OUR PEOPLE

DAVID BRIDGES

Job responsibilities: Story teller. Rural Georgia aficionado. Center co-creator. 

Hometown: Terrell County, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA:

"Musicians!!"

Education: Ph.D. at Texas A&M University, master's and bachelor's degrees from Auburn University, as well as an associate's degree from ABAC 

Interim Director
SCOTT BLOUNT

Job responsibilities: Team captain. Policy expert. Center co-creator. 

Hometown: Waycross, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: "Might be an obvious one, but this time of year, the pecans for pecan pie are close to my heart!"

Education: Master's degree at Valdosta State University and bachelor's in agricultural economics at the University of Georgia

Associate Director
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JANET COCHRAN

Job responsibilities: Tourism specialist. Project seeker. North Georgia champion. 

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida, now residing in Tunnel Hill, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: " Apples!  I live close to Ellijay, Georgia's Apple Capitol, and there is nothing like apple fried pies made on site at some of the area apple houses."

Education: Bachelor's in communication from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee

Project Manager
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BRIDGETT MOBLEY

Job responsibilities: Events coordinator. Idea influencer. Office mom. 

Hometown: Tifton, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: "Fresh produce is my favorite product of rural Georgia. I love that there is a produce stand on every other corner in rural Georgia during the summers."

Education: Bachelor's degree in speech communications at Valdosta State University

Logistics & Operations Manager
JESSICA AKINS

Job responsibilities: Strategist. Designer. Creator of structure. 

Hometown: Radnor, Ohio, now Nashville, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: "Cotton! In Georgia, the cotton is so beautiful in the fields with the white bolls. It also produces stylish, comfortable clothes and warm blankets."

Education: Bachelor's in agricultural sales and marketing and agricultural communication from Purdue University, as well as a master's in agricultural education and communication from the University of Florida

Communication Manager
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LOREN LINDLER

Job responsibilities: Creative guru. Social media enthusiast. Writer. 

Hometown: Lexington, South Carolina, transplanted to Tifton, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: "Peaches are my favorite product of rural Georgia. We produce more peaches at home in South Carolina, but nothing beats a sweet Georgia peach."

Education: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communication at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Communication Specialist
MARY CATHERINE GASTON

Job responsibilities: Creative writer. Documenter. Antique shopper. 

Hometown: Sumter County, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: "Georgia pines. The number of everyday products that are made using Georgia timber is absolutely mind-boggling. Our family's timber is an investment that future generations will reap the benefits of as well."

Education: Bachelor's in communication from Auburn University and a master's in urban and regional planning from Virginia Tech

Communication Specialist
CHARLEY LOLLIS

Job responsibilities: Communicator in the making. Agritourism adventurer. Intern. 

Hometown: Perry, Georgia

Fav thing produced in rural GA: Agritourism is housed in rural Georgia, and if I have a free weekend, that's where I want to be. Whether that is a pumpkin patch, strawberry picking, or just some local ice cream, I have a strong love for agritourism and its possibility to educate consumers."

Education: Will graduate in May 2022 with a bachelor of science in agricultural communication, and a minor in agribusiness from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Communication Intern

CENTER PARTNERS

Stanley M. Fletcher - Professor of Policy, Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation + Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College 

Rural Health and Innovation Center at Mercer University

Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA)

Dr. Kent Wolfe - Goldenhorn Consulting

Dr. Sharon Kane - UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED)

Paul Umbach + Angie Vincent - Tripp Umbach

Eloise Stewart - Eloise Design Co.