Farthest Bulldog 100 Company: SunnyBoy Entertainment

The Greatest Showman.

Now You See Me.

Fantastic Four.

Pacific Rim: Uprising.

SunnyBoy Entertainment has worked with some of the most popular movies to date.

UGA alumni Harold Hayes, Jr., (ABJ ’01) and Craig Phillips (ABJ ’02) knew they had a knack for the art of video, but as the Emmy nominations and CLIO awards indicate, they are living their college dream. Harold gave us some insight into his journey to becoming the co-founder of a successful, full-service creative studio based in California. The West Coast location makes SunnyBoy Entertainment the Bulldog 100 company farthest from Athens.

“I’ve always had an interest in film, and I’ve always been an artist. I did some plays in high school and starting getting into video in high school. However, I started [at UGA] as biology pre-med major and then decided to put my energy into something I would enjoy for the rest of my life. I love science and was good at it, but I would rather spend my days influencing the world through entertainment.”

SunnyBoy Entertainment has won both gold and silver CLIO awards for its behind-the-scenes work on Fox’s “The Greatest Showman.” Both Harold and Craig write for the “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour,” which has also won a Daytime Emmy for Best Children’s Show. SunnyBoy Entertainment works on everything from promotional featurettes to vertical reality videos and games.

What’s it like working alongside legendary directors and artists? “It’s been like the ultimate film school. We get to go on these sets and be close to these filmmakers practicing their craft and you get into candid conversations with people about the world, how they see it and their work.”

Harold said the most influential professor was Alan Stecker from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Stecker gave me a long leash to make a lot of videos and check out equipment whenever I wanted. I checked out video equipment three to four times a week, and I pretty much always had a camera in my hand.”

Relive your glory (Glory) days!

Even though Harold confessed he broke some cameras, Stecker offered him a job at his company, ASV Productions, after graduation. “At ASV Productions, I got to learn how to operate a small company in Atlanta and learn the fine arts of being a director of photography and editor. I learned a lot.”

Clearly, the lessons stuck. As innovators in their industry, Harold and Craig now own one of the fastest-growing companies owned or operated by Bulldog alumni.

Interested in seeing the other Bulldog entrepreneurs and culture shapers? Check out the full Bulldog 100 list.

Female Run Bulldog 100 Company: A Signature Welcome

In 2013, Lindsay Bissell Marko (BBA ’07) was moving from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina, to join her husband in the South. She was soon to be the maid of honor for her best friend, Emily Howard Slater (BS ’07). Lindsay was given the opportunity to help create welcome gifts for the wedding guests. As she collaborated with Emily to create those gifts, a unique business idea was born.

In 2014, A Signature Welcome emerged as a luxury wedding welcome gift company. Five years later, A Signature Welcome is now a thriving gifting company that curates gifts for any celebration, domestically or internationally.

“We curate gifts that celebrate,” said Lindsay, “We like to say, anything wedding, corporate, or everyday, we’re here to help with any gifting need.”

A Signature Welcome packaged and sent more than 6,000 gifts in 2018. It continues to grow in gifting numbers and clients. Some of the company’s most notable gifting projects have included custom gifts for the Carolina Panthers, U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin’s wedding, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s inauguration and the wedding of Martha Stewart’s niece. A Signature Welcome has recently been chosen to curate VIP welcome gifts for the 2019 NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte. A Signature Welcome also has been named a 2019 Bulldog 100 company, meaning it is one of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by a UGA alumnus this year.

Relive your glory (Glory) days!

Emily claims the experience and lessons from mentors are a large reason their business has been successful.

“Working under inspiring managers in the past, seeking mentors, and both of us having seven years of work experience under our belts were important things that we brought to A Signature Welcome,” said Emily. “Lindsay’s corporate experience blended with my small business background provided a unique dynamic to developing our company’s culture.”

After serving on the Terry Young Alumni board, Lindsay praises the Terry College alumni network as an aid for learning how to successfully run their company. “Through those four years on the board, I met so many incredible people,” said Lindsay. “I still keep in touch with some, both personally and professionally.”

