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PHOTO BY: Karl Lamb


38 38 Best Area Fitness Clubs


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Meet The Gladiators

Exclusive Q&A with the Atlanta Gladiator's Coach Andy Brandt, Captain Derek Nesbitt, and Assistant Captain Tyler Murovich



Suwanee Magazine



PHOTO BY: Karl Lamb JAN / FEB 16


From beginner lessons to Olympiclevel training, SwimAtlanta, the largest swim club in the US, has a spot in the pool for everyone

PHOTOS BY: Karl Lamb

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Atlanta Flooring Design Centers Atlanta Flooring Design Centers is a one-stop shop for buyers in the residential, commercial and builder sectors

54 Greater Atlanta Christian School: A Mission to Serve


contents january / february '16

thrive 36 Ask Henry

Q&A with Henry the Golden Retriever at Sugar Hill Animal Hospital

37 A Stress-Free 2016

Grow Counseling offers healthy resolutions to help reduce stress in the new year

40 30024 by the Numbers The Health and Wellness Edition

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13 SBA News

15 Investment Strategies

52 Suwanee Beer Fest

Aileron Investment Advisors talk long-term investment trends

16 Financial Fitness with Andrew T.Hill

New York Life Agent, Andrew T. Hill helps Suwanee residents build a healthy future with financial safety and security

22 Marketing Tips with Veugeler Design Group

From color to infographics, our design team unveils the top design trends for your business to stay current in the new year


The Whole Food Health Coach shares insite on healthy diets

50 A Toast to Health in 2016

The health benefits of adult beverages

Checking your business' pulse


42 Optimal Health with Optimal Fuel

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JAN / FEB 16

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2014 & 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post Reader's Choice Best Festival In Gwinnett returns to Town Center Park this March


in every issue:

61 Principal for a Day

8 Letter 10 Share 47 Restaurant Guide 66 City Buzz 70 People & Places 78 Calendar

62 Unlocking Your Student’s Potential

Suwanee Magazine's Angela Veugeler experiences “A Day in the Life” of a Gwinnett County Principal

Personalized plans for young adults with Excel Assessments


a note from our managing editor

A Resolution-Free 2016 Rachel Pillow Managing Editor

very January 1st, as I raise a glass of champagne to the New Year, I make loads of promises to myself like: this is the year I will…. get in the best shape of my life, organize the garage, do even just 1 of the 200 projects on my forsaken Pinterest board, save more money, master time management and productivity and so on and so on! Then, by mid-January I’m already burnt out and disappointed that I didn’t become “superwoman” overnight. Sound familiar? Reading Laura Lebovitz’ article, “Starting 2016 off Stress-Free” really resonated with me and made me realize that instead of making clearcut resolutions or focusing on big, lofty goals, to just relax, take on 2016

On our cover:

Derek Nesbitt, Captain of the Atlanta Gladiators, photographed on December 14th at Infinite Energy Center by KARL LAMB.



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JAN / FEB 16

one day at a time and be mindful. I remember my favorite college professor encouraging our senior class to do the same years ago. While many of us had our eyes set on graduation day and beyond, he urged us to be completely present, saying, “You will never again be this exact age, right here, doing exactly what you are doing now - so embrace it and be the best you possibly can be because this precise moment will never happen again.” Last year, when I ran the Georgia Fitness Suwanee Gateway Half Marathon, I remember it feeling exceptionally painful around mile 10, and even though my mind was set on that finish line, I decided to do everything in my power to enjoy the moment: I highfived other runners going by, took notice of the scenery and the sound of the crunchy leaves beneath my feet, and thanked God for giving me healthy lungs and legs that could run. Of course, as with any goal, it did feel good to finish, but

I’m glad that I made the entire race an experience rather than just my emotions at the finish line. If you are running the 2nd annual race on January 30th, then I encourage you to do the same – it’s worth it. The January/February issue is our Health & Wellness issue and is chock-full of ways to improve your physical, financial, personal, emotional, and business health. While living in the present is important, it is also necessary to prepare for your future. And, thankfully, Suwanee is brimming with experts who are equipped to help us do just that! Just flip through the following pages for tips, advice, insight and resources from professionals in our area! Raise a (healthy) glass of your drink-of choice (see page 50 to learn how your favorite adult beverage is actually good for you) and lets toast to a stress-free, resolution-free and healthy 2016!

Visit for some great web only articles and frequent updates. Follow us on facebook, twitter and instgram


comments about the nov / dec ‘15 issue

“Loved the article about Rico’s. Their food is delicious and they’re very friendly.” EMILY FINN savor

Restaurant Spotlight

Rico‘s World Kitchen

“ The article on

giving back was phenomenal! We are proud to be a part of the Suwanee community and do our best to represent its ideals.”

306 W Main St Buford, GA 30518


ico Cunnington, Owner and Chef at Rico’s World Kitchen, opened his restaurant over eight years ago. A small space tucked inside a strip mall, across from the Gwinnett County Tag Office, with room for only four tables. “It was really just an opportunity that fell into our laps,” Rico explained when asked how he made the decision to first open the doors. “We were able to get in there and get our feet wet.” Growing up, his years of experience working alongside his mother, Nett, lovingly referred to as “Ma,” in their catering business quickly paid off. Within three years, Rico’s World Kitchen had outgrown their space and moved into a larger location in downtown historic Buford. Rico’s World Kitchen has now become a wellknown staple on the Atlanta culinary radar. Inside of this gas-stationturned-restaurant, Rico is still putting his creative spin on “world comfort cuisine” and serving what many arguably consider some of the best dishes in Metro Atlanta. With combinations such as the fried green tomato


I Suwanee Magazine I

salad with smoked applewood bacon and homemade celery seed dressing, or the smoked mojo pork with guava BBQ, it is evident why Rico’s World Kitchen has amassed such a large following. “The thing we center our cuisine around is international comfort food. There are certain dishes that have traditional elements and we stay true to those things. Outside of that, it is wide open. We look at what makes this dish a comfort food and how can we spin it.” explained Rico. Rico and his culinary counterpart, classically trained chef, Jorge Gonzalez, enjoy

Rico's Wold Kitchen is located in a converted gas station in historic Buford

experimenting with bold flavors in the kitchen. Pulling from their Filipino and Mexican backgrounds to unlock a world of international flavors. “We do like to learn traditional techniques so we can expand on them. We handbatter everything from the

beginning. All of the dressing and sauces are made in house; we even grind our own meat. It starts with quality. We take pride in that and it makes a difference,” Rico shared. Meanwhile, Rico’s wife, Katie, and his mother, Nett, are responsible for baking some

of the most delicious sweet treats in and outside of the perimeter. Crowd pleasers, like the key lime avocado cake and the chocolate pecan “Wild Turkey” pie, are guaranteed to delight even the pickiest palate. “We have three kids, and at least one picky eater. They are all three, food critics at this point,” Katie laughed. A lasting local favorite, Rico’s World Kitchen shows no sign of slowing down in their success. While their goal is to provide an environment that feels more like a kitchen than a restaurant by dishing out inventive comfort foods, they still manage to keep their customers on their toes by changing their special menu daily. Fans of their Facebook page point out favorites such as the She-crab soup and the firecracker alligator tail tossed in sriracha aioli as “must haves.” Additionally, within the next few years Rico hopes to open a new

With combinations such as the fried green tomato salad with smoked applewood bacon and homemade celery seed dressing, or the smoked mojo pork with guava BBQ, it is evident why Rico’s World Kitchen has amassed such a large following.

I NOV / DEC 15



“Great photos in this issue!” JOI TURNER

“I love reading the Editor’s Letter, every month.”

“I liked the entire section dedicated to those who give back: Cooper’s Crew, Annandale Village and Rainbow Village! Awesome groups!” TINA MCNALLY SCHLIEF

We want to hear from you!

Email your feedback to Submissions@ for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card to Schlotzsky's Deli!

KIMBERLY WALKER HOW TO REACH US: Email: Fax: 678-730-0691. Or join the conversation on facebook and twitter. Letters and e-mails should include full contact information. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and brevity. All submissions become the property of Veugeler Design Group and will not be returned. Submission constitutes permission to use photos and stories in all media.



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JAN / FEB 16

Sponsored by Pooch N Paws, Unleashed Pet Creations & Blue Grasshopper Creations

IT’S TIME TO SELECT SUWANEE’S CUTEST POOCH AGAIN! For the third annual contest we are upping the ante with an even bigger grand prize. The winning pup will be featured in the March/April issue of Suwanee Magazine and will receive:

a luxury gift basket from Pooch N Paws Pet Boutique & Bakery; a custom print bowtie, bow or bandana courtesy of Blue Grasshopper Creations AND one week of complimentary doggy daycare at Unleashed Creations Pet Spa in Suwanee! Contest submissions will be accepted at from January 11th-25th. Please submit only one entry per email address. The two-week voting period will take place at from January 29th - February 12th. Only one vote per email address is permitted, per day….so be sure to ask your friends and family to vote for your favorite furry friend for even more votes!

Good luck and may the cutest pup win!


ANGELA VEUGELER President / Editor-in-Chief RANDALL VEUGELER Vice President and Publisher RACHEL PILLOW Managing Editor



PUBLISHED BY VEUGELER DESIGN GROUP 554 W. Main Street, Suite 200, Buford, GA 30518

For SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRES or BACK ISSUE ORDERS, call 678-482-2270. For ADVERTISING INQUIRES, call 678-482-2270, or email

Suwanee Magazine is published bi-monthly by Veugeler Design Group. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers and editors are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or Suwanee Magazine. The publisher will not accept responsibility for submitted materials that are lost or stolen. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or ommissions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. ©2016 Veugeler Design Group. The editors welcome unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Please email submissions to Rachel Pillow at



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JAN / FEB 16




grow suwanee business community news and info.


Suwanee Business Alliance News


It’s already 2016 and time to begin setting goals. Whether you are an owner-operator of a business or a small to mid-size employer, there never seems enough time to check the engine of your company. Here are some suggestions of popular categories of entrepreneurs that should do an annual or quarterly “business health check.”


Suwanee Business Alliance News


While this is a very generic category, it applies to anybody in the insurance, financial, accounting, real estate, banking, and professional sectors that require/recommend business attire. Many in these fields concentrate on competition because it tends to have sharks in the pool. Instead, consider competition as the drive to be innovative. When a competitor starts offering half off their services, they are focusing on transactions; whereas you can be innovative by When a competitor incentivizing your employees starts offering half to be more productive – more off their services, transactions don’t always they are focusing mean more revenue. For on transactions; example, an athlete will whereas you can purchase better shoes and gear to improve speed or be innovative by agility, but exercise and body incentivizing your conditioning will last longer employees to be than the apparel.



