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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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10.22.2014

Bulldogs in the Sunshine State

Southern California is known for its beaches, beautiful weather and the glamour of Hollywood, but the Sunshine State has a touch of Bulldog, topo. With more than 3,535 UGA alumni, Southern California is home to a host of alumni and alumni-owned businesses. 

A beer tap made from a Harley engine? Check. An annual Halloween party that includes a strait jacket escape contest and something called the Dead Marionette Theater? Check. A Johnny Cash shrine? Sure! All these elements and more come together to create the Gasser Lounge, a rock n’ roll bar located in Redondo Beach, California, the pride of owner Mike Bouchard (BBA ’03).

Serving as the Southern California Chapter’s game watching party venue, the Gasser Lounge hosts an energetic crew of football devotees every week for an indoor tailgating experience unlike any other, complete with a red leather interior and a special surprise after every Dawgs touchdown, served up by bartender Bouchard.

Bouchard and his bar aren’t the only ones keeping the Southern California Chapter entertained, however.

  

M. Ali Salimi (BBA ’03), president of the chapter, is an esteemed attorney who lived in Switzerland and London before beginning his own firm in Irvine.

Outside of work, Salimi opts for a hobby that’s a little less serious - gracing the stages of comedy clubs across the region. 

The UGA Alumni Association is proud of your accomplishments, Mike and Ali! Continue keeping the Southern California Chapter interesting.

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10.21.2014

2014-2015 Signature Lecture Series

Guest Blogger: Meg Amstutz, Ph.D. 
Associate Provost for Academic Programs

UGA is now highlighting a number of premier lectures through its new Signature Lectures designation, designed to help focus attention on the variety of prominent thinkers visiting campus.

When I first came to UGA in 1997, one thing I missed from my prior institution was the twice-yearly notice of its endowed lecture series. At the beginning of each semester, the arrival of the list of upcoming lectures would prompt my fellow graduate students and me to mark our calendars and chat with friends and colleagues about the topics that interested us most. Faculty across campus encouraged students to attend these lectures, and they often incorporated the work of the speakers into the classes they were teaching.    

In 2013-2014, more than 50 individual lectures were listed on UGA’s Master Calendar, signaling the strong level of intellectual activity taking place. At the same time, this long list signaled an opportunity to reframe these offerings conceptually, so that students and faculty might more easily mark the dates, participate and engage in classroom discussion together.

To that end, we have launched the UGA Signature Lectures, featuring speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. This special designation recognizes a number of UGA’s endowed lectures, including the Gregory Lecture and the Mason Public Leadership Lecture, as well as lectures with historic significance on our campus, such as the Louise McBee Lecture, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture, and UGA’s Founders Day Lecture.

I am grateful to those who have chosen to endow lectures, because these Signature Lectures are one of the best ways for students to discover that they are truly part of a larger, international intellectual conversation.

For a full list of the 2014-2015 Signature Lecture, please click here.

The UGA Alumni Association will hold the 2015 Founders Day Lecture at the Chapel on Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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10.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Christy Hulsey (ABJ '98)

Bulldog 100 and 40 Under 40 honoree Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’98) lives a busy life as owner and creative director of Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Georgia. 

Hulsey’s work, inspired by her grandmother, is self-described as “timeless elegance that is ethereal and moody.” The majority of her designs feature unusual materials, such as pinecones and berries - something that caught the attention of both Pottery Barn and White House staff. Hulsey’s shop was selected to launch Pottery Barn's 2014 summer brand, and her floral designs were displayed at the White House in 2013.

A regular on Pottery Barn’s Have and Hold wedding blog, Hulsey informs brides-to-be on the art of creating flower girl halos, cake stand centerpieces and seashore-inspired tablescapes.

Hulsey enjoys opportunitues to work with fellow UGA alumni. She began her relationship with Pottery Barn after the floral arrangements she designed for friend and fellow Grady graduate Linsay Cheney Rudd’s (ABJ ’08) wedding were noticed by the blog. Hulsey also uses her friends in various photo shoots for Pottery Barn, including one for a driftwood lantern centerpiece tutorial that features Lea Lanier (BSED ’99).

  

In 2013, Colonial House of Flowers, generously donated flowers to UGA Day in Statesboro. She also gifted each 2014 40 Under 40 honorees with a red rose after the awards ceremony.

Congratulations on your success, Christy! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to many more years of your beautiful designs.

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