As their gifting company continues to grow, these alumni encourage students and future entrepreneurs to understand what it means to be an entrepreneur and not to be discouraged about making mistakes. “It is super important to let your mistakes empower you,” said Emily. “Never take for granted the opportunity a mistake makes for you to grow as a business and as a leader.”

Looking to give a special someone a gift? Check out A Signature Welcome’s website to start the process of a finding that special, curated gift. Check out the Bulldog 100 website to see what other alumni-owned businesses made the list this year.

UGA-RaceTrac partnership creates new career paths for student-athletes

Student-athletes in high-profile college football programs might be thought of as the enviable “big men on campus,” but their positions come with a price measured in hours and minutes.

“During the fall, you have football obligations every day of the week including weekends,” said Daniel Harper (BBA ’18), a University of Georgia football player from 2016-2018. “Spring is a little easier, and by easier I mean you get Sunday off.”

If they’re not in class, they’re at practice. And if they’re not at practice, they’re at weight training. Or in team meetings. Or tutoring. Or volunteering at community events. And with whatever time is left, they try to carve out a personal life.

Those time commitments are more than worthwhile for the lucky few who land a career as a professional athlete, but what about those who will hang up their pads after graduation? Most employers want someone with relevant work experience, and when you only have three weeks a year to yourself, internships are hard to come by.

They used to be, anyway.



Last year, UGA’s Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) team partnered with RaceTrac and UGA Athletics to develop a new opportunity for football players: two-week “micro-internships” at RaceTrac’s home office in Atlanta.

“The purpose of the micro-internship is twofold,” said Rachel Patton (ABJ ’13), RaceTrac’s university relations specialist. “One, for the student-athletes to gain exposure into the workforce and build their network. Two, for companies to see how transferable student-athletes’ skills are from their sport to a full-time corporate job.”

RaceTrac and UGA have had a fruitful relationship for a number of years—UGA has the highest representation among college alumni at RaceTrac’s home office, known as the Store Support Center—so the door was already open for further collaboration. After a January 2018 conversation between Patton and UGA’s CFR team about RaceTrac’s micro-internship idea, things began to move quickly.

“When CFR reached out about this opportunity, I was excited about the innovative program structure and the possibility of partnering with such a large company,” said Leigh Futch (ABJ ’05), director of student development for the UGA Athletic Association.

Futch created The Georgia Way, a comprehensive career development program aimed at preparing student-athletes for success after athletics, regardless of when that time comes.  An integral part of the program is connecting UGA student-athletes to resources that will enable a smooth transition to the professional world.  RaceTrac’s micro-internships seemed to be a perfect fit.

“We were able to pull this together very quickly. It was truly a team effort,” said Patton. “From the initial conversation with CFR to planning interviews of UGA’s football players in April 2018, we moved fast.”



Futch and UGA Athletics worked with RaceTrac to identify upperclassmen football players who were majoring in areas related to four of RaceTrac’s departments: Reporting and Insights, Financial Planning and Analysis, Human Resources and Operations. That list totaled 16 student-athletes—including Harper—who were each interviewed by a panel of RaceTrac senior/executive-level staff.

“It was a little intimidating at first, but they were all so friendly and easygoing,” said Harper. “Later that day, I got a call that I was one of the players selected for the internship.”

Harper and three others became RaceTrac interns, working at the Store Support Center in May 2018. The four UGA student-athletes were joined by six Clemson University student-athletes, and each intern was assigned to one of the aforementioned departments for their two-week stint.

The interns were tasked with projects they’d have to present to RaceTrac staff at the end of the program, and they were immersed in RaceTrac’s corporate environment by way of orientation sessions, networking events, assessment workshops and more.

“I spoke with each player about their experience, and they were all grateful for the opportunity and more confident in their abilities to perform outside of the athletics environment, which was music to my ears,” said Futch.

For one of UGA’s student-athletes, the internship was more than just a valuable learning experience: Daniel Harper is now a full-time operations analyst for RaceTrac.

“I knew if I wanted a career at RaceTrac then I would need to treat my internship as a two-week interview,” said Harper. “I worked my butt off, made connections, and made myself known.”



Plans are in place to repeat the program with more schools involved and more student-athletes from all sports. Futch is fielding micro-internship inquiries from many of UGA’s athletics programs. And other companies are taking notice of RaceTrac’s creativity.

