UGA mentors want you to join their ranks!

The UGA Mentor Program celebrates its first birthday on August 21. Mentors with at least one 16-week mentorship under their belts are excited about the program’s success, and are eagerly helping to recruit fellow alumni to join in the fun by becoming mentors by August 20—the first day of fall semester. Students are entering or returning to a challenging campus environment due to the pandemic. By connecting with a mentor, students benefit from having an ally as they navigate the new school year and prepare for the future.

Getting started with the UGA Mentor Program is easy: Simply create a profile at mentor.uga.edu and students can connect with you based on your unique interests and experiences. Your contact information will not be shared with students unless you agree to enter a mentoring relationship with them.

Would you commit to a 16-week mentorship by investing just a few hours each month? Experienced mentors will tell you, it’s a rewarding and fulfilling way to give back to UGA and serve exceptional young Dawgs!

 

Special thanks to super mentors Douglas Bailey (BSA ’80), Ansley Booker (MS ’13), Ericka Davis (AB ’93), Mary Elizabeth Sadd (BBA ’87) and Abram Serotta (BBA ’68, MACC  ’70) for submitting videos. Go Dawgs!

Georgia Law’s first Black graduate, Chester C. Davenport, passes away

Chester C. Davenport and UGA Law students

Davenport, center, with law students during a visit to the UGA School of Law in 2016.

The following message was shared by Georgia Law Dean Rutledge. We join Dean Rutledge in expressing our condolences to the friends and family of Chester Davenport, and are proud of the legacy he leaves on campus–and beyond.

It is with profound sadness that I share that Mr. Chester C. Davenport (LLB ’66), the University of Georgia School of Law’s first African-American graduate, passed away this past Friday, August 7.

Mr. Davenport was an incredibly important figure in our school’s history. He was a leader. He graduated in the top five percent of the Class of 1966 and served as a founding member and Executive Editor of the Georgia Law Review. He was a successful attorney, public servant and businessman. Mr. Davenport was also a regular supporter of the School of Law and the university throughout his life. The UGA chapter of the Black Law Students Association bears his name, and he received the law school alumni association’s highest honor — the Distinguished Service Scroll Award — in 2016. These are only a few highlights of his life.

We are in communication with Mr. Davenport’s family and will share information about memorial services as it becomes available. In the meantime, please keep his family in your prayers and thoughts during this time of mourning.

Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge
Dean & Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law

UGA Foundation elects 12 new trustees

The University of Georgia Foundation approved changes in board positions during its June 11-12 annual meeting, which was held virtually. The changes took effect July 1.

The UGA Foundation welcomed 12 new trustees and accorded six trustees emeritus status. The new members will join current trustees to comprise a 50-member board.

The board voted unanimously to elect the following individuals to the board:

James G. “Guyton” Cochran, of Carrollton, is the CFO and executive vice president at Southwire Company. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from UGA in 1988 and a master’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University in 1995.

James L. “Jim” Dinkins, of Atlanta, is the president of Coca-Cola North America. Prior to his appointment, he was president of the Minute Maid Business Unit. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management from UGA in 1984 and an MBA from Emory University in 1992.

Keith Kelly, of Newborn, is the president and CEO of Kelly Products. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from UGA in 1980.

Elizabeth Correll Richards, of Atlanta, is chairman and CEO of Quality Staffing of America Inc. She earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and child psychology from The Ohio State University in 1992.

Jodi Selvey, of Atlanta, is the senior vice president for Colliers International. She earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from UGA in 1984.

John F. Schraudenbach, of Duluth, was a partner at Ernst & Young in Atlanta prior to retiring in June 2019. He previously served as chair of the Terry College of Business alumni board. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from UGA in 1981 and a master’s degree in accounting from UGA in 1982.

Dorothy Barfield Sifford, of Nashville, Tennessee, is active in various local, national and international nonprofits, ministries, and educational initiatives and endeavors. She earned her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences from UGA in 1994.

Kimberly L. “Kim” Stamper, of Alpharetta, is a retired marketing professional who earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from UGA in 1989. She remains actively engaged in mentoring young women, philanthropy and volunteering in her community.

Earl Howard Young, of Atlanta, is the president of General Wholesale Beer Co., a multi-generational family business. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from UGA in 1982.

