GCED Graduates

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Congratulations to our Georgia Certified Economic Developer program graduates!


Originally from Toronto, Canada, Jillian is a Project Manager for the Development Authority of Peach County. While working for Peach Count for the past 10 years, Jillian’s understandings of economic principles, cultures, and policies have provided invaluable resources to regional and international projects over the years. 

Due to her background in marketing and project management – with clients such as the Atlanta Motor Speedway, FEMA, and GEMA – Jill became well-versed in the art of innovative deal structuring and negotiations.  Upon leaving the private sector to pursue her passion for helping others through economic development, Jill's skill sets in communication, finance, graphic design, web design, and marketing have led to multiple successful developments.  Her most recent collaboration led to the location of Pure Flavor's $100MM investment in hydroponic greenhouses in Peach County.

Larry is the executive director for the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia, where he leads and directs volunteers and employees in Northwest Georgia to ensure the American Red Cross goals and mission are achieved. Formerly served as the executive director of the Walker County Development Authority for over a decade, he oversaw the expansion of several of Walker County’s leading industries including Roper Corporation, Nissan Brake Georgia , and Unique Fabricating South. He led a successful deal reached with Audia Plastics and Walker County manufacturers and was awarded the Walker County Development Authority GEDA’s (Georgia Economic Developers Association) 2014 Deal of the Year for a Mid-size Community.

Larry holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Liberty University’s School of Business, where he was inducted for academic merit into the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society in Business, Management, and Administration. He also was granted the Georgia Certified Economic Development certification in 2017 by University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the GEDA’s Annual Conference.

Matt Carter is the Executive Director of the Pierce County Industrial Development and Building Authority where he leads product development, new industry recruitment and existing business expansion. He has overseen the recruitment of Southern Ionics Minerals, LLC, and expansions of Stewart Distribution, Southern Eagle Distributors, Progress Rail A Caterpillar Company.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources from Georgia Southern University. He has also graduated from Leadership Pierce and Georgia Academy for Economic Development.

Tammy serves as a Senior Project Manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development in Northeast Georgia, managing for Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment projects in Region 2 of the state. Since joining the Department in 2013, Tammy has overseen over $1 billion in investment to Northeast Georgia, she works to provide resources and assistance to developing companies and local economic developers within the state.

Tammy began her career as a marketing strategist, previously working as a media buyer and marketing manager for Buckhead Brokers and Prudential Realty in the Atlanta real estate market. Tammy continued to enhance her marketing career, working as a special events manager for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and as a sports and leisure account manager and national account executive with the Coca-Cola Company also in Atlanta. Tammy has a Master of Business Administration at Brenau University and is a graduate of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is also a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and a 2009 graduate of Leadership Georgia, serving as Program Chair in 2010.

Jana Dyke is the Executive Director of the Waycross and Ware County Development Authority.

Jana’s passion for economic development began in her young adult years in Leesburg, Georgia, which cultivated into tenure of serving in her hometown’s Chamber of Commerce and local Development Authority at the age of just 19. Jana later worked at the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, and Destin, Florida, Chamber of Commerce where she was the recipient of the ACCE 2005 and 2006 Award of Excellence respectively. During her time as a licensed REALTOR®, Jana received several top sales awards for her production. Jana later found her way back to the economic development arena when she secured the position of Main Street and Downtown Development Authority Director for the City of Sylvester, GA.  

Jana received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia Southern University. She currently serves as the alternate state director for SEDC and was recently selected by her statewide peers to serve as the Georgia state director for SEDC in 2020.


Kevin serves as the Executive Director for the Bacon County Development Authority. Since returning home from serving in the United States Air Force, Kevin has worked to foster growth and development in his rural South Georgia community. He is responsible for local business expansions, product development and new industry recruitment. He also serves on the Southern Georgia Workforce Development Board and is Chairman of the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Authority.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Kennesaw State University and an Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force.

Kyle has served as Executive Director of the Thomaston-Upson County Industrial Development Authority for the last six years. Originally from Marianna, Florida, she graduated from Auburn University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Relations/Journalism.  She’s been active as a volunteer in the public school system, served on numerous boards including the Upson Regional Medical Center Foundation Board, Upson County Department of Family and Child Services Board, Southern Crescent Technical College Board and Georgia Economic Development Association Board. She is also a founding member of the Flint River Area Auburn.