Probably the toughest position to motivate yourself when there are so many distractions: TV, food, hobbies, kids, neighbors, etc. According to home based business expert Rosalind Resnick of Axxess Business Centers Inc., creating a structure in your day like you would at the office can actually increase productivity. Hold more meetings at a coffee shop versus phone or Skype, set realistic goals, network at day events (lunch and learns), and once things really pick up – move out and get an office!

more productive – more transactions don’t always mean more revenue.

Most people in this industry concentrate on sales so much they never look behind the scenes. Price, quality, and customer service are the three basis diagnostic checks for the retail industry. Theoretically, it is nearly impossible to get all three working optimally, as most retail owners will focus on price because competition demands it. In Suwanee, retailers focus heavily on customer service and quality, knowing that residents will pay a slightly higher price for better service. As the old adage goes; you can get quality work fast, but it won’t be cheap. You can get the work cheap and fast, but it won’t be the best quality. You can get good work cheap, but it will take a while.

Indeed there are many categories a business should focus on when it comes to operations, just remember that revenues don’t necessarily mean success. Maintaining a healthy business involves keeping expectations of residual income and a career-driven attitude in check. The quick buck method is like fasting to lose weight or sprinting a short distance versus running the long distance.

The SBA meets the 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at different business locations in town. For more info visit

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Suwanee Magazine JAN15 / FEB 16 Magazine I I Suwanee I I JULY I/ AUG



Strategies BY: Bill and Cindi Porter, AILERON INVESTMENT ADVISORS

Should I rely on long-term historical stock market averages when I retire this year? - Alex Winchester, Suwanee

Probably not. he 20th and 21st centuries have produced significantly different stock market returns. Consider these statistics provided by Franklin Templeton Funds. Suppose you had retired on January 1, 2000 and had $1,000,000 invested in the S&P 500 index, withdrew $50,000 a year to live on, and earned the long-term historical average of the S&P 500 (9.85%). At the end of 2014, you would have withdrawn over $750,000, and your account would have grown to $2,160,786. That would have been great. But that is not what really happened. Based on the actual returns of the S&P 500 over the past 14 years, not its long-term historical average, instead of a remaining portfolio of $2,160,786, the balance would only be $67,595! That is a difference of over 2 million in just 14 years. The portfolio would be nearly exhausted. How is this dramatic divergence possible? Simple, so far in the 21st century, the U.S. stock market experienced two major meltdowns (2000-2002 and 2007-2008). Nearly half of the value of many stock portfolios was lost (twice), which devastated many retirement plans. Relying on the long-term averages of the past for retirement planning in the future is obviously less than reliable. In the 21st century, avoiding large losses is just as important as trying to create gains. It is always a good time to discuss with your trusted advisor strategies for adding defensive tools to your investment portfolio. âœą

in the 21st century, the U.S. stock market experienced two major meltdowns (2000-2002 and 2007-2008)

Securities offered through Integrated Financial Planning Services and Dempsey Lord Smith, LLC member FINRA/SIPC. All the information in this letter is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information is strictly at your own risk.

Send your investment questions to:



The Flooring Experts of Metro Atlanta

ATLANTA FLOORING DESIGN CENTERS IS A ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BUYERS IN THE RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL AND BUILDER SECTORS BY: RACHEL PILLOW / PHOTOS BY: JULIE PERDUE well-known and respected name in the flooring industry since 1985, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers, is proud of the fact that their “humble beginnings” all started in Gwinnett with Founder, Donny Phillips. The flagship store sits proudly on Buford Highway in Suwanee with sister locations in Charlotte, Birmingham and Chattanooga. But for a company who has had ongoing success and growth, there is still a fierce sense of small-town integrity that drives them. And their mission statement permeates every aspect of what they do: “To listen to our customer’s needs, then professionally provide service and material at a great value. Honoring God and always treating others as we wish to be treated.”

Giving Back to the Community “In general we believe giving back to the community is extremely important for the business and for our employees,” said Phillips. Atlanta Flooring Design Centers often opens up their beautiful, spacious offices for groups and organizations in the community that need meeting space and has done charitable work with local nonprofits such as Annandale Village, Eagle Ranch, Rainbow Village, the Salvation Army as well as many local schools. Phillips also noted that he is passionate about supporting servicemen and women who have given so much for our country and is even looking to hire veterans.

Selling Service, Not Flooring

“Our people are what make this company,” said Executive Vice President, Frank Winter. “We sell service, not flooring,” he continued. They are confident that their service is incomparable to big box “competitors.” In fact, big box retailers cannot even be considered direct competitors because of the unequivocal knowledge and service you get at a privately owned, local company like Atlanta Flooring Design Centers. In terms of product selection and pricing, they also remain on top of the game. In December of 2014, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers opened the doors to their retail outlet center, located directly next door to their premier showroom on Buford Hwy. Open to the public, with outrageously low costs, the retail outlet serves as a “cash and carry” store stocked



Suwanee Magazine


JAN / FEB 16

‹ Atlanta Flooring Design Centers Management Team: Riley Gazzaway, Donny Phillips and Frank Winter


‹ Atlanta Flooring Design Centers retail outlet on Buford Highway, is stocked with product that is highly discounted due to being discontinued or leftover from large quantity purchase orders.

Atlanta Flooring Design Centers Sales Team: Back left to right: Martin Collins, Phillip Barrows, Jim Ogletree, Charles Taulbee, Ricardo Cepeda Front: Gaylyn Waldmann, Lynn Lilly

“We offer a great product selection on the full-service side of medium to upscale products that last a long time in your home. We encourage customers to always look for a product that will give them years of service and will not go out of style,” said Phillips. And with one of Atlanta’s most premier retail showrooms staffed with designers who have years of experience, there is bound to be something for everyone, at a price they can feel good about. Phillips expressed that he feels blessed with every opportunity for growth the company has been given. “I don’t know how much larger it will get, but we just want it to be better everywhere, for everyone,” he said. “My favorite thing is watching the company work and grow, seeing it be a living company for thirty years that provides for families and is an important part of the community,” he Atlanta Flooring said. Treating each Design Centers' newly other with dignity redesigned showroom and respect is at features tile, stone, the core of Atlanta hardwood, laminate, Flooring Design Centers, whether vinyl, carpet and even you are a visitor, an cabinetry! employee, a client with product that is highly discounted due to being or customer. “We discontinued or leftover from large quantity purchase want to make good orders. In other words: a dream come true for the D.I.Y. choices in term’s of how it impacts individuals market looking for tile, stone, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, carpet around us,” Phillips said. It is that company and even cabinetry! culture that’s evident in everything they do. ✱ Atlanta Flooring Design Centers originally started as “Atlanta Carpet Company” with a small retail space of 1200 square feet selling carpet, hardwood and vinyl, but quickly expanded their products and services to essentially become a one-stop shop for buyers in the residential, commercial and builder sectors – even offering a planned maintenance and carpet cleaning program to ensure product warranty and satisfaction. In January of 2016 their redesigned showroom will include cabinetry, furthermore expanding their product and service offerings.

For more information about Atlanta Flooring Design Centers, visit


Business Spotlight I NEW YORK LIFE


et 2016 become the year you strengthen those abs and your financial future. Andrew

there were missed opportunities to earn more,” Hill advised. Whether you are 25 or 55 years old, the time to start planning for and securing your financial future is now.

T. Hill, CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®, LUTCF, Financial Services Professional and New York Life agent in Suwanee, can When it comes to preparing for your future, it can be help…at least on the financial side. difficult to know where to even begin. Meeting with “Most people spend a lot more time an advisor that shares common planning their core values is paramount. vacations than Unfortunately, the employee they do their turnover rate of Financial Advisors financial future,” said Hill. A self confessed travel aficionado, Hill is among the highest of any and his wife/business partner, service-based industry in the US, Tammy, admittedly spend a lot so it is important to work with of time planning vacations as someone who has years of proven well; but there is a reason they experience and education in their are able to take their family on so field. Since 2005, Hill has been many adventures - because they recognized as one of the top Long have built a life around financial Term Care leaders for all of New security, and they are passionate The Hills have called Gwinnett County home York Life. Even so, Hill is adamant about giving others in their about the fact that there is no “allfor twenty years now and are dedicated to community the same opportunity. giving back to the community where they’ve in-one” formula: every long-term “Don’t wait to start planning for plan he creates is customized and raised their family, by sponsoring sports retirement when you’re about to teams or activities at all of the North Gwinnett not necessarily confined to New retire…that’s when you will realize Schools, at one time or another. York Life solutions.




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JAN / FEB 16



“Most people spend a lot more time planning their vacations than they do their financial future.”

so for a reason. “For the portion of your assets that you’re looking to be safe and secure – that’s where we excel. I like safety and security. I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night worrying about my client’s account because of a stock market crash,” he explained. Rather, he wants to wake up knowing that everything his clients have worked hard to achieve is completely secure and in good hands.

Andrew T. Hill has spent a sixteen-year career diversifying and expanding his realm of knowledge. You may notice the multiple designations following his name, signifying his advanced degrees, certifications and ongoing education in financial services. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Advisor for Senior Living - Andrew T. Hill and Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow; as well as Series Hill does not charge his clients a 7 and Series 63 licensed and a fee: a testament to the fact that his Registered Representative for NY true motive is in educating them, Life Securities, LLC. And while his multiple designations understanding their goals and building relationships do equip him to sit in the global financial planning with them – in fact many of them have become his arena, his fundamental values and areas of expertise close friends over the years. Hill’s practice stands hold steadfast. “Risk management is my sweet spot: on the conservative side of the financial planning protecting your assets and income,” he explained. spectrum, but he is a firm believer in having balanced perspective. Most of his clients are business owners, Baby Boomers and affluent families with an income of $250,000 or more. Having balanced and quality Hill has the expertise and experience to give risk-driven perspective is important for everyone, but especially so financial advice and can definitely offer a balanced when there are larger assets at stake. perspective, but his approach is conservative, and is




“Your portfolio is a living, breathing document and needs to be treated as such,” said Hill. In fact, he encourages his clients to work with a “circle of professionals” that includes a Financial Advisor, Certified Public Accountant, Business Attorney, Insurance Agent, Estate Planner and Banker to ensure they are best taken care of and that professional advisors are playing to their specific areas of expertise - all to the client’s best interest and goals though. Hill is an entrepreneur who has built a business from the ground up and who works with some of the area’s most affluent individuals. So, while there might not be an exact formula for success, he has found at least a few common denominators among the world’s most successful people. In addition to being prepared and secure in your financial future, Hill stressed the importance of: having good, common core values, being authentic, having a strong work ethic, doing what you say you’re going to do, under promising and over delivering. ✱

For more information about Andrew T. Hill and his practice, services and products, visit



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ood design is timeless. However, a great graphic designer knows how to take a timeless design and evolve it based on today’s trends - in a way that can speak to your specific audience. Professional designers go to great lengths to learn and understand how to tell your story through a complete visual experience. Designers also understand the importance of staying ahead of the curve. Read on to learn more about 2016’s graphic design forecast….



