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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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03.27.2015

Alumnae Work to Save our Hearing

Athens, a town where music flourishes, is packed with venues and sold-out shows. However, two of Athens’ biggest music-goers, alumnae Katie Carmody (BSED ’08) and Caroline DeCelles (BSED ’08, MED ’10), realized that most people were unaware of the long-term, damaging effects concerts can have on hearing.

Inspired by their undergraduate studies in music business and communication sciences and disorders and by their passion for music, the two graduates started We’re hEAR for You, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for hearing conservation. We’re hEAR for You supplies free earbuds in music venues all over Athens as well as communities across the nation.

Earbuds provided by We're hEAR for You

In an interview with the Red & Black, Carmody and DeCelles shared their passion for hearing protection.

“We’re trying to break the stigma of hearing protection. People think that hearing protection will decrease the quality of a show, but it actually filters out damaging frequencies. We’re hEAR for You focuses on education. Once people understand the science on why they need to protect their hearing, they are so much more likely to use hearing protection,” said Carmody.

We’re hEAR for You has established chapters in Atlanta, Nashville, Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, but the group’s largest chapter is in the Classic City.

Locally, the organization’s major effort is to supply music venues, bars and other music related operations in the Athens area, such as Nuci's Space, with free ear buds and hearing protection resources. The public takes full advantage of the earbuds which have to be restocked quite frequently.

DeCelles and Carmody are in collaboration with the UGA Huge Hodges School of Music and strongly encourage students to get involved in advocating hearing protection. The organization takes part in the annual International Hearing Awareness Day on campus as well.

As the organization continues to grow, they work with musicians nationwide to promote hearing conservation. Currently, We’re hEAR for You has 25 bands that carry their earbuds on tour. Carmody operates as a liaison with these artists and makes sure the bands stay stocked. The organization even coordinates with music festivals to provide the earbuds to fellow music lovers.


 

Alumnae Katie Carmody (BSED ’08) and Caroline DeCelles (BSED ’08, MED ’10) at AthenFest 2014

 

Visit We’re hEAR for You at their website to partner with them or learn more about their cause.

This was originally published in the Red and Black

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03.25.2015

3rd Annual TEDxUGA is Friday, March 27

UGA is hosting its 3rd Annual TEDxUGA event in Tate Grand Hall on Friday, March 27 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. What is TEDx? TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxUGA, where x = independently organized TED event. At the TEDxUGA event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized. Several UGA alumni will present at this year's TEDxUGA event:

  • Lemuel LaRoche (BSW '02, MSW '03)
  • Michelle Blue (BBA '13)
  • Julie Rushmore (PHD '13, DVM '17)
  • Chris Dixon (ABJ '89, MMC '95)
  • Lisa Taylor (JD '01)

Won't be in Athens or missed out on tickets for the event? TEDxUGA will be livestreamed begining at 2:00 p.m. on Friday. This will be a great opportunity for alumni and friends to participate and engage from across the country. You can also interact with the event on Twitter.

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03.19.2015

2015 Alumni Seminar: Food for Thought

The University of Georgia will host its second annual Return to the Arch Alumni Seminar, a three-day educational gathering for UGA alumni and friends, from May 1-3, 2015. This year's theme is "Food for Thought" and will feature lectures, tours and interactive seminars that showcase the best that UGA has to offer. Come prepared with open minds and empty stomachs as you experience a fun, food-filled weekend on campus.

Seminar highlights include:

  • A reception and dinner with Food Network star and alumnus Alton Brown (AB '04)
  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of campus
  • Presentations from leading UGA faculty members
  • Address by Peter Dale (ABJ '99), owner/chef of The National in Athens, 2012 Food & Wine's "People's Best New Chef-Southeast"
  • A farm-to-table dinner under the stars on Herty Field

View the complete seminar schedule

The registration fee for this three-day seminar is $290 per person, which includes all meals, beverages, transportation, seminars and special activities. It does not include hotel accommodations.

A supplemental dining package for non-attendee spouses/guests may be purchased for $115. This includes the Friday reception and dinner with Alton Brown, the Saturday reception and Ffarm-to-table dinner on Herty Field, and a local lunch market on Sunday.

Register today!

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