Bekki Fox serves as the Community Development Director for the City of Rome, GA managing Community Development Block Grant Entitlement program funds and develops all Consolidated Plans, Action Plans and annual reports as required by HUD. She works to receive grant funding from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs through the CHIP program and HOME program to address housing needs identified in the City of Rome low income neighborhoods, and manages the Rome/Floyd Land Bank Authority.

Bekki has a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from Shorter University; a Certificate of Local Government Management from the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government; successfully completed the Georgia Academy for Economic Development; is a HUD certified HOME Program Specialist in Regulations; received a HUD certificate of training for Environmental Review Procedures for Responsible Entities and is graduate from the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce Leadership Rome program. She is a member of the Georgia Association of Land Bank Authorities (GALBA) and the National Community Development Association (NCDA).


Angel Jackson joined the Archway Partnership in January of 2010. She has served in various capacities and has been responsible for communications, budget and finance, human resources and project management across all of the Archway communities. She currently serves as an operations coordinator and oversees Archway operations in Hart and Spalding counties, working closely with public service units, colleges and schools at UGA and other higher education institutions.

Prior to joining the Archway Partnership, Angel worked for the UGA vice president for student affairs where she focused on communications, data management and event planning. Before that, she taught English in Verona, Italy, and worked as an on-site coordinator for the Verona International Program, a private study abroad and touring company.

Angel earned her BA in speech communication and Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Georgia. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in workforce education in the College of Education.

Adela is a Senior Project Manager, Global Commerce for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). Adela is with the Existing Industry Regional Recruitment Team, where her focus is to increase jobs and investment through locating and expanding businesses, as well as growing small businesses.

Adela joined the Georgia Department of Economic Development in 2005 after previously working with three development Authorities in the economic development field.  Recent company locations or expansions she has assisted with include Starbucks (Augusta), Scot Built (Jenkins), Textron (Augusta), and several others in the region.  She has over 17 years’ experience in economic development and over 5 years in the education field, as a Director of Career Development.  Adela served as a committee chair for the Georgia Economic Developers Association from 2009-2016.   She is a member of Economic Development Leadership, Economic Development Network and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, and is a board member for the WorkSource program/Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act and the Fort Gordon CSRA Alliance.

Sadie serves as Economic Development Specialist for the City of Monroe overseeing industry and retail recruitment, downtown development, small business support programs, and the day-to-day operations of the Downtown Development Authority and Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau. In addition, she represents the city at the state level for economic development and serves as the point of contact for new and current business growth. Prior to working in this position, Ms. Krawczyk worked in financial management for small businesses and helped with the development of non-profit organizations. Ms. Krawczyk has a Master of Business Administration from Brenau University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from Furman University.


Sharon Liggett serves as a state-wide Operations Coordinator with the UGA Archway Partnership overseeing several Georgia communities and numerous initiatives covering a wide-variety of content areas. She serves as the Archway Liaison with several colleges and departments on campus to link UGA resources (faculty and students) to community-identified needs.  Additionally, she networks with regional partners, state agencies, USG and TCSG institutions, business and industry and other resources to leverage assets and build collaborative opportunities.

Prior to the Archway Partnership, Sharon had a well-established career in the public sector through governmental and nonprofit arenas. Her portfolio includes years of experience from local, regional, state and federal positions. Her tenure includes staff to two Florida governors, Deputy Chief of Staff for both U.S. Senator Bob Graham and U.S. House of Representatives member Jane Harman as well as Special Advisor to the President and Advisor to the Special Envoy for the Americas in the White House.

Sharon earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and a Masters of Public Administration from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.


Holly has been with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government since 2014 and has worked with a wide variety of state agencies and local governments on topics such as economic development, workforce development, university system enrollment, and criminal justice and mental health. Her clients have included the Council of Accountability Court Judges; Development Authority of Fulton County; Superior Court of Fulton County; Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Georgia Department of Education; Georgia General Assembly; Georgia Rural Development Council; Georgia Power; the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and a variety of local government entities throughout Georgia. Holly also analyzes proposed state tax legislation to estimate its potential impacts on the state budget and helps prepare fiscal notes for the members of the Georgia General Assembly.

Prior to joining the Institute of Government, Holly was the research and policy coordinator for the Southern Regional Education Board’s Educational Technology Cooperative. She has worked in policy and fiscal analysis for more than 15 years for the Washington State House of Representatives, the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.


