Class Notes

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Dean Long (BSA – Agriculture, ’50) was a student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton, Georgia, from 1945 until 1948. His college days were interrupted by his U.S. Army Air Corps service, and it took him four years to obtain two years of college credit. He has produced a short booklet, “Dean’s Memories of ABAC, ABAC Wayback.”

Tommy Cullens (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’52) is a salesman for TradeMark Nitrogen. He resides in Winter Park, Florida.

Mayer Needle (BSA – Agriculture, ’57) is a food safety inspection officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Needle resides in Portland, Connecticut.

Robert Whitaker (BSA – Dairy Science, ’54; MS – Dairy Science, ’59) was recognized in 2016 by the Boy Scouts of America for 50 years of service. He’s served as president in his AARP and Kiwanis organizations, as a board member for the Shepherd Center Retirement Group, is involved in the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and the United Methodist Church, and has 35 years of Masonic activity and 15 years of driving for Meals on Wheels under his belt. Whitaker retired in 1991 as officer in charge for the National Reports Office, Poultry Market News, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Kansas City, Missouri, after 35 years of federal service.


Ernie Ford (BSA – Agronomy, ’69) is part of the Georgia Farm Bureau and on the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Beef. The efficacy of his cattle herd at Ford Farms in Edison, Georgia, was documented in an article, “Fertility and Versatility at Ford Farms,” in the January 2017 issue of Georgia Cattleman magazine.


Nancy Lovingood (BSA – Horticulture, ’75) works for the city of Dahlonega, Georgia’s Main Street Program. She retired from the Gwinnett County, Georgia, government after 25 years as the manager of long-range planning. Lovingood resides in Buford, Georgia.

D.G. Pugh (BSA – Biological Science, ’75; MS – Dairy Science, ’78) is the Western Veterinary Conference’s 2016 Food Animal Continuing Educator of the Year. Pugh is a professor of pathobiology at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the director of the four veterinary diagnostic laboratories in Alabama. He and his wife, Jayne, also a UGA graduate, have a sheep farm in Waverly, Alabama.

Everett Williams (BSA – Dairy Science, ’75), a Morgan County, Georgia, dairy farmer, is the Georgia Farmer of the Year. Nominated for the award by Morgan County University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent Lucy Ray, Williams was awarded the honor by Gov. Nathan Deal in March. Williams will represent the state at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, in October, when the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award is presented.

Rick Hubert (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’77; BSA – Agricultural Education, ’77) retired after 35 years of serving as the Georgia Farm Bureau’s 4th District field representative. He resides in Taliaferro County, Georgia.

Justin Schmidt (Ph.D. – Entomology, ’77) recently published a book, “The Sting of the Wild,” to “inspire future scientists and readers of all stripes.” The book has received wide acclaim from ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” NPR’s “Science Friday” podcast and The New York Times. Schmidt resides in Tucson, Arizona, and has been a research biologist for 36 years.

Gary Parrone (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’79) is a thermal performance engineer with General Motors. He resides in Royal Oak, Michigan.


Gary Black (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’80), agriculture commissioner of Georgia, was named the 2017 Georgian of the Year by Georgia Trend magazine.

John David Williams (BSA – Agriculture, ’80; MAEX – Agricultural Extension, ’81) served eight years as chairman of the board of Antioch Christian Church in Watkinsville, Georgia. Another alumnus, Brent Marable (BSA – Horticulture, ’96; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’13), succeeded him. Marable is the assistant director for plant licensing for Innovation Gateway at UGA.

Kevin Corrigan (BSA – Poultry Science, ’82) is a self-employed veterinarian. He resides in Ontario, Canada.

Jonathan Fischer (BSA – Poultry Science, ’82; MS – Poultry Science, ’84) is the vice president of food safety/quality for the Cargill agriculture supply chain. He resides in Flowery Branch, Georgia.

