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08.22.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Ashley Jones (BS ’02)

According to UGA Director of Federal Relations Andrew Dill (BBA ’06, AB ’07), 40 Under 40 Class of 2013 honoree Ashley Jones (AB ’02) “defines leadership.” He adds that she “is a public servant who has passed on more lucrative opportunities to stay in a position to serve her state, country and university.”

Jones is currently Congressman John Barrow’s chief of staff, a position she has held since 2007. At the age of 27, she became the youngest female to obtain this position on Capitol Hill. As chief of staff, Jones oversees Barrow’s Washington, D.C., office and four district offices, manages a staff of more than 20, and serves as Barrow’s senior political advisor.

“The average age of a chief of staff is 42. The fact that I was put in charge of the Congressman’s operation at the age of 27, and the fact that I am the only female chief of staff in the Georgia Delegation, is a source of pride for me,” said Jones.

Jones began her career with Barrow as an intern, but quickly moved into a fundraising role with the Congressman’s first campaign in 2003. That year, Barrow’s team raised more money than any other challenger in the country. The alumna later managed Barrow’s 2012 re-election campaign, which was seen as a no-win contest. Through Jones’s leadership, though, the congressman won re-election by eight percentage points – a victory recognized nationally as one of the greatest upsets in that election cycle.

When asked about her favorite UGA memory, Jones acknowledged the challenge of selecting just one. She added, “I hope I’m not done creating memories at UGA, which is why I continue to stay involved. I can hopefully help others leave UGA with the same impossible task of picking just one favorite memory.”

Jones gives back to her alma mater on a regular basis. She has hired more than 25 UGA graduates since she became chief of staff, and always welcomes several UGA interns each semester. She speaks to UGA Washington Semester students and visits campus to share her experiences with SPIA students.

Thank you for representing your alma mater in D.C., Ashley. Your university is proud of your success and looks forward to what else your career will hold. Congratulations on being named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013!

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Recent Entries


04.23.2014

Alumna puts passion for historic preservation into action

Catherine Garner (MHP ’13) has a passion for preserving the historic buildings of Salisbury, NC. After finishing her undergraduate degree in geography and urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Garner interned with preservation planners in Winston-Salem. Fulfilled by the work, she chose to pursue the path of historic preservation, eventually earning her master's degree from UGA in preservation planning.

Since then, Garner has landed her dream job as Salisbury’s newest city planner and liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Commission. In this position, she help develop communities in which people want to live. She is involved in the city’s new "one-stop shop" for development services. The innovative program encourages local business owners to obtain city permits and a business license under the same roof. By streamlining the process, more local businesses will be involved in the city planning process.

Congratulations, Catherine! It’s great to see an alumna making a difference in her community. The work you do will impact Salisbury for generations to come.

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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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