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Out of all of the design trends my personal favorite is: hand lettering and calligraphy! This trend is also the most inspiring to me as a designer. In a world that is so fast-paced and where everything is digital, hand lettering and calligraphy are bringing back the importance of good, old-fashioned pen and paper. This trend has been around for a few years, but is still going strong. We are seeing this trend explode everywhere: on the cover of magazines, in logos, print ads, posters, packaging... the list goes on. The organic and unique style of hand lettering and the beautiful, elegant class of calligraphy make this trend very versatile and adaptable.



In today’s digital world where stock imagery and photography are at our beck and call, it is surprising that custom illustration is making a comeback. However, with its whimsical and endearing tone, it has become exceedingly popular in marketing collateral and package design. Through a custom illustration the audience can easily picture themselves in the scene or storyline, making the connection to the product more personal.


Pantone Matching System (PMS) has become the international standard for color selection, matching and organization. From technology to automotive, fashion and interior design, the proprietary system is used across a wide variety of industries. The highly anticipated 2016 Pantone® Colors of the year are Rose Quartz (PANTONE 13-1520) and Serenity (PANTONE 15-3919). Rose Quartz has a warm touch while Serenity has a cooler peaceful sense. Together they have a harmonious marriage that signifies a sense of connection and emotions. This color combination will be great for spring marketing ads and would make a beautiful color palette for wedding invitations.


Infographics are visually appealing diagrams or charts with icons, illustrations and graphics that help communicate a story. They are particularly useful in presentations, annual reports, media kits, sales pamphlets, brochures, informative websites and more. When presented with a lot of information or data, it can be overwhelming and frankly, quite boring, to your audience. So designers work with clients to create eye-catching, retainable ways to present critical data and information.

When it comes to these current trends, it is okay to experiment, so long as you stay true to who you are and your brand identity. Let a professional help you navigate the sometimes confusing, yet very exciting, world of design trends because they will continue to evolve. But don’t get left behind because great design can truly give your customers a reason to care and a reason to engage with you. ✱



Suwanee Magazine faces off with Assistant Captain Tyler Murovich, Coach Andy the Atlanta Gladiators as they share their insight on hockey fights, the growing and the struggles players face as they try to make it to the NHL or AHL leagues.



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ormerly known as the Gwinnett Gladiators, the

Atlanta Gladiators are a professional, minor league ice hockey team in the South Division of the ECHL Eastern Conference, based at Infinite Energy Arena in Gwinnett. Along with the name change in 2015 came new hope, an expanded sense of community, a new head coach and the return of fan-favorite Captain Nezzy!


Coach Brandt, Head Coach and General Manager of Hockey Operations for the Atlanta Gladiators, spent most of his sixyear professional playing career in a Gwinnett/Atlanta uniform. He shared his thoughts on the current state of the team and why he is glad to be a Gladiator!

Brandt & Captain Derek Nesbitt of popularity of the sport in the South

PHOTOS BY: Karl Lamb / Dale Zanine


Atlanta Gladiators Head Coach

ANDY BRANDT Hockey in the Southeast:

Of course it’s more popular in the North and in Canada, said Coach Brandt, a Wisconsin native and former Badger. But, Brandt now considers Gwinnett his home turf and is excited that his first head coaching opportunity is with a team he knows personally well!

The Challenges of playing ECHL hockey:

In hindsight you are only two steps away from playing in the NHL (National Hockey League) but when you are in the ECHL it seems like such a long journey to get there. As a farm team to their NHL affiliate, The Boston Bruins and their AHL (American Hockey League) affiliate, The Providence Bruins, men from The Atlanta Gladiators can be traded up or down at the snap of a finger. It can be hard on coaches and players alike, because if Providence sends them a guy then a hard cut has to be made. “At the same time, we have an affiliation for a reason and that is to develop their players,” said Brandt.

Coaching vs. Playing:

Brandt’s pro career spanned six seasons where, as a Gladiator, he played in a team-record of 357 games, scoring 192 points (76 goals and 116 assists) and served as both assistant captain and team captain from 2007-2013. But as a coach the workload increases exponentially…there is a lot that goes into making sure the team is prepared and as a player you just don’t realize it. As a player you have to get ready to play, but the coaches also have to make sure all the logistics are in place: travel accommodations, bus schedule, meals, hotels, flights, pre-game videos, post-game videos and analysis, and all the while recruiting and watching players for the upcoming season. Brandt recalls his days playing as a Glad and is in awe of the coaches before him who did the job alone. He also expressed much gratitude for the help he has from Assistant Coach Mike Flanagan, Video Coach Roman Marakhovski and the entire coaching staff.

His Coaching Inspiration:

Brandt knew that after college he wanted to eventually coach. His biggest inspiration was his University of Wisconsin Assistant Coach, Troy Ward, who taught him how to walk that fine line of being a friend to the players at the right time, but holding them accountable and being hard on them when needed. “The biggest thing as a coach is letting your players know that your doors are always open. You have to respect and have a relationship with your players while keeping it professional,” he said.



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Fights during the game:

Fist fighting in ice hockey is a tradition of the sport, but Brandt says there is a rhyme or reason for it. Sometimes they are battling against each other but sometimes they might be doing it to gain momentum in the game. "I’ll never send someone out to fight, but I won’t stop a good fight either," he said. The best fight he has witnessed as a coach went down in early 2015 on Gladiator’s ice with his own player, Dyson Stevenson fighting Greenville Road Warriors, Emerson Clark.

The facial hair:

Take a look at the Gladiators in the month of November and you might notice a bit more moustache-action than any other time of year. You can thank Coach Brandt for that! Among the many ways that Brandt gives back to the community, one of his favorites is “Movember” where he encouraged the team to raise awareness for prostate cancer by growing epic moustaches. According to the global “Movember Foundation” the movement has provided men with a platform where “for 30 days your moustache turns you into a walking, talking billboard for men’s health.”

The competition:

Our biggest competitors are the Florida Everglades – they are always at the top of their division. “It’s a good and well-respected rivalry and we always have competitive games with them.”

Advice for young athletes:

“Have fun playing the game and don’t worry about someone who is better than you because the more you enjoy it the more you’ll end up wanting to work at it.”

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Atlanta Gladiators Assistant Captain

Tyler Murovich AKA: MURV

Age: 26 Position: F Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Years Playing Professional Hockey: 6 Q: How did you get started playing hockey? A: Growing up in Pittsburgh during the early 90's was a big influence on me because The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992. When I was in elementary school, my family's business opened in Pittsburgh: the Ice Castle Arena. It is still the family business and where I work on my game and train young hockey players in the off-season. I love being around the rink and there is no place that I would rather spend the majority of my time. 

Q: Biggest accomplishment in the sport? A: I am lucky to have made a ton of great memories through the sport of hockey. My biggest accomplishment is probably playing in 390 professional games (including playoffs) so far. I am extremely lucky to be able to play this game and even luckier to play it professionally.

Q: What is your ultimate goal? A: My ultimate achievement would be to play in the NHL…the goal of just about any hockey player. Obviously at our level now (in the ECHL), the goal is to get to the AHL and establish myself there first. Earning a call up to AHL is always exciting and that feeling drives you to want to do it again.

Q: As assistant captain how do you keep your team focused and motivated? A: I just try to do the right things everyday and hopefully lead by example. I think having a letter on your jersey just adds an extra level of accountability and responsibility. I try my best to pass on things that I've learned from previous experiences to the new or younger guys.



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Q: What is your diet like? A: I definitely enjoy eating healthy. I usually try to get the freshest ingredients when possible such as local and/or organic produce. It's also important for me to take in a lot of calories during the season since we are constantly skating or training. Most people can't believe how much food that I have to eat in a day to maintain my weight!

Q: How do you relax off the ice? A: Usually a nice dinner out. With a busy schedule during the season, it’s a great way to unwind. I also love music and love to dance. I am the team DJ in the Glads locker room and I take that responsibility very seriously!



Q: Best advice that you’ve received as a hockey player? A: Some advice that always stuck with me about my game was from my dad, who coached me growing up. He just always reminded me to play my game and stick to details of my game that allow me to have success.

Q: Biggest challenges as a professional athlete? A: The biggest challenge for any athlete is probably consistency, in my opinion. It’s easy to play well when you’re feeling great, but what if you don’t feel so good? The best way to face it is just to rely on having good ice habits, a love for the game, good work ethic and keep working hard as always!


Atlanta Gladiators Captain


Age: 33 Position: RW Hometown: Seaforth, Ontario, Canada Years Playing Professional Hockey: 11 Q: How long have you been playing hockey? A: Since I was 4 years old. I don’t ever remember not playing hockey. It’s just something that has always been a part of my life and that alone is probably what drove me to want to continue doing it for so long.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment in the sport? A: Winning a Kelly Cup Championship with the Idaho Steelheads in 2007

Q: Your ultimate goal? A: To play in the NHL. I’ve played in NHL pre-season games but now at 33 years old it probably isn’t a realistic goal for me, I’d love nothing more than to help bring a championship here to Atlanta.

Q: Biggest challenge as team captain? A: It’s that you are representing more than just yourself. My actions directly represent the team and the whole organization as well. I just try to take the lessons I’ve learned over my career and lead by my actions more than words. I’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words. I try to be as professional as

possible, at all times, on or off the ice. Playing professionally is a full time job and I want to express that to our younger guys.

Q: What do you do off the ice for fun? A: After being on the road I especially love just relaxing and watching TV with my wife, Whitney, and our dogs at home in Flowery Branch.

Q: What do you focus on in training? A: At my age now my training has changed a lot in the past five years. Now I concentrate more on body recovery and making sure I’m healthy. I work a lot on speed and flexibility. I’ve been able to keep my strength so it’s more about body maintenance for me now.

Q: Hockey is known as an aggressive sport. Have you had any serious injuries? A: I’ve torn my MCL in the same knee twice, which kept me out of the game for 7 weeks both times. And I shattered my nose from a slap shot, which took me out for about a month. Both times I just had to work hard with the trainer and doctors to concentrate on getting back on the ice by our target dates.

Q: What do you want your legacy to be? A: One thing I’ve said is that I’d love to be considered a true pro. Being referred to as a true professional is such an honor and I hope to have earned that tag someday.




thrive your health,

wellness and happiness.