Three advisory trustees were also elected to assist committees in defining and achieving the board’s strategic goals:

Natalie Schweers Coghill, of Augusta, is founder of The Gracestone Group and senior vice president for Synovus Securities Inc. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UGA in 1995 and a law degree from UGA in 1998.

Vernon “Trey” Googe III, of Atlanta, is the president and CEO of Yancey Bros. Co. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from UGA in 1991 and a law degree from UGA in 1994.

Rebecca B. “Becky” Winkler, of Charlotte, North Carolina, is founder and owner of Department 732c. She graduated summa cum laude from UGA in 1998, earning degrees in psychology and Chinese. She also earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology from DePaul University in 2004.

The following individuals also will join the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees in ex-officio positions:

Asim Ahmed, the UGA Student Government Association president, succeeding Rachel Byers.

Savannah C. Hembree, the president of the UGA Staff Council, succeeding Marie Mize.

The UGA Foundation Board of Trustees accorded emeritus status to six trustees whose terms concluded on June 30: Kathryn L. Ash, Elizabeth W. “Betsy” Camp, Frank D. Foley III, Larry D. Thompson, Russell C. “Rusty” Lindner and Robert H. Stolz.

The complete UGA Foundation Board of Trustees is available at https://give.uga.edu/uga-foundation/trustees-and-committees/.

Because of Tatiyana Sinkfield’s scholarship, ‘this is only the beginning’

Tatiyana Sinkfield (BSA ’20) has a lot to celebrate these days. She is one of the University of Georgia’s newest alumni, having graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in Biological Science from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She also graduated as a first-generation college student and a proud alumna of the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program.

Through this program, Sinkfield was one of five students to receive a scholarship from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The foundation established the scholarships to support, in perpetuity, students from Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods.

Sinkfield was both surprised and grateful when she learned that she was the recipient of a Georgia Commitment Scholarship supported by the Angela and Arthur M. Blank Scholarship Fund, and her family and friends were equally as thrilled.

“This scholarship program provided me with on-campus resources, educational support and motivation. The staff members were so encouraging and kind,” said Sinkfield.

In addition to the financial resources and on-campus support offered through this scholarship, Sinkfield also enjoyed the unique opportunity of meeting Arthur Blank in 2018 over a small dinner on campus with the other Blank Foundation scholarship recipients. She recalls the group’s inspiring discussion on success after college, community engagement and setting and achieving important life goals.

One of her biggest life goals is to become a pediatrician, and Sinkfield plans to take a gap year to study and gain additional hands-on experience in the medical setting before attending medical school next fall. She believes that the rigor of her coursework at UGA has prepared her for medical school and equipped her with important skills like time management and accountability. Additionally, Sinkfield says that interacting with people from different places and different backgrounds at UGA has really strengthened her interpersonal skills, which she asserts are essential to becoming a good doctor.

The impact of her Georgia Commitment Scholarship extended beyond the classroom, as she emerged as a natural leader on campus during the last four years. Sinkfield served as a resource to several fellow Georgia Commitment Scholars pursuing the pre-medical route and volunteered with numerous organizations including Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and Georgia DAZE, an overnight campus visitation program for talented high school seniors from historically underrepresented areas that have been admitted to UGA.

Like so many students, Sinkfield points to a nighttime football game under the Sanford Stadium lights as one of her favorite UGA memories. She vividly remembers the energy and school spirit that filled the stadium and said the feeling of camaraderie among the Bulldog Nation was utterly surreal.

Sinkfield plans to carry that same feeling of camaraderie into the next chapter of her life, remaining forever proud of her time at UGA and grateful for her Georgia Commitment Scholarship.

“The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation scholarship has helped me achieve not only my goals at UGA, but laid a foundation for my future successes. This is only the beginning.”

Life changing! (a salute to mentorship)

Featuring guest blogger Sara Ervin, Class of 2022

Meet Sara Ervin.

In her own words, Sara is an “untraditional student” who had a circuitous route to where she is today.  She came to the University of Georgia after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in rural studies from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and a master’s degree in mass communication from Valdosta State University.

She admits her academic focus could, at times, wander. She initially entered college to become a veterinarian. But then a strong desire to help people made her change course. While she wasn’t clear about precisely what she wanted to do, there was one nagging thought in the back of her mind – a career in the FBI. “I’m very protective,” she says. “Taking down the bad guys seemed like a good choice.” Still, that notion seemed more like a dream than a reality. She didn’t even know the first step to take, so she tucked the idea away.

