steps to paint your version of the painting-of-the-month. Call us at 912-212-2787 to register. www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
We’re back in 1958, and it’s time for the Wonderettes to graduate in this delightful sequel to the smash Off-Broadway hit! Join Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy, and Suzy as they sing about their final year in high school, celebrate with their fellow classmates and teachers, and prepare for their next step toward a bright future. Act II zooms ahead to 1968, where the girls perform as bride and bridesmaids to celebrate Missy’s marriage to Mr. Lee! Featuring “Rock Around the Clock,” “At the Hop,” “Dancing in the Street,” “River Deep, Mountain High,” and 25 more hits! www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
FEBRUARY 25 ONE: CHRIS MITCHELL LIVE! 7:30 P.M. $20/PERSON - $18/MEMBERS/MILITARY/FIRST RESPONDERS/ CITY & COUNTY EMPLOYEES $18/STUDENTS EMMA KELLY THEATER AVERITT CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Chris grew up in the rural town of Hagan, Georgia, graduated from Claxton High School, and is a singer, guitarist, songwriter, who has been touring the Southeast for the last 20 years. Chris earned a BM in music from Georgia Southern University. While attending GSU, Chris studied classical guitar and voice. He performed the first student Guitar recital at GSU and was a key member in the development of the program. While in college, Chris released two albums with his band “Wallace Green” with bandmates Brian Hendrix and Larry Summerlin. These were Wonderllamasoup in 1996 and evandrool in 1999. Chris is currently performing with his new group - the Chris Mitchell Band. The quintet was handpicked from the finest musicians in the area to form the new ensemble. Ryan Kelly (grandson of the legendary Emma Kelly) holds the bottom down on bass. Matt Fallin holds a doctorate in percussion performance. Keith Barber adds the frillies and fills in the other guitar slot. The final member of the group is Chris’ wife, Ashlee. www.averittcenterforthearts.org.
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Morris Bank Makes Senior Staff Appointments Morris Bank announces the appointment of Anna Swicord to its Bulloch County Advisory Board and John Roach as Market President. Swicord has served as Market President for more than two years and has committed a collective 15 years to FMB and Morris Bank. Her new position on the board will allow her to provide strategic direction for the organization, deepen customer relationships, and serve the Bulloch community just as she’s done her whole career, according to a release from the bank. Roach joined Morris Bank earlier this year, bringing with him a leadership background in banking. He began his career at Sea Island Bank in 2002 while an undergraduate student at Georgia Southern University. Roach has served in numerous management roles throughout his banking career, most recently as senior vice president and loan officer with Synovus and previously as Statesboro Market President with Renasant Bank. John and his wife, Joie, are lifelong residents of Statesboro and have three children: Anderson, John Brunson and Banks. Roach has served in several leadership capacities throughout the community, including committee positions at the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce, Statesboro Rotary Club, the Georgia Southern University Alumni Board, and the Coastal Area District Development Authority. He currently serves on the Bulloch Academy Board of Trustees and Hearts and Hands Clinic board. www.morris.bank.com. 12 statesboromagazine.com
Jay Clarke of Register Named Farmer of the Year Organizers of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce’s Farm-City week luncheon held on November 16, 2021, recognize how vital agriculture is as an economic engine for Bulloch County. Each year they focus on the impact agribusiness has in the community. Included are farmers, equipment dealers, bankers, Ag suppliers, and animal producers. Bi-annually the Chamber’s Ag Committee chooses a Farmer of the Year to honor at the Farm City luncheon. This year’s honoree was Jay Clarke of Register, who was introduced and presented the award by his brother Will, manager of Tillman & Deal farm supply company. Jay is a first-generation farmer, who started his own operation in 2012. He currently tends around 1,500 acres of row crops including peanuts, cotton and corn. He also has cattle and two employees that help him manage it all. The award touched Clarke and his brother as their father passed away just days before the awards luncheon; both knew he would have been proud. Jay is married to Ashley Clarke, and they have two children: Brooklyn, 7, and Camden 10.
Davis Bozeman Johnson Law Firm Names Partner
Attorney Roodgine Bray was named recently as the newest partner at Davis Bozeman Johnson Law. The firm has offices in Statesboro, Savannah and Decatur. Bray, 34, was welcomed into the partnership by attorneys Robert Bozeman, Mawuli Davis, Harold Spence and Francys Johnson at a celebration held at the Commerce Club in Atlanta. “Attorney Bray’s rise is not just important for our firm, but also for Black women in the legal profession,” said Mawuli Mel Davis, founding partner of the firm. Former State Bar President Patrice Perkins Hooker, who was the first Black and only the third woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia in its 50-year history when she was sworn into that office in June 2014, said: “Take your rightful place as a partner without equivocation because you earned it.” According to the American Bar Association’s “Profile of the Profession,” the percentage of Black attorneys actually decreased slightly from 4.8% in 2011 to 4.7% this year – far lower than the more than 13% of total Americans who are Black. Law firm leadership is overwhelmingly white and male. The percentage of Black women in partners in law firms is just 3%. The evening affair felt more like a family reunion than a law firm function. “After almost two years of a global pandemic and historic racial upheaval, the African American legal community needed a night like this to say “thank you” to those who paved the way for a group of young, gifted, and Black lawyers to imagine building a community-centered and liberation-minded law firm with statewide reach,” said Francys Johnson, who is based in Statesboro. “Attorney Bray represents the best of us,” he said. www.dbjlawyers.com.
Southeast Georgia High School Skills Challenge Held in Statesboro Statesboro High School Construction students competed against other area high schools in the Southeast Georgia Skills Challenge on November 2, 2021, beginning at 8:30 a.m., at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex in Statesboro. Hosted by the Associated General Contractors of Georgia in partnership with Ace Electric, Inc., Choate Construction Company, and West Construction Company, construction students from 19 regional high schools faced off in a variety of competition categories including: blueprint reading, carpentry, electrical, masonry, plumbing, tile setting, and welding. “The Skills Challenge event provides an opportunity for high school students who are interested in construction trades to showcase what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it through competition,” said Mike Dunham, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Georgia. “Beyond inspiring the competitors, we hope to educate students on the numerous career path opportunities within the construction industry.” Construction students from the following schools competed in this Central Georgia & Southern Crescent Skills Challenge: Bryan County High School; Burke County High School; Camden County High School; Crisp County High School; East Laurens High School; Golden Isles College & Career Academy; Jefferson County High School; Liberty County College & Career Academy; Madison County High School; School of Liberal Arts at Savannah High School; Statesboro High School; Toombs County High School; Vidalia High School; Ware County High School; Wayne County High School; West Laurens High School; Wheeler County High School; Windsor Forest High School; and Woodville Tomkins High School. Along with the more than 150 competitors who attended this event, approximately 100 additional students attended as observers to learn the process in hopes of competing in the future. Local construction industry representatives served as volunteer judges for each of the skills competitions, as well as volunteers for hands-on activities for student observers. These activities help students become more familiar with specific construction trades. This event also prepares students to compete in the regional SkillsUSA event in January. Winners of that regional event participate in the state SkillsUSA competition in late February at the Georgia World Congress Center. For more information about Skills Challenges, learn more at https://www.agcga.org/skills.
Leadership Southeast Georgia Announces New Executive Committee and Board of Directors Kendria Lee and Madison Roesel of Statesboro Chosen to Serve
Leadership Southeast Georgia, a professional development and leadership program in 10 coastal counties, has named five local business and community leaders from the region to serve as its new executive committee, and seven more to the board of directors. Spanning diverse industries such as aerospace, marketing, business development, manufacturing, and commercial construction, the new LSEGA executive committee and board of directors will help guide the evolution of the five-month program that trains leaders to improve the quality of life in the Southeast Georgia region. Jared Downs, a former vice-chair, is the new chairman of the board. He currently serves as the vice president of governmental affairs for the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Savannah. Downs previously worked for U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Zell Miller. The new vice-chair, Jesse Bentley, is a former treasurer. He is the Savannah division manager of Evans General Contractors, with a background in distribution, logistics and manufacturing project management. Stephanie Dammen-Morrell was named the new secretary after previously serving as a site coordinators chair. She currently works as the director of marketing for Hussey Gay Bell, a respected architecture firm in Savannah. Kendria Lee is the new treasurer. She formerly served as an LSEGA class nominations and selection committee member and 2019 site coordination for Bulloch County. In her current position, Lee is the director for economic development and community relations at Georgia Southern University. As a former chair, Brynn Grant assumes the title of immediate past chair on the executive committee. Grant is the president and CEO of United Way of the Coastal Empire, and a former CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. She is also a former vice president of World Trade Center Savannah for eight years. In addition to the executive committee, the new LSEGA board members are: Cecilia Arango
Marketing Manager, Thomas & Hutton Savannah, Chatham County\
Marketing and Member Service Representative, Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Nahunta, Camden County
Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships, Savannah Economic Development Authority Savannah, Chatham County
President, RPI Roofing Richmond Hill, Bryan County
CEO, Sparrow Communications Hinesville, Liberty County
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, The Sack Company Statesboro, Bulloch County
Public Affairs, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Pooler, Chatham County
Leadership Southeast Georgia is a five-month, region-wide program designed to equip, empower and connect community leaders to most effectively advance positive growth and improve the quality of life in the southeast Georgia region. The executive board and program participants represent a variety of industries across Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties. From February through May, the class spends two to three days a month traveling to surrounding counties exploring regional issues such as healthcare, education, natural resources, economic development and transportation. For more information, visit http://www.lsega.com/. January/February 2022
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Lt. Gen. Smith named Carter Chair of Leadership at Georgia Southern Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, a distinguished Georgia Southern University alumnus, will serve as the W.E. Carter Chair of Leadership in the University’s Parker College of Business after finishing a 38-year Army career. Smith recently completed his tenure as the 66th Inspector General of the Army. Smith began his service as The Inspector General (TIG) in February 2018. Before that, he served as Deputy, The Inspector General (DTIG) from April 2015 until becoming TIG. “Gen. Smith is a world-renowned leader who has invested much of his career in the development of others,” said Dean of Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business Allen Amason, Ph.D. “We are incredibly fortunate he will be lending his experience and expertise to our college, our students and our community.” Smith will hold the W.E. Carter Chair in Leadership and Business Administration, which was established in 1999 in honor of the late W.E. Carter, Sr. and the late W.E. Carter, Jr. The endowed position was created to support a faculty member of extraordinary accomplishment and ability, and with a strong commitment to teaching, lifelong learning, regional and economic development, and to positively impact the region served by Georgia Southern University. As the Carter Chair, Smith will focus on leadership development and education for students in the Parker College and at Georgia Southern, as well as for civic leaders across the state and region. He will serve as an ambassador for the College and for leadership education and development, while working with faculty and staff across the University to launch a sustainable leadership program that will accelerate the positive impact of the Parker College and the University. He will begin immediately. “Gen. Smith has served this University with great distinction as one of the most involved and influential graduates of Georgia Southern,” said Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero. “This position is a natural next step for a leader of his caliber, and I look forward to working with him more frequently as we continue our mission of preparing the next generation to think, lead, teach and serve.” During his career, Smith served in various command and staff positions. Of note, he served as a joint staff non-proliferation planner, and he commanded the 83d Chemical Battalion and the 3d Chemical Brigade. He deployed to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a general officer, Smith served as the Chief of the Chemical Branch and the Commandant of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School. He subsequently served as the Commanding General of the 20th Support Command – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives; and later as the Commanding General of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri — the first Chemical Corps officer in either command position. Additionally, he was the first Chemical Corps officer to serve as The Inspector General of the Army. He holds a Master of Science in administration from Central Michigan University, a Master of Arts in national security strategy from the National Defense University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Georgia Southern University. Visit www.GeorgiaSouthern.edu.
