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08.13.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Lindsey Groepper (ABJ ’01)

When Lindsey Groepper (ABJ ’01) was a UGA soccer player, she quickly learned the importance of time management.

"Being a student-athlete at Georgia had a very big impact on who I am today. From day one, I had to learn time management and how to prioritize. Each day was a struggle between training, studying and – of course – socializing. I had to figure out the importance of balance at a young age, as well as what it means to be in charge of how you choose to spend your 24 hours each day,” Groepper said.

Groepper, who is proud of the balanced and fulfilling life she leads, graduated from UGA in 2001. From 2002 to 2005, she was an account executive with FleshmanHillard in Chicago. In 2005, her husband’s job led to their relocating to Indianapolis, Ind., where the alumna responded to a job listing for BLASTmedia

BLASTmedia Chief Operating Officer Mendy Werne, who nominated Groepper for the 40 Under 40, cites Groepper's key role at the company, saying, “Lindsey was the first employee we hired at BLASTmedia. As a former soccer player at Georgia with experience at a leading PR firm in Chicago, we could only hope her qualities in real life were as good as they were on paper. Boy, were they ever – and much more so. Lindsey is a rare talent. We are lucky to have had her passion and dedication for the past 8 years. She will be an essential part of the agency’s future.”

Groepper is now president of BLASTmedia. She is responsible for the agency’s new business development, fostering relationships with key clients, overseeing client communication strategies, analyzing campaigns in order to maximize ROI and operational efficiency. Between Spring 2012 and Spring 2013, she brought in more than $1 million in annualized new business revenue, including acquiring rapper 50 Cent’s new audio brand, SMS Audio, as a new client.

I am impressed by Lindsey’s successful career and life balance. I hear that she has a pair of beautiful 3-year-old twins that she is raising while also finding time to volunteer at an assisted living facility in Indianapolis. Impressive! Congratulations on being one of this year’s UGA Alumni Association 40 Under 40, Lindsey!

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01.25.2015

UGA to celebrate 230th anniversary on January 27

Each year, the UGA Alumni Association proudly celebrates the signing of the University of Georgia Charter that took place on January 27, 1785. In recognition of the university's 230th anniversary as the nation's first state-chartered institution of higher education, the UGA Alumni Association and the UGA Emeriti Scholars present the annual Founders Day Lecture. The lecture is held in the UGA Chapel and has become a Founders Day tradition, drawing alumni, students, faculty, esteemed guests and members of the community. This year's lecture will be held on Monday, January 26 at 1:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The 2015 Founders Day Lecture will be presented by UGA School of Law J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law and Associate Dean Emeritus Paul M. Kurtz, and will be titled, A New York Yankee in Abraham Baldwin's Court: (Almost) Fifty Years Behind 'Enemy' Lines. 

Paul M. Kurtz

Student Bar Association President Carey Miller (AB '12, JD '16) will provide the student response.

Carey Miller (AB '12, JD '16)

Can't attend the lecture? It will be livestreamed, so you can join in the celebration from your home or office. 

And don't forget to wish UGA a happy birthday on social media using #UGATurns230. 

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01.23.2015

UGA alumnus participates in Alaska tradition

A native of Washington, D.C., Philip Walters (BMUS '04) moved to Alaska immediately after graduating from UGA. A middle school band teacher by day, Walters is training to run the 2015 Iditarod dog race.

Communications intern Bernadette Green '15 had the opportunity to chat with Philip about his upcoming trek.

Going from Georgia to Alaska is a huge change! What motivated you to move to Alaska?

I visited Alaska in 2002 while on vacation. My family has always been very outdoorsy ─ I was camping and hiking at a very young age ─ and Alaska is pretty much an outdoor playground, so I immediately fell in love with the state and tried to find ways to get back there. In 2004, I worked at a string music camp in Birchwood (just north of Anchorage) and met some local music teachers who encouraged me to move up to Alaska after I graduated that fall. 

Could you give us some background on the Iditarod? What inspired you to run it?

The Iditarod was started in 1973 as a way to bring sled dogs back into the public spotlight. The race is 1,049 miles and runs from Anchorage to Nome, crossing three mountain ranges and running over frozen sea ice near the finish. It follows the Iditarod mail route, which was the only way to move mail and freight from one place to another before the railroad and the road system came to Alaska. In fact, sled dogs are still used as a main form of transportation in some rural Alaskan villages. The Iditarod begins the first weekend in March every year.  

After visiting Alaska for the first time, I read everything I could get my hands on about Alaska, and much of what I read was about sled dogs and dog mushing. I began dreaming of running the Iditarod after reading a book called "Winterdance" by Gary Paulsen. It is still one of my favorite books about the sport, even if it is a bit romanticized in regard to what actually takes place during a race.