David A. Milliron serves as City Manager for the City of Hogansville in Troup County, Ga., where he manages the day-to-day operations of the local government in addition to serving as Public Works and Utilities Director. He has over 30 years of management experience in the private and public sectors and previously served as City Manager for the cities of Villa Rica in Carroll and Douglas counties and Stockbridge in Henry County.

To further economic development in Hogansville, David has focused on the development and implementation of a downtown master plan and economic development corridor study. Economic development efforts have resulted in new industry, nearly every downtown business filled and development commitments for over 1,000 new rooftops over the next seven years that will more than double the city’s population. Hogansville is only one of 19 Georgia cities to achieve Rural Zone status, awarded in January 2019, that will enable businesses and investors to obtain state tax credits for qualified economic development expansion and activities.


Jessie Owensby is the Community Development Manager for the City of Cornelia. She oversees Economic and Community Development and the Main Street program.

Jessie is originally from Oakwood, Georgia and is a 2001 honor graduate from Rabun Gap Nacoochee School.  Jessie previously worked as the Stroke Outreach Coordinator at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where she developed and implemented an outpatient program that helped stroke patients prevent readmission to the hospital.

Jessie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications degree from Piedmont College. She is a board member of the Georgia Downtown Association, an active member of the Habersham Chamber of Commerce, a member of GEDA and a member of GAZA.

Jessie was designated as a Georgia Downtown Development Professional from the Georgia Downtown Association and GMA in May of 2019. She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration degree from University of North Georgia.


Kathy Papa is the Region 2 Representative for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) serving the 13-county Georgia Mountains Region. In her role, Kathy serves governments and citizens in the region by identifying state and other resources for community and economic development; providing technical and educational assistance to enhance local and regional leadership capacity; and working with groups to encourage regional cooperation. Kathy coordinates the Georgia Academy for Economic Development Program annually in the region. She received the Chairman’s Award of Excellence from the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission in 2016 for extraordinary service to the region. 

After completing her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia, she went on to receive a Master of Arts from the University of South Florida and has been working for the Department of Community Affairs for 19 years.

Dr. Amy Parker serves in a dual capacity for Gordon County Schools. She is the CEO of the Gordon County College and Career Academy and also serves as the district’s Director of Communications. Dr. Parker has been with Gordon County Schools since 1997, when she began her teaching career at Gordon Central High School. After leaving the classroom, she served as the Career Transition Specialist for Gordon Central High School through Coosa Valley Technical College. Since that time, she has served as Director of CTAE and has been the CEO of the Gordon County College and Career Academy since its inception in 2011.

As the College and Career Academy CEO, Dr. Parker works to develop business partnerships to benefit the community's workforce development efforts. In her role as Director of Communications, she oversees a wide variety of platforms designed to inform the community about its schools. In addition, she provides marketing and community relations support to individual schools and departments to assist in fostering a culture of success for the district as a whole.

Dr. Parker holds an undergraduate degree in secondary English education from the University of Georgia, a master's degree in Leadership and Administration from the University of West Georgia, and a doctorate of education in workforce education, leadership and social foundations from the University of Georgia.

Matt serves as the Vice President of Business Development for the Savannah Economic Development Authority building relationships with companies to promote the Savannah region. Previously, Matt served for six years as the Executive Director for the Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. He facilitated the relocation of businesses and industries within the community and managed the Development Authority properties and buildings.

Matt began his career with the Macon Economic Development Commission as the Manger of Business & Industry. He created and managed relationships with the business community and supported local development by marketing properties to site consultants and the real estate brokerage community.  He established a retention program to address business needs by identifying and resolving issues that may inhibit growth and expansion.  He was also instrumental in establishing the Middle Georgia Manufacturing Council and the Safety & Environmental Group of Middle Georgia. Matt is also a Registered Landscape Architect in the state of Georgia with experience in design and engineering of subdivision, commercial developments and industrial tracts.  He has also worked as the lead for communities on several TEA-Grant projects with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Stephanie serves as Vice President of Economic Development for Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

Stephanie graduated from Kennesaw State University in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications. She is also a graduate of the TVA Rural Leadership Institute, Georgia Tech Basic Economic Development Course, the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, and has received her Georgia Economic Development Certification through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Previously she served as Executive Director of the Fannin County Development Authority from 2009 – 2015. While there, her role was to promote rural economic development in Fannin County by creating jobs through product development, new industry recruitment and existing business expansion.


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