Gwinnett County is home to the country’s largest swim club. Out of the 400,000+ competitive swimmers in the country, nearly 2,300 of them call SwimAtlanta home.



at SwimAtlanta



wimAtlanta, founded in

1977 by Chris Davis Sr. and Jim Frasier, grew from a 25-person team at an outdoor pool in Lilburn, alongside a passion for the sport and for coaching, into a nationally renowned organization that includes seven metro Atlanta locations, including: Lawrenceville, Cumming, Roswell, John’s Creek, Hamilton Mill, Marietta and Georgia Tech University. Today, SwimAtlanta is a gold medal earner in the USA Swimming National Club Excellence program and has been a mainstay in the program since the time of its inception fourteen years ago. According to USAswimming. com: “The Club Excellence program identifies and recognizes USA Swimming clubs for their commitment to performance excellence and promotes the development of strong, well-rounded agegroup and senior swimming programs that produce elite, 18 and under athletes.” By “building students up” through positive encouragement, SwimAtlanta focuses on instilling confidence in swimmers of all ages and all ability levels. From “My favorite thing

about being a coach is watching kids’ excitement, seeing them grow in the sport... watching them compete and enjoy swimming and seeing that passion develop.”


Suwanee Magazine



Scot and his older brother Coach Chris Davis Jr. both grew up swimming at their father’s facility, went on to compete at UGA and UNC Wilmington, respectively, and later returned to coach at the Sugarloaf Pkwy location in Lawrenceville. Their

Current and previous swimmers from SwimAtlanta include: Amanda Weir: 2016 Team USA swimmer, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Kathleen Hersey: 2008 & 2012 Olympic team Eric Shanteau: Cancer survivor, 2008 Olympic team and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Doug Gjersten: 1988 Olympic gold medalist and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Hans Dersch: 1992 Olympic gold medalist

- Coach Scot Davis


beginner’s lessons to elite-level training and competition, “we have a spot for everyone,” said Coach Scot Davis, son of Founder, Chris Davis. “My favorite thing about being a coach is watching kids’ excitement, seeing them grow in the sport...watching them compete and enjoy swimming and seeing that passion develop,” explained Scot. Having fun is also a way of life at SwimAtlanta. Founder and Coach, Chris Davis Sr. was quoted by as saying, “When I'm on the deck, I want to make sure the kids have a lot of fun. Years after they're done with the sport, they're going to remember the trips we went on, the training camps, much better than they will remember how fast they swam.” And that mentality is evident: the energy amidst the swimmers and staff is palpable.


JAN / FEB 16

Mitch Gunn /



Lindsey Collins, Swim Atlanta General Manager

Reasons To Try Swimming

sister, Whitney Neely, manages their onsite swim shop, while Scot’s wife Whitney, runs the lesson program in Cumming.



Amanda Weir, Coach Chris Davis Jr’s wife, Team USA swimmer and Olympic medalist, is currently training at SwimAtlanta, with eyes set on the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Other notable swimmers from SwimAtlanta include Kathleen Hersey and Eric Shanteau, both of whom were on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams; Doug Gjertsen, who made the '88 and the '92 Olympic teams; and Hans Dersch, who made the '92 Olympic team. Today, Doug Gjersten is also a SwimAtlanta coach. It is pretty remarkable to see the amount of athletes that grow up in SwimAtlanta, then swim competitively in college or at an elite level and later come back to coach in a community that meant so much to them. SwimAtlanta may breed elite swimmers, but they also focus heavily on new swimmers who are just learning to “swim for safety first,” according to General Manager, Lindsey Collins. Not only is swimming one of the best total-body workouts for you, but it is also the most non-discriminatory sports, in that everyone from infancy to elderly can participate. ✱

1. It could save your life! 2. One of the first sports that kids can get involved in – as early as 6 months old!


. It is an excellent activity for ALL ages, babies to elderly.

4. Multitude of

applications: leisure, competitive, fitness, social, hobby.

5. Low impact cardiovascular workout that strengthens and stretches all muscles.

6. Increases lung

capacity and improves asthma.

7. Excellent for

recovery and rehab after injury or surgery.

8. Reduces stress

and normalizes blood pressure.


Promotes a healthy lifestyle.

10. Fun! Gives you the

ability to enjoy beaches, pools, lakes, oceans, boats and water sports.




Q: With the weather changes how important is it really to keep our dogs inside? I mean they have fur coats don’t they? --Tina, Sugar Hill

A: It is true that a lot of us have nice fur coats to keep us warm and some of us are even bred for cold. But the winter does provide many of us with interesting challenges, especially with Georgia's weather unpredictability. Many of my friends deal with cold in different ways. Some of us enjoy the cold weather such as my huskie pals and many of my retriever cousins. Others need a little more protection such as doggy coats or sweaters or my personal favorites, vests. Like people's clothes, not all sweaters are created equal. If the weather is too cold for you than more than likely it is too cold for us, so be sure to provide some kind of shelter for us, or better yet bring us inside. Snow and ice can also provide unique challenges. Many of my small breed friends are not fans of the snow coming over their heads or touching their bellies and may refuse to go outside. It may be necessary to clear a path for these little guys so that they can use the bathroom. Cold weather brings us into contact with things inside the house that can cause us harm such as antifreeze and fireplaces. Antifreeze is sweet to the taste but is extremely toxic. For those of my friends that like to stay warm by the fire please make sure that there is a grate to keep embers from rolling out and burning us. These are just a few tips to help keep us safe during the cold! Henry’s helper for this issue was Dr. Bentley. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of veterinary medicine and is an active member of the Gwinnett County Veterinary Medical Association. When he is not working, Bentley enjoys camping and hiking with his two dogs, Caramelle and Lucy.



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JAN / FEB 16


Here are some ideas for healthy resolutions that will help reduce stress just in time for the new year... Set Goals. Set personal goals and find small

steps to begin accomplishing them. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Do not expect change to happen overnight. Think of creative ways you can reach your goals. Enlist friends and family to help you by finding ways to make a game out of it.

Stay Positive. We are human, and therefore

we all make mistakes. Research has shown the way we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on our self-esteem and stress level. Saying things like “I’m an idiot” or criticizing ourselves in our heads can lead to negative self-esteem and lowered sense of self worth. Make a resolution to treat yourself with respect and speak nicely about yourself. Instead of thinking of the things you wish you had done differently, focus on your positive characteristics and things you are good at doing. You’ll be amazed at how different you feel.

Starting 2016 Off


January is seen by many as a time to turn over a new leaf. People feel inspired by the blank slate of the new year to make resolutions they hope will bring them change and new chances for happiness. New Year’s resolutions usually focus on weight, feeling healthier, and growing bank accounts. While all of those are important, the new year can also be a perfect time to feel better by finding ways to reduce stress in your life. BY:

Laura Lebovitz


Laura Lebovitz is a licensed therapist at GROW Counseling located in Suwanee. She specializes in working with anxiety, depression, life transitions, autism, sensory processing disorders, and families.

Exercise. Kill two birds with one stone by using exercise to improve your physical health and reduce stress! Studies have shown that there is a strong link between physical activity and improved mental health. Be Mindful. Being mindful is all about staying in the present moment without worrying about what happened in the past and what will or could happen in the future. Try to put down your to-do lists and just enjoy each moment for what it is. Take a walk with no music. Invite a friend for coffee and leave any distractions at the door. Have a family dinner without any electronic interruptions.

Lose the Electronics. Social media and electronic use impacts you and your family. The more time spent on the internet and social media is linked with lower self-esteem and dissatisfaction with your life. Be honest and look about how you are impacted by social media. Are you using it to connect with friends or to compare your life to those around you? Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Make choices that increase your happiness without worrying about what others around you are doing. 3737

There is no better time to start working out than now. With the holidays behind us, many people are eager to tone up or shed a few pounds before the warmer months (and sleeveless tops) are here! Thankfully, there are an abundance of options in Suwanee, with 1 on 1 or group training classes, for all ability levels. Read on to learn more about the area’s best fitness clubs...

Georgia Fitness & Legacy Karate Club

According to the CDC, one third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese. If that doesn't sound bad approximately 17% of children age 2-19 are obese. This is nothing to be proud of and Georgia Fitness wants to help change this number, by offering programs for all ages, and facilities that are best in class. Don't be a statistic. Join Georgia Fitness as we Reshape the Future.

North Gwinnett: 245 Peachtree Industrial Blvd • Sugar Hill, GA 30518 678-765-8999 Suwanee: 3131 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd • Suwanee, GA 30024 770-614-6140 Cumming: 5967 Bethelview Rd • Cumming, GA 30040 770-781-0202 38


Suwanee Magazine



Benefit Personal Fitness Training Benefit Personal Training is the premier personal training studio in Suwanee. Their private, functional studio provides veteran, certified fitness professionals who help individuals of all levels achieve their fitness goals. They specialize in 1 on 1 training but offer great rates for groups too. Call or stop by and mention Suwanee Magazine for a free 30 minute assessment.

1300 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 2201 • Suwanee, GA 30024 770.378.9905 I

FAST Training & Athlete Development FAST Training & Athlete Development helps develop youth athletes in the areas of sport specific skill, speed, strength, flexibility, endurance and nutrition. FAST trainers have years of experience in helping athletes reach their peak performance. Baseball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Basketball, Track, Football plus Adult Fitness.

105 Satellite Blvd. NW • Suwanee, GA 30024 404.386.1017 I I

Anytime Fitness Join their 24 hour health club in Suwanee. Anytime Fitness fits your busy lifestyle. Their health club is convenient, affordable, and friendly. Amenities include 24 hour access, classes, tanning, showers, restrooms, personal training, wellness programs. One membership gives access to 3,000 clubs. Welcome Silver Sneakers / Silver & Fit members. Enrollment is only $1 when you mention Suwanee Magazine.

302 Satellite Blvd. NE #108 • Suwanee, GA 30024 770.400.0989 I

Atlanta Tae Kwon Do Atlanta Tae Kwon Do wants you to become stronger outside and in with their fun, supportive classes. With a variety to choose from, their programs can be beneficial for all ages with options including martial arts for children and adults, afterschool for children, summer camp, and Skillz Fit interval training.

Location 1: 3131 Lawrenceville Suwanee Rd A3 • Suwanee Ga 30024 770.861.5425 I Location 2: 1320 Pleasant Hill Rd, B • Lawrenceville Ga 30044 770.381.5425 I 39


numbers Health Edition

Running Trails

including Peachtree Ridge Park, Sims Lake Park, Ivy Creek Greenway, George Pierce Park, Settles Bridge Park and Suwanee Creek Greenway.