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always room for new discoveries
Always Roo for New Discoveries 16 statesboromagazine.com
s With Stephanie Lukowski at the Georgia Southern Museum WRITTEN BY JENNY STARLING FOSS PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK FORTUNE
he’s been “digging” dinosaurs since she was a girl growing up in Chicago. School trips to the Field Museum to visit Sue the T. rex or the Daspletosaurus, a cousin of the T. rex, whose reconstructed skeleton was the museum’s centerpiece until 1992, sparked her interest in Paleontology. Teachers encouraged her to go for it. Inspired, Stephanie Lukowski chose to major in geology at Tulane, followed by a Master’s in Vertebrate Paleontology from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Today she is the new Curator of Education for the Georgia Southern University Museum in Statesboro, arriving just in time to unveil to the public the Museum’s makeover, a three-year project that is now complete. “I started in July of 2021,” said Lukowski. “We reopened in October and have hosted tours for many groups from within the University, of the newly installed exhibits and the makeover of the Hall of Natural
History, home to the Mosasaur’s installation.” Lukowski knew about the Museum’s Mosasaur long before she arrived at Georgia Southern. While a graduate student in South Dakota, she met Dr. Gale Bishop, professor emeritus of geology from Georgia Southern, who was instrumental in locating the fossil and acquiring it for the University. From 2001 – 2005, Dr. Bishop served as director of the South Dakota Museum of Geology & Paleontology and professor of geology in the Department of Geology & Geological Engineering at his alma mater, the S.D. School of Mines & Technology. January/February 2022
always room for new discoveries
“Dr. Bishop served on my Master’s committee,” said Lukowski. “I took classes from him and worked with him. He often spoke of the 1979 discovery of the Mosasaur, and the museum here that was created around it.” In December 2020, when COVID-19 ended Lukowski’s job as curator of education at Museums of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, she began looking for a new position. “I was interested in smaller museums where I would be able to wear many hats,” she said. “I am so happy to have been offered the position here because it feels small, but has the resources of a large university.” In her new role, Lukowski has helped create a positive and nurturing environment to encourage Museum patrons and visitors to participate in learning more from the exhibits which teach us about the natural and cultural history of the Coastal Plain of Georgia. In the Delma & Beverly Presley Gallery, visitors come face-to-face with the mosasaur and explore Georgia’s ancient landscape from ocean to forests and prairies with mastodons and mammoths. The exhibits is also home to the Vogtle whale, a 41 million-year-old specimen, the most primitive whale fossil discovered in North America. Young visitors are encouraged to explore the mosasaur inside and out through special viewing bubbles. They can even dig through sand to find fossils of their own! In the Jack N. & Addie D. Averitt Gallery visitors can explore the Coastal Plain “from the time the first humans reached the area approximately 13,000 years ago through the important stories of the interactions between cultures and environments that created the distinct traditions and heritage” of the area today. The exhibit features everything from arrow heads to dug-out canoes; ancient maps to a Civilian Conservation Corp mural. In the Changing Exhibit Gallery visitors will see just that, curated exhibits than change every few months to bring new and exciting artifacts for everyone to explore. 18 statesboromagazine.com
Editor’s Note: Teachers can find Field Trip Request Forms and groups can fill out the Group Tour Request Form online at academics. georgiasouthern.edu/museum/ under the Education tab. Individuals can visit Tuesday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. And on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. General admission is $4/person, with children three and under free. Museum members also qualify for free admission.
“My favorite thing is to inspire people to learn more or to learn something that they didn’t already know,” said Lukowski. “When you say, ‘paleontology,’ most people think about rocks. But I like to make it more interesting, for example, did you know that sharks are older than trees? Or think about chicken nuggets eating a dinosaur? Those kind of questions immediately create interest in learning more.” Lukowski’s particular interest is in fossil mammals which appeared right after the large land bound dinosaurs died. “While in Colorado, I was able to see fossilized specimens of a medium size dog-like creature called phenacodontids that appeared after the extinction event that killed the non-avian dinosaurs,” said Lukowski. “The time period about 66 to 56 million years ago is called the Paleocene. It was a time during which the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans warmed. There were no longer large predators, so smaller mammals developed in an environment covered in forests that grew quite dense due to the absence of large herbivores. These mammals were prolific during the Paleocene period. They were bizarre with five toes with hoofs on each toe.” Those smaller mammals were found while Lukowski was digging on sites in the Western U.S. She has also done digs near the Panama Canal, where megatherium or giant sloths’ fossils were found. Her favorite dinosaur is the brachiosaurus, a large herbivore that roamed North America and many may remember from the opening scenes of the movie Jurassic Park. “I first saw it in Chicago at the museum,” said Lukowski. “I see it everywhere now. It reminds me of the thrill of discovering some-
thing new. That’s why I love what I do. So much has changed from my childhood. Back then we thought dinosaurs were too heavy and could barely walk on land. Now we know that birds are dinosaurs. That shows us that science is an ever changing process. There is always room for new discoveries. The excitement is in learning about the new things and not only how they shaped our past, but how their existence impacts our present.” Lukowski is looking forward to welcoming schools, classes, and community groups back to the Museum for scheduled visits. She is working on YouTube videos, a Facebook page, interactive programming, educational videos, and fun programs for the general public starting this spring. “I really look forward to seeing visitors and children in the Museum again,” said Lukowski. “I have lived a lot of places and I really enjoy making connections with people. It is in my nature to teach. Here at the Museum I have learned so much that I didn’t know about the indigenous history of Coastal Georgia. I can’t wait to share all those things and hopefully impact another child’s life in a meaningful way.” S January/February 2022
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billy springer’s field of dreams
Field of Dreams WRITTEN BY JENNY STARLING FOSS PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK FORTUNE
When Billy Springer started in April of 2018 as the general manager of Bulloch County’s Agriculture Complex, only the building structures were in place. He was tasked with overseeing completion of the site work, arena footing, access roads, the R/V park, signage, bleachers, animal stalls, and landscaping. Plus the booking of future events. All of which was completed by April of 2019. When the search committee chose Springer, they chose a man who knows a little something about staging and managing agricultural events. “I’m really just a cog in the wheel,” said Springer. “It was a huge group effort to get everything up and running. The support from the county and from the recreation department has been phenomenal.” Springer runs the facility with the help of Maintenance Supervisor Burt Hendrix a retired farmer with extensive experience in agriculture. What Springer brings to the table is a degree in Agricultural Economics from UGA and a lifetime spent in the world of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). He grew up in Hampton, 22 statesboromagazine.com
Georgia, population 8,000, in Henry County near the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The youngest of seven children, Billy started competing over 40 years ago as a youth in AQHA events. His father, Bill Springer, retired after over 41 years as an AQHA judge and trainer. Both Billy and his wife, Heather still compete in AQHA events. Billy loves competitive team roping, and his wife competes in American Quarter Horse shows. Son Ryder, 7, is growing up with horses just like his dad. “It definitely helped to have the experience of equine shows in developing what we needed here to host first class shows of our own in Bulloch County,” said Springer. While his experience in the equine world has had a positive impact on outfitting and booking the arena, Springer is quick to point out it’s not just for horses. “This is a multi-purpose facility,” Springer said. “We have benefitted from knowing people in the equine business and from making connections through organizations like 4-H, but we are not just an arena for animals. We are booking a variety of events and we want people
billy springer’s field of dreams
Grady Fortner of Fortner Farms in Williston, Florida, is sponsoring a Ranch Sorting & Team Pinning Equine Event at the Ag Arena.