“RaceTrac has been an engaged and innovative partner,” said Jill Walton (BSA ’99, MPA ’03), UGA’s CFR executive director. “They’ve done things that other companies haven’t done before. They took the lead with micro-internships, and now there are other companies asking about how they can participate.”

The program’s success also speaks to the strength of the RaceTrac-UGA partnership and of UGA’s alumni network. Patton’s relationship with RaceTrac began when a UGA sorority sister made a connection for her at the company, and now, through these micro-internships, she can do the same.

“Working on this program as a UGA graduate means the world to me,” said Patton. “And to be a part of a company like RaceTrac, where our leadership and team members value the type of students that UGA helps to grow, is amazing.”

Harper, too, takes pride in his ability to “pay it forward” by opening doors for UGA alumni in his new position.

“Being a UGA alumnus was a dream of mine for many years, and I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to play ball and graduate from such a great school,” said Harper. “The doors that UGA has opened for me are limitless, so it is an honor to represent my school in any capacity. I wear my ‘G’ with pride every day.”

Relive Your Glory Days: Decades photos

Are you planning to relive your glory days as a part of Alumni Weekend? In honor, we are going to be sharing throwback photos of alumni around campus from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.

Condor Chocolates: Local Bulldog 100 Company

Condor Chocolates storefront location in Five Points.

Condor Chocolates storefront location in Five Points (Photo: Peter Frey)

Condor Chocolates’ reputation is growing every day with every shipment. The company is the brainchild of Peter Dale (ABJ ’99) and Nicholas Dale (BSA ’04). Walking into its 1,100-square-foot storefront location in Five Points, you can smell the quality of the chocolate before even trying it. The first bean-to-bar chocolate producer based in Athens, the establishment is truly a labor of love.

“The story began on a bus in Ecuador. Our dad was backpacking and met our Mom, a local. Sparks flew. On their honeymoon, the newlyweds packed up a green VW bus and moved to Athens, Georgia.”

The quote leads Condor Chocolates’ story page and goes onto explain that through returning to Ecuador to visit family during their childhood summers the brothers were exposed to delicious food and, most importantly, to chocolate. Peter says his first memory of chocolate was actually that of La Universal, an Ecuadorian brand of chocolate he used to enjoy as a child. He likens the taste to Condor Chocolates’ bars now.

Relive your glory (Glory) days


Condor Chocolates’ process of producing bean-to-bar chocolate is extremely labor intensive since the cacao beans are sun-dried in Ecuador and then shipped to Athens to be transformed into chocolate bars, truffles, and sipping chocolate. The Dales have capitalized on access to college students and have hired several who come to their factory, a location they expanded to due to demand, at various times to sort the cacao and prepare the beans for roasting.


Truffles from Condor Chocolates in Athens, GA

Truffles from Condor Chocolates in Athens, GA (Photo: Peter Frey)

Labor doesn’t stop with hand-sorting. It is followed by roasting, grinding and tempering – you can read about the whole process and look at illustrations. But what’s not pictured are the artistic touches on their truffles, which are known for their beauty as much as their amazing flavors. The designs have been created by several of Condor Chocolates’ employees who started hand-painting each truffle.

Starting food ventures is not new to Peter who has started several others– including the award-winning restaurant The National with chef Hugh Acheson. The most difficult part of the chocolate business? Selling the products wholesale. In Athens, Peter is known for his restaurant work, but wholesale brings him into contact “with clients or potential clients who may not know anything about us,” he says. The most rewarding part of wholesale is that “it is an Athens experience that can go elsewhere. People know Athens, which gives us a leg up.”


The question on everyone’s mind is: what is the current favorite truffle flavor for Peter and Nick?

Peter: Caramel truffle, which has a liquid caramel center. I also love the passion fruit, which is a seasonal flavor and strong flavor. It has a jam center that is an actual layer of jam.

Nicholas: My favorite is the smoked sea salt chocolate- we use a sea salt from Charleston called Bulls Bay.

