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08.20.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Ron Holt (BSA ’97)

When Ron Holt (BSA ’97) left his job with Micromeritics Instrument Corporation in 2003 to invest his savings in a fledgling maid service in Pensacola, Fla., his friends and family members thought he was crazy.

Ten years later, those friends and family members think he’s anything but crazy. The UGA alumnus is now the founder and president of Two Maids & a Mop, the largest, privately owned residential cleaning company in the country.

When when Two Maids & a Mop opened its doors in Pensacola in April 2003, it didn’t take but a few weeks before it became obvious that Holt needed to reinvent the residential house cleaning business model.

He did this by first striving to change the way consumers viewed housekeepers. Holt acknowledged that consumers expect a certain degree of unprofessionalism with a cleaning company and that a housekeeper wasn’t expected to “think big.” Holt rejected that notion and implemented a structure that not only directly died compensation to customer feedback, but he fostered a culture of upward mobility. Not many businesses offer individuals the opportunity to go from scrubbing toilets to opening a new business – Two Maids & a Mop does just that.

Holt also revolutionized the manner in which Two Maids & a Mop promoted itself. Instead of relying on paid advertising, the business capitalizes on social media, search engine optimization and word of mouth marketing. Today, Holt’s company operates in 12 cities in five states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee) and employs more than 150 team members.

Holt and his business have been recognized with a number of awards and honors in recent years. In 2013, Holt was a semifinalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. That same year, his business debuted on the UGA Alumni Association Bulldog 100 at No. 57. In 2013, Inc. included Two Maids & a Mop among the 5000 Fastest Growing Businesses in America (No. 1156) and the ninth fastest growing company in Alabama. The company rose to No. 13 on the Bulldog 100, and will be profiled in an upcoming issue of Georgia Magazine.

With all this success, Holt hasn’t lost track of what matters. In 2012, Cleaning for a Reason named Two Maids & a Mop the 2012 National Maid Service of the Year for providing more than 2000 free house cleanings (the most of any company in the country) to women undergoing cancer treatment. In addition, Holt volunteers as a UGA Alumni Association Birmingham Chapter leader and participated in the UGA Alumni Association’s 2013 thinc Entrepreneurial Week panel on campus.

I can’t say enough good things about Ron Holt and am so glad to see him recognized in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. He is certainly deserving of this great honor.

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07.23.2015

Alumna’s songs featured on HBO’s “True Detective”

If you watch HBO's popular series "True Detective," odds are you've heard Lera Lynn Buettner's (AB '08) songs. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter has had four songs featured on the show's soundtrack. The UGA Alumni Association recently sat down with Lera to learn more about her musical career and time spent studying anthropology at UGA.  

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up and what led you to UGA? 

I was born in Texas, but my parents left soon after and slowly made their way to Georgia, stopping in Louisiana for about five years first. We moved around a good bit in Georgia, and I finished high school in Woodstock. It was around that time I visited Athens for the first time, to hang out with friends and see live music. I fell in love with the town's energy and lively music scene. That's ultimately what led me to UGA. My family stressed the importance of college, though I had my sights dead-set on music. UGA and Athens were my ticket to satisfying both.

As a student, were you involved in any activities or student groups on campus? Did you have a favorite professor or any fond memories from your time in Athens?

I worked my way through college, waiting tables, bartending and saving up as much as I could between semesters so that I could work fewer hours and still survive when school was in session. That said, I didn't have a lot of extra time for student groups. What time I did have was always devoted to music. Attending UGA still endures as some of my most fond memories. What a luxury it is to go to college and just learn all day! My senior year was definitely my best, as the courses were digging deeper into the things that truly interested me. I loved study groups that were assembled by classmates. I loved sitting in the group and discussing the subject matter in-depth outside of the classroom. It's easy to take that for granted when you're so young, but those are some of the most important conversations you can have; just digging in and bouncing ideas off of other people who are dedicating so much energy to the same things as you.

One of my favorite memories was a beautiful and moving lecture by Dr. Peter Brosius. He was recounting time spent researching in the field and the relationships he'd developed there; the focus being love at the center of everything in life. His lecture brought the whole class (100+ students) to tears. I think he was in tears, too. I will never forget the passion he has for what he does. It reminds me to do what I do for the right reasons. 

  

Since graduating, you’ve moved to Nashville. How did you establish yourself as a musician in there?

I've yet to establish myself anywhere, really, because I'm trying to establish myself everywhere all the time. As an artist, you're often trying to establish yourself on a national level. There's a difference between a studio musician in Nashville and an "artist."

You’ve had several songs featured on the soundtrack for HBO’s True Detective. Tell me how that project came about and what doors it has opened for you

I've had four songs featured in the series so far. I was lucky to have my manager set up a meeting with legendary producer, T Bone Burnett, after he expressed an interest in using the title track from an EP I released last year called "Lying in the Sun." We got along well. Burnett asked if I wanted to collaborate on music for the show and the rest is history. I got to appear in the show several times and I've learned a lot about the business side of music and show business. The show has exposed my music to many new eager ears - that's been the best part of the whole thing.

Do you have any other big projects in the pipeline? Where do you envision your career in five years?

I'm currently writing and recording my next LP. I'm really enjoying the process. I feel like there are so many more possibilities to explore. I hope that in the next five years I can buy a sensible new car. That would be success!

Learn more about Lera Lynn

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07.21.2015

UGA’s Scott Angle selected to lead international agricultural organization

J. Scott Angle, who has served as dean and director of UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for the past decade, has announced that he will step down from his position to lead a global organization that works to alleviate hunger.

As president and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center, Angle will oversee an organization that has been active in nearly 100 countries and is focused on increasing food security and agricultural productivity through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.

"Over the past decade, Dean Angle has provided outstanding leadership to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences," President Morehead said. "He has been one of the strongest champions of UGA's land-grant mission, working tirelessly to connect the vast resources of the college to the challenges and opportunities faced by the agriculture industry across the state. We are grateful for his many years of dedicated service and wish him well in this new endeavor."

Continue reading this story

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07.13.2015

Seeking photos of young alumni

Are you a proud UGA graduate under the age of 40? Do you know a successful young alumnus?

The university is seeking photo submissions for Profiles, the e-magazine for young alumni of UGA. View the most recent issue of Profiles and then search your computers and phones for spirited photos of you showing the fruit of a Georgia education! UGA wants to feature alumni from around the world, doing great things professionally and personally. Ideas for photos include:

-  Work experiences/travel

-  Community service projects

-  Vacation

-  Weddings and additions to the family

-  UGA alumni events and gatherings

SUBMIT YOUR PHOTOS TODAY.

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