to think of the Ag Arena as a great covered outdoor event space.” Springer hopes to bring in events as varied as flower shows and antique autos. “This arena is great for concerts, trade shows, exhibitions, skills challenges, and corporate events like annual meetings or like the Farm City luncheon the Chamber held here in November,” said Springer. Springer’s vision of multi-purpose usage has already paid off in the 2.5 years the facility has been open. Economic impact figures generated by the Statesboro Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group’s (BIG) Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER), show that direct business sales at the facility have more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. Figures show $558,126 in direct business sales in 2019 and $1,137,459 in 2020. “Figures are not ready yet for 2021,” said Springer. “But, I’ll bet we do over $1.5 million in direct sales.” The BIG numbers include a multiplier for additional revenue spent in the community by attendees at the events which increases the 2020 number to $1,641,423. The report also shows the number of direct jobs supported by the shows, the number of out-of-county attendees, and the amount of local taxes generated by each show. “In the beginning it was projected that it would take 3-5 years for the operations here to be sound from a fiscal standpoint,” said Springer. “But, we’ve been fortunate to generate business and event bookings even during COVID-19, because the entire facility is outdoors, except for the restrooms. Even the corridors are 8 feet wide, so there’s plenty of room for social distancing. We’ve been fortunate to host events for the past three years at a steady pace of growth.” Good news for those citizens who insisted it would be a “Field of Dreams – just build it and they will come!” The economic impact of the facility already makes it a great asset for the county and offers unlimited potential as an element of Agritourism for the community. “We hope to book at least 25 multi-day and weekend events in the coming year,” said Springer. “75% - 80% of our business is repeat because the county did a great job. We have a good product and we provide excellent service.” The main arena has 54,000 sq. ft. of covered event space with a 60/40 clay sand mix on the floor that can be textured with an arena drag between events. It has bleacher seating for 1,500, a custom public address system, LED lighting, and a performance ring. “Our facility is a good size for the type of events we’re attracting,” said Springer. “There are a number of places like Perry that are in the same realm, but we’re smaller, easier to navigate, perfect for the regional events we are seeking to accommodate.” In 2022 the facility will hold a variety of events including an Ag Grow Expo, the Bulloch County FFA Awards Banquet, Excelsior EMC’s Annual Meeting and Cookies & Cocoa with Santa. Along with a number of equine shows. This year the Ag Arena will again host the Kiwanis Rodeo in April and a Dog Show at the end of October. “Folks are welcome to attend most of the equine events we are having at the arena,” said Springer. “Those events are our bread and butter. There is no admission and it’s a great family outing to watch team roping competition or sorting competition. We also have concessions, free parking and plenty of excitement and fun. You can check-out our calendar of events on our website for upcoming shows.” Springer is “tickled” with the success so far and is looking forward to marketing the facility, more future bookings and promoting a variety of events. “My favorite thing about the job is getting to work outside,” said Springer. “I am blessed to be able to use my degree in a directly related field, and my family’s been blessed by moving to Statesboro. I’m looking forward to a year of even greater events in 2022.” S January/February 2022
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jennifer davis is taking care of business
Jennifer Davis is Taking Care of Business WRITTEN BY JENNY STARLING FOSS PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK FORTUNE
he’s a risk taker and an optimist. That’s why Jennifer Davis was drawn to apply to be the Statesboro-Bulloch County chamber director in 2019. She saw an opportunity to start over in a segment of the business world she had mastered at chambers in Milledgeville-Baldwin County and Greater Macon, Georgia. In her positions at those chambers she earned the Award of Excellence in Communication for Chambers from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives for the design and publication of the 2018 Annual Report of the Greater Macon Chamber. She was also named CTAE Advisory Board Member of the Year and GACCE scholarship recipient to attend the national chamber conference. She’s got a resume to back-up her affinity for a little risky business. A graduate of Middle Georgia State University with a B.S. in Public Service, Jennifer Davis earned a certificate from the Georgia Academy for Regional Economic and Leadership Development and has completed several credit
hours in workforce development training through the International Economic Development Council and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. She knows what she’s doing. She knew she was the one for the job in Statesboro. She had paid her dues as a student of economic and community development, and as a business owner in Gray, Georgia, while she was Main Street director and head of the downtown development authority (DDA). “There was this beautiful house that had been sitting vacant for months and I suggested the city of Gray purchase it and use it as an event venue to create a stream of revenue to fund future
jennifer davis is taking care of business
DDA projects,” Davis said. “When I went to college at Georgia Southern, I worked at RJ’s and clubs and organizations would rent the back rooms for weekly and monthly events. I knew it could work, I had seen it work before. But that was a crazy idea they said. And I said ‘y’all are crazy.’ Actually, I didn’t say that.” According to Davis a few months later the price of the bank-owned property was cut in half and she and her first husband made an offer on it. “I had learned about LLCs and property investment and wanted to give it a shot,” she said. “He said yes, and I quit my job and we purchased it.” For seven successful years, after fixing it up and getting the word out through social media, Davis rented her new event venue and learned all she could about owning and operating a business. She also saw some justification for the nay-sayers who told her it would never work. “The moments I will cherish are...My best friend who had her wedding reception there. My youngest niece, who isn’t a niece anymore technically, had her first birthday there. My grandma who had her 70th birthday there. The couples who have gotten married there, had their baby showers there and then their kids first birthdays. And the city, that thought I was crazy, which has their annual Christmas party there every year.” Davis eventually sold the business to another 32 statesboromagazine.com
risk taker, and moved on to pursue other opportunities, having no regrets. “When someone says you can’t do it, do it twice and take pictures,” she said. She moved to Statesboro and then applied to be the director of the chamber in 2019. She had made a connection with Chamber Board President Mandy Fortune, when Fortune was working on opening a Citizen’s Bank in Milledgeville. They exchanged phone calls about the opening and planning of the event, and Davis mentioned to Fortune that she was looking to relocate to Statesboro. “I was no stranger to Statesboro,” said Davis. “I lived here from 20022005. Worked at Mill Creek as a scorekeeper and at RJ’s with the ‘locals.’ I played poker at Statesboro Inn every Sunday, followed by an early morning breakfast stop at Shoney’s. I embraced the local culture as a 19-year-old college student and it’s no wonder why I always felt like I left my soul behind when I left here in 2005. I had.” To reclaim her soul, Davis made the move to Statesboro before she even knew if she’d gotten the job. She didn’t get it. The first time. “Timing is everything,” said Davis. “I interviewed for the job when Skip got it. The rejection was tough but I stayed true to myself and who I was. I volunteered and subbed in the schools. I got my real estate license just in case. I used local businesses in Statesboro to buy a car, my house and insurance. I never turned my back on what it meant to be part of the community. My mom told me the day I told her I didn’t get the job, and that someone from Florida moved here to take the position, that the job would be mine within two years. She was right. As she so often is.” Davis was hired by the Chamber board and President Mandy Fortune in May of 2021 to be head of Marketing and Membership Engagement. “She worked alongside hired consultant Tammy Shepherd to keep programming and events going,” said Fortune, “She worked to support the membership and handle day-to-day operations. During a period of 90 days, she prioritized member renewals and reestablished effective accountability practices as the only full-time member of the chamber staff. Early during the interim period, it became abundantly clear that Jennifer met all the qualifications of a successful chamber professional, and our affiliates noticed as well.” On the first Tuesday in September 2021, Davis got an offer letter to effectively become Chamber president and CEO. Since becoming head of the Chamber, Davis has strengthened the organization and redefined its operations and purpose, while continuing to improve the focus on economic development and a healthy business climate and. “I’ve enjoyed working with the board and Tammy to restructure the Chamber to function like a business,” said Davis. This year’s board will be led by incoming president Allen Davis of Glenn/ Davis & Associates Insurance; V.P Chad Wiggins of Synovus; Treasurer Carolyn Ethridge of Renasant Bank; Past Chair Mandy Fortune; and Secretary Michelle Davis of Ogeechee Technical College. The executive committee will support Davis as she strives to make a positive impact on the business community. “I can say with great pride that I prioritize both professionally and personally, public/private partnerships,” said Davis. “My hope for the Chamber is that it will be the catalyst which is successful in creating a dynamic business and community culture that delivers a prosperous outcome for the greatest number of citizens. I am confident with the team I’ve assembled, along with the leadership of 10 new directors on the board, that we as a community are headed towards our best days with a faithful membership that has brought us forward.” Davis has recently hired Dorsey Baldwin, formerly branch director of the YMCA in Statesboro, as the new programs & events director. Landon
Haralson will serve as the new director of member relations. Together they will implement a progressive program of work which includes new opportunities for members to connect in a way that creates a dynamic business synergy. New programming includes the traditional Business After Hours events that members look forward to, in addition to AM Coffees that explore trends in small business. There will be Speed Networking events, a Candidates Forum, Diversity & Inclusion Roundtables and Young Professionals leadership and workforce development opportunities. Plans include a Healthcare Symposium and a State of the Region address which will help communicate the Chamber’s vision to members. The Chamber will continue to be the home and sponsor of both Leadership Bulloch and Youth Leadership Bulloch annual classes, Farm-City Week, the annual Past Chairman’s Golf Tournament and the Annual Meeting, to be held this year on Thursday, January 20, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at OTC’s Jack Hill Building. (Registration and tickets are available at www.statesboro-chamber.org under the Events tab). This year’s Annual Meeting will include awards for Large Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Start-Up of the Year, and a new Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented to a special community member who has been successful in business, supported the Chamber’s goals, participated in economic development and served as a leader who has inspired community growth and positive change. “This is a new award that hasn’t been given in the past, which I hope will recognize those who have invested in our community as a way of life, and will continue to do so into the future,” said Davis. She will also be implementing an Ambassador program which will have member volunteers visiting businesses and seeking input and ideas about the Chamber’s goals that will up the level of accountability for the organization. “We really have to be the example of what good business looks like,” said Davis. “We have to have walked in our members shoes. In the shoes of a non-profit director, in the shoes of a startup business owner, in the shoes of a parent raising their kids here. In the shoes of those who invest in the community every single day. As an organization, we have to be the standard for innovation, for development, and for leadership.” That’s a big undertaking by anyone’s standards. But, Davis is confident in overseeing the Chamber’s new course. “I really love the positive impact a thriving business culture can have on a community in every aspect of economic development,” said Davis. “I have seen it firsthand and I want to see it here. I’ll take the risk in asking the rest of the community – won’t you join us?” S January/February 2022
Businesses are alway looking for an advantage. Statesboro/Bulloch County is here with the answer.
Locals know Statesboro, Georgia, as “the Boro,” a vibrant and welcoming university town, while global industry knows Statesboro-Bulloch County as the commanding Coastal Plain location where business launches faster and rises higher with the “Boro Boost.” What is the Boro Boost? Faster speed to market through pad-ready acreage, immediate interstate access, and a 45-minute proximity to the Port of Savannah. Higher performance with a skill-ready team. Plus, higher profitability and faster ROI through lower costs and lucrative incentives. The Development Authority is here to guide prospective industries toward their goal of a more competitive advantage.
the MOST influential WOMEN
Featuring the Boldest and Brightest Business Owners and Managers Currently Shaping the Future as Industry Leaders. To start 2022 off in high gear, Statesboro Magazine is recognizing the area’s top women professionals, ranging from CEOs, medical professionals and attorneys, to marketing geniuses, writers, and start-ups to watch. Each woman featured here has the leadership skills to navigate a pandemic, think outside the box and inspire others. These women serves as a fantastic role models, helping to shape the dreams of a whole new generation of young people. Please join us in saluting our comprehensive listing of women executives, educators, influencers and achievers contributing leadership to corporate boards, colleges, non-profits, business organizations and their own companies.
DR. ANJALI PATEL What is your passion? I’m passionate about dentistry and working with kids. My desire is for kids to be happy and excited about coming to the dentist and feel that they are part of something special. I’ve incorporated my passions into my dental practice by creating a fun environment – using bright colors throughout the office, jungle animal themed treatment rooms, and a playhouse and giant tree in our waiting room. If kids feel welcome and comfortable, it helps them overcome any fears they may have and allows us to focus on their dental health. What leadership role do you play in your business? I opened my practice in May of 2019 and since then our office has grown to include nine wonderful team members – hygienists, dental assistants, and administrative staff who work by my side every day. We strive to create an environment of mutual respect, trust and open communication, because this allows us to provide high quality care and positive dental visits for our little patients. Who is your role model? My Dad. He’s a true self-made man, and has always taught me three important things: work hard, never give up, and most importantly have compassion for those around you. These lessons have shaped who I am today in a number of ways, even with opening Statesboro Pediatric Dentistry. What does it take to be a strong leader? Connection with those around you. Although I took the very first steps to open my practice, my team - the amazing group of women I work with every day - have been the most important part of my journey and success. I’ve learned so much from them, and they continue to motivate and inspire me every day. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know? I love to dance! During college, I was a choreographer for my dance team and enjoyed performing at competitions and events. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? Being a mom is a superpower and also the greatest blessing. It is the most challenging, yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s fun to relive my childhood with them again, and see the world through their eyes – everything is an exciting adventure, and their enthusiasm is so refreshing. They have plenty of energy so I definitely need a cup of coffee (or more) to keep up!
Dr. Anjali Patel, or “Dr. A,” is a board certified pediatric dentist and owner of Statesboro Pediatric Dentistry. She was born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia. After completing her dental education and specialty training in pediatric dentistry, Dr. A is happy to call Statesboro her home. She has truly enjoyed being part of such a close-knit and caring community. Her goal as a children’s dentist is to provide a fun approach to dental care. When she’s not in the dental office fighting off sugar bugs and talking about superheroes and princesses, she loves spending time with her two children, Rayan and Lara, and her husband Suketu. Dr. A enjoys being involved in the community and is a past participant in Dancing with the Statesboro Stars, and former board member for Safe Haven and The Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County.