Want to order your own taste of Athens and Condor Chocolates? Shop their online store or stop by their café if you’re in town for Alumni Weekend. Check out the other alumni-owned or operated businesses who are leading the way on the 2019 Bulldog 100 list.


Inspect-All Services: Most Years on Bulldog 100 List – 9th Straight Year

University of Georgia alumni and siblings Brian Lunsford (AB ’02) and Brandon Lunsford (AB ’02) both graduated with Political Science degrees and now own and run Inspect-All Services, the company with the most years on the Bulldog 100 list. Inspect-All Services provides high-quality termite, pest and wildlife control, as well as home inspection services for real estate transactions, and other home services. They offer their services in metro Atlanta and the surrounding region, as well as in the Jacksonville, FL area. Learn how the Lunsford brothers grew their company by a mind-boggling 4,000% in just over a decade and how Inspect-All Services continues to be one of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni each year.

First, tell us a little bit about your UGA experience, what did you love about it?

Brian: I have so many wonderful memories at UGA.  From the fun college town of Athens itself, to the friendships, the football, Larry Munson, tailgating, downtown, Guthrie’s, my classes, The Red & Black—just to name a few!  The summer of 2001 when I studied at Oxford University in England with my fellow UGA students still stands as one of my favorite periods of time in college.  I gained perspective on life that only an experience like that affords.  I’ll always be grateful for my time at the University of Georgia!

Brandon:  My time at UGA and in Athens was unforgettable.  I’ll always cherish the memories including UGA football games, north campus, downtown nights, intramural sports, cramming for exams, concerts and hanging out with what would become lifelong friends.  My biggest regret is that I did it all in just four years instead of taking longer!

How did you get started with Inspect-All Services?

Brandon:  After graduating college, I decided to join our dad’s small pest control company part-time prior to jumping into a “real career”.  It started off as a way for me to take life easy for a bit, work a little, but mainly it gave me the flexibility to take time off to travel.  Once I was exposed to the business aspect of the industry, I began to take it more seriously and eventually realized I could possibly make a great career out of it.  Brian soon joined me full-time and we began the process of taking the reins and growing the business.

Brian: Before becoming an entrepreneur and while still attending UGA, I was a sports producer at FOX-5/WAGA-TV in Atlanta.  While television was fun, I decided to shift my career into the exciting world of business.  When Brandon and I acquired the company from our dad, we were the only two employees and wore a lot of hats.  We were our company’s techs, salesmen and office staff (answering forwarded phone calls from customers on a cell phone in the truck).  Good times!  We started to realize that showing up on time, treating people right and providing outstanding service, led to more business.  That part was simple for us because our mom and dad instilled those values in us as children.  Before we knew it, it was time to hire our first of many employees as business owners.  Doing things the “right way” made it easy for customers to trust us and want to continue to do business with our company.  Those early lessons learned in life and in business laid the foundation for our success and still has an important influence on our company to this day.  We now have around 100 dedicated team members who show up on time, treat folks with respect and provide excellent services to our loyal customers.

What steps did you take early on to begin the explosive growth?

Brian: When Brandon and I were able to leave the field and get in front of our computers, the growth really took off.  Our first major change was bringing technology to the company. We created a website and made sure we were on reputable consumer sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp and Groupon. We understood the importance of taking risks, especially early on as business owners.  For example, we aggressively implemented a “loss leader” approach by running discounted offers for our services on deal sites, then providing those customers with such a high level of service that they would decide to use our company long-term.  We were one of the first pest control companies to send emails to customers the day before service containing a photo of the technician scheduled to arrive. While our competitors were putting lots of energy into face-to-face meetings with other business owners, setting up company booths at local festivals and mailing out flyers, we opted for a more far-reaching strategy by making our online profile paramount.  We built that online presence by ensuring that our reputation was impeccable.