Number of Runs and Walks in Town Center Park in 2015


Juice Bars Harvest Farm

Community Farm Harvest Farm is Georgia’s largest organic community garden where residents can grow their own healthy fruits and veggies,



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JAN / FEB 16



Public Parks in Suwanee

disc golf course

Located at Suwanee Creek Park


Fitness Centers in Suwanee For a list of some of the best turn to pg. 38



Optimal Health Depends On Optimal Fuel BY: THE WHOLE FOOD HEALTH COACH, STEPHANIE WOLFE CERTIFIED HEALTH COACH f optimal health is your goal then there’s no getting around the importance of your diet, and by diet I don’t mean the restrictions you place on your eating through calorie counting for daily scale surveillance. I am talking about the choices you make in the food you use to FUEL your very complex and miraculously constructed body and all of its unique systems. Our body is a complex engine that is capable of so much more than we may think or imagine, but we take it so for granted and suffer with less than optimal results. If our body could speak to us, it may say something like “Whose side are you on?” When we understand what fuel 75% of all diseases it takes for optimal performance, are preventable. we will see the connection of daily intake and our body’s capacity to 75% of all diseases help us to live a long and strong are preventable. life. My husband and I have a motto “Live Long and Strong, with Passion and Purpose." Sure, we want to live a long time, but we want to live strong throughout the years ahead, and not be pushing a walker and pulling an oxygen tank behind us. We want to have the energy to fulfill our purpose with passion. Food is not the enemy. Food is fuel.  It is not a counselor, comforter, or an answer for anger, sadness and boredom.  Food is a tool: use it wisely and build a strong body or use it foolishly and we can hurt the entire system that we are counting on for life and strength. Our physical health is a direct reflection of what we put into our body, and how we live our life in general. Our body is depending on us! Prepackaged processed foods may be convenient, but that is often their only benefit. Cooking from scratch with fresh whole food is often easier than we think, and is a must if we want to improve our health.  I love to help my clients learn to cook simple whole food – not pieces, parts, fake food, or chemical additives.  Learn how to monitor your nutritional ratios for proper distribution of protein, fat, fiber, and (yes) carbs. Doing so will correct issues of weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin resistance, and other health concerns. Whole, real food is healthy food and our bodies crave it for fuel and use it to protect us from illness and disease. 75% of disease is preventable, so let’s join our body in this mission! Lifestyle. Exercise. Attitude. Nutrition. The Whole Food Health Coach' s L.E.A.N. Living approach to health and nutrition works, for everyone, because it is simple (not easy, but simple). Choose a plan that changes your life, by changing your education, because what you don’t know CAN hurt you, and much of the information out there these days is not “body-friendly”. Take a hard look at where you have been, where you are now, and where you want to go. ✱



For more information visit 42


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JAN / FEB 16


savor local food. craft beer. wine trends.



Using only fresh ingredients, all of Chef Murtezi's sauces, cakes, and pastries are made from his personal collection of recipes that he has amassed over two decades in the culinary industry.




idden in the heart of Suwanee, a little gem serving authentic European cuisine has newly opened. Qebaptore, A Bite of Europe is a fast casual dining establishment run by Owner and professionally trained Chef Fatmir Murtezi, who recreates dishes influenced by his Swiss, Italian and Kosovan background. Using fresh, local ingredients, and preparing everything from scratch in house, the dishes served by Chef Murtezi invite you to be whisked away on a culinary adventure of flavor. Growing up Chef Murtezi recalls spending a lot of time in the kitchen helping prepare dishes for himself and his family. “I was a really picky eater, “ he points out. In turn, he would find ways to recreate his favorite dishes without using certain ingredients. The art of substitution was something that he credits to pushing his culinary boundaries creatively. And it was perhaps this inspiration that drove him to dive headfirst into a culinary career at the young age of 15. After spending the next years of his life working his way up through the competitive ranks of the kitchen, Chef Murtezi was able to open his own restaurant in Switzerland, called The International Kitchen of Switzerland and Italy. His unique twist on Käseschnitte, a large piece of crusty bread European flavors was met with success and served with melted Gruyère cheese and allowed him the opportunity to embark on a tomatoes topped with an over-easy egg, food tour of Europe, eating his way through



Suwanee Magazine



JAN / FEB 16

countries such as Spain, Portugal and France. He finally settled back into his home country of Kosovo and it was there he met his wife who inspired him to move to America. In the four short years Chef Murtezi has lived in the United States, he did not imagine he would again this quickly be the owner and head chef of his own restaurant. However, his determination


to continue to dedicate his life to all things culinary led him down this path. After settling down in Gwinnett, Chef Murtezi realized there was a niche in the market for authentic European cuisine. In a mission to bring the local flavors of Europe to the Metro Atlanta area, Qebaptore, A Bite of Europe was born. With dishes like the Pljeskavica, a delicious combination of a juicy beef patty served on a warm pita bread with onions and cucumber and the Käseschnitte, a large piece of crusty bread served with melted Gruyère cheese and tomatoes topped with an over-easy egg, it is easy to see why in the few short weeks they have opened their doors they have already garnered a local following. Each dish on the menu receives the same amount of attention from Chef Murtezi as they are all made from scratch. Using only fresh ingredients, all of his sauces, cakes, and pastries are made from his personal collection of recipes that he has amassed over two decades in the culinary industry in an effort to provide his customers with the most authentic, delicious meal possible. Favorites like the beef Burek, a homemade flaky phyllo dough surrounding a flavorful blend of ground beef and onion, as well the authentic Tiramisu have already Chef Murtezi’s laidback attitude made this a go-to place makes you feel as though he is for the lunch crowd. When asked inviting you into his home and treating you to a delicious meal what serves as his from his kitchen. motivation, Chef Murtezi’s response was simple, “The people... to serve them and have them show me the WOW effect, that is why I serve food. It is about experience, soul and passion. To give them a different experience. To watch them have that first bite.”

German Bee Sting Cake, a delicious cake made from scratch with a creamy filling and topped with caramelized almonds and honey. And while tradition rings through every aspect of Qebaptore, A Bite of Europe, With an atmosphere that makes you feel as though you are momentarily transported to Europe coupled with the delicious authentic cuisine, Qebaptore, A Bite of Europe allows for customers to have a truly exceptional dining experience. ✱


restaurant GUIDE BEST AREA DINING OPTIONS FROM FINE DINING TO FUN FAMILY FARE Dollar signs indicate the typical cost per person for meal, includes one non-alcoholic drink, tax and tip. $ UNDER $10 $$ $11 - $30 $$$ $31 - $50 $$$$ MORE THAN $50

Wild Wing Café

3265 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd. • Suwanee 770-945-9090 I I $$

Wild Wing Café is a laid-back chain offering the best wings in the South in 33 different made from scratch flavors amid a sports bar atmosphere! While you might come for the wings, you will be tempted to try all the other delicious items they have to offer. From their hand battered, fried to order onion rings to creative combination like the Bleu Cheese Basil burger, there is something on the menu for everyone. Throw in the Wild Child Menu for the little ones and you’ve got all your bases covered.

The Curry Pot Authentic Indian Restaurant

3370 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd Suwanee 470-266-1520 $$ The Curry Pot offers the best of traditional Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine. They aim to give you a glimpse of India and its rich cultures through the food. All of their food is freshly prepared and cooked to order; there is always something to suit everyone. They offer vegetarian, lamb, chicken, and seafood dishes at the spice level of your choosing: mild, medium or spicy. Take advantage of their current offers: Buy 1 entrée & 2 drinks, get 1 entrée half off; $5 off any purchase of $30; $10 off any purchase of $50; and $2 off any lunch (offers expire 12/30/15).

Suwanee Park Tavern 340 Town Center Ave. • Suwanee 470-266-1516 I $$

Suwanee Park Tavern is a family-friendly restaurant and tavern located in the heart of Suwanee. At Suwanee Park Tavern, the focus is on excellent cuisine with the warmth and charm of Southern hospitality.


3131 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd. • Suwanee 678-541-5201 I $ Caffebene’s first Georgia location has opened in Suwanee! From quality coffee made from skilled baristas, to decadent sweet treats and deliciously savor sandwiches, our menu full of flavor is guaranteed to make your day better. Modeled after the traditional European coffee houses, Caffebene is a destination of rest and relaxation amid the hectic scene of city living.






1500 Peachtree Industrial Blvd Suite 100 Suwanee 678-541-0645 $$

Cinco is authentic, Latin-infused Mexican Cuisine served in a family-friendly setting. With a unique menu, Cinco offers an upscale variety of Mexican dishes that are carefully prepared from scratch. Weekly specials include: Kids eat free Monday & Tuesday, daily drink specials, Sunday brunch and an adjoining After Five lounge that offers live music, fresh tapas and over 60 specialty martinis!

Suwanee Pizza Tavern

Tannery Row Ale House

Suwanee Pizza Tavern is known for their made-from-scratch wood-fired Pizza, Garlic Knots, Wings, Sandwiches, Pastas, and friendly atmosphere. The open pizza pit showcases their woodfired oven where you can watch their pizza chef create your pizza. The dining area is perfect for a family outing, or you can head over to their signature bar with your friends to watch your favorite sports on the flat screen TV's. Visit Suwanee Pizza Tavern, your local upscale pizza tavern!

Tannery Row Ale House is the home of the best barbeque, pizza, sandwiches and libations on this side of the tracks! Located in the Historic Tannery Row building, their menu features modern comfort food inspired by the history and culture of our surroundings. They also host a variety of events like trivia night, live performances and nighttime entertainment- so grab your friends and head over for a good time!

1500 Peachtree Industrial Blvd • Suwanee 678-546-0823 I I $$


350 Town Center Ave • Suwanee 678-985-4377 I I $$

Specializing in pizza, pasta and other authentic Italian dishes. Ippolito’s candleit, romantic restaurant provides a fine-dining environment. The menu features antipasto, Chicken Francese, Shrimp Scampi, Salmon Gabriella & more.



554 West Main Street • Buford 678-765-8979 I $$

Friends American Grill

3890 Lawrenceville Suwanee Rd • Suwanee 678-765-6477 I $


Qebaptore A Bite of Europe 315 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suwanee I 678-926-3525 $

Country Pepper

686 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. • Suwanee 678-765-6070 I

$ At Country Pepper, you can discover what a “real” authentic Jamaican home-cooked meal tastes like. Rated one of Yelp’s 2015 Top Places to Eat in Metro Atlanta, this little restaurant boasts a menu full of flavor with favorites like braised Oxtail and tender Jerk Chicken. All entrees are prepared from scratch daily using only the freshest possible ingredients. Country Pepper offers a full service dine-in experience with takeout catering available.

Schlotzsky’s Qebaptore A Bite of Europe has opened in Suwanee! An authentic European fastcausal restaurant serving fresh, madefrom-scratch ingredients inspired by the flavors of Switzerland and Italy. Their menu provides you with a classic taste of European comfort food, as well as decadent homemade desserts. Stop by to experience this little European gem and find your new favorite place to eat!




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JAN / FEB 16

Friends is a neighborhood grill and bar featuring a wide variety of American food items, as well as liquor, beer and wine. They are a great place for families as well as to just get a couple of drinks. They were voted "Best of Gwinnett" as well as a "Readers Choice Winner" in the Gwinnett Daily Post.

2941 LawrencevilleSuwanee Rd. Suwanee 678-765-6336 I $

Schlotzsky’s offers a wide variety of freshly baked bread, delicious hot sandwiches, Artisan flatbreads, specialty pizzas, toasted wraps, freshly tossed salads, gourmet soups, and more! Our taste remains true to our roots, we still use the highest quality ingredients to make the world’s best sandwich.