She came to work at UGA as a student/faculty coordinator, responsible for managing student services and faculty affairs for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics within the College of Public Health. But she still wrestled with “exactly what I wanted to do with my life.”

In 2018, she gained acceptance to begin work on a PhD in UGA’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication program. Still employed full time at UGA, and now a part-time PhD student, her plate was full. That’s where the UGA Mentor Program came into play.

Let’s let Sara pick up her story from here in her own words:

In August 2019, a few weeks into the semester, I received an email about the UGA Mentor Program. It doesn’t matter what level you are in your educational journey; you should always seek and accept help whenever you can. The overview was just a 30-minute presentation, so I thought, ‘what was there to lose?’

I understand the benefits a mentor can have, but I never had one before. Knowing what I know now, I wish I could have had this opportunity when I was a freshman in college. Hindsight is 20/20, and that is why I am so passionate about sharing my story.

A unique feature of the UGA Mentor Program is the ability to search and choose from a vast number of mentors. All mentors are UGA alumni who are volunteering their time and expertise. There is an online platform making it easy to find one that fits your needs.

My interest and research areas include crisis communication, disaster preparedness, and terrorism/counter-terrorism. I considered this niche as unique and not a popular combination, so I was not getting my hopes up about finding someone that fit all these criteria.

But after an hour of reading profiles under the keywords like crisis communication, terrorism, and disaster, I found an alumnus by the name of Mark Ball, who graduated UGA with a bachelor’s in international affairs (AB ’08). Mark is currently a lieutenant in the United States Navy. He has been in the Navy for over seven years; his experience matched each of my ‘unique’ interests. I clicked his name, sent him an email about myself asking for him to be my mentor. Within a couple days there was a reply. A few emails later, our first meeting was set.

Since he is stationed halfway around the world, we met via FaceTime and it went great.

The UGA Mentor Program provides many resources to help you prepare and use to ensure that one-on-one sessions with a mentor go smoothly and successfully. After an hour and a half, we got to know each other personally and professionally, established goals, and set expectations. Our relationship grew organically. We hit it off, and the time truly flew by.

The mentoring was very structured. After each of our meetings, there were deliverables I was responsible for preparing before our next meeting. Mostly my idea, but he agreed they would help. For instance, one task was to put into writing 1) Why I want to get a PhD, 2) Identify areas I want to research and why, and 3) Why I want to be an FBI Agent.

We would discuss my goals and these topics in depth. Mark asked a few questions. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. He listened and about halfway through, in a very calm tone as if he were telling me the weather, he asks, ‘Have you ever considered the Navy Reserves, as an intelligence officer? This could also be a beneficial segue into the FBI.’

I wish I could say that the Hallelujah Chorus rose in the background and fireworks shot off, but that was not the case. I had not considered joining the military in over a decade. I pondered a military career in high school when we had a career day, but quickly swatted away the idea.

But I am a nerd. I love to learn things. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you know! So, I did my due diligence. I spent weeks researching his suggestion, looking at the ins and outs of the Navy, the intelligence world, and the military in general. I asked friends and family for their input. I thought and prayed about it.

Then one sunny day in October, I contacted a Navy recruiter. After we met, I thought and prayed about it a bit longer, before deciding this is exactly what I needed and should do. I finally know what I want to do for the rest of my life!

Mark has been by my side every step of the way. He has not only guided me along the steps of entering the military, which is not an easy feat, but he has also helped guide me in my studies. Many of our conversations have been about current events and what research topics would be beneficial. If I can learn and research pertinent information about my future career field, why not?

Our ongoing mentor/mentee relationship has been truly life changing. I can honestly say that I had no idea that I would benefit as much as I have from the relationship or the program. I can only imagine what I would have gotten from this program had I had the same opportunity my freshmen year in college.

I am forever grateful to Mark and the UGA Mentor Program. I cannot recommend this program enough. It is beneficial for any age, educational level, or stage of life. One day, I hope I can give back to a student just as much as Mark and the program have given to me.

Inspired by this life changing story? Want to play a role in helping a student achieve their dreams?

 

University of Georgia unveils 40 Under 40 Class of 2020

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled its 40 Under 40 Class of 2020. This annual recognition program celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40.