CAROLINE NELSON What is your passion? First and foremost, my passion is my family. They motivate and inspire me to work hard while creating the right balance in life. This helps me to solve problems and think outside of the box which I love to do. What leadership role do you play in your business? I have been a commercial lender for years and assumed various management and leadership responsibilities, but I have recently been promoted to president of Bulloch First. This has increased my leadership role to cover many areas within my organization. Who is your role model/mentor? My parents are my role models. My brothers and I are so fortunate to have been raised in a wonderful home and I do not take that for granted. I was taught that God and family come first and to always be honest and work hard. I get my strength and determination from them. What does it take to be a strong leader? I think being a strong leader means being a respected leader. When you work hard and take care of your people, you earn the respect of others, especially your co-workers and employees. You must lead by example if you expect others to get on board. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know? My grandparents had 15 children so I have over 30 first cousins on my dad’s side of the family. Family events have always been one of my favorite things and I still look forward to seeing them at our annual 4th of July Koncul Horseshoe Tournament. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? I’m not sure I have any super powers, but I have always been able to read people well and multi-task. This helps me get an idea of who you are and how you are, which helps me in my career. I feel that I’m a pretty good judge of character and I’m able to juggle many things at once.
Caroline Nelson is a graduate of St. Vincent’s Academy in Savannah and the University of Georgia class of 2005. Since joining Bulloch First in early 2021 she has served as Senior Lender and VP of Commercial Lending. Nelson was recently named President of Bulloch First. She is a member of the Leadership Bulloch Class of 2018; a board member for the Homebuilders Association of Statesboro; a board member and executive member for the Coastal Area District Development Authority; and a member of St. Matthew Catholic Church. Nelson is currently attending Georgia Banking School. She is married to Davidson Nelson and has two children: Scout, 5 and Thomas, 3. Caroline enjoys spending time with her family, watching college football, and going to the beach.
DR. SREEVALLI DEGA What is your passion? My Passion is self-improvement in my personal and professional life, I like to challenge myself and in turn learn new things. I believe it leads to self-development and skill building. One reason I enjoy the medical field is because it provides a lifelong learning experience for me. Every day brings a new challenge which makes me a better provider. What Leadership role do you play in your business? My leadership role in not just being a physician and small business owner of Statesboro Urgent Care, but also, my most important role is promoting patient-centered care in our community. Who is you role model/mentor? My parents are my role models. They have taught me to be thankful, to be patient, and to be content. What does it take to be a strong leader? Being a leader for me is not holding or being concerned about a position or designation at the organization. Simon Sinek says the real job of the leader is not being in charge, but taking care of those who are in our charge. Leadership for me is to inspire people. Team work is dream work and together is always better. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know about you? Readers may be surprised to know I did not listen to Country Music until I moved to Georgia, which was eight years ago. I also never tasted collard greens until I moved to Georgia. I have been living in America since 2007, and I am originally from India. I get questioned a lot from patients concerning how long I have lived in the U.S. When I am not at work, I consider myself a free spirit, I enjoy life and embrace it as it comes.
Most of my friends and family call me Sreelu. I am originally from India. I moved to the USA in 2007 after graduating Medical School from the Kakatiya Medical College. My journey from 2007 to now starts in Maryland during internship to residency in Mercy Medical Center - University of Iowa Hospitals and finally settling down in Statesboro. I am the owner of Statesboro Urgent Care, board certified in Family Medicine with special training in Urgent Care Medicine, DOT physical training, workman’s compensation claims, and drug screening. I speak three languages, English, Hindi, and Telugu. We are very excited that this past December, Statesboro Urgent Care received their Urgent Care Accreditation from the Urgent Care Association. This accreditation affirms our commitment to providing quality care, focused patient safety, and excellent clinical outcomes. It truly affirms our hard work and dedication to our patients. I am married to Dr. Ian Munger, who is a full-time emergency medicine physician at EGRMC, we have two daughters: Nishi, who is 8 and Nimi, who is 5, along with two fur babies, Kulu and Fluffy. Together with my husband, we started Statesboro Urgent Care in 2020. We appreciate all the support and help we received from local community. We could not have done it without the community’s support and blessings. We are proud to call Statesboro our home.
DORSEY BALDWIN What is your passion? I am passionate about helping others. My parents raised me to always show care, concern, and compassion for others because you never know when you will be on the receiving end. I can remember being a little girl and volunteering or working on a community service project. What leadership role do you play in your business? Currently, I serve as the Programs and Events Director for the Statesboro Chamber of Commerce. Currently, I get the opportunity to coordinate the Youth Leadership Bulloch Program. This leadership development program is for high school juniors and allows them to not only develop their personal leadership skills, but gives them the opportunity to learn about Statesboro and Bulloch County, and how they can utilize their leadership skills to impact the community. While I am currently a participant in the Leadership Bulloch Class of 2022, next year, I will have the pleasure of coordinating that program. Personally, I serve in leadership roles in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Professional Women of Statesboro and I have the honor of being the Chair of the Board of Commissioners for the Statesboro Housing Authority. Who is your role model/mentor? My role model is my mother, Grace Shannon. She is the most caring, compassionate, and giving person I know. She does not meet a stranger, she mothers everyone she meets, and she always wants the best for others. I wake up every day and strive to be the woman and mother that she has shown me. What does it take to be a strong leader? I think the number one thing it takes to be a great leader is to be a great listener. You also have to have empathy, and a desire to lead by example. You cannot just tell people what to do, sometimes you have to show them and do it with them. I always try to show my team that I would not ask them to do something that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do myself. In my opinion a strong leader is not just concerned with their happiness, success or well-being, but is more invested in the team success and happiness. A great leader is encouraging, and values those that they lead. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know? That I am an introvert! I call myself an extroverted-introvert (if that is even a thing)! Most people who know me, will say that I am friendly and outgoing, that I don’t meet a stranger, and I know a lot of people. And while ALL of that is true - I am shy - I am really a homebody.
Baldwin joined the Statesboro Bulloch Chamber of Commerce in October 2021 as the Programs and Events Director. She came to the Chamber from the Statesboro Family YMCA where she served as the Branch Director from 2019 - 2021. Prior to the YMCA, Baldwin was the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning in the Office of Career & Professional Development at Georgia Southern University. During her 11 years at Georgia Southern she served in various leadership capacities, including chair of the Staff Council, a participant in the Eagle Leadership Academy, collegiate director of the Georgia Association of Colleges & Employers and a participant in the National Association of Colleges & Employers Management Leadership Institute. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, and a Master’s degree from Georgia Southern. She is the chair of the Board of Commissioners for the Statesboro Housing Authority, a member of the Statesboro Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and programs chair for the Professional Women of Statesboro. When not keeping busy with serving the community, she spends time with her husband of 20 years, Harry, and their three girls, Mia, Laila and Kamryn.
SARAH WILLIAMS What is your passion? I love to find the beauty in everything around me, and I enjoy finding ways to help people make their dreams come true. My event venue, Lucy Belle Farm, has been a passion of mine for the last few years. In planning and coordinating fabulous weddings or parties, it is always my goal to make sure our guests relax and savor the time they have to spend together. At Lucy’s on Main, I have amazing ladies to assist shoppers in finding the perfect clothes and accessories. But even more than that - our goal is for everyone who walks in the door to feel welcome and beautiful. And, finally, in my renovations and remodeling business, I love to find the diamond in the rough - the property no one else wants. Then, with the assistance of some amazing contractors, we turn it into a lovely home. What leadership role do you play in your business? All three of my businesses require creativity, flexibility, patience and logistical expertise. But, my biggest accomplishment has been to put together stellar teams who are honest, hardworking and dedicated to their craftsmanship. Everyone who works on one of our teams is selfless, enthusiastic and excited about seeing a project and a goal completed. I often find my employees have better ideas than me, and I am always open to better ideas. Who is your role model/mentor? When I was in my twenties, I had the opportunity to work with a lady named Jane Osborne. She and I were two of a handful of women working in executive roles in the carpet industry in Dalton, Georgia. She and I were the first two women inducted into the local Rotary Club back in the late eighties and early nineties. She taught me how to be navigate being a business woman in what was then predominantly a man’s world. Although she has passed away - her encouragement and willingness to take me under her wing played a big part in where I am today. When I moved back to Savannah, I was the second woman inducted into the Downtown Rotary Club. Back then - this was a big deal - and it was the beginning of women being taken more seriously in the workplace. What does it take to be a strong leader? Being a strong leader takes a sense of humor and an understanding support system. And, not everyone is meant to be a leader or an entrepreneur. Calling myself a leader doesn’t mean I think I am better than anyone. Actually -that’s not the case at all. Leaders just happen to have the skill and capability to see the best qualities and attributes in others and assemble a great team to get a job done well. We put the pieces together but it’s our team that makes the magic happen. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know? I was a television personality and a DJ for a while. And I still do voiceover work from time to time.
Sarah the wife of Ronnie Williams and the mother of four adult sons. She has a passion for creating positive changes in the world. Whether it be in many of her entrepreneurial ventures or volunteering with organizations like Walk for Emmaus, Sarah is always looking for ways to lift others up and bring joy to her friends, family and community. As a graduate of Savannah Country Day, then Emory University, she discovered that the “country” life is more to her liking and loves a rural environment. You can often find Sarah “flipping” properties, coordinating weddings and events at her venue LucyBelle Farms or helping people shop at her boutique, Lucy’s on Main, located in downtown Statesboro. In her spare time, she loves to travel to the beach and spend time with her husband, her dad and her mentor, Eddie Dennis.
MANDY EDWARDS What is your passion? My passion is helping others. I am usually one of the first to volunteer to help someone figure something out (almost always on social media), volunteer to help set up a meal train, see what we can give to help those in need, or connect people to others who can help. I love to use my talents to help improve the lives or businesses of others. It is truly better to give than to receive. What leadership role do you play in your business? I own ME Marketing Services, so leadership starts with me. I try my best each day to be a good leader to those working with me, and for my clients as well. In my business, leadership always starts with serving others first. Who is your role model/mentor? I have been blessed to have several mentors who have helped me in the adventure called business ownership. Aside from my husband Ben, who holds me accountable every day, I count marketing industry leader Mark Scheafer, State Senator Billy Hickman, and fellow marketing business owner Roy Akins, among those who have mentored me along the way (and still do). What does it take to be a strong leader? To be a strong leader, you have to be firm in your foundational beliefs and be able to weather both the criticism and the praise. Strong leaders serve others before themselves, look at every side of an issue and keep an open mind, and always treat people with fairness when their views, beliefs, and opinions do not match their own. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know about you? I am quite the political marketing fanatic. I’ve worked on over a dozen campaigns across the state over the past 8 years, heading up the digital marketing component for races that have ranged from city council positions to various judgeships to State Senator and State Representative races. Those who know me best know I am a very competitive person so I love the challenge of a political race. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? I think my secret weapon/super power would be what my spiritual gifts say about me service to others and having faith. I see my business as a way to serve others, whether they are solopreneurs or small businesses. In all that I do, together with my business, we always have faith things will work out according to the bigger plan. I feel service and faith are important “powers” for any person to have with anything they set out to do.