How many times have you promised yourself the morning after ringing in the New Year that you were going to “be healthier,” “get fit,” “cut back on the wine?” How many times have you accompanied your friends out to dinner just to sip water while they enjoy their cocktail of choice? What if I told you it doesn’t have to be one or the other; that you can still indulge in your favorite spirit while monitoring your health? So lets toast to 2016 while we show you how to keep your health in mind while enjoying a glass… or two!

! 6 1 0 in 2


›› Nothing beats relaxing at the end of a long day with your favorite glass of red wine and a good book. It is one of the simple pleasures in life; delicious and relaxing. Good news is, according to some sources, it might be good for us as well! A study published by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in wine, along with the antioxidant compound Quercetin can benefit the brain. Resveratrol and Quercetin suppress high levels of c-reactive protein (CRP)- which is associated with the likelihood of displaying depressive symptoms. There is a reason drinking that glass of wine makes you so giddy! Additionally, the antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of red grapes are known to help prevent heart disease by reducing blood vessel damage and clots, which can help improve bad cholesterol. These antioxidants can reduce the stickiness of blood platelets, which help keep the blood vessels open, significantly lowering the risk of dementia too. While most medical literature points to wine as the winner of the healthiest alcoholic beverage, beer has its own benefits worth toasting to.

Moderate red wine drinkers had a 23% lower risk of developing dementia THE JOURNAL OF NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DISEASE AND TREATMENT

A 2010 study published in scientific journal, Alcholoism: Clinical and Experiemental Reseach, found that wine offered no greater health benefit than beer or liquor after adjusting for lifestyle factors. The truth is any type of liquor can offer life-extending benefits.



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JAN / FEB 16


gin & tonic ›› If gin is more your speed, then pour yourself a Gin and Tonic and take note; gin was reportedly invented by a doctor, Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius, as a general cure-all for ailments such as malaria, the plague and gout. Known for their medicinal qualities, juniper berries are one of the primary ingredients in gin and have been bottled by monks for centuries.

BEER ›› A study in 2013 published in the Clincal Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that beer can give you good bone health and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones by as much as 41 percent. Beer


is high in water, has high levels of silicon, which improve bone density, and also boosts vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. While guzzling pints of beer is not recommended, enjoying your favorite brew with dinner may in fact improve your overall health.


SPiRItS ›› If you choose to end your day with something a little bit stronger, have no fear; that poison might just be exactly what you need. According to Australia's Monash University, you can swap out your daily cup of OJ for a daily shot of whiskey for the recommended amount of Vitamin C. (Please don’t do this before work though, we are not recommending this with breakfast!) While this may sound a little far fetched, the study showed that whiskey not only has more antioxidants, but the high levels of ellagic acid can reduce the risk of cancer too.

hile none of these choices are necessarily healthier than the other, it is not the beverage of choice but the frequency of drinking that matters when reaping the benefits. While it is true that moderate drinking can improve your overall health in various ways - always remember: a glass of wine a day might keep the doctor away, but not the whole bottle of course! ✱


It’s almost time again for Gwinnett’s Biggest Party:

The Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest Award-winning festival is a beer-lovers dream come true BY: MICHELLE FASIG ou’ve been asking and they’ve been listening! Back for the sixth year in a row, the Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest is returning to Suwanee Town Center Park on March 19th, 2016. And this time your pleas have been heard! Shorter lines overall, you said. More bathrooms, more beer variety, less crowds, more fun! They’ve got you covered! The event organizers are committed to giving people the best beer festival in the world and won’t stop until that has happened. They explained that although the event continues to grow in size each year, they do not want the overall experience to be compromised. A lot of work

went into developing a new layout for the event. Organizers are confident this will improve the flow of the festival, allowing for shorter lines and additional restrooms.

Thousands of people will swarm Suwanee Town Center Park to drink their share of over 300 craft beers from breweries all over America while decked out in their most outrageous St. Paddy’s gear. This awardwinning festival has earned the reputation of being one of the biggest and best beer festivals in the South and is an experience you don’t want to miss! Plus you can feel good knowing that over $50,000 of event proceeds has been donated to local charities to date. Many participating breweries use the experience as an opportunity to debut new or rare seasonal beers at the festival, as well as brewing some specially for the VIP tent. The festival is packed with live entertainment, activities and games such as cornhole and beer pong, as




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well one of the largest home brew competitions in the state - sponsored by Brew Depot! Each year local home brewers submit their beer to be crowned “Best in Show.” A previous winner has even gone on to open his own local brewery! For those who truly want a VIP experience, there is no better place to be than the VIP tent. VIP includes exclusive beers (brewed specifically for the event), casks, specialty beers and a delicious catered food spread. But don’t wait, VIP tickets sold out in less than one minute last year! Tickets go on sale February 5th at noon at This is a sell-out event so don't wait - get your tickets early before they are gone! ✱

Visit or follow “SuwaneeBeerFest” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for frequent news and updates.









19 th




TICKETS ON SALE FEB. 5t h @ NOON ! $ 4 5 / V I P $ 110 EARLY BIRD

learn the latest from area schools

stablished more than 50 years ago and currently the third largest private school in Georgia, the mission of Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) is “to help each student

grow as Jesus did in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Maddie Martin with Gabby in Guatemala

Greater Atlanta Christian School:




With a diverse student body from 90 zip codes and 14 counties in the Atlanta area, along with a number of international students, GAC has dozens of accolades; they jumped on the technology

bandwagon early and are an Apple distinguished school, with over 1,231 MacBook Airs in grades 4-12, and 1-to-1 iPads in grades 2 to 3. They offer a diverse and competitive athletic program, as well as a broad range of after school activities. Serving in the local community and beyond is one of the bedrock components of a GAC education. Scott Harsh, Vice President of Strategic Planning, and Derek Wilson, Head Chapel Leader, shared some of the service opportunities GAC students take part in, and gave insight into some of the mission trips offered at the high school level.  Some of the local and national organizations students serve at include In Greece, two former Annandale Village in GAC teachers help lead Suwanee, 7Bridges a ministry that provides Atlanta and Shiloh NYC, immediate food and shelter an at-risk youth program for Syrian refugees. in New York City.




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Dominican Republic In Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, GAC works with Casas por Cristo. Families there usually live in a shack with dirt floors. GAC raises money for the homes, digs the foundations, pours the concrete and builds the walls. The families usually join in the process, so the students get to know them while they are building. Afterward, many times students send cards and presents to families through Casas por Cristo.

Guatemala › Honduras In Honduras, GAC is working with Pech Indians, descendants of Mayans. They go into the poorest valley in the poorest province where people have dirt floors, and put in concrete floors to help stop parasites and control the temperature better. They put in chimneys, which help expand people's life span by 10 years (before the chimney’s the homes were filled with smoke from the fire). They dig latrines for them, to keep waste from going into their water supply.

Ecuador In Ecuador, GAC works with local churches to make improvements for families and helped lay the foundation for a church.

VE China

In China, GAC works with the largest special needs orphanage in Beijing. Many of the kids have heart defects, cerebral palsy, or cleft palate. There are over 100 orphans. The GAC students will sponsor a child at the orphanage.


The missions program at GAC started almost 20 years ago, with an orphanage in Mexico the school still aids. Last year, the students were on five continents on 26 different short-term mission trips. A number of trips focus on improving the health and community where they are going, making a lasting difference. The school partners with organizations that have been at these locations long-term.  Harsh and Wilson shared the impact these trips are having: “Missions really are igniting passion within kids to serve, give back, and bring awareness. It changes them when they come back to school- quite a few learn they want to do something associated with the mission trip they went on.”

Last year, GAC students were on five continents on 26 different short-term mission trips.



Suwanee Magazine


Wilson shared, “We have a lot of opportunities to do stuff like this. Even around Atlanta, there are lots of service projects. All the small things we can do to help out, even in our own communities is really nice.” To learn more about Greater Atlanta Christian School, visit them online at, or schedule a visit to their campus located in Norcross. ✱

Cienna Townson (Junior) helping lay a water pipe in a rural Nicaraguan village.


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Cole Winkler

Duluth/Johns Creek, GA

Where did you visit?

I spent the summer in Nicaragua.

Had you been there before?

Yes ma’m, I went in 8th grade with my family, then again with the school and my family and again with my family over Thanksgiving. We are really involved with this organization called Amigos for Christ. My dad has been going since I was in 6th grade.

Connor Castleberry Duluth, GA Where did you visit? Shepherd's Field Children's Village in China.

Had you been there before? I went last summer for the first time, and am planning to go this summer for an internship.

What did you do while you were there?

Most of the times we put in water pipeline- none of the villages have clean water, so we dig water lines to each house. The number one killer there is kidney disease; it gets so hot, so we bring clean water to eliminate parasites, give them water to clean clothes and to give to their children. The process works like this: A community (in Nicaragua) comes to Amigos for Christ and asks for clean water. We work with their community to build leadership within while installing the water lines, so they can sustain them after we leave and for years to come. The components are: 1. Health- building modern bathrooms and access to clean water so they don’t get parasites. 2. Education- building schools so they can educate themselves.

3. Building up community- giving microloans so they can start businesses beyond farming.

Were there any other cool stories you wanted to share?

Over the summer when I was there we built a school. When I went back, I was in the car driving toward the village. There was a nine-year-old kid I made friends with- he saw me in the back of the cab and starting yelling and ran up to the car. He said “mono loco” (which means crazy monkey, a nickname they gave me). He couldn’t speak English before, but he could this time. I asked him how he learned it and he said, “You know how you built a school when you were here? I learned it in school.”

What was the experience like?

“It made me much more grateful for what I have here. There was one kid that said, “I’m really hungry mom.” She told him “we don’t have any food right now, you have to wait for dinner.” I thought about how I can just go into the pantry and get something to eat anytime I want. How thankful people are there, has taught me to be more happy about regular things.”

‹ Children playing in clean running fresh water for the first time in Nicaragua.

Connor and Kevin

What did you do while you were there? Shepherd's Field Children's Village is an orphanage for special needs children. In China you have the one child policy. A lot of times when there is something wrong with their baby or a medical problem that's too expensive to fix, they will abandon the child, which creates a big problem. We were there to do whatever they asked. The first day, we just started loving on the kids. We would put on a skit, do crafts. It turned into organized chaos, they would be jumping on your back, having fun. We would help teach kids that didn’t get adopted life skills. We would go into houses with babies and younger kids and hold and play with them (there were not enough caretakers compared to the number of children). We would also teach them about the English culture.

Are you excited to go back? Yes, I’m going with GAC in late May for 10 days, and will stay another three or four weeks for an internship. 



Maddie Martin Duluth/Johns Creek, GA Where did you visit? San Raymundo, Guatemala, about one hour from Guatemala City. I’ve been to Guatemala 2 years in a row, and am going back in April.

What did you do while you were there? We built a house. It takes about three days. There are about 16 students that work in a group to build the house.

