Board of Directors

Foundation Board of Directors

REACH Georgia’s Foundation Board oversees awareness, engagement, fundraising and investment for our organization.  Appointed by the the Georgia Student Finance Authority Board of Commissioners, the directors are comprised of highly respected and influential corporate and community leaders, personally dedicated to upholding REACH Georgia’s mission.  Annual Board expectations include cultivating donors, attending and hosting donor events, and making a personal gift to REACH.


Michael Patrick – Chair
Michael currently works in Marketing at Chick-fil-A, Inc., leading strategic growth initiatives. In this role, he works with Chick-fil-A’s Chief Marketing Officer to explore future trends, identify new consumer needs and build strategies to serve the customer of the future and fuel growth. Michael is the former founder of Thanks Geoffrey, a technology enabled service company. In his prior roles, Michael was Vice President of Marketing for Carroll Organization, a real estate private equity firm with $5.0 billion in assets under management. Additionally, Michael worked for Goldman Sachs, Investment Management Division. His advisory team managed over $700 million of client assets and focused on institutions, endowments, foundations, and high net worth pools of capital.
Charlie Sutlive – Vice Chair
Charlie is the Director of Corporate Communication at Georgia Power. Sutlive was previously the Vice Chancellor for Communications and Governmental Affairs for the University System of Georgia and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for the system’s 26 colleges and universities. He has held multiple leadership positions for some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world, including MCI, which is now part of Verizon Communications, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America. Sutlive sat on the boards of Leadership Georgia, the REACH Georgia Foundation, the Jekyll Island Foundation and the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia.
TJ Abrams
TJ is chief marketing officer for Phoenix-based Exos, a human health and performance company that offers consultation, research and analytics, sports performance training, physical therapy, capability assessments, fitness and wellness, tactical performance training and nutrition services at 600 sites worldwide. Abrams was previously head of global brand strategy and performance for Holiday Inn at IHG, credited with leading development of the global “We’re There” campaign. Abrams serves on the advisory council of the Ron Clark Academy, and in 2018 founded the Abrams Family Foundation which sponsors a scholarship at Ron Clark. Abrams serves on the executive board of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project.
Tommy Bagwell
Tommy is the former CEO and Chairman of American Proteins Inc until he sold the company. American Proteins is a world leader in poultry protein and fat sales. The company’s products are used as components in the poultry, livestock, and pet food industries. American Proteins plants process the raw poultry material into nutrient-rich feed supplements for the poultry, livestock, and pet food industries all around the world.
Shuntel Beach
Shuntel is the Community Network Specialist at King’s Ridge Christian School in Alpharetta. She serves on the Alpharetta Parks and Recreation Commission and the Cherokee Education Foundation. Beach earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University.
Stephanie Blank
Stephanie is the Founding Chair of the governing board of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. She serves as the chair of Child Welfare Reform Council. Stephanie he is a member of the board of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta System and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. She is on the national board of Jumpstart, as a mentor leader for the Emerging Leaders for Children’s Healthcare and is a co-founder of Mothers & Others for Clean Air. Blank earned a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University.
Chris Carpenter
Chris is a Partner with the Garrett McNatt Hennessey Carpenter 360 law firm in Atlanta, Ga. Carpenter works with clients to develop and execute strategic public affairs solutions at all levels of government and policy. Campaigns and Elections magazine recognized him as one of the leading “Georgia Influencers,” Carpenter also has been named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by Georgia Trend magazine and a “Rising Star in the Legal Community” by the Fulton County Daily Report. He is a cum laude graduate of Wofford College and holds a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.
Josh Champion
Josh serves as President and Chief Investment Officer of CARROLL. In this role, he oversees the day to day operations of the company’s investment, portfolio management, and fund management platforms. Since joining CARROLL, Josh has spearheaded more than $7.8 billion in acquisitions and $4.2 billion in dispositions of multifamily real estate. Josh began his career with Prudential Mortgage Capital Company where he was involved in over $500 million of debt financing. Josh received a BBA in Real Estate with an emphasis in Finance from The University of Georgia where he also founded the Real Estate Alumni Network. Additionally, he is a co-founder of the Atlanta-Multifamily Network and is currently a member of the National Multifamily Housing Council as well as the Urban Land Institute.
