40 Under 40 reflections: Amelia Dortch

The 40 Under 40 program began in 2011, and celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of young UGA graduates. To continue our 40 Under 40 coverage, we caught up with three agriculture professionals–Amelia Dortch, Travis Moore and Sam Watson–from the 2017 honorees to learn about their career journeys and the wisdom they’ve gained along the way. 

Meet Amelia Dortch

  • 40 Under 40 Class of 2017
  • ABJ ’06, MPA ’12
  • Alabama State Public Affairs Specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture

Professional journey

Amelia Dortch oversees the marketing and communication efforts for Alabama’s farmers and land owners. Her priority is to help people help the land. Dortch supports farmers and landowners in conserving natural resources–the very thing they rely on the most.

She graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting in 2006. Right out of school, she worked as a news and weather anchor for WNEG News Daybreak, a daily newscast.  In 2009, Dortch returned to UGA to pursue her graduate’s degree in public affairs. While in grad school, she scored an internship with the United States Department of Agriculture and has worked for the USDA ever since.

Being named 40 Under 40

“I was amazed and honored. You see alumni who are doctors and saving lives or doing great research – yes I work in agriculture, but I guess everyone can make an impact in a small way.”

Amelia and Corey Dortch

Amelia and Corey Dortch

Greatest risk–an even better reward

“I got laid off when I was working in television. The biggest risk I took was going back to school while working full-time. Grad school was a stable environment, but yet a tough choice. Thank God I made that choice – it gave me a plan B. Now, I get to craft a different kind of story from behind the scenes. My journalism background helps me think outside the box. Human interest helps me connect with my customers.”

Lessons from UGA

“The best thing I did at UGA was getting involved. Volunteering for the community helps you. Doing things for free is the best way to learn. It doesn’t cost anything other than time and energy.”

Words of wisdom

“Sometimes, circumstances force you to rearrange things. I was forced to rethink the typical career process. It was a learning experience. But it’s about figuring it out and making it work. You can always change your path! It’s okay. Go discover a new passion. It just means you’re a person that’s ever evolving. But always remember, people are the root of it all.”

Career destination

“I’d like to continue growing in public affairs. I want to stay within corporate, nonprofit or government work. The sky is the limit.”

40 Under 40 reflections: Travis Moore

The 40 Under 40 program began in 2011, and celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of young UGA graduates. To continue our 40 Under 40 coverage, we caught up with three agriculture professionals–Travis Moore, Amelia Dortch and Sam Watson–from the 2017 honorees to learn about their career journeys and the wisdom they’ve gained along the way. 

Meet Travis Moore

  • 40 Under 40 Class of 2017
  • BSA ’03
  • Senior Brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch InBev

Professional Journey

Travis Moore is the head brewmaster at the St. Louis Anheuser-Busch InBev site, the largest and oldest brewery. Moore oversees the brewing process, which includes making sure that each product meets the correct quality standard. He manages 100 brewers.

After Moore graduated with a bachelor’s degree in food science and technology, he worked for Bravo Foods & Bakery, a production facility in northeast Georgia. There, he learned the basics of manufacturing. In 2008, Moore started an entry level job at the Cartersville Anheuser-Busch InBev site. Eight years later, he managed to work his way up to the senior manager before moving to the St. Louis site in 2016.

Being named 40 Under 40

“It’s pretty amazing to me because, the University of Georgia has so many great students come through. It’s a huge organization to be singled out of – 40 seems like a lot, but when you think about the thousands and thousands who to come through there, it’s a small percent. And to me, that’s an honor. I learned so much when I was at the university that I was able to excel in my career, and this is a way to be rewarded for that.”

Nailing his dream job

“People are always going to have to eat or consume something in our culture, and I wanted to be a part of that. Some industries may come and go, but this is very stable…I always had a love for brewing. When you think about beer, most people probably don’t think about it being a product of agriculture, but it is certainly. Anheuser-Busch is one of the largest purchasers of rice in the United States. There’s an art behind the brewing process, and that’s what’s fun to me.”

Lessons from UGA

“I only applied to one college and Georgia was the only school I ever wanted to go to. I was in the food science program and the different labs and projects forced me into the understanding of what it’s like in the real world. I got the feeling that UGA was preparing me for something different, something better.”