Mandy Edwards is the owner of ME Marketing Services. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Mandy has 20+ years of sales & marketing experience. Past work experience has included print advertising sales and local store marketing for Chickfil-A. Locally, Mandy is involved in her community through Professional Women of Statesboro, the Lynda Brannen Williamson Foundation, the Ibis Foundation, the Blue Mile Foundation, and the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce where she is the chair of the Government Affairs Committee. She is a contributing writer to the Southern Coterie, based out of St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. Mandy is a member of the Leadership Southeast Georgia Class of 2022, graduate of Leadership Bulloch, a past honoree of the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 Under 40. In 2016, she was honored as one of the University of Georgia’s prestigious 40 Under 40 Alumni. Mandy is also a graduate of the Lynda Brannen Williamson Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Academy, Class of 2017. Her company was honored in 2017 and 2018 to be named Best Website Design Company by the Connect Boro Awards, also being honored as Best Social Media Marketing Company in 2018. She is married to Attorney Ben Edwards and is the proud mother of two redheaded daughters.
TINA BANKS What is your passion? My passion is to see people smiling and happy! I enjoy creating an atmosphere where people can gather, celebrate, and create lifelong memories. What leadership role do you play in your business? I play many roles and wear multiple hats in my business. Some days I feel like a chameleon! My primary role is to lead and encourage my team to meet our goals and objectives. I’m huge on customer service and paying attention to details. I model theses values for my team and ask that they put heavy emphasis on this as we serve others. Who is your role model or mentor? My current role model is Mary Seats. I admire her resiliency. She built an empire, lost it, and built it bigger and better than the first time. What does it take to be a strong leader? A strong leader knows that it is not all about them. They put others first and they eat last. It takes being able to decrease so that those around you may increase. Strong leaders find that sweet spot where they strike that balance between being professional, and keeping their team engaged and focused on the goals at hand. Strong leaders must have a vision and inspire others to do things they didn’t know they could. What is something our readers would be surprised to know? For some reason most people don’t believe me when I share my age and that I have four children. I take their initial look of shock and unbelief as a compliment and smile. What is your secret weapon? My secret weapon is my 4:00 a.m. morning routine and quiet time spent in my TAG (Time Alone with God) room. This early start allows me to gain clarity and receive daily downloads about the plans for my day.
Tina Banks is a mother, wife, author, and businesswoman, but most importantly the Creative Boss of all trades. Tina Banks is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She moved to Statesboro to start a children’s ministry in a local church over 20 years ago and has been here ever since. She is a serial entrepreneur who operates many businesses in Bulloch County. She is the visionary behind the first and only Selfie Museum in Statesboro. Banks had a dream about a selfie museum one night, and after much research and visiting a few others, decided to bring one to Statesboro. The Explore Your Selfie Museum is a unique self-guided photo experience like none other. When people are asked to describe it they say “you just have to go see it for yourself!” This is a place where young and old alike gather to take photos, create content, and celebrate memorable events in interactive exhibits. Banks is also a podcast host of Boro’s Best Podcast where she interviews some of Statesboro’s best men and women in business.
PAIGE NAVARRO What is your passion? During this chapter of my life, I’m most passionate about building my business. I’ve been an advocate for expanding our business into new markets, and I love learning new ways to manage a growing team. What leadership role do you play in your business? Overall, my partners and I manage the day-to-day business operations together. As an attorney, I oversee the management of our client files in the Statesboro and Swainsboro offices. Who is your role model/mentor? I lean a lot on my parents for advice. My daddy owned his own business for 23 years, and my mama was somehow able to manage a household and her successful career as a CPA. They both have been great role models for me, both at work and at home. What does it take to be a strong leader? Boundaries and a backbone. And a little common sense can go a long way, especially in my industry. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know? I’m definitely an “extroverted introvert”. When I’m not in a courtroom or at the office, I like to be “off the grid.” Camping, boating, fishing, hunting…you name it! If I’m in the water or the woods, I’m happy. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? My secret weapon is COOKING. I love serving people in any capacity, and cooking allows me to cater to my family and friends. My campfire chili would knock your socks off!
Paige is a “Double Dawg” graduate from University of Georgia (B.S. 2011, J.D. 2014), and has worked diligently with Hall & Navarro since returning home to Bulloch County in 2014. Paige has been the President of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Bar Association for five years, and she is also the Co-Chair of this year’s Leadership Bulloch class. Paige dedicates her efforts to divorce and custody litigation, as well as bankruptcy law. She and her business partners (Mike and Martha Hall), have greatly expanded their business over the last seven years, and they now manage 17 employees with offices in Effingham, Bulloch, and Emanuel counties. Paige hopes to continue this growth and already has her eye on entering another high-volume legal market in a neighboring county. At only 31-years-old, she is already known as one of our region’s most supreme litigators. She is married to Country Music singer, Daniel Navarro, and she is licensed to practice law in both Georgia and Tennessee. When she is not working with clients, Paige loves spending time outdoors, attending college football games, and hanging out with her beloved dog – Annie.
MECA WILLIAMSJOHNSON What is your passion? While I believe I have several interests, there are few of which I am truly passionate about. Two things I am most passionate about are family and education. I believe having high quality educational opportunities matter in the life of a child and extends to the entire family. What leadership role do you play in your business? Currently, I am the Bulloch County NAACP Education Committee Chair and while it is not a business, organizations like the NAACP matter in the community. Having a voice and raising common concerns among parents, teachers and students are critical in moments when school leaders are contemplating decisions that will affect all of us. During our most recent dilemmas with COVID disruptions it was essential that we voiced our concerns and discussed ways to assist with recovery. We should strategize on ways to increase our learning outcomes by incorporating the new skills we developed to get through a really complicated time for our school system. What does it take to be a strong leader? A complex question and I wish there was an easy answer; however, I would say a leader needs to be compassionate, determined, clear about their decisions, yet willing to grow. Strong leadership requires an individual to find balance between being a visionary, a great listener, as well as, being cautious about people’s lives and how their decisions will impact the larger community. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? I have the ability to work with some difficult professionals and displeased parents and manage to get people to work on projects together. It is a task that requires some complicated dialogue and compromises, but generally I find some common ground people can acknowledge and then negotiate through their issues.
Dr. Meca Williams-Johnson is a professor of Educational Research in the College of Education (COE) at Georgia Southern University. Additionally, she serves on varies committees at the university and college level and currently serves as the chair for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee for COE. Dr. Williams-Johnson completed research on exploring emotions and its impact on teaching and learning. More specifically, Dr. Williams-Johnson investigates, teacher’s efficacy beliefs, parents’ motivation in school choice options, and African American schooling experiences in rural areas. Through planning, conducting, and publishing several research studies, Dr. Williams-Johnson has contributed to the larger body of knowledge and reported recommendations to achieve the better educational experience possible for all students. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, 2006; a MS from Florida State University, 1998; and a BS from Southern University and A & M College, 1997. Among her many Georgia Southern University honors, Dr. Williams-Johnson has most recently been honored with the Georgia Southern University Award for Excellence in Collaboration as a Faculty Member, (April 2020); the American Psychological Association, Division 15 Early Career Psychologist Mentorship Award, (August, 2018); the Georgia Southern University Award for Excellence in Contributions to Instruction, (May2016); and the Eagle Leadership Academy – Provost Selected Member, Georgia Southern University, (January 2016). She is married to civil rights attorney, pastor and educator Francys Johnson, and they are the parents of three sons: Thurgood Joshua Johnson, Langston Hughes Elijah Johnson, and Frederick Douglass Caleb Johnson.
PAT HIRSCH What is your passion? I am very passionate about giving back to our community and making it a better place to live and work in for everyone. I am also passionate about the people I serve in my business, my church, and my family. What leadership role do you play in your business? I am the owner and broker for ERA Hirsch Real Estate Team. Who is your role model/mentor? My mom, for sure. She believed I could do anything. In the business world, a former CEO of the ERA Franchise, Brenda Casserly, was a big influence. What does it take to be a strong leader? Confidence in yourself, recognizing the skills and talents of those that surround you, and utilizing them, and letting them know you will roll up your sleeves and help them to get the job done. Plus, creating a positive work environment and motivating your team to excel. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know about you? I managed WWNS-AM and WMCD-FM Radio stations, for five years after my husband, Nate Hirsch, had open heart surgery. We bought the radio stations in 1982 and several others in the State of Georgia. I put a separate phone line in the radio station for my real estate business. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? Prayer and faith in God. If I trust in Him, He instills a peace and confidence in me, that I can be my best.
Pat Hirsch started her career in Real Estate in 1992 in Daytona Beach, Florida. She was named the Rookie of the Year for Adams Cameron and Company where she was working at the time. She returned home to Georgia and helped her husband in their family business of ownership and management of their radio stations in Statesboro, Georgia. In 1994, she continued her real estate career by obtaining her license in Georgia. In 2000, she bought a partnership in ERA Landmark Realty and in 2010 became the sole owner and Managing Broker. In 2014, the company name was changed to ERA Hirsch Real Estate Team. Hirsch has been honored in the ERA Franchise system as one of the Top Selling Brokers in the nation and has repeatedly been inducted into the Leadership Circle, piloting her Company into the President’s Circle year after year. She has received top honors at her local Board as the Realtor of the Year twice and a finalist in the State of Georgia for Realtor of the Year. She is a member of the Continuing Life Distinguished Sales Society for over the last 29 years with her local Real Estate Board. A Community Leader serving as Past President of the Statesboro Board of Realtors, President of Statesboro’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, Associate Vice President of the Home Builders Association, Chairperson of the Bulloch County March of Dimes, and past member of the Board of Directors for the Bulloch County Boys and Girls Club. She holds designations as an Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), E-Pro, Accredited Staging Professional (ASP), Graduate of Realtor Institute (GRI) GREEN Designation, and Military Designation. In June 2012, Real Trends and Wall Street Journal recognized her accomplishments in selling when she was named to the TOP Real Estate Professionals in Transaction Sides sold, placing her in the top one half of 1 percent of more than 963,000 Realtors, Nationwide. She has been featured in TOP Agent Magazine in 2016 and 2021. Currently Hirsch is licensed in Florida and Georgia and is the owner and managing broker of ERA Hirsch Real Estate Team. She is the mother of four daughters and has five granddaughters and one grandson.
KIM BRANNEN What is your passion? Outside of work, my passion is to truly make a difference in the lives of those that I love, including my two boys, my family and my friends. My passion at work is to do everything that I can to help my clients achieve their dreams, whether that dream is to start a business, to build an empire, or to plan for their financial future. Being a part of my clients’ success is my passion and how I define my own success. What leadership role do you play in your business? I have the great privilege of working with a talented group of bankers who are committed to serving our clients. I serve as the Senior Vice President of Synovus and manage our private banking group. Together, we serve those who have entrusted us with their financial resources and work each day to creating lasting, meaningful relationships with each one. My role in our Synovus management team provides an opportunity for me to be involved with the overall direction of our bank. From ensuring we remain customer centric, to helping local organizations and non-profits in our community. I’m very fortunate that my leadership role within Synovus allows me to be a leader in our community as well. Who is your role model/mentor? I don’t think I can name just one single role model or mentor as there are a number of people whom I’ve had the honor of learning from and working with throughout my career, and still today. Lessons that I have learned from different individuals include what it means to be a great banker, how important it is to laugh, that lifetime learning is essential, how to truly make a difference, that grace is a priceless gift to receive and to give, to be present, to look for the good in all people, to serve others, and stay true to my values. What does it take to be a strong leader? A leader is someone others want to follow. I believe transparent, honest, and thoughtful communication is essential to being a strong leader. A leader should cast a vision and equip and entrust those they serve to carry the vision forward. If I were to define my leadership style it would be servant leadership, because I believe people and relationships are my highest priority. What’s your secret weapon? Superpower? My secret weapon is my faith. When all is right in my world or all is falling apart, my faith is my foundation. My belief in and trust in God is my rock, my fortress, and my stronghold.