This year’s honorees work in a variety of industries and include a Paralympic athlete, a veterinarian for SeaWorld, an emergency room doctor in New York City, a policy director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a “Good Morning America” producer.

“This year’s honorees highlight the amazing work UGA graduates are doing early in their careers,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “Among this year’s class are individuals who are solving some of the greatest challenges facing our country and the world. During a particularly challenging year, we are especially proud to call them members of the Bulldog family.”

The 2020 Class of 40 Under 40, including their graduation year(s) from UGA, city, title and employer, are:

Ashish Advani (PHARMD ’07), Atlanta, Georgia, CEO, InpharmD

Thomas D. Beusse (AB ’08), Marietta, Georgia, Executive Director, Georgia Retail Association

Ginny Barton Bowen (BS ’04), Atlanta, Georgia, Lieutenant Commander, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Eddie Beanard Bradford Jr. (BBA ’04), Atlanta, Georgia, Tax Principal, Frazier & Deeter LLC

Laine Bradshaw (BSED ’07, MED ’07, PHD ’11), Athens, Georgia, Founder and CEO, Navvy Education LLC

Jeffrey Brown (AB ’05), Decatur, Georgia, Vice President of Development and Marketing, Partnership Against Domestic Violence

Geary D. Bush (BSA ’03), Gainesville, Georgia, General Surgeon, Longstreet Clinic

John D. Cates (AB ’07, MBA ’11, JD ’12), Augusta, Georgia, Chief Operating Officer, Meybohm Real Estate

Stacey A. Chavis (MSL ’19), Brookhaven, Georgia, Managing Director, Campaigns Academy

Rennie Curran (BBA ’17), Atlanta, Georgia, CEO, Keynote speaker, Author and Personal Development Coach, Game Changer LLC

Chuck Efstration (AB ’04), Auburn, Georgia, State Representative, Georgia General Assembly

Wells Ellenberg (AB ’13), Washington, D.C., Governmental Affairs Manager, Southern Company

Claire Erlacher-Reid (DVM ’08), Orlando, Florida, Senior Veterinarian, SeaWorld Florida

Jason Faircloth (BSAE ’05), Carrollton, Georgia, Vice President of Sales, National Accounts, Southwire Company LLC

Tsion Firew (BS ’07), New York, New York, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center

Houston A. Gaines (AB ’17, AB ’17), Athens, Georgia, State Representative, Georgia General Assembly

Adam Gobin (AB ’06, BS ’06, MPH ’08), Atlanta, Georgia, Assistant Vice President, Wellstar Health System

Leslie Hale (MPA ’13), Athens, Georgia, Executive Director, Books for Keeps

Mamie Marie Harper (BSW ’09), Atlanta, Georgia, Executive Director and Founder, Carrie’s Closet of Georgia

Jack Hartpence (AB ’15), Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Co-Founder and CEO, Powwater

Jasmin Severino Hernandez (AB ’13, AB ’13), Brookhaven, Georgia, Associate Attorney, Chamberlain Hrdlicka at Law

Eric Jones Jr. (AB ’12, ABJ ’12), New York, New York, Entertainment Producer, ABC News, Good Morning America

Brittany DeJarnett Kisner (BSED ’07), Aiken, South Carolina, Co-Founder and Chairman, The Kevin and Brittany Kisner Foundation

Samantha Arsenault Livingstone (BSED ’05, MED ’08), Williamstown, Massechusetts, Founder and CEO, Livingstone High Performance

Cheryl L. Maier (AB ’04, BS ’04), Atlanta, Georgia, Medical Director, Emory Special Coagulation Laboratory, Emory University School of Medicine

Jay McCracken (BS ’05), Atlanta, Georgia, Neurosurgical Oncologist, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital Brain Tumor Center

Ashley McMaster (ABJ ’06), Washington, D.C., Vice President, Membership and Development America’s Essential Hospitals

Erin Mordecai (BS ’07), Stanford, California, Assistant Professor, Stanford University

Kiana C. Morris (MBA ’14), Atlanta, Georgia, Associate Director for Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

David G. Quintero (BBA ’06), Armed Forces Pacific, Deputy Director for Dental Specialists, Periodontist, United States Navy

Jamelia Outlaw Smith (ABJ ’03), Atlanta, Georgia, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Cox Enterprises