Brandon:  We saw an opportunity and pounced on it, mainly by focusing on things that other companies in our industry were not doing at the time.  Many pest control and home inspection companies are pretty cookie-cutter, and we were naïve to all of that—which ultimately benefitted us because we used a new common-sense approach rather than traditional thinking. We asked questions like, “Why are they doing it like this?” “Doesn’t this other way make more sense?” We were fresh right out of college with an analytical mindset, and we were determined to find better ways to run our business.  I would say most of the technological advancements and digital marketing we did in the early years were self-taught, and in turn gave us a huge advantage over our competitors. We were at UGA in the late 1990s to early 2000s so we got really familiar with computers through our work in college. That technological knowledge gave us an advantage since most of our competitors were run by folks who were a generation older than us and who wouldn’t have had the exposure to computers and technology we had at UGA. We also believe being graduates of UGA gave us credibility to others and validated that we were going to run a legitimate business and provide a great value to our customers.

Inspect-All Services team

Inspect-All Services team

Inspect-All Services has been on the Bulldog 100 list every year since 2011, what do you attribute to your continued success?

Brian: Creating and then sustaining a climate of honesty met with highly efficient communication–both with our customers and internally with our team–has been very important to our success.  Also, implementing innovative ways to do things has reaped huge benefits for our customers and our team.  Technology’s role within our company is to create convenience and peace of mind for our customers, while at the same time making our team members’ jobs easier.  For instance, using infrared cameras to expose hidden pest issues behind walls, deploying drones to survey roofs during home inspections and emailing digital proposals and reminders to our customers.  In the end, it’s a win for both our customers and our team.

Brandon: Hard work and dedication for sure, but most importantly, our unwavering desire to provide our customers with outstanding service and value.  We haven’t tried to conquer the world in one swoop and have always taken good care of each and every customer.  We’ve grown very quickly without any acquisitions or mergers by building our business one customer at a time.

What has been the most surprising thing about owning your own company?

Brian: We are constantly amazed by the high volume of positive customer feedback our team receives.  According to our Angie’s List rep, we have more positive customer reviews than any other pest control and home inspection company on Angie’s List in the United States.  Across all platforms, we currently have thousands of A+ verified online customer reviews, which speaks to our company’s core value of integrity.  This continuous cycle of outstanding customer care met by glowing customer reviews, creates a wonderfully dynamic feedback loop that ties directly to our growth rate.  Prospective customers read these reviews and often attribute the positive customer feedback from their peers as the primary reason they decided to hire our company.

Brandon: I think owning our own company has been more gratifying than we thought since we have the ability to provide so many jobs and a good quality of life for our employees. We have close to 100 employees now, and are largely responsible for them owning cars and buying homes. Being a part of that is surprising, and we are grateful to help them achieve their dreams. We have grown 4,000% in about a 10-year span and averaged around 40% growth per year.

What has been the most challenging thing about owning your own company?

Brian: One of our biggest challenges in the early years was the hiring process.  Learning better ways to acquire and then properly vet candidates has been key to our company landing talented professionals.  Our management team has created an outstanding environment for new hires to flourish.  Therefore, we are fortunate to not have too much turnover.  Once folks are here, they typically do not want to leave.  We take pride in the fact that along with the growth, comes the opportunity to enrich the lives of our team and give back to our communities through volunteer work and charity.  Over the years, we have been fortunate to run a fast-growing company, and our people are the key to that success.

Brandon: I think keeping up with the growth has been the most challenging. We have the difficult job of maintaining a balance between a healthy company and a fast-paced company. Sometimes you can outgrow yourself, and if you don’t have the systems in place to handle the growth, it can be difficult.

Do you have any advice for future Bulldog entrepreneurs?

Brian: Adhere to your core values in everything that you do and make sure your team maintains that standard as well.

Brandon: Think different to grow quickly.  Status quo is not the road to take if you want to stand apart from your competition.

Young Alumni Profile: Alexandra Edquist (AB ’16, MA ’16)

Alexandra Edquist (AB ’16, MA ’16) may have been born in San Francisco, but she calls Georgia home. The alumna is a business analyst for McKinsey & Company. 

Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I was born in San Francisco, but moved to Alpharetta, Georgia, when I was 3 years old. I grew up in Georgia, and it’s the only place I remember.

What made you decide to attend UGA?
I wanted to go to a big school with lots of opportunities, a good football program, and (most importantly) no snow, so UGA was always high on my list. I was lucky enough to receive the Foundation Fellowship, which sealed the deal on my UGA selection.