I started volunteering with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 2006. I've been a volunteer every year since, in some form or fashion, including working at several remote checkpoints. I love watching the teams come through on the race, and can't wait to be on the other side of the race.

How did you get into running sled dogs?

I met a local musher in 2007 who put me in touch with Kurt and Val Jokela, local mushers who looking for a "handler", somebody who can help them with dog chores in exchange for learning the tricks of the trade. They taught me how to mush, let me run their dogs, use their equipment and even helped me train for my first distance race. Once their dogs started getting older, they put me in touch with Alan Peck and Barbara Trost, who allowed me to train their dogs and begin working toward my Iditarod qualifiers.

I now run dogs for Snowhook Kennel in Willow. I will be running the Snowhook Kennel "B-Team" (think about it as the junior varsity team) in the 2015 Iditarod.  

How do you train for such a feat?

Basically, we get the dogs out running pretty early in the fall. In fact, we started in July this year. When there isn't snow on the ground, we hook them up to a gangline that is attached to an ATV and have them pull it while it’s in gear. It's basically weight-lifting for the dogs. We use that to slowly and safely build up muscle and get them back in shape after taking the summer off.  

Once there's enough snow on the ground, we will start running the team on sleds. We try to put the dogs and ourselves in a variety of situations so they are ready for any sort of terrain or issue that might come up on the trail. In a 1,000-mile race, you'll run into every type of weather and terrain imaginable; for example, last year much of the race was run without snow!

I'm basically running dogs four to five days a week, in addition to my full-time day job as a middle school band teacher in Anchorage. I come home from school, change clothes, drive an hour out to where the dogs are located, run the dogs, come home, go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again the next day. It's a crazy schedule, but I love working with the dogs and I'm Iditarod-bound, so I'm willing to do what it takes to make this dream possible.  

 What is your favorite memory from your time at UGA? 

Most of my memories revolve around the Redcoat Band.  I was a 4-year marching member of the band, and most of my friends were in the Redcoats with me. I guess many of my fondest memories were also football-related because I was at almost every game. I was there for the "hobnail boot" in Tennessee, and Michael Johnson's miraculous touchdown catch at Auburn. I was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and many KKPsi brothers are still some of my best friends, so there are fantastic memories there. As a member of the Wind Symphony, I was honored to record two different professional albums of amazing band music under some of the best conductors I've ever had the pleasure to work with.  

  

Do you keep up with UGA football or other university-related happenings?

Of course I keep up with UGA football! I have a big Georgia banner in my band room, and I've worn holes in my UGA sweatshirts. Most of my mushing gear is red and black, I painted my dog box, the box on my pickup truck that I use to haul the dogs around to races, red and black. Once a Dawg, always a Dawg ─ how sweet it is!

Good luck, Philip! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to keeping up with your progress during the race. If you would like to follow Philip’s Iditarod journey, check out his website or Facebook page.

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01.21.2015

Flavor of Georgia celebrates tradition of artisan and craft foods

From cheeses to chutneys, craft chocolate to chorizo, the 2015 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest—sponsored by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development—will celebrate Georgians' creativity and craftsmanship by finding the best products in the state.

"Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products," said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest's coordinator. "It's also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts."

Nearly 90 percent of the finalists in the 2014 Flavor of Georgia Contest reported seeing increased interest in their products following the contest, and many others benefitted from increased sales, profits, publicity and website traffic, she said. Some also indicated an increase in full- and part-time employees.

More than 50 percent saw an increase in new contracts within one month of the contest.

A follow-up survey of past finalists, from the 2007 through 2012 contests, found that they attributed about 11 percent of their business revenue to their participation in Flavor of Georgia.

Finalists and winners will be eligible to participate in a number of high-profile industry showcases throughout 2015, including the Georgia Grown Symposium, the Georgia National Fair and showcase days at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. They also will receive industry feedback and use of the Flavor of Georgia finalist logo for their product's packaging.

Winners will be featured in the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Georgia Grown magazine, a statewide publicity push, a booth at the Georgia Food Industry Association conference, a spot at the Sherwood Food Distributors annual food show and use of Flavor of Georgia winner logo for their packaging.

  

Contest finalists will be invited to participate in the final round of judging and a public tasting March 9-10 as part of the Governor's Agricultural Awareness Day in Atlanta.

Food marketing experts, grocery buyers, chefs and Georgia agricultural experts will judge each product based on flavor, Georgia theme, unique or innovative qualities and commercial appeal.

Registration runs through Jan. 30 and includes commercially available products or market-ready prototypes. Product categories include barbecue sauces; beverages; confections; dairy products; jams and jellies; marinades and sauces; meat and seafood; salsas, chutneys and condiments; snack foods; and miscellaneous products. There is no limit to the number of products an individual can submit.

Register and learn more.

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