Words of wisdom

“Study something that you’re going to enjoy. If you don’t think you’re gonna like it, then you’re wasting your time. Pick something and stick with it and see through it. Understand what you’re going to get out of your degree.”

Career destination

“My goal is to always question the way things are, and try to move up to become a future senior leader of the largest brewing company in the world. The culture at Anheuser-Busch is to not be complacent. I’m always setting higher goals.”

10 questions with filmmaker Malena Cunningham Anderson (ABJ ’80)

This post was contributed by Bridgette Burton (AB ’11, ABJ ’11, MPA ’17), marketing & communications chair, Black Alumni Leadership Council.

Where are you from? Born in Laurens, S.C., but grew up in Gray Court, S.C.

What made you decide to come to school at the University of Georgia? I followed my father, Odell Cunningham (BBA ’72), who was an older student when he graduated from UGA in 1972.

Anderson on her high school graduation day with her father who is also a Georgia alumnus

What was your major? Journalism with an emphasis on public relations

What was your most memorable college experience? There are many but pledging Zeta Psi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority was the best!

Where do you live now? Atlanta

Where do you work and what do you do? I founded my own production company Newslady Productions last year. I’ve reinvented myself utilizing my journalism skills, and I’m a documentary filmmaker. My first film, “Little Music Manchild: The Malik Kofi Story” won Best Documentary at the BronzeLens Film Festival in 2017.

However, I spent 23 years working in television news as a reporter and anchor. I started my career working behind the scenes at CNN; I worked as a reporter in Lexington, Kentucky, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Savannah. I also worked in Birmingham, where I won two Emmy Awards for reporting and was part of the six o’clock news team that won an Emmy for Best Newscast. In 2004, I left TV News and founded Strategic Media Relations, a media consulting firm that I ran until 2014.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates? Don’t just search for a job. Instead, look for opportunities to learn and grow in your career so that you can be an owner or employer. We need more African American students to recognize the power in being the person who writes the checks, not just someone who waits to get a check.

Anderson with fellow award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault

What is the most important lesson you learned in college? I learned that it’s important to network and get involved in campus organizations. This helps prepare you to work and collaborate with others. The more you get to know people on campus, and the more they know you, the more they can serve as connections when you begin your career.

Malena (second from left) with friends on graduation day.

What do you know for sure? What I know for sure is that no one will ever ask ‘What was your GPA?’ Grades matter, but being a reliable, hardworking professional, who also makes a difference and goes the extra mile on the job and in the community is more impactful.

Is there anything else that you would like for people to know? I’m extremely proud to be a second generation African American graduate of UGA. Go DAWGS!

UGA alumni help set 5 fundraising records in 5 years

For the fifth consecutive year, UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising, contributing a total of $242 million in new gifts and pledges to the Commit to Georgia Campaign. This is the second consecutive year that the total has surpassed $200 million.

 


 

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” said President Jere W. Morehead, “and I want to thank each and every donor who contributed to this historic achievement. They are changing lives with their generosity and loyalty to the University of Georgia, and I am deeply grateful.”

More than 140,000 donors have contributed to the Commit to Georgia Campaign, which has raised over $1 billion toward its ultimate goal of $1.2 billion by 2020. The priorities of the campaign are to increase scholarship support, enhance the learning environment, and solve grand challenges through research and service.

“Bulldogs always answer the call to support other Bulldogs, and this record-breaking year of giving is proof of that,” said Bonney Shuman, president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. “We are creating the kind of future we want to see, and I am excited about the next two years and what it holds for us as we work to strengthen our alumni community. As the Commit to Georgia Campaign narrative says so eloquently, ‘Some call it going the extra mile, we call it being a Bulldog.'”

Through the UGA Alumni Association, 11 students are currently receiving $40,000 of support from the Alumni Association’s general endowed scholarship, Black Alumni Scholarship and study abroad scholarships. Through The 1961 Club giving society, donors to the Black Alumni Scholarship gave more than $112,000 this year to increase the amount of funding those scholarship recipients receive as well as the number of students receiving the scholarship. The Women of UGA affinity group is close to their $50,000 goal to establish a Georgia Commitment Scholarship, and the Chapters Scholarship Fund is expected to reach its endowment goal by the end of the calendar year. We asked some of our alumni volunteers why they give to their alma mater. Here is what they had to say:


Anne BeckwithAnne Beckwith (BBA ’90), Secretary, Women of UGA Leadership Council – “I want to help UGA students to experience the entirety of college–attending a university is more than just going to class. It’s socializing with your peers, but also with adults. It’s making good friends. It’s learning to give a hand to those who need it. I feel strongly that as a successful UGA graduate, I should try to help others to have the space in their college lives to do those outside things, which I can do by increasing UGA’s ability to address financial need. It’s hard to do more than go to class when you are worried about your next meal or where you will sleep next week.”