Matt Stevens (AB ’03, MPA ’14), Athens, Georgia, Vice President of Strategic Impact, Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Mikaya Thurmond (ABJ ’12), Raleigh, North Carolina, Anchor and Reporter, WRAL-TV

Charles T. Tuggle III (BS ’05), New Orleans, Louisiana, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery, LSU Health Sciences Center

Jarryd Wallace (AB ’19), Watkinsville, Georgia, Professional Athlete and Director of Affordable Blade Project, Xiborg Inc., United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee

Lauren K. Ward (JD ’07, MNR ’12, PHD ’17), Boone, North Carolina, General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Forest Landowners Association

Franklin West (PHD ’08), Athens, Georgia, Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Amanda Dalton Wilbanks (BBA ’09), Gainesville, Georgia, Owner and Founder, Southern Baked Pie Company

Matthew Wilson (BSA ’06, JD ’14), Brookhaven, Georgia, Attorney, Wilson Law Firm, State Representative, Georgia General Assembly

Tosha Dunnigan Wright (BSFCS ’05), Douglasville, Georgia, Co-Founder, The Wright Stuff Chics

Nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April, and 374 alumni were nominated for this year’s class. Honorees must have attended UGA and uphold the Pillars of the Arch, which are wisdom, justice and moderation. Additional criteria are available on the UGA Alumni website.

Due to the challenges presented by COVID-19, there will not be a 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon this fall. Plans to celebrate this year’s class virtually are under way.

Brighten your screen while working from home

Video conferencing is an essential tool for those working from home and sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many video conference platforms, such as Zoom and Teams, allow users to bring a little creativity and inspiration to the work day with custom backgrounds. So we asked, why not let UGA alumni artists help you step up your background game?

These creative Bulldogs hold degrees from across campus, and their creations are the perfect backdrop to brighten even the most mundane virtual meeting. We have sized these to the specifications for Zoom, but anticipate they can be used in other platforms.

Meet the Artists

Laura Deems (BFA ’17)

Laura Deems is an Atlanta-based abstract artist who earned her bachelor’s degree from UGA. She has a background in textile design and a fascination with color theory, and this quote from her website puts it better than we could: “The canvas ceases to serve as a window to convey images and ideas for her, becoming a field for the visual marriage of line and color. The immediacy and freedom of her bold marks against swaths of brilliant hues are the defining vehicle of her work that collectors and designers alike just can’t get enough of.”

Natalie French (BSA ’05, DVM ’12)

Natalie French is a self-taught artist and designer who prefers the “calming, whimsical feel” of watercolor. She started her company, Tulip Magnolia Art + Design, in 2015 when she was 8 months pregnant with her second daughter. She is a licensed veterinarian and practiced equine medicine after vet school, and now spends time with her two daughters and painting. She enjoys spending time outside, which influences her adventure shirts.

Natalie Kilgore (AB ’06)


Natalie Kilgore started her stationery business, Natty Michelle Paperie, in 2009. In the beginning, she designed wedding stationery and hand-drawn maps for couples getting married. Over 10 years later, she has now expanded her business to offer a variety of handmade products that feature her artwork, including prints, gifts, and apparel. She frequently collaborates with other small businesses in Georgia and across the country to develop new product lines, such as letterpress goods, woodcut ornaments, and screen printed T-shirts. Natalie works out of her home studio just outside of Athens, and lives with her husband and two children. Shop her collection online or follow her on Instagram.

Clay McLaurin (BFA ’00)


Trained as a textile designer, Clay McLaurin started his career designing for a jacquard mill in New York City. He then moved from designing to teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design and at UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art. Well-versed in textile knowledge, Clay brings his personal discoveries to life in a collection of textiles and wall coverings for the home. Clay is the founder of Clay McLaurin Studio; his works can be found in showrooms in the United States, Australia, England, and Canada.

Isabella Nixon (BFA ’20)

Isabella Nixon is a recent UGA graduate and former member of the Student Alumni Council with a degree in interior design from the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Isabella’s art skills include free-hand drawing, architectural drafting, computer-aided design, AutoDesk, SketchBook, physical and electronic models, and other graphic media. She has presented ideas both visually and verbally by integrating knowledge of historic and contemporary architecture and interior design. Isabella has a strong passion for photography, graphic design, and the arts.