Katie Chastain
Katie is the Founder and Chief Learning Officer for Tisk/Task, an education technology platform engaging students in real-world problems enable students to communicate with the adult world. She is the co-owner of Everfan, a company that creates products and experiences that engage people in uplifting play in order to inspire wonder and happiness. Additionally, she owned The Bookshelf, a book store in Thomasville, Georgia. Before entering the business world, Katie taught economics and social studies.
Jenna Colvin
Jenna is the President of the Georgia Independent College Association. She is responsible for statewide representation to Congress, the Governor, the Georgia General Assembly and the public K-12 and higher education sectors for Georgia’s 24 Independent Colleges who are members of GICA. Colvin joined GICA after serving as General Counsel for the University of North Georgia. Colvin previously served as a partner at Fisher Broyles, where she created and led the firm’s higher education practice area and served as outside general counsel for the University of North Georgia. Colvin began her legal career in Atlanta, as an attorney with Alston & Bird.
Jay Cunningham
Jay is Owner and President of Superior Plumbing, servicing more than 25 counties in the Metropolitan Atlanta area and beyond. Jay is passionate about giving back to the community and serves on several boards including many focused on helping children, education and workforce development: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation, Technical College System of Georgia, State Workforce Development Board, Cobb County College and Career Academy Board and Marietta College and Career Academy Board.
Bubber Epps
James “Bubber” Epps is a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives representing District 144. He was first elected to the chamber in 2008. He did not file for re-election in 2018. Epps served as a Twiggs County Commissioner from 1984 to 1988 and chairman from 1989 to 1992. Bubber is a retired paving contractor.
Joy Lampley-Fortson
Joy Lampley-Fortson was appointed as an Assistant Chief Immigration Judge, based in New Orleans in March 2019. From 2017 to 2019, she served as the executive director of the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity by appointment of the governor. From 2007 to 2017, she served as a trial attorney/assistant chief counsel with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, in Atlanta. From 2001 to 2007, she served as an assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, Department of Justice. From 1997 to 2001, she served as an assistant solicitor with the Office of the City Solicitor in Atlanta.
Bill Gallagher
Bill is the Chief Executive Officer of SEI, an employee-owned, boutique management and technology consulting firm committed to consistent delivery and collaborative partnerships. SEI employs more than 330 consultants in 10 offices across the United States. Prior to SEI, Bill worked for Sara Lee Corporation in business intelligence as well as Arthur Anderson and KPMG in their consulting practices.
Omari Henderson
Omari is the owner of ZuCot Art Gallery, The Art Brothers Foundation. Omari is a serial entrepreneur that enjoys starting new businesses that serve the community; his passion for supporting children led him to co-found the Youth Challenge Incorporated Foundation. Omari has spent most of his professional career working in the areas of Innovation, Marketing, and Research & Development. He’s had the opportunity to work with Procter and Gamble (in both the U.S. and Europe), The Coca-Cola Company, and currently has a role with Chick-fil-A Corporate in Supply Chain Innovation.
Tracy Ireland
Tracy is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Enrollment Services for the University System of Georgia. The University System of Georgia is composed of 26 higher education institutions including four research universities, four comprehensive universities, nine state universities and nine state colleges. It also includes the Georgia Public Library Service, which encompasses approximately 389 facilities within the 61 library systems throughout the State of Georgia. Additionally, the USG includes the Georgia Archives which identifies, collects, manages, preserves and provides access to records and information about Georgia.
Jamie McCurry
Jamie is the Chief Administrative Officer for Georgia Ports Authority, part of the great leadership team which has grown the ports of Savannah and Brunswick to be major economic engines for the Southeastern United States. Most notably, he worked directly on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project for more than 11 years, and successfully completed the launch of a large new product line for Brasseler USA throughout the United States and Canada. Jamie also serves on the Savannah Christian Preparatory School Board of Trustees and Junior Achievement of Georgia Board.