Brannen currently serves as Senior Vice President at Synovus Bank. After working with a regional bank for five years, Kim began her career at Sea Island Bank/ Synovus as a Commercial Lender in 1997. In her role as Senior Vice President, Brannen serves as the Manager of the Private Client Group. Through her continued dedication to excel and better serve clients, Brannen has received many awards and accolades, including the Synovus Chairman’s Circle of Excellence Award; President’s Award for Service from the Statesboro- Bulloch Chamber of Commerce; and the Synovus James D. Yancey Customer Covenant Award. Kim has served in the following positions in our community: President of the Tyson Foundation; Board of Directors for CSRA Business Lending; Leadership Georgia Banking Association President; President of Statesboro Service League; Executive Committee Member Joseph’s Home for Boys; Board of Directors Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce; Executive Committee of Leadership Bulloch; and Founding Member of Youth Leadership Bulloch. In her free time, Brannen loves to spend time on the water and with her two boys, Judson (25) and John Daniel (22), as well as, with special friends and family. She is a member of Connection Church where she is also a Connect Group Leader.
MANDY FORTUNE What is your passion? I love the Lord, my family, and my friends. I have a lot of empathy for others and enjoy relating to them. I guess you could say I’m a “people person.” I’m most passionate about the things my loved ones appreciate. We love watching football, baseball, listening to music, going to concerts, live productions and traveling. I sing and cheer loudly and have my closet organized into “team” or themed clothing and swag - including shoes. When it’s solely up to me, the beach is the best place to be. What leadership role do you play in your business? I am Marketing Director for Citizens Bank of the South. We have branches in Sandersville, Statesboro, and Milledgeville. I enjoy getting to know and work with friends from several communities and to connect the dots between them. It’s my responsibility to build and nurture relationships as well ensure our message is direct and overall communication, effective. I’m blessed to be considered a valued voice or “expert” in those areas while also contributing to our company’s product development process, corporate strategy, branding and hires. Who is your role model/mentor? I could never pick one. I’ve been so fortunate to have some wonderful influencers in my life. I think about Dr. John Waters, my pastor and wonderful teacher/leader. He models a life of faith and repentance I can follow in my own walk with Jesus. He’s taught me to pray and listen for God’s leading and reminds me of the things that can hinder my best life as well. I recall many godly women within my church, too many to name…all loving, writing, and giving to or praying for me on many occasions. I consider Ric Mandes, my first “real boss after college,” to be the professional person who set the bar very high and required much from me. He taught me how to deliver above and beyond what’s expected. I also remember Lou Anne Beckham at the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau and learning to follow her lead to celebrate and appreciate nearly every occasion and every person...to always find the good. Once you’ve had an amazing boss or frontrunner in your life, you never “settle” or work for someone who delivers or expects less of you. All of us need people “in our balcony” who are hanging over the “side rails” cheering for and watching us. At Citizens Bank of the South, Kevin Harrison has taught me so much about accountability, not just in banking. He puts his own family first, but works smart and efficiently so that no one feels slighted whether they be family members, employees, customers, etc. He demonstrates to me the best way to find balance. I believe I was positioned for success early in my life by my own family. My parents had very strong work ethics and loved me unconditionally. What does it take to be a strong leader? Strong moral character, compromise, commitment, willingness, the ability to listen, hear, and understand others…are all traits of a good leader. What’s your secret weapon? Superpower? Writing is my superpower. Words are so very important, the way you say them, your inflections, the body language that accompanies them, etc. As much as I love to talk with others, my best thoughts are conveyed when I write.
Mandy Fortune has been the Marketing Director at Citizens Bank of the South since it opened in 2008. She is a Georgia Southern graduate with a BS in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. Mandy was previously the Executive Director of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mandy is the current Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Past President and enjoys being involved in her community. She is an active member of First Baptist Church of Statesboro and enjoys spending time with her husband Frank. They are the proud parents of Jack a senior at Georgia Tech and Cate a sophomore at UGA. As a family they love watching football, baseball, listening to music, going to concerts, live productions and traveling.
What is your passion? Quite honestly, my family, but I’ve always enjoyed having a career too. My work makes me happy, which makes me a better wife and mother. It’s all about finding the right balance. What leadership role do you play in your business? As President, all final decisions begin and end with me, but I find serving my faculty, staff, and students to be the most enjoyable part of my role. Who is your role model/mentor? Unfortunately, the person I considered my mentor died several years ago. Her name was Lynda Williamson. She was a dear friend and I admired how she excelled at her job with Georgia Power, but was such a strong community advocate, too. Now, I have several “peer mentors” – individuals who are in the same stage of their careers as me but also are just sharp, amazing people whom I admire. What does it take to be a strong leader? To be a strong leader to me means acknowledging that I don’t know everything, and listening is more important than speaking. What’s something our readers would be surprised to know? I used to be a certified fitness instructor and taught aerobics at Gold’s Gym for several years while attending Georgia Southern University. Those days are clearly over. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? I’ve been told that I have a knack for making people feel comfortable. I’m not sure that qualifies as a “super power” but building trust is a key component of every relationship. So is being genuine and sincere.
A 25-year veteran of higher education in Georgia, Lori Durden currently serves as president of Ogeechee Technical College, a post she has held since August 2016. Prior to her appointment as president of the college, she served as its vice president for economic development. Earlier in her career, Durden was the Director of the Small Business Development Center at Georgia Southern University providing free consulting services to area entrepreneurs. Durden’s focus since becoming president has been multifaceted including the stabilization and growth of enrollment while preparing the college to address the change in workforce demands resulting from the increased integration of technology into production processes and the delivery of services. Under her leadership, the college is now on the leading edge of innovation in training delivery in the areas of robotics automation and industrial systems. The college recently received its FANUC FAST Site robotics lab training designation. It is the only FANUC FAST site in the state of Georgia, and only one of twelve across the United States and Canada. FANUC is the largest producer of robotics for automation of manufacturing processes in the world. Durden has served on many local and state boards including the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, representing the 12th Congressional District; the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for Public Education in Bulloch County; the Coastal Workforce Investment Board; and the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she serves on East Georgia Regional Medical Center’s Advisory Board, and is the immediate past president of the Statesboro Rotary Club. Lori holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. She is an alumna of Leadership Georgia, and in 2009, she was named as a “40 under 40” by Georgia Trend and the Savannah Business Report & Journal. She and her husband, Tim, have three children and they reside in Statesboro.
LORI DURDEN & JAN MOORE What is your passion? I have a number of passions and they are varied. But most importantly, I’m passionate about my family, my faith, my work, and my play – which includes sports, the outdoors, and plants of any kind. What leadership role do you play in your business? Vice President for Economic Development. Who is your role model/mentor? My dad, Lane Johnston, who passed away in 2012. He served as District Attorney for the Ogeechee Circuit and later as a judge. He was kind to everyone and was a tireless proponent of those with no voice. He was very private about that side of his life out of respect for those he helped. He had the biggest heart of anyone that I have ever known. He was my biggest cheerleader and my inspiration. I miss him every single day. What does it take to be a strong leader? Everybody leads a little differently. Even though styles may be different, the core is the same. Lead by example. Listen with discernment. And always be informed, fair, respectful, and kind. Most importantly - give credit where credit is due! What’s something our readers would be surprised to know about you? I am a licensed school psychologist. What’s your secret weapon? Super power? My passion for connecting people and creating partnerships. Every conversation that I have, I feel there is an opportunity to share a connection with someone, make a connection, help someone with a referral, or just collaborate.
Moore currently serves as Vice President for Economic Development at Ogeechee Technical College. She has served in that role for the past six years. She previously served as Dean of Students at the College. Moore holds a Masters of Education and an Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Georgia Southern University. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Georgia. Moore is a former Mayor of the city of Statesboro. Currently, she is President of the Board of Trustees of the Lynda Brannen Williamson Foundation, an Advisory Board Member for the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, the Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the Georgia Women of Achievement, a member of the Technological Association of Georgia Educational Advisory Board, and a board member of the Statesboro Rotary Club. She is married to Bill Moore, a member of this club. They have two daughters and two sons-in-law and identical twin granddaughters on the way.
JANIE McCOOK What is your passion? My passion is spending time with our children and grandchildren. I love the summer when we all take our annual family vacation together to Amelia Island. It’s the BEST! What leadership role do you play in your business? I am a pharmacist and co-owner of McCook’s Pharmacy. I wear many hats from filling prescriptions, scheduling our staff, to taking care of the “paper/bookwork.” Who is your role model/mentor? “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10) The Lord has blessed us in our business and I look to Him as the ultimate mentor. I want to serve others as I would want to be served. What does it take to be a strong leader? I believe there are three basic qualities to being a strong leader. They include showing empathy, respect, and gratitude to your staff, and to those who you serve on a daily basis. What is something our readers would be surprised to know about you? I have been to the Grand Canyon THREE times! I love that place! What is your secret weapon? Super Power? When I put on my white pharmacy coat I have Super Vision. Back in 2005 when we opened the pharmacy, I had a “dream in my heart” about what I envisioned for our pharmacy. That has come to pass, plus more, and I am so grateful!!
Janie McCook is pharmacist/co-owner of McCook’s Pharmacy in Statesboro. Janie graduated from the University of Georgia School of Pharmacy in 1982. Janie and her husband, Len, opened McCook’s Pharmacy in 2005. Over the years to follow, four more full-time pharmacists have been added to the staff at McCook’s. Janie’s continued goal is to serve the people of this community with the professional care that they deserve! Janie and Len have two children and four grandchildren. They attend First Baptist Church of Statesboro. Janie enjoys gardening, traveling, and especially spending time with family! S
Happy New Year! NOW SCHEDULING FOR SPRING BREAK APPOINTMENTS
KATHRYN W. MENTZER, D.M.D.
N NE R WI
S T A T E S B O R O M A G A Z I N E
S T A T E S B O R O M A G A Z I N E
Upon graduating as Valedictorian from Metter High School, Dr. Mentzer attended the University of Georgia, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Chemistry in 1991. She then attended the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry and became a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 1995. While in dental school, she received the Business Administration Award and the Senior Oral Medicine Patient Presentation Award. Dr. Mentzer has continued to improve her dental knowledge through continuing education courses from the Hinman Dental Meeting, the Texas Dental Association, and the Federal Services Dental Meeting in Anchorage, AK. She has also volunteered locally with the Hearts and Hands Clinic here in Statesboro.