Derek Hammock (BBA ’15, MACC ’16), Member, Young Alumni Leadership Council – “The value of my education was not on my own merit. So many alumni will tell you their degrees are worth more now. That’s partly a result of private giving, which provides greater opportunities to students to attract the best and brightest. I give back to help current students have even better experiences than the incredible ones I had.”


Ericka Davis (AB ’93), Fundraising Chair, Black Alumni Leadership Council – “The impact didn’t hit me until I recently met a recipient of the Black Alumni Scholarship. Hearing from him about the impact the scholarship was making on his time at UGA, it was really moving.”


Todd Phinney (BBA ’88) Member, UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors – “My wife and I share our time, talent and treasure with UGA because this is our state, our university and UGA continues to give back to us, and our two children, who are also graduates. We are tremendously proud of our Dawg heritage, and for what this incredible institution does every day in Georgia, for the nation and internationally.”


Jessica Wallace Gray (ABJ ’11), President, Jacksonville Alumni Chapter – “I give back because I want present and future students to be able to experience all that UGA has to offer. I was so fortunate to have four amazing years at UGA, and feel so blessed at the opportunities I’ve had because of my time there. I want UGA to continue growing as an institution and to make sure that the best and brightest students have every opportunity that I was given.”


T.J. Snowden (BSED ’04) President, Black Alumni Leadership Council – “I’m committed to increasing diversity and black philanthropy at UGA. UGA has only been integrated for a little more than 57 years, so there is a need to develop and sustain philanthropic efforts among black students and alumni to aid UGA in its support of students of color.”


 

Brandon Stewart (BBA ’06) dishes on becoming a Jimmy John’s franchisee

Written by Liz Powell (BS ’06, ABJ ’06), a member of the Young Alumni Leadership Council.

Brandon Stewart had big plans of becoming a pilot before starting school at UGA, but after arriving in Athens he decided to become a lawyer instead. However, a critical piece of advice from Earl Leonard, the namesake of the Terry College of Business Leonard Leadership Fellows program, changed everything.

He asked Leonard about his tips for success after law school even though Stewart wasn’t sure he wanted to be a lawyer. Leonard replied, “Brandon, if you don’t want to be a lawyer, for goodness sakes, don’t go to law school.”

From that moment on, Stewart stopped following the path he felt he should take and instead, created his own. That path originally led him to pursue a career in finance, but after several years of working in investment banking and private equity, Stewart determined that he wanted to work more closely with people.

This led him to Jimmy John’s, where he became a franchisee, and opened his first store in Birmingham, Alabama in 2011. Today, he owns 52 Jimmy John’s locations across the Southeast. He credits his success to this mantra: “My employees are the most important part of my business and I will always treat them with respect and fairness.”

Brandon with his wife, Elizabeth, and son, George.

Stewart resides in Birmingham, and when he’s not traveling for work, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, and his 2-year old son, George. He also makes time to give back to the local community by volunteering with the Phoenix Club of Birmingham, Boys and Girls Club of Central Alabama and Birmingham Zoo.

We caught up with him and asked a few questions about his time at UGA and how he’s making an impact in his community, today.

Favorite class at UGA
“Lessons in Leadership,” taught by Pat Pittard, executive-in-residence at Terry College. He taught me to read the Wall Street Journal every day. He also showed me that I want to, and should, teach to inspire others after retirement.

Most memorable college experience
The first time I walked out of my dorm on football Saturday. I had no idea.

Athens in three words
Southern, nostalgic and easygoing.

The importance of UGA
UGA means so much for me and completely changed my life. I’ve reinvested about every single dollar I have made in my business and employees, but giving back to UGA is on my mind all of the time. I cannot wait for my business to reach a mature point to enable additional giving.

Advice to graduating seniors and recent graduates
Build a network, read often and never stop learning.