Samuel Beall (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’83) is the president/CEO of the Bank of Dudley in Dublin, Georgia, a position he has been in for 12 years. Previously, he worked for Farmers and Merchants Bank in Dublin for 25 years. Beall also manages his family’s land and timber-growing operation, small rental business and, with his wife, the former Katherine Guyton Porter, has operated Beall’s Christmas Tree Farm for the past 15 years. He is a member of Dublin First United Methodist Church and the Exchange Club, and stays active in civic events in and around Laurens County, Georgia.

Byron “Lamar” Smith (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’83) is serving as the Home Builders Association of Georgia state president. He represents 3,200 builder-members across Georgia. Smith is the founder and president of Lamar Smith Homes, based in Savannah, Georgia.

Tim Miller (BSA – Agricultural Mechanization Technology, ’86) is the senior manager for the new Yanmar America Training and Customer Experience Center under construction in Acworth, Georgia. Miller resides in Buford, Georgia.

Philip Szmedra (Ph.D. – Agricultural Economics, ’86) received the Jane and Larry Comer Faculty Scholar Award for School of Business Administration faculty at Georgia Southwestern State University. Szmedra is a professor of economics at the university. He resides in Americus, Georgia.

Jean Bertrand (Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’87) is the associate dean of undergraduate studies in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University. Previously, she was the assistant dean for academic affairs at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Tim Varnedore (BSA – Animal Science, ’87) is the Southwest District director for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. He oversees all faculty and staff for the 41-county district, as well as the district’s budgetary responsibilities. UGA Extension has employed him since December 1987, and he started in this position in May 2016.

Brian Carnes (BSA – Poultry Science, ’89) was named Cherokee County, Georgia, School District’s 2017 Teacher of the Year in November 2016. Carnes teaches Advanced Placement and honors chemistry courses at Sequoyah High School, where he was named that school’s Teacher of the Year prior to receiving the honor at the district level. Carnes spent 15 years in the poultry industry before becoming a teacher in 2004. He resides in Woodstock, Georgia, with his wife, Pam, who graduated from UGA in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in home economics journalism, and daughters, Sarah Carnes (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’15) and Rebekah, a high school junior.


Steve Morgan (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’90; MS – Agricultural Economics, ’92) is the district sales manager for Monsanto BioAg in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Morgan works with retailers and farmers who specialize in the proper selection of biologics and seed-applied technologies. He resides in Carrollton, Georgia.

Rob Elsner (MS – Food Science, ’95) established a “Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation” minor and graduate certificate program at Erskine College, where he is a professor and chair of psychology. The first graduate of the program has completed projects on the provision of sustainable drinking water in Thailand and aquaculture farming methods in South Carolina. Using funding from the Sullivan Foundation, many other environmentally friendly projects are being developed by Elsner’s students as sustainable alternatives to traditional charities and to provide employment to underprivileged and disabled persons.

Brent Dykes (BSA – Crop Science, ’96) is a special projects manager for the Division of Family and Children Services. He resides in Athens, Georgia.

Brent Marable (BSA – Horticulture, ’96; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’13) succeeded alumnus John David Williams (BSA – Agriculture, ’80; MAEX – Agricultural Extension, ’81) as chairman of the board of Antioch Christian Church in Watkinsville, Georgia. Marable is the assistant director for plant licensing for Innovation Gateway at UGA.

Thomas “Tommy” Bass (BSA – Animal Science, ’97) is an associate Extension specialist at Montana State University focusing on livestock sustainability and environmental management. He is currently working part time on a doctorate, studying spatial and temporal optimization of Montana’s local beef supply chain.

Jason Morris (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’97) was promoted to market president at First Community Bank of Tifton, a division of Synovus Bank.

Heath Baker (BSA – Animal Science, ’99) is a registered nurse in the emergency department at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in Athens, Georgia. He resides in Arnoldsville, Georgia.