Suketu Patel, DMD, MD | Brian Sellers, DMD | Rodrigo Uribe, DMD | Board Certified Oral Surgeons
912.764.5435 1222 Brampton Ave Statesboro, GA 30458
478.419.2100 6 Medical Office Way Swainsboro, GA 30401
Wolverine® RMAX™4 1000 LIMITED EDITION
Dr. Mentzer enjoys traveling, being outdoors, going to the lake, watching college football, and spending time with family and friends. She has three children: Savannah, Nick, and Maddie, and two dogs: Koda and Zora.
Jarrett H. Walden, D.M.D. | Kathryn W. Mentzer, D.M.D. | Thomas E. Marhsall, D.M.D. | Colin T. Strub, D.D.S.
SouthernFamilyDentalGroup.com 108 Gentilly Road, Statesboro | 912.764.6861
Wolverine® RMAX™4 1000 LIMITED EDITION
REIMAGINE EVERYWHERE. REIMAGINE EVERYTHING. REIMAGINE EVERYWHERE. REIMAGINE EVERYTHING.
Wolverine® RMAX™2 1000 LIMITED EDITION
• New, powerful 999cc parallel twin engine ® ™2 1000 LIMITED • Auto inspired 2-seater cockpit with industry-exclusive soft touchpoints on the Wolverine RMAX2 Wolverine RMAX EDITION • Roomy 4-person cabin with configurable sliding rear seats for additional storage in the Wolverine RMAX4 • 3 D-Mode settings at the turn of a dial: Sport Mode, Trail Mode, Crawl Mode • New, powerful 999cc parallel twin engine iQS (Intelligent Quick Switch) shocks puts the suspension settings in the hands of the driver, • FOX® 2.0 • Auto inspired 2-seater cockpit with industry-exclusive soft touchpoints on the Wolverine RMAX2 allowing• them choosecabin the preferred damping levels in the cockpit Roomyto 4-person with configurable sliding rearfrom seats aforswitch additional storage in the Wolverine RMAX4 • Integrated Yamahasettings Adventure GPSSport and Mode, adventure planning • 3 D-Mode at thePro turnwith of a dial: Trail Mode, Crawl Mode ® • Transport up to of cargo or tow a full 2,000 lbs. 2.0600 iQSlbs. (Intelligent Quick Switch) shocks puts the suspension settings in the hands of the driver, • FOX allowing them to choose preferred damping levels from a switch in the cockpit • Advanced, comfort-focused iQSthe suspension ® ® GPS and adventure planning • Integrated Adventure Pro with Carnivore tires and 14-inch aluminum wheels in a square setup • Wolverine RMAX2: Yamaha 30” Maxxis • Transport up to 600 lbs. ®of cargo or tow a full 2,000 lbs. tires and 14-inch aluminum wheels • Wolverine RMAX4: 29” Maxxis Carnage® radial
• Advanced, comfort-focused iQS suspension • Wolverine RMAX2: 30” Maxxis® Carnivore® tires and 14-inch aluminum wheels in a square setup • Wolverine RMAX4: 29” Maxxis® Carnage® radial tires and 14-inch aluminum wheels
Statesboro Yamaha 22815 US Hwy 80 |Statesboro, GA 30461
Shocks, Adventure Pro and Tires listed available on Limited Edition models only. Professional riders and drivers on closed courses. Side-by-Side (SxS) models are recommended for use only by operators 16 years and older with a valid driver’s license. Always wear your seat belt, helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. Yamaha recommends that all Side-by-Side riders take an approved training course. For Side-by-Side Shocks, Adventure safety Pro and Tires listed available on Limited Edition models only. Professional riders and drivers on closed courses. Side-by-Side (SxS) models are recommended for use only by operators 16 years and training information, see your dealer or call the ROHVA at 1-866-267-2751. Read the Owner’s Manual and the product warning labels before operation. Avoid excessive speeds and never engage in stunt and older with a valid driver’s Always wearand your seatridebelt, helmet, eyeAnd protection and protective clothing. Yamaha all Side-by-Side ridersdrugs; takeitanis approved Side-by-Side riding. Alwayslicense. avoid paved surfaces never on public roads. be particularly careful on difficult terrain. Neverrecommends ride under thethat influence of alcohol or other illegal and training dangerous.course. ModelsFor shown safety and training with information, see your dealer call the at 1-866-267-2751. Read the Owner’s Manual and the product warning labels before operation. Avoid excessive speeds and never engage in stunt optional accessories. ©2020or Yamaha MotorROHVA Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved • YamahaMotorsports.com
riding. Always avoid paved surfaces and never ride on public roads. And be particularly careful on difficult terrain. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs; it is illegal and dangerous. Models shown with optional accessories. ©2020 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved • YamahaMotorsports.com
Orchid Antiques & Gifts 1210 Brampton Ave., Statesboro, Georgia (Between Baldinos and the Old Bites location)
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words of life
God’s Gift of a New Year
WRITTEN BY REV. DR. JOHN WATERS
inging in a new year often includes customs and traditions that would seem odd at any other time of year. Supposedly, Danish people smash plates on the doorsteps of their friends, families in Ecuador burn scarecrows, and lively folk in South America wear brightly colored underwear to celebrate the start of a new year. On a less exciting note, most of my New Year’s traditions involve watching college football games and eating black-eyed peas. But why does the start of January cause such celebration? Isn’t the start of March just as exciting? And can’t a person be thrilled with the beginning of any month, say August or June? I suppose the excitement of a new calendar year stems from its reminder that we can start over. Flipping the calendar page to January presents us twelve unmarked months, filled with potential and possibility. The ability to make a new beginning is a gift from God, and our capacity to make changes purposefully and intentionally is evidence of God’s image within us. Trees drop their leaves, birds fly south, and bears seek to hibernate, but none of them makes such choices with intention. Instead, these actions are seasonal processes embedded into nature. The Scriptures clearly say, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 2:17). When we make choices to change, or to start something fresh, our exercise of intention and volition demonstrates that we are image-bearers of God. Trees drop their leaves, but not because they willfully choose to do so. Birds fly south and bears seek shelter, but not as a result of self-examination or self-awareness to improve themselves. 54 statesboromagazine.com
Our propensity toward New Year’s resolutions, which seem to be broken as quickly as they are made, also points to God’s image within us and our desire to change for the better. Unlike any other part of creation, we can make choices to improve our marriages, spend our money frugally, or live with humility and servanthood. And the start of a new year affords us a perfect window of time to reflect on our lives and to adjust them accordingly. When the Apostle Paul recounted his life, he wisely stated, “I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). A new calendar year gives us the opportunity to forget what is behind us and to press onward to what’s really important. What are the hurts and heartaches of the last year that you need to forget? None of us has the luxury of going back in time, but by God’s grace we can release the past and refuse to be imprisoned by it. If the landscape of your previous year is dotted with painful moments and bad experiences, God enables you to break free of the past and live in the light of His joy, peace, and grace. And like the Apostle Paul, are you pressing onward toward things that really matter, particularly in your spiritual life? The white noise of this world clangs and clamors for our attention, causing us to chase pleasures and priorities that ultimately do us no good. Paul’s desire was to pursue the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. In other words, he chose to sift through the meaningless clutter of this world to focus on what really matters, whether it was in this life or the next. What better time is there than at the start of a new year to recalibrate your spiritual life? Celebrate this New Year with hope, unshackled from the pain of the past while leaning forward in passionate pursuit of God’s best plans for you. Like blank pages in a journal, the unwritten months ahead present unexplored moments and uncharted waters, filled with potential and promise. Release the past and pursue God’s best for you. The New Year is God’s gift, so make the most of it. And if you want to smash a few dishes, burn some scarecrows, or wear brightly colored underwear, then don’t hold back. For me, I think I will stick with college football and black-eyed peas. S
General & Surgical
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Our mission is to provide compassionate and quality care to all of Georgia. When you visit us, you'll feel at home.
I bank at Renasant because they are local people who understand local business - Leslie Cushner, Cushner Law & Mediation
Statesboro, GA 173 Northside Drive East | 912.489.9500 | 335 South Main Street | 912.764.8900 www.renasantbank.com January/February 2022
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buzz worthy bites SWEET POTATO CORNBREAD WITH PECAN PRALINE BUTTER
Peas & Greens for a Prosperous New Year! WRITTEN BY LAZAR BROWN OGLESBY PHOTOGRAPHY BY DILLON & CAROLINE FIELDS
othing is more pleasing on a cold winter evening than a hearty pot of soup cooking on the stove. The smells and sounds of the trinity simmering in butter or bacon grease are comforting for all the senses. My favorite Le Creuset Dutch-oven is a permanent fixture on my stove during the winter months. I can’t wait to arrive home and create a one pot meal for my family and there is usually enough to share with friends. One of the most requested dishes for Honey Catering is black eye peas and greens. People are surprised and pleased at the unique flavor and perfect pairing of two beloved Southern staples. My favorite part of this dish is the “pot liquor,” the stock which results from the cooked greens and peas. Sopping the rich broth with cornbread or crusty French bread is heartily satisfying. I was determined to create a recipe that turned this unique dish into an easy and healthy soup. The colors are beautiful, and the depth of flavor is surprising. Most of my recipes will feed an army. It’s hard for me to cook just a little pot of anything. One of the great things about soup is it freezes beautifully. If you have a busy week or don’t have time to prepare a big meal, it’s easy to grab some soup from the freezer. Pair the soup with a fresh salad and garlic bread and you have a delicious, homemade meal. Jiffy® cornbread is the obvious choice to serve with your quintessential Southern soup made with black eyed peas and greens. Did you know your favorite baking mix is made in Michigan? I though only a Southerner could produce a cornbread so moist and delicious. I know some folks are weird about adding too much sugary sweetness to a dinnertime staple, but Jiffy doubles as bread and dessert! I like to “doctor” boxed mixes and use them to make fun, new recipes. With the simple addition of a sweet potato, Jiffy® cornbread turns into an even sweeter treat! Though I don’t normally adhere to superstitions, I do strictly abide by the New Year’s Day traditional meal: greens for folding money, black eyed peas for coins, pork for progress, and cornbread for gold. The recipes below will cover all the bases for a prosperous New Year! S 56 statesboromagazine.com
1 box Jiffy® Cornbread mix 1 small Sweet Potato 1 Egg ⅓ c. Milk 3 Tbsp. Butter 3 Tbsp. Sugar Dash Cinnamon PREPARATION:
Bake sweet potato until tender and cool. Peel the potato and mash until smooth. Prepare cornbread using box directions. Add sweet potato before mixing. Mix until just combined. Pour into greased baking dish. Pour melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with butter.
PECAN PRALINE BUTTER INGREDIENTS:
1 stick Butter (softened) ¼ c. Pecans (roasted and salted) 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar 1 tsp. Vanilla PREPARATION:
Place all ingredients in a bowl and whip until combined. Refrigerate any leftovers.