John Pemberton
John L. Pemberton is senior vice president, general counsel, and chief compliance officer for Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company and PowerSecure. Prior to his current position, Pemberton served as senior vice president, chief administrative officer, and general counsel for Southern Power. He also served as senior vice president and general counsel for Southern Company operations and Southern Nuclear. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing legal services, regulatory matters, and external affairs for Southern Company’s operations organization and for Southern Nuclear. John also serves on the board of the YMCA of Atlanta and the YMCA High Harbour.
Carl Peoples
Carl is a Vice President in Goldman Sachs, Investment Management Division. His team manages high net worth client assets along with a focus on institutions, endowments, foundations and family offices. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Carl worked for Wachovia in their investment management group. A strong supporter of educational achievement, Carl served on the board of Posse Atlanta, an organization focused on expanding the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds.
Kathleen Phelps
Kathleen is Senior Director of Finance within WestRock’s Consumer Packaging Segment, a $6 billion endeavor. She leads financial planning, analysis and strategic financial modeling for integrated virgin and recycled fiber paperboard systems. Before serving in her current role, Kathleen was CFO of WestRock’s $1.8 billion Food & Beverage Americas division, manufacturing packaging for global CPG customers across 20 plants in North & Latin America. Kathleen is a member of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business Alumni Board.
Gus Pursley III
Gus is the Chief Executive Officer of Fowler Flemister, a Cement & Concrete Product Manufacturing Industry company. Fowler Flemister is Milledgeville’s fullservice “one-stop shop” concrete and masonry supplier furnishing products and materials including curing compounds, sealers, color stains, reinforcing rods or wire, mortar mix, stone and sand used in both commercial and residential building.
Robert Schuetze
Robert is the Vice President and commercial relationship manager for BB&T now Truist in Gainesville. He is a member of the Gainesville Kiwanis Club and sits on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County. Schuetze earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from North Georgia College.
Trey Sheppard
Howard Clifford Sheppard, III “Trey” is Vice President of Howard Sheppard, Inc., a family owned trucking business located in Sandersville. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Citizens Bank of the South and is also Past Chairman and current board member of the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation. On the state level he serves on the Technical College System of Georgia State Board representing the 10th Congressional District and is a board member of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. He is active in his local community serving on the Washington County Development Authority and is a member of the Sandersville Rotary Club. Sheppard is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Georgia and in 2016 was selected to Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 Class and Georgia Southern University’s 40 Under 40 Class.
Brad Sims
Brad is the Executive Director for Internal Affairs for the Technical College System of Georgia. The Technical College System of Georgia oversees the 22 technical colleges, adult literacy programs, and a host of economic and workforce development programs. He previously worked in the budget office for the Georgia Department of Community Health and has more than 20 years of experience in state government.
Russell Smith
Russell is Chief Executive Officer of RTS & Associates, providing a range of innovative services to the Southeastern telecom utility market. Russell’s career began as a BellSouth co-op student while attending Georgia Institute of Technology as a President’s Scholar. His industry knowledge developed through the 1990’s as Russell held a number of engineering, software development and managerial positions for several telecom companies. These experiences were essential as he founded RTS Associates in 1998. Russell is a 2012 graduate of the EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s Program and is actively involved with Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Young Presidents’ Organization, Yale CEO Summit, Leadership Gwinnett and the Boy Scouts of America. He serves on the Leadership Georgia Board of Trustees, the Gwinnett Tech Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Board of Directors for the Georgia Technology Authority.
Alex Wayne
Alex is partner of Wayne Capital, real estate investment firm. Alex serves locally on the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Health Partners Board as well as the United Way Campaign Cabinet. Alex is a 2008 graduate of Leadership Georgia and served as Program Chair for the organization in 2009. Alex also served on the 2010 and 2011 Board of Trustees for Leadership Georgia.
Liz Wolverton
Liz is Chief Strategy and Customer Experience Officer at Synovus. Liz began her banking career with Synovus in 2003 as Director of Accounting and Financial Analysis. She was promoted to Synovus’ Senior Director of Banking in 2011, and to her current position in 2014. Before joining Synovus, she served as Director of Finance for the BI-LO Center Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. Wolverton also worked as a Senior Accountant in the Assurance and Advisory Business Services Division of Ernst & Young in Greenville, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.