Ryan Sichelstiel (ABJ ’15)


Ryan Sichelstiel hails from South Georgia. In 2015, he graduated from UGA with a degree in advertising and studio art and a certificate in personal and organizational leadership. As a New York City-based senior hybrid graphic designer, Ryan has experience with both print (layout and editorial) and digital (social media, banner ads, iconography, web design, presentation).

Planning to inspire generations to come

Connie Crawley and her husband Art are long-time members of the Athens community with a passion for music, art and higher education. Since moving to Athens in 1987, the Crawleys have witnessed the ongoing transformation of the University of Georgia and its surrounding community. Connie was a Cooperative Extension state nutrition and health specialist for 28 years, and Art earned a doctorate from UGA’s Mary France Early College of Education. Classes and student performances introduced the couple to UGA’s campus culture and grew their love for opera, theater and art. Their belief in the power of a holistic college education is reflected in their support for both academics and campus culture.

Their experiences on campus inspired the Crawleys to leave a legacy that would benefit students for years to come. As beneficiaries of scholarships that aided their own educations, they understand the importance of lifting the financial burden of higher education. Connie and Art chose to make a planned gift that will fund future student scholarships and ensure future students have the same opportunities they enjoyed for growth through educational and cultural experiences. The Connie Crawley Travel Award Fund and the Art Crawley Graduate Student Support Fund will provide financial aid to UGA students in perpetuity.

Connie’s advice is, “If you want to have a long-term impact on the future, donate to an institution of higher education. It will guarantee the continued strength of our nation and the world. Education isn’t just about getting a job; it is about getting a broader mindset and worldview.”

Art’s experience working at other universities instilled in him the joy of watching students grow and evolve into new people. Connie sums up their philosophy, “We know we owe these institutions for what they have given to us. This is the least we can do.”

Interested in learning how you could create a lasting legacy? Plan today to change lives tomorrow.

Kevin Jones (BSFCS ’05) connects UGA to his business

Kevin Jones (BSFCS ’05) wears red and black proudly everywhere he goes. Whether he’s at work or home, people know he is a Georgia Bulldog by the passion he exhibits. Kevin currently serves as the senior procurement manager at RaceTrac where he has been instrumental in connecting his company with the University of Georgia.

A first-generation college student, Kevin was attracted to UGA because of the school’s reputation and the variety of cultural scenes in Athens: music, food, football, Greek life and the arts. Athens is a special place that offers something for everyone, a perfect complement to the university.

Upon graduation, Kevin started his career with Kauffman Tires before serving in the United States Army for five years. After his years of service, he went to work for McMaster-Carr, during which time he earned an MBA. The program prepared him for his position at RaceTrac, where he has been for the last four years.

In his early days at RaceTrac, Kevin noticed the company was hiring across the state and region for supply chain positions, but not from his alma mater. He was determined to change that. He knew the supply chain program at UGA was growing and the students graduating from the program were experienced and knowledgeable. It was clear the supply chain program was striving to become a prominent program in the state, and he wanted to see more red and black at RaceTrac.

RaceTrac provides a collaborative, light-hearted and family-like environment. Working in an open space allows access to senior executives at the company and creates a ripple effect of fun. The company operates cross-functionally, overlapping departments and opening the door to innovative ideas. Because of the welcoming culture of the company and the inter-connectivity among departments, Kevin knew it would be a great learning environment for supply chain students.

While attending last summer’s UGA corporate alumni event, Kevin connected with UGA’s Office of Corporate Relations who introduced him to Marty Parker, director of the UGA Supply Chain Advisory Board. The advisory board serves as the primary point of contact between industry and the UGA Supply Chain program, ensuring that the supply chain curriculum meets the needs of employers, providing speakers for classes, and connecting employers to bright talent. Kevin joined the board on behalf of RaceTrac to create a pipeline of supply chain talent from UGA.

“Investing in the university as a company representative is what I should be doing as an alumnus, in my opinion,” said Kevin. “I believe that by supporting UGA with time and financial generosity, a company or individual is investing in future employees.”

Kevin encourages current students to take advantage of networking and experiential learning opportunities, including internships, while also enjoying Athens and all the city has to offer. For those who have just graduated, his advice is timely, “Give yourself grace. It’s not going to be perfect but failure is part of growth.”