What were your majors/minors at UGA?
I did a four-year combined bachelor’s + master’s program in economics. It’s awesome that UGA offers so many combined programs.

What activities were you involved in at UGA?
I was most heavily involved in the Roosevelt Institute, which is UGA’s on-campus think tank. I was also involved in several other political organizations (Georgia Political Review and a few now-defunct groups) and Terry organizations (Corsair Society, Deer Run, Women in Finance). I was also a CURO research assistant and a graduate teaching assistant.

What was your most memorable college experience?
I’m a football nut, so I’m going to take advantage of this question to talk about my second-favorite UGA football game: the 2013 LSU game. A half-dozen friends, myself, and our signs (several of which were confiscated) joined the 5 a.m. stampede for ESPN College GameDay on Myers Quad, then proceeded to the best home game of my college experience.

What was your favorite UGA football game that you’ve attended?
The Rose Bowl last year! My dad and I have been going to the bowl games together since I was a freshman. Each year, we get front row seats, paint our faces, make signs, and try to get on TV (we’re usually successful). That was hands-down the best football game I’ve ever seen, and to be able to go in-person, with family and friends, to witness UGA’s first playoff win probably made it the best day of my life.

What have you done since you’ve graduated?
I spent two years as a business analyst at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company getting an amazing real-world education and serving our federal government and tech clients on a variety of topics (and trying to recruit more Bulldogs to the office!). This year, I’m doing a secondment from McKinsey with the Atlanta Committee for Progress to manage an exciting workforce development initiative led by the mayor, several CEOs of Atlanta’s biggest companies, and Atlanta Technical College.

What are you most passionate about?
Improving the effectiveness of government institutions and their “customer service” to taxpayers (yes, I know it may seem like a boring passion).

What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?
Networking never stops, even after you get your first job. Always, always, always work on building and strengthening your network.

UGA Founders Week: It started here.

The Abraham Baldwin statue dressed with an Alumni Association scarf and a wreath of magnolia branches around the base of the statue for Founder's Week with Old College in the background.

The Abraham Baldwin statue dressed for Founders Week with an Alumni Association scarf and a wreath of magnolia branches around his feet. Old College in the background.

Each January, we proudly celebrate UGA’s birthday – on the 27th of this month, we’ll be 234! More importantly, it marks our place in history as the birthplace of public higher education in America. To commemorate the occasion, the UGA Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Association will host a weeklong series of events:

Monday, Jan. 28

  • Founders Week T-shirt Giveaway
  • 17th annual Founders Day Lecture featuring Dr. Freda Scott Giles

Tuesday, Jan. 29

  • Tradition Tuesday

Wednesday, Jan. 30

  • State of the University Address in the UGA Chapel

Thursday, Jan. 31

  • 100 Days ‘Til Graduation Celebration in Memorial Hall

Friday, Feb. 1

  • Founders Day Celebration
Dr. Freda Scott Giles

Dr. Freda Scott Giles

The highlight of the week will be the annual Founders Day Lecture, hosted in partnership with the Office of the President, Provost’s Office and UGA Emeriti Scholars. The lecture is held in the UGA Chapel at 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public. We hope you’ll join us! The 2019 lecture, “W.E.B. Du Bois: Dramatist,” will be presented by Freda Scott Giles, Ph.D., associate professor emerita of theatre and film studies and African-American studies at UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

In 1785, we sparked a movement that continues to shape our nation – join us as we recognize our historic commitment to public higher education in America.

Be a part of the birthday celebrations! Learn more at alumni.uga.edu/foundersweek.

See.Spark.Go gives 100+ UGA students hands-on experience

Brittany (ABJ ’04) and Andy Thoms (BSFCS ’02) married their passions for storytelling and entrepreneurship to establish See.Spark.Go, an Athens-based public relations agency with offices in Atlanta and Newport Beach, Calif., and 24 full-time employees. While building their successful business, they also provided an important training ground for UGA students by offering unique experiential learning opportunities.

Brittany, a Grady College of Journalism alumna, has a background in national-brand public relations, and Andy, a Family and Consumer Sciences alumnus, was born with a natural entrepreneurial mentality. Playing off their strengths, the couple opened a PR firm with the purpose of building relationships to drive results.