Jaime (Hinsdale) Foster (BSA – Animal Science, ’99) and her husband, Harry Foster, are the grand prize winners of the University of Georgia’s 2017 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest. The Fosters, who own Georgia Grinders Nut Butters out of Chamblee, Georgia, won for their Georgia Grinders Pecan Butter.


Ruth Allport (MS – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’00) is self-employed as a consultant for strategic planning and management, and program and project management. She lives in Atlanta.

Linda (Brothers) Purvis (BSA – Poultry Science, ’02), a lecturer at the University of North Georgia, was named the school’s Ann Matthews Purdy Outstanding Full-time Faculty Member in spring 2016. She was nominated by students and voted to receive the honor by the student body. She resides in Commerce, Georgia. 

Rep. Sam Watson (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’02) received the national Grand President’s Award from the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Watson represents District 172 in the Georgia House and is the chairperson of the Georgia Rural Caucus.

Megan (Mullis) Green (BSA – Animal Science, ’03) is the regional manager for Henry Schein Animal Health, a world-renowned, Fortune 500 company that distributes animal health products to veterinarians worldwide. Green started in the position in August 2016, and her region covers Georgia and South Carolina.

Cameron Tribble (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’04) was elected as a partner in the Barnes Law Group, LLC, a Marietta, Georgia, law firm headed by former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes. Tribble resides in Atlanta.

Carla (Moore) Wood (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’04; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’06) is part of a team that won the Gold Award for Exhibits at the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences’ 2016 program. The award recognized the University of Georgia’s Sunbelt Agricultural Expo building display, which highlighted Georgia commodities. Wood and her husband, John, also a UGA graduate, are co-owners of Watkinsville, Georgia-based Moore-Wood Timber Company, Inc. Previously she was the director of conferencing and special events for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Mary Ellen (Edwards) Levie (BSA – Agribusiness, ’05) is the human resources administrator and accountant for AgGeorgia. She resides in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Carrie (Ross) Crabtree (BSA – Animal Science, ’06; Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’12) is a laboratory quality director for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Stevie Daniels (BSA – Horticulture, ’06) is an assistant horticulturist for Juniper Level Botanic Garden at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Daniels lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Mallory Black (BSA – Agribusiness, ’07) is the communications and public relations manager for CNI Ag Independent Retailers in Leesburg, Georgia.

Adam Hebert (BSA – Agribusiness, ’08) is the senior relationship manager for AgGeorgia Farm Credit in Waynesboro, Georgia.

Cathy (Strickland) Atchley (BSA – Agribusiness, ’09) was chosen as a Class X participant in the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. The two-year program broadens participants’ perspectives and networks. Graduates are able to address local, state, national and global challenges. Atchley owns On Point Ag, Inc., an agronomy services business. She resides in LaBelle, Florida.


Calvin Meeks (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’10; MS – Crop and Soil Sciences, ’13), current University of Georgia crop and soil sciences doctoral student, won the $1,000 grand prize at the Georgia Environmental Conference’s student poster competition in August 2016. His project involved reducing the amount of water used in growing cotton by restricting irrigation in early growth stages.

Katie (Thomason) Sponberger (BSA – Agribusiness, ’10) is the economic development coordinator for the Catoosa County, Georgia, Economic Development Authority. She’s married to Jake Sponberger (BSA – Agribusiness, ’10), a fleet manager for U.S. Xpress in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. They reside in Ringgold, Georgia.

Caroline (Black) Lewallen (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’11), of Hall County, Georgia, was a finalist in the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Discussion Meet.

Carmisha (McKenzie) Ramsey (BSA – Food Science, ’11) has been the product development chef manager for Denny’s in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for two years. She enjoys the research-and-development aspect of her role, participates in developing many of the limited-time offers and attends photo and commercial shoots. She resides in Greer, South Carolina.