What was the experience like? Nate and Benjamin

Nate Richey Lawrenceville, GA Where did you visit? Athens, Greece. I went last year for the first time, and am going back in February.

What did you do when you were there? We work with a ministry in the city. There are lots of Muslim refugees in Athens who are fleeing the war. They take them in, feed them once or twice a day, give them water to shower, help do their laundry. While doing this, they will teach about God. We help with all of the ministries, but the main purpose is to connect with the refugees, help them learn who Christ is. They don’t speak English, but it’s fun getting to know them. We had a special relationship with Benjamin, he was 17 or 18 years-old. We got really close to him; he had just been baptized three days before we arrived. He was going to be leaving to go to Switzerlandwe saw him off, prayed for him. We keep in touch through Facebook messages a lot.

All of the kids are so happy. They don’t have anything; their houses are made with whatever they can findsticks and stuff. They get so much joy from playing with a block of wood. People from all over the neighborhood would come help us build the houses. They are so excited to help. Their outlook on life is so good and they are so happy even though they don’t have anything.

Were there any other cool stories you wanted to share? The first year we were there, we were building a house for a family with a three-year-old girl. Her dad didn’t believe in God. The mom wouldn’t marry him until he became a Christian. When we went to their house to visit the second year, we saw their wedding pictures in the house. She said because we came and built the house, her husband became a Christian and they got married.

How did going there impact you? It made me think a lot more about my family. Most of these people don’t have their entire family with them. They have to go a couple at a time. It gives me a new outlook on the refugee crisis, making me want to help more.

Jordan Bullard Lawrenceville, GA Where did you visit? Honduras this past February. We flew into Tegucigalpa, and drove about 8 hours to a small town we stayed in.

What did you do while you were there? We built latrines, and put down cement floors. They didn’t have a concrete mixer, so we would hand mix the concrete. You would make what looked like a volcano, scoop 70 shovels of dirt, put the concrete on top of it, put the shovel in it, put water in. Before the concrete floors were installed, these families were living on the dirt.

What was the experience like? It was very rewarding, building these for families. We worked side by side with them. In every village you develop friendships with the people that live there.

Do you plan to go back? Yes, I’m going back to Honduras in February and to City of Children in April and July. 58


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Principal for a Day Suwanee Magazine's Angela Veugeler experiences “A Day in the Life” of a Gwinnett County Principal BY: ANGELA VEUGELER n Wednesday, November 17, I was fortunate to be able to experience a very important role, in an environment that is quite different than what I am used to. Walking into Roberts Elementary School in Suwanee, I was greeted with a warm welcome from the office staff, and Dr. Dion Jones, Principal of the school, handed me an official name badge reading “Angela Veugeler, Principal for the day” with the official Gwinnett County Schools logo. The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the school system for the last twelve years to offer this program, giving nearly 130 business leaders an opportunity to experience a real “day in the life” of a Gwinnett County School principal. This year’s program was presented by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I had heard it was a great program, and being a mom with children in the school system made me even more interested in participating. Dr. Taffeta Connery, Assistant Principal at Corley Elementary in Lawrenceville, is working with Dr. Jones to complete

her residency in the GCPS aspiring principal program, and the three of us hit the ground running, greeting the boys and girls as they got off the bus. We then headed to the media center for the morning announcements, where I was thoroughly impressed by the fifth grade newscasters. Dr. Jones introduced me to the students, and I experienced a minute of fame on camera. We then proceeded to the office, for a check-in with staff and a building level meeting. We visited several classrooms throughout the day. When we stopped by the music class, the students were just finishing up. Dr. Jones introduced me to the music teacher as “the new principal.” I thought she was going to faint. She had not seen the announcements or read my name tag closely, and thought Dr. Jones was leaving the school. When we filled her in that it was just for the day, she was

Top: Angela Veugeler with Roberts Elementary teacher Heidi Fredlund and Principal, Dr. Dion Jones. Bottom: Peer-leaders discuss what is working and what can improve at Roberts Elementary. extremely relieved. The smiles and high fives in the hallway made it very apparent that not only does Dr. Jones have an excellent relationship with the staff, but also with the students. The theme Dr. Jones has carried throughout the school is "preparing for college." There are SEC college logos in several places around the school, there is information about different colleges in the media center, they spotlight a different college each week on the announcements, and each year the fifth graders go on a field trip to visit a college. The most rewarding part of the day (in my opinion) was the


Unlocking Your with Excel Asse Dr. Brandon Heck develops personalized addressing limitations for young adults relationships, school, work and life.

Dr. Taffeta Connery, Corley Elementary Assistant Principal, Suwanee Magazine's Angela Veugeler and Dr. Dion Jones, Roberts Elementary Principal BY: PRISCILLA SALMASI peer leader lunch. A group of fifth graders that had been chosen as peer leaders, got to meet during lunch, and work in teams to give feedback on the school. They were asked to share: - What was working at Roberts? - What was not working at Roberts? - How they could improve? - What they would like to leave as their legacy. It was very neat to see them work together and think about these questions. Dr. Jones led the group discussion, reviewing and responding to all of the suggestions and feedback. What seemed to be unanimously working was technology, there were a few things “not working” such as the cafeteria food, and there were several suggestions for what they wanted to leave as their legacy, including an electronic sign and a larger outdoor classroom. This was the charter class, they were in Kindergarten when the school opened, and they also suggested leaving their handprints somewhere; maybe on the side of the building. The afternoon finished with a development meeting with Dr. Washington Bass, Director of Leadership Development at GCPS. Dr. Connery filled me in that Dr. Jones had been named Administrator of the Year in the state of Georgia, and as the day passed I certainly saw how he had earned that title. It was an exciting, enlightening day, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to be “Principal for a day” at Roberts Elementary. Thank you Gwinnett Chamber, GCPS, Dr. Jones and the entire staff and students at Roberts! ✱



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ith his extensive and decorated experience in identifying natural strengths and addressing limitations, Dr. Brandon Heck founded EXCEL Assessments to help local youth in these areas. “There are a lot of tutoring centers in the area, so obviously parents care about the success of their kids,” Brandon said. “Parents want their children to do well; they’ve invested in sports camps, invested in tutoring, but there is a blind spot in their junior and senior year as a high school student, in between high school and college or right after high school before going into the workforce,” he continued. “Some parents have done career assessments for their child – and this is not that. My services talk about how the students are wired, the things they are good at, the way they interact with people, deal with stress, how they’re doing a great job and how to use that to get ahead,” Brandon explained. It’s called emotional intelligence and Brandon explains it is simply a “person’s ability to understand and moderate their emotions” so they can be more effective in relationships, school, work and life. His services are “very different but very important.” The challenge is getting people to recognize what emotional intelligence is and why it is essential.

DR. BRANDON HECK, PSY.D., ABPP A board certified clinical psychologist – Dr. Heck would rather his students call him Brandon, he’s a relatable person with an extremely interesting background. Originally from Rome, NY, Brandon always had a desire to go into the Naval Academy. After a brief stint in pre-med, Brandon realized his educational path was not playing into to his strengths. Brandon switched gears and acquired his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland. It was during an internship at a VA hospital working with PTSD patients, in which his desire to join the military was reawakened. Brandon received advanced training in assessment methods in the U.S. Navy, acting as the primary psychology consultant to a strike group admiral on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77.) Afterwards he served in a rare and coveted position with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Special Operations Command where he became focused on assessments.


Student’s Potential ssments

plans identifying natural strengths and so they can be more effective in

Brandon explained the difference is that career assessments give you the roads to get somewhere and that’s it. “But what happens if you get a flat tire or a car comes in your lane? Instead of simply where you need to go, let’s come up with a plan of how to get there,” he said. That’s where Excel Assessments comes in. “Students don’t recognize how stressed they’re getting until they feel it,” Brandon said. A goal they might come up with is to learn to put their foot on the break, recognize their warning signs of stress and how to deal with it through things like breathing exercises or visualization. Brandon uses a very simple strategy when working with his students. He first meets with the student via an online video conference - this way they’re on their own territory and can become more comfortable with the process. From this meeting, he identifies the areas the student is good at and areas that need improvement. The student will then take two web-based assessments they can take at their convenience. The first test is on personality attributes and the second is on emotional intelligence. There are no right or wrong answers just discovering who they are with no pressure. Brandon then takes the results, a series of graphs, and creates a story to give the student. “Many career assessments give you a printout and that’s all,” Brandon said. “I create a detailed report with personalized plans for the student.” The report is discussed with the student in person. They collaboratively come up with three or four goals that are important to them and the steps to those goals. The next steps are periodic coaching sessions in person or through video conference, monitoring the student’s progress towards their goals. While in graduate school, Brandon worked with underprivileged young adults; he knew he would again in the future. That’s why he gives back a portion of his time for free. For each four assessments, Brandon donates one assessment to a youth in need – ideally one that is interested in joining the military. Although Brandon has a doctorate in clinical psychology, his services are

not therapy, medical treatment or psychological therapy. Through Excel Assessments, Brandon is oftentimes a voice of reason for these young adults and helps them take ownership of their growth.

For more information on Excel Assessments, visit or contact Dr. Brandon Heck at




buzz the

all the latest area news and upcoming events


Suwanee Wine Festival

The third annual Suwanee Wine Festival brought thousands to Suwanee Town Center Park for an afternoon of tasting wines from around the world...


The third annual Suwanee Wine Festival on November 7th at Suwanee










Town Center Park marked another successful year with thousands of festival attendees coming out to enjoy the day and sip wines from around the world! Presented by The Fresh Market, guests were invited to browse local vendors, purchase delicious food from the food court, and enjoy the live music while sipping and strolling through the park. Back for the second time was the popular Georgia beer tent, which offered seasonal beers as well as playing the football games of the day. This event has




This year, the organizers of Suwanee Wine Festival were proud to present Annandale Village with a check for $3,000 to continue to support the needs and progress of this inspiring organization.

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become recognized as one of the best wine events in Metro Atlanta and an experience to look forward to each year.

The event organizers are committed to not only providing the best possible experience each year, but also to giving back to the local community. A portion of the proceeds were donated to Annandale Village: a Suwanee nonprofit that provides care and life assistance to adults with developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries, and enables them to maintain their independence in the leastrestrictive environment possible.