NEW YEAR’S DAY SOUP INGREDIENTS:
3 Tbsp. Butter 1 c. Ham (cubed) 1 lb. Smoked Sausage (sliced) ½ c. Onion (diced) ½ c. Bell Pepper (diced) ½ c. Celery (diced) 64 oz. Chicken Broth 3-4 c. Chopped Greens (collards, mustards, kale, or any leafy green)
2 cans Black Eye Peas 2 cans Diced Tomatoes with Garlic 1/3 c. Apple Cider Vinegar 1/3 c. Ketchup 2 Tbsp. Hot Sauce ¼ c. Corn Starch Salt and Pepper to Taste
Melt butter in heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Sauté ham, sausage, onion, bell pepper, and celery in butter until veggies are tender. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Taste stock and add salt and pepper to taste. Add washed and trimmed greens to the pot and cook until tender. Drain and rinse black eye peas. Add peas, vinegar, ketchup, and hot sauce. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Mix ¼ c. cold water and cornstarch and stir to form a paste. Add paste to simmering soup to thicken. You may add an additional recipe of cornstarch if you prefer your soup to be thicker. Serve hot with cornbread.
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Winter Beauty - Holly
Simple Resolutions for a Happy (Plant) Year
Irrigation helps provide consistent watering.
WRITTEN BY CAROLYN ALTMAN
1. BE CONSISTENT.
Water on a regular schedule, based on a plant’s needs. This applies to both indoor and outdoor plants, from the smallest pansy to shrubs and trees. When consulted about a plant that is not doing well, the first thing a plant professional will ask is whether the plant received regular water, since the most common threat to plant livelihood is neglect. If the answer is yes, then the plant professional shifts to the second most common threat: overwatering. Yes, a person can love his or her plant too much. Most plants like soil that will slow water down long enough for the plant’s roots to absorb some, but not so dense that 58 statesboromagazine.com
it traps water. Heavy soil holds too much water, and the roots will eventually rot, leading to the death of the plant. Pots or holes without good drainage have the same effect. Make it easy on yourself and learn where your plant grows naturally. A desert plant needs less frequent watering than a rainforest fern, for example. You are heaven and earth for your plant, whether it’s in your house or yard, and you will need to rain and drain accordingly, all year long. 2. BE SENSITIVE AND INFORMED.
In a daily miracle of science, plants make food from the sun. All life on earth, including our own, depends on this amazing process. Everything you eat can be traced back to a plant. Same with the air you breathe. The plants that keep you alive need sunlight to survive. Some need hours of direct, bright sun, and others are happy to live on more diffused light in the understory, protected from intense rays. Many houseplants are tropical understory plants, which is why they are able to survive inside our houses. Be honest about your daylight and choose plants that match the sun you have available. Plants are definitely decorative, but you don’t want to slowly starve yours to death just because it looks good in a dark corner when you first park it there. By the way, plant “food” is not a substitute for full spectrum sunlight. Plant food, really fertilizer, replaces minerals and nutrients that wash out of soil through repeated watering. It does not supply the sugars plants need to make from the sun. 3. DISCIPLINE APPROPRIATELY.
For major structural pruning, the right time of year is when the plant has pulled its life forces deep into itself and is dormant, not spending valuable energy on flower and fruit production. That way, when you prune off a part, the plant can spend some energy sealing off the wound, which protects it from systemic invasion by disease. Many shrubs, such as azaleas, are best pruned immediately after blooming, before they produce the flower buds for next year. Woe to the gardener who shears their azalea hedge all summer and then wonders why it doesn’t bloom the following spring. Do a little research on your specific plant before pruning. Winter is a good time to make a list and a schedule. 4. BE MERCIFUL AND PATIENT.
Whether it is a sharp pair of hand pruners or a newly oiled chainsaw, tools can get the better of even the most disciplined gardener, and what starts out as cutting back a wayward branch can result in a massacre. Put yourself in your plant’s shoes. How many limbs could you afford to lose at once? Keep in mind that the plant needs the limb and the leaves it grows to feed itself, and if you cut too much off or cut it back too far it will either die or burst forth in a desperate attempt at survival. Avoid the temptation to shape a plant all at once, and make it a multi-year process. Also, leave the healing tissue on the plant. Never cut back all the way to the stem. Leave the branch collar where the branch attaches to the stem, or trunk. The plant needs that material to heal. 5. OPEN YOUR HEART.
Sure, colorful summer flowers are grand. But take the time to enjoy your plants year round. Appreciate the structure of a tree or the rustle of dried grass plumes in the wind. Seek out the scent of witch hazel or edgeworthia. Nature has daily delights, if one takes the time to notice. S
Shapes of winter
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true blue gs
How to Make Your Side Gig Your Main Gig WRITTEN BY DOY CAVE
ecause we’re now living in a gig economy — where the bar of entry is virtually non-existent — my assumption is that you, dear reader, already have some kind of side gig or freelance job. This is especially true for women. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women in 2019 started businesses at more than twice the national average, and now represent more than 50% of the workforce. I recently read about a young woman who is making upwards of $1 million a day selling online courses that teach you how to use Microsoft Excel. And she’s spending zero in marketing because she advertises for free on TikTok, where she often does silly dances. It’s a new world, people. Buckle up. 60 statesboromagazine.com
For those of you who are looking to take your side hustle from bankable hobby to lucrative business, Catherine Blake, accelerator manager at Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group (BIG), has a few tips for you. “There really is no easy formula,” she said. “Balance is really important, so my first question is, ‘Is this a hobby or a business?’ Is it a hobby that is helping your mental health and helping you deal with the stress and pressure you have with life and raising a family? Or is it something that you could really drop everything and do full-time for the rest of your life?” If it’s a business you’re ready to take to the next level, Blake offers the following tips. GET COACHED
When you’re running a side hustle, you should be learning a lot about what customers want, what they’re willing to pay, and how you can help them. Once you’ve gotten some traction, however, it’s time to take the next step and get coached on how to grow your business. Coaching and consulting will not only help you formulate a plan, it will
also help you define specific goals to grow your business. When working with business owners, Blake says she identifies OKRs or Objective Key Results that, when done correctly, can grow a business 10 times or more. These results are audacious goals that give entrepreneurs tangible targets for growth. They answer questions like “Why are you doing this? Who are you serving? What problem are you solving? “Then you can get laser focused on executing,” she said. “And if you get to a point where you aren’t getting any more traction and it’s not going anywhere, maybe you need to pivot. Maybe you need to change the model. And that’s why having business advisement and coaching resources like you do in the BIG incubator can be very useful.” BIG offers business consulting for area entrepreneurs in Statesboro and Metter, and is currently building a new site in Hinesville. GET CONNECTED
Before Blake came to Georgia Southern to help business owners, she spent years working with Fortune 500 companies in business leadership. She realized how disconnected they could be from others. In 2019, she created the Institute for Executive Women, a group that exists to encourage and uplift women by providing leadership development, seminars, coaching and philanthropy. “What I discovered through the process is that there are a lot of women out there that are islands,” she said. “They’re absolutely amazing. They’re smart. They’re capable. They’ve got a ridiculous work ethic. They’re involved with their communities. They’re well-educated and the list goes on. But they aren’t connected.” Blake says connection is crucial. When you connect with other business owners, you can trade stories about how to navigate obstacles. You can find
out about funding, programs or software that could help you in your work. You can find a mentor that can spend dedicated time developing your leadership skills, and you can find an advisory board that can help you in areas where you are deficient. GET CAREFUL
Blake recounted a time that she shared a business idea with a friend, only to visit her a few months later and see her idea stolen outright. “There are a lot of legal aspects of business that you want to be careful about,” she said. “You also want to make sure you protect your assets and create an appropriate corporate structure.” BIG’s incubator and accelerator services include walking entrepreneurs through the legal creation of a business, and Blake says it’s just another part of learning how to be a business owner. “Develop a lifelong learning plan for yourself, for your own personal and professional development,” she said. “Include in that as much leadership training as you can, so that you can be on a continuous improvement trajectory to become the best leader you can be and raise up other leaders.” So get out there and get started on your side hustle. And start learning silly dances…because that’s apparently how the world does marketing now. S January/February 2022
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the view from here
The Georgia Southern Development Staff, 1975. (Seated L-R) Billy Franklin, Director of Fundraising; Ric Mandes, Director of Institutional Development; Nancy Humma, Director of Publications; Max Coursan, Director of Alumni. (Standing L-R) Larry Albright, Sports Information Director; Claude Felton, Director of Public Relations; Steve Ellwood, Director of Photography.
Posters Series: A Few Good Men WRITTEN BY RIC MANDES
eflections: Georgia Southern Presidents Whom I Have Served Zach Henderson - 1948-1968. Wonderful leader of vision! Dean of the Georgia Norman School beginning in 1927, he was tapped as the first president in 1948. He proposed for approval to the Chancellor a change in title from Georgia Teachers College to Georgia Southern College in 1959, and was approved. Henderson served during the period when the College was desegregated. He proposed and was granted the first graduate school program in 1957, the Masters of Education. Retired spring, 1968. John Eidson - 1968-1971. Established the office of the Vice-President, (the first ever at the college level). Moved departments and divisions into schools and named deans to head those areas. Invited Jim Oliver to join the faculty as our first professor to the Callaway Chair. Brought Rick Harwell from Boston College in to give wisdom in designing the new library. Pope Duncan - 1971-1977. So much of GSU’s reality today was designed from the brilliant mind of this man. Powerful & fair. Prepared a detail sketch of offering the first doctorate and achieving university status. When the Chancellor said a determined, “Nope,” Duncan within months received a call from Stetson University to become president. He accepted and served Stetson ten years, during which time he flew the country over in raising a hundred million dollars. Dale Lick. 1978 – 1986. Took and held the presidency for eight years and eight months, driving the Regents nuts with his Cool Hand 62 statesboromagazine.com
Luke power. During his tenure, Lick was summoned to the Regents’ office to be fired by the Regents’ chair. Cooler heads prevailed, and rather than being fired, Lick was publicly reprimanded and told in so many words “to stay the hell away from dreaming big and its appearance in Atlanta news outlets.” He continued the push for University status. As his plane lifted Lick skyward to University of Maine, the rumble was beginning the regents might truly consider this status change. Nick Henry. 1987 – 1998. Was called in 1989 to go for it! That evening of showing the front gate signage “University,” Fielding Russell spoke. Did he ever! Nick Henry brought a poised dignity to that office, hand writing thank-you notes or letters of appreciation. He implemented the important fund-raising role VP of Advancement for the University. His presidency was cut short because Nick took up the charge for an independent School of Engineering! What a shame. This man was powerful to purpose. Insightful to a university’s destiny! I am a better man for having served the above leaders. I had their trust. I carried out their commands. Further and finally, today’s GSU is built and continues to grow, thanks to the dream, design and dedication of each president! And now I am left to note their contributions, and rightfully so! Addendum by Tommy Lewis “Thanks for reminding us, how “We, GS” got to where we are. A lot of people pushed hard for the growth of this university and we tend to forget the hefty prices that were paid. Ric, you having a spot at the table over those formative years, keeps us grounded on the fact that it just didn’t happen by coincidence, it happened because there was a reason for it to happen, the motion had been set in place by someone, who had the ability and the gall within them to make it happen. I appreciate all you did yourself over the years to facilitate, and help make these dreams and pursuits come to life, not only did the University benefit, through the growth and expansion of these dreams and pursuits, but the entire, city, county and southeastern part of Georgia benefited as well. Hopefully all of this has been documented over the years and is put aside in some important history file so others down the road will be able to understand why Georgia Southern is one of the greatest universities around period!” S
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