Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp announced his selection of twenty-five appointees to serve on various state boards and commissions.
State Forestry Commission
Kenneth Sheppard is the president of KS Harvesters, Inc., a tree harvesting service, in Vidalia. He and his wife, Susan, live in Vidalia and have one daughter.
Benjamin Gillis is the CEO/COO/CFO for Gillis Ag & Timber, a business responsible for providing organizational, business management, timber procurement, and banking leadership to thirteen employees and twenty-eight subcontractors. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Georgia Southern University in 1996 and forestry certification from Swainsboro Technical College in 1999. He is a Georgia Master Timber Harvester and has been a tree farmer since 1990. He and his wife, Robin, have two children, and they reside in Dublin.
State Board for the Registration of Foresters
Jesse Johnson is an associate broker with Southern Land Exchange, LLC and a registered forester with Southern Timberland Consultants, Inc. in Watkinsville. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Warnell School of Forest Resources at the University of Georgia in 2000. Johnson and his wife live in Arnoldsville.
John Godbee, Jr. is the environmental and quality assurance programs consultant with F&W Forest Services in Albany. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Forest Entomology in 1972 and master’s degree in Forestry Entomology in 1974 from the University of Georgia. Godbee and his wife reside in Brooklet and have two adult children.
Board of Trustees of the Georgia Teachers Retirement System
Kenneth Dyer has career experience in municipal government finance, commercial construction, and small business, but he is most known for his experience as an educational leader. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting and master’s degree in Business Administration in Finance from Albany State University. He was selected in 2017 by the Dougherty County Board of Education to become the superintendent after having served as the associate superintendent and chief financial officer. Dyer and his wife, Stephanie, have two daughters, Kenadi and Kendyl, and they live in Albany.
William Sloan and Ann Cardella were reappointed.
Georgia Board of Natural Resources
Patrick Denney owns and operates SLM Recycling, Inc., owns interests in SLM Steel & Fabrication, and staffs both Carroll and Heard County Convenience Centers. He is a lifelong resident of Carroll County and graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from what is now the University of West Georgia. He has served as the deacon and a Sunday school instructor at his local church for over twenty years. In addition, he is an avid outdoorsman who owns and manages farm, timber, and hunting land in Carroll and Heard counties. Denney and his wife, Lynne, have been married over thirty years, and they have four children.
James “Nick” Ayers is a managing partner with Ayers, Neugebauer, & Company and affiliated with Holmsted, LLC, C5 Creative Consulting, and Ayers Family Holdings. He graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Kennesaw State University. He previously served as chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. Ayers and his wife, Jamie, live in Atlanta and have three children.
Alfred “Bill” Jones, Delos Yancey, and Winburn “Brother” Stewart were reappointed.
Georgia Board of Public Health
Dr. Robert Cowles, III is the founder of Cowles Clinic. He is licensed in Georgia, certified by the American Board of Urology, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Cowles has over twenty-five years of experience as a specialist in urological disorders and disease. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and medical degree from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Dr. Cowles and his wife live in Greensboro, and they have two adult children.
Dr. Kathryn Cheek and John Haupert were reappointed.
Board of Corrections
Jimmie “Spud” Bowen is the president of Spud Bowen & Associations – Herff Jones, and he has worked with the company for over forty years. He and his wife, Sherry, have two adult children and four grandchildren.
William “Bill” White is the CEO for Constellations Group Ltd. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in New York as well as a Culinary Arts Degree from the French Culinary Institute. He has dedicated his life to honoring, advocating, and supporting our nation’s military personnel, veterans, and their families. He has served as the president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and Intrepid Relief Fund. He and his partner live in Atlanta.
Barry Babb began serving as the sheriff of Fayette County in 2013. He has over thirty-three years of law enforcement experience with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and he served for three years with the Atlanta Police Department. Sheriff Babb has been married to his high school sweetheart, Jill, for thirty-three years, and they have three sons and four grandchildren.
Janelle King is the Vice President of External Affairs for Osprey Management, a general construction company founded by her husband. Recently, she has become a Fox contributor, serving as a panelist on the Fox 5 Atlanta television show “The Georgia Gang.” King previously served as the deputy state director for the Georgia Republican Party and as a government affairs officer for MARTA. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Capella University. She is married to business owner and Air Force veteran, Kelvin King, and is a bonus mom to Christian Ward.
Alton Russell and Duke C. Blackburn Jr. were reappointed.
Board of Governors of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Stanley “Aaron” McWhorter is the board chair for North Georgia Turf, Inc. He is a graduate of the University of West Georgia. He and his wife live in Carrollton, and they have three adult children.
Wilson “Ben” Garrett is the president and CEO for RA-Lin and Associates, Inc. He provides leadership to position the company at the forefront of the construction industry and oversees the company operations to ensure production efficiency, quality, service, and cost-effective management resources. Garrett earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University. He and his wife, Kristi, live in Carrollton, and they have four adult children.
Brian Daniel and Bill Russell were reappointed.