12Stone Church distributes nearly $800,000 in holiday reverse offering 12Stone Church is an American multi-site church with locations throughout Gwinnett

County centered around the value of “One Matters;” the belief that every person matters to God, so they matter to us. On Sunday, December 6th, Senior Pastor Kevin Myers, surprised the congregation with news of this years “giving back” initiative called “One Kindness Matters”. Each attending household received a “reverse offering” of $100 to be used for acts of kindness throughout greater Gwinnett. Nearly $800,000 in cash was entrusted into the hands of the 12Stone congregation to give back and do good deeds in our community. Pastor Myers, (or PK as he is often referred), encouraged recipients to use the money they were intending on donating this holiday season and add to the funds they received, to increase individual impact. Through that, an estimated $1.5-2 million dollars will be poured back into Gwinnett County this year for those in need. 12Stone Church has compiled a list called “acts of kindness ideas” including examples like: purchasing new tires for a single mom, clothes for children in need, helping a student pay for gas so they can go home for Christmas, buying groceries for a hungry family, tipping extravagantly, or pooling money with others to help for someone’s major car or home repair. You may find more information about the church’s decision and ways to participate in other charitable works within the community by visiting

Pastor Kevin Myers 66


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The Taste of Collins Hill returns for the 12th year FEB


The Collins Hills High School’s Screamin’ Eagle Marching Band is excited to host the

indoor food festival for the 12th year on Friday, February 19th at Collins High School. The festival showcases food samples from local restaurants from throughout the Suwanee and Lawrenceville areas and is their largest fundraising event of the year.

For $10, festival attendees enjoy 10 tastes for the restaurant of their choice as well as a free drink. There is something for everyone as the offerings range from Mexican, Chinese, Thai, American and more! The evening continues with a silent auction with donated items from over 100 vendors as well as live entertainment from the Indoor Drumline, Winter Guard and the Jazz Band. Tickets are on sale at

The success story of Georgia Thrombosis Forum (GTF)

Georgia Thrombosis Forum (GTF) was formed on December 12, 2012 with the mission of spreading awareness of thrombosis in the State of Georgia. As GTF celebrates its 3rd Anniversary and enters its 4th year of proud achievements, a few members of GTF decided to review the phenomenal progress of GTF since its inception. GTF is primarily working towards improving the health of the community. In an article on, Sharvari Rangnekar, MD, a Board Certified Endocrinologist from the Wellstar System in Marietta, GA, and a member of GTF, interviews two of the young volunteer members of GTF, Atharva Athalye and Rohan Rege, both high school sophomores. For the full interview, visit

New Services opening at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NCGM) welcomed their first emergency and surgical patients on April 1st, 2015. Since opening

their doors the number of patients treated at NCGM Braselton has steadily increased with almost 2,750 surgeries performed in the first nine months.

But the number of patients increasing at NCGM Braselton is not the only thing that is increasing. November 2015 marked the opening of NCGM Braselton’s new, state-of-the-art radiation therapy suites. The community of Braselton now has access to the most advanced cancer-fighting technology and services available, including: chemotherapy and infusion, minimally invasive and robotic surgery options, and the most advanced imaging technologies. NCGM Braselton has no plans to stop growing with construction currently underway to build a 12-suite labor, delivery, postpartum and recovery unit with a goal of completion for 2016. Over the past 50 years, NGMC has become a nationally recognized hospital of excellence.


20-year-old Suwanee man finishes Ironman On Sunday, October 11th, local Suwanee resident, Ryan Duncan, 20, completed his first Ironman triathlon as one of the youngest of of 3,200 competitors. Without any prior experience with organized endurance marathons and only seven months of training, Duncan completed the grueling race. The Ironman triathlon is regarded worldwide as one of the most challenging endurance races in the world. Comprised of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mike bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile run, it is feat that many athletes take years to train for. “A lot of people doubted me because I’ve never done a half Ironman or even a marathon,” said Duncan. “But I wanted to prove them wrong.” Duncan registered for his race in November 2014 and began training in April of this year. During his training, he suffered a knee injury that only allowed him to run about eight miles leading up to the race. “We started to worry that he wouldn’t finish because of his knee,” said his mother Chiaki Duncan. However, Duncan overcame the odds and managed to run the entire marathon to finish the race. Ryan Duncan graduated from North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia and played on the varsity tennis team while he was there. He is currently a student at University of Georgia where he is studying Business Management.

Hundreds of North Gwinnett students pack over 100,000 meals

On Saturday, November 14th, 2015, over 550 student volunteers from North Gwinnett High School flooded into the school gym to package over 100,000 meals in two hours. Partnered with the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children, the school kicked off this years

holiday season by sending enough meals for a year for 302 children to impoverished areas throughout 70 countries.

The familiar tunes of Taylor Swift and Walk the Moon played in the background as the high school students’ scooped ingredients into bags alongside their friends. “We just have a rockin’ group of kids,” North Assistant Principal Kristen Baker said. “But honestly, I think they are here because they know it’s important, they get it.” North Gwinnett High School senior, Jordon Thomason, organized the logistics and planning for the event as part of the North Gwinnett High School Leadership Team. “I think today we’re truly making a difference,” Thomason said. “We talk a lot about things we can do and leadership we can develop at this school. But this is something where we kind of learn about it, and it’s action service.”



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city buzz

Abby Wilkerson joins City of Suwanee team as Public Information Officer

Abby Wilkerson has taken on the responsibility of managing and implementing the City of Suwanee¹s overall communications strategies, including: branding, imaging and messaging efforts. Formerly the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, she was in charge of managing all Chamber communications for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Her experience makes her a great asset and addition to our community. Wilkerson is a graduate of The University of Georgia and holds a Bachelor¹s Degree in Public Relations.

Northside Hospital and Georgia Cancer Specialists partner to collect suitcases for Georgia foster kids Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) and Northside Hospital are collecting backpacks and suitcases for foster children in Georgia as part of the 14th annual Totes 2 Tots suitcase drive. More than 11,600 children, from infants to teenagers, are currently in the foster care system in Georgia. Many of these children shuffle their belongings in garbage bags when they are removed from their homes. Since Totes 2 Tots was launched in 2003, the annual volunteer event has collected and distributed more than 41,000 bags. Donations of new or nearly new backpacks and Totes 2 Tots was originally held on Martin Luther King Day as a way to honor Dr. King’s suitcases will be accepted vision of philanthropy and give back to the community. The event is now held on the on Friday, January 15th preceding Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am – 2pm at to kick-off a weekend of service in Dr. Georgia Cancer Specialists King’s honor. in Lawrenceville and The goal is to collect over 5,000 bags for foster children throughout Georgia. "As the physicians and staff

of Georgia Cancer Specialists, we look forward to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King's memory for the 14th consecutive year,” said Dr. Cheryl Jones, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer, GCS. “Through this project, we have demonstrated our commitment to support the foster children of Georgia in achieving successful futures in the community.”

Johns Creek: 698 Duluth Highway Suite 201 Lawrenceville, GA 30046 6300 Hospital Parkway Suite 300 Johns Creek, GA 30097

Little Starz Gymnastics opens in Buford Gwinnett County resident, former teacher and previous gymnastics champion, Joanna DiMeo has opened the doors of her youth gymnastics studio, Little Starz Gymnastics. Located at 4296 Old Suwanee Road in Buford, the studio hosts classes designed for children ages 18 months to 6 years, teaching basic gymnastics skills. The gymnastics classes are divided into four groups: Tiny Starz (18 month to 3-year-olds who are assisted by their parents during the class); Shining Starz (3-to 4-year-olds); Little Starz (4 to 5-year olds); and Super Starz (5 to 6-year-olds). In addition to the gymnastics classes, Little Starz also offers a music and movement program for newborn to kindergarten age children called Music Together. Little Starz owner DiMeo credits her background in gymnastics to helping her “focus on school” and be more “goal-oriented,” and urges that gymnastics is not just for girls. “It’s actually a great basis for all youth sports- boys and girls included. Gymnastics helps kids improve balance, strength and coordination.” Visit Little Starz online at





Jolly Holly Day Friday Dec. 4th






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Annandale Extra Mile 5K




people & places

SBA November Meeting

Wednesday Nov. 11th MARCO'S PIZZA PHOTOS:


Suwanee Classic Car Show Sunday, Nov. 8th





3rd Annual Suwanee Wine Fest





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people & places



people & places

Cooper O’Brien Memorial Golf Tournament Tuesday, Nov. 1oth THE RIVER CLUB PHOTOS:


Schlotzsky’s Honors Veterans Wednesday, Nov. 11th SCHLOTZSKY'S DELI PHOTOS:




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buzz the


City of Sugar Hill Ice Rink

January 1st thru January 31st

Visit for hours and pricing

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New Year's Day

7 9

Sugar Hill Spine & Wellness Lecture: Gut Solutions Jan. 7 @ 6:30pm Register at

North Gwinnett High School Soccer Sprint 5K Jan. 9 @ 9am


Town Center Park For more information, email soccersprintnghs@

Greater Atlanta Christian School Open House

Free Interview & Resume Workshop with Butch Reiser Jan. 14 @ 6:30pm Suwanee Library

Sugar Hill Spine & Wellness Lecture: Detox/Weight Loss Jan. 14 @ 6:30pm Register at

Four Seasons Auction's Rolling Steel Classic Car Cruise-In & Auction Jan. 17 @ 2pm Tannery Row Ale House

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University

January 17 – February 28, Sundays at 6:30pm

Branches Church, Suwanee Register @


Martin Luther King Jr. Day Student Holiday Gwinnett County Schools


Gwinnett Young Professionals Social Jan. 19 @ 5:30– 7:30pm Sugar Hill City Hall Register at Gwinnettyoung



Suwanee Magazine



JAN / FEB 16


Atlanta Gladiators Home Game (vs. Idaho) Jan. 30 @ 7:05pm 13th Annual Teddy Bear Toss

Winter Adventure Lanier Islands

January 1st thru February 15th

Open Daily

21 23

Sugar Hill Spine & Wellness Lecture: Thyroid Naturally Jan. 21 @ 6:30pm Register at

Atlanta Gladiators Home Game (vs. Evansville) Jan. 23 @ 7:05pm $5 Frenzy: Gladiators Duffel Bags


Gateway Half Marathon Presented by Georgia Fitness January 30 @ 7:30 am Town Center Park For more information, visit



Suwanee Beer Fest Tickets Go On Sale! Feb. 5 @ noon

6 7


Atlanta Gladiators Home Game (vs. Brampton) Feb. 6 @ 7:05pm $5 Frenzy: Adult & Youth Mesh Replica Jerseys

Super Bowl Sunday Party Feb. 7

Tannery Row Ale House

9 80


Suwanee Magazine



JAN / FEB 16

Greater Atlanta Christian School Open House

Suwanee Sweetheart Sprint Feb. 13 @ 10am Town Center Park SuwaneeSweetheart


Valentine's Day


15 17

President’s Day

Estate Planning Seminar Feb. 17 @ 10am - noon

Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia 234 Luckie Street, Lawrenceville


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Xtreme Feb. 18 - 21 Feb. 24 – 28 Infinite Energy Center


Taste of Collins Hill Feb. 19, 6– 9pm Collins Hill High School


Suwanee Magazine January February 2016  

Suwanee Magazine is a magazine for Suwanee Georgia and surrounding areas.

Suwanee Magazine January February 2016  

Suwanee Magazine is a magazine for Suwanee Georgia and surrounding areas.