Relive your glory (glory) days


“We started See.Spark.Go because we really wanted to be choosy about the types of stories that we told as a PR agency,” Brittany said. “We had the short-term goals of living in Athens, starting our own business, and telling the best stories.”

From the beginning, interns have been an integral part of See.Spark.Go. The company started as a staff of three – Brittany, Andy, and an intern. As the first year went on, the couple realized how vital to the business their intern had become, so they continued to recruit students that were also passionate about the company’s mission.

Since its founding in 2007, the company has hired over 100 University of Georgia students as interns, and following the university’s 2016 implementation of an experiential learning requirement for undergraduate students, this internship opportunity has become even more valuable.

See.Spark.Go, an alumni-owned PR agency in Athens, has given hundreds of UGA students experiential learning opportunities as interns.

“I think it creates a win-win environment. Students get to see agency operations at a high level, and the business benefits from that youthful knowledge of what’s trending currently,” Andy said.

Kaci Pollack, now an employee of See.Spark.Go, started with the company as an intern.

“I really feel like my experience in Grady College was completely enhanced by my time as an intern at See.Spark.Go. They worked really well together to give me a well-rounded education. I think that’s what the company is able to do for our students who come from Grady,” Pollack said.

Through the internship program, students gain more than just the experience of working at a PR and communications agency. Brittany and Andy invite guest speakers to talk to the interns about other life skills, such as budgeting and resume development.

“At the end of the day, Brittany and I have a passion to see people discover their dreams. What better time to start dreaming than during your time as a university student?” Andy said.

The glue of experiential learning is UGA’s community partners, like Andy and Brittany Thoms of See.Spark.Go, who provide life-altering opportunities for students to cultivate their professional and personal development and in turn, gain immeasurable skills that will be poured back into our state and nation in the years to come.

See.Spark.Go’s trust in UGA students has paid off. After starting out in their Athens home and growing to a small office off Atlanta Highway, the agency moved to its current location, a charming house on Milledge Avenue. The company has since expanded to include offices in Atlanta and California, due to its growing team and burgeoning business, specializing in integrated communications and brand management for organizations such as fab’rik, Your Pie, Farm Burger, Kanakuk Kamps, Airstream, and All Pro Dad.

If your company is interested in partnering with UGA to provide experiential learning opportunities, please visit itstartswith.uga.edu/corporate.

Q&A with UGA Alumna Ebonie Medious

Alumni Spotlight: Ebonie Medious (AB ’17, AB ’17)

My name is Ebonie Medious and I graduated from UGA in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications studies from Franklin College and a Bachelor of Arts in international affairs from SPIA. I also minored in global health. I’m originally from Hampton, Georgia, and almost attended LSU. However, I ultimately chose the University of Georgia after spending a weekend with Georgia Daze, an overnight campus visitation program. I loved every moment of being on campus so I had to come to UGA! I started getting involved with the Alumni Association while I was still a student by donating to the Student Alumni Association.

I currently live in San Francisco and work for LinkedIn as an associate program manager in inclusion recruiting. I’m thankful for UGA and the Alumni Association as it’s given me opportunities to stay connected and feel at home in a brand-new city. When I moved to California, I sought out the Bay Area Alumni Association as a way to meet new people who had something common with me.


Q&A with Ebonie

  1. What was your favorite class at Georgia?

Foreign Policy Decision Making

  1. What advice would you give to graduating seniors and recent graduates?

Be open to all opportunities that come your way and connect with your classmates on LinkedIn!

  1. Describe Athens in three words.

Southern, Hospitality, Charming

  1. Describe UGA in three words.

The Arch, Tailgates, Tate

  1. What is your favorite thing to do in your current city?

Visit the wineries in Napa Valley.  

  1. What did you think you would be when you grew up? Do you still have plans to become that?

I thought I was going to be a corporate attorney. But, I don’t think I have it in me to go through another round of school again.

  1. What is the most important lesson you learned in college?

Getting a C in a class is not the end of the world!

  1. What do you know for sure? What will you never understand?

The University of Georgia is by far the best institution to attend! I will never understand what makes other institutions’ alumni think that their school is better than UGA!