Gena Perry (BSA – Agribusiness, ’11; MAB – Agribusiness, ’14) is the chief of staff for AgriCorps, a nonprofit that promotes agricultural education in developing countries, mainly in West Africa. Prior to accepting this chief of staff position in Dallas, Perry served as an AgriCorps Fellow in Koforidua, Ghana, for a year.

Stephanie Bolton (MS – Food Science, ’12; Ph.D. – Plant Pathology, ’16) is the grower communications and sustainable winegrowing director at the Lodi Winegrape Commission in Lodi, California. According to a press release, “Bolton will provide targeted and daily support to Lodi winegrape growers in the areas of advanced grower education and outreach, marketing and promotions of the region’s diverse winegrapes, and — most notably — viticultural research and sustainability programming, including Lodi’s world-renowned Lodi Rules™ sustainable certification program.”

Justin Brown (BSA – Animal Science, ’12) is a postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State University. He resides in Ames, Iowa.

Josh Paine (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’12) is part of a team that won the Gold Award for Exhibits at the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences’ 2016 program. The award recognized the University of Georgia’s Sunbelt Agricultural Expo building display, which highlighted Georgia commodities. He is a marketing specialist for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Jacob Sandeford (BSA – Agribusiness, ’12) received the Best Cotton Award — “awarded to the Georgia cotton producer with the highest loan value and premium” — from the Georgia Cotton Commission and Bayer CropScience at the commission’s 10th annual meeting and University of Georgia Cotton Production Workshop. Ralph Sandeford (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’81), of Midville Warehouse, ginned the cotton.

Jenna Saxon (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’12) is the government relations representative for Georgia EMC; co-chair of the Alumni Connections Committee, part of the CAES Alumni Association board of directors; and was a member of the 2015-2017 Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry class. She resides in Atlanta.

Anna (McIntyre) Strickland (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’12) is the University of Georgia Archway Professional in Hart County, Georgia. She previously worked as the director of events and member relations for the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

Olivia Browning (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’16) is the associate director of alumni chapters for the University of Georgia Alumni Association. Previously, she worked for UGA Cooperative Extension as a 4-H Youth Development program specialist. She resides in Athens, Georgia.

Deanna Edmonds (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’14) is an agriculture teacher for the Rowan-Salisbury School System in North Carolina. She resides in Sandy Ridge, North Carolina.

Annie Rich (BSA – Animal Science, ’14; BSA – Biological Science, ’15) is a graduate student in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She graduates this year.

Keaton (Griner) Walker (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’14) is the director of marketing and sponsorship at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. Previously, she worked as the sponsorship and special programs coordinator at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. She resides in Perry.

William Hembree (BSA – Horticulture, ’15) is currently pursuing a master’s degree at North Carolina State University, where he’s studying ornamental plant breeding under Professor Thomas Ranney. Hembree spent the year following his undergraduate graduation completing the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)-Garden Club of America Interchange Fellowship. He spent 10 months in the United Kingdom, where he worked and studied at 10 historic and botanical gardens across the country, including the RHS Garden, Wisley; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

Allison Fortner (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’16) is the assistant marketing director for Super-Sod. She resides in Dallas, Georgia.

Aaron Hayes (BSA – Turfgrass Management, ’16) is the assistant superintendent at Hawaii’s Nanea Golf Club. Previously, Hayes worked for nine months as a spray technician at Ko’Olau Golf Club on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Nicole Holden (BSA – Agribusiness, ’16) is an associate examiner with the Farm Credit Administration. She resides in Vienna, Virginia.

Haley Nagle (BSES – Entomology, ’16) is a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow. Through the fellowship, Nagle will attend Piedmont College to pursue a master’s degree in education. She will become a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educator in a high-need secondary school in Georgia.

Weston Quintrell (BSA – Biological Science, ’16) is a student at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. He resides in Johns Island, South Carolina.

Will Shelley (MS – Agricultural and Applied Economics, ’16) is a decision support analyst with the McKee Foods Corporation. He resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee.