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09.12.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Irving Steel (AB ’08)

Irving Steel (AB ’08) has been described as one of the most “globally competent” UGA graduates. I would add that he is also one of the most committed alumni when it comes to giving back to the University of Georgia.

Steel graduated from UGA in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in global studies. Steel traveled to China in 2007 through the International Center for Democratic Governance and the Carl Vinson Institute at UGA, and credits that experience for opening career paths for him.

Steel’s experience abroad at UGA led him to move to Shanghai after graduation. From 2009 to 2011, he served as an environmental champion and corporate account coordinator for Tandus. The alumnus was responsible for leading the company’s sustainability efforts in China and managing more than 40 design, architecture, construction and project management company accounts.

While Steel was with Tandus, he also founded Green Drinks China, which aims to bridge the gap between organizations, students and communities in order to take action on environmental issues in China. What began as a monthly networking event has grown into an eight-city organization hosting more than 75 events and planting hundreds of trees across China.

At the same time Steel was working for Tandus and founding Green Drinks China, he also found time to establish and lead the UGA Alumni Association China Chapter. As the China Chapter president, Steel coordinates events and programs for alumni across China. In addition, he hosts events and functions for undergraduate and MBA students, professors and other campus departments.

In 2012, Steel, who is now fluent in Mandarin, founded and became CEO of Original Life, Ltd., which strives to create a deeper impact on the attitude toward food and life via aquaponics. He facilitates training sessions and partnerships with educational institutions, and trains undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the University of Virginia’s SEED program. Original Life’s mission is very simple – clean, affordable food for all.

Kavita Pandit, associate provost in UGA’s Office of International Affairs, nominated Steel for the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, saying, “What impresses me most about Irving is his truly international outlook and vision. He has identified a very promising business niche which is consistent with his personal commitment to environmental responsibility.”

Steel’s entrepreneurial spirit and international outlook is taking him great places.  He was awarded the Rotary International Leadership Award for Community Development by Rotary Shanghai last year and has won a number of other awards, including Environmental Performer for Asia from Asia’s top real estate media.

Congratulations to Irving on being named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013 – he is truly deserving of this honor and we are glad to have the opportunity to recognize him for his commitment to UGA.

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12.19.2014

Brothers make business a family affair

How do two brothers from tiny Hopeful, Georgia, manage to take Atlanta’s entrepreneurial spirit to a new level? Well, ask the Shirah brothers, Benjie (BSFR ’07, MFR ’10) and Jamey (BBA ’10). Since leaving Athens, the business-savvy brothers have embarked on a number of successful endeavors, including The Ivy Buckhead and Atlanta-based companies Kill Cliff – The Recovery Drink™ and Vida-Flo: The Hydration Station. Now, the brothers are heading in a new direction - your feet. 

This fall, Benjie and Jamey launched their latest project, JL The Brand, a flair-filled sock company. Together with friends, the brothers are working to add a little jazz to the mundane black and blue men’s suit with top-notch socks. 

Designed with unique patterns and colors, JL The Brand offers affordable high quality socks that add a subtle yet sophisticated pop to any outfit. JL The Brand socks are the perfect gift for any guy this holiday season! 

With the Shirah brothers’ keen eye for business development, these young alumni are sure make a lasting mark on Atlanta's entrepreneurial scene. 

Keep up with the Shirah's businesses on social media: 

@theivybuckhead
@govidaflo
@jlthebrand

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12.18.2014

40 Under 40 honoree to direct UGA’s state government relations

Tobin R. "Toby" Carr (BBA '01, BSAE '01) was named associate vice president for government relations and director of state governmental relations at UGA. Vice President for Government Relations J. Griffin Doyle announced the appointment of Carr, who currently is planning director for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Carr was appointed to his current DOT post in 2012, a position in which he has led a team of some 30 planning professionals in guiding strategic planning and project budget documents that direct state and federal resources to fund transportation projects. He graduated from the UGA Honors Program in 2001 with bachelor's degrees in business administration and agricultural engineering. Before assuming his DOT post, Carr served as Deal's transportation policy adviser and the governor's liaison to the Georgia House of Representatives. He previously was director of Deal's gubernatorial transition committee.

An active student leader while at UGA, Carr served as president of the Interfraternity Council and was named to Sphinx, Omicron Delta Kappa, Blue Key, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and the Arch Society. He currently serves on the UGA College of Engineering Alumni Advisory Board and was recognized in 2014 as a UGA 40 Under 40 and as the 2012 Blue Key Outstanding Young Alumnus Award winner.

"I'm humbled and thrilled to serve my alma mater in this role," Carr said. "I'm very grateful to Gov. Deal for his support of this new endeavor and to President Morehead and Vice President Doyle for giving me the opportunity to advance the mission of UGA."

Carr will serve as primary liaison between the university and state government officials, representing the university in all matters involving legislators, agencies, departments, and the other higher education institutions of Georgia. The transition will occur in early January.

Click here to read more. 

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12.11.2014

UGA’s Thank-a-Teacher Program

Did a teacher at UGA enrich your life or create a spark that inspired you to pursue your dreams? Was there a professor or teaching assistant that pushed you to do your best and helped you discover your passion for a certain subject? 

Now is the time to let that teacher - and the university community - know how grateful you are for their effect on your life. UGA's Center for Teaching and Learning invites current UGA students and alumni to particpate in the Thank-a-Teacher program.

What is Thank-a-Teacher? It is a program that allows students and alumni to express gratitude for teachers who have impacted their lives in a profound and meaningful way. If a teacher (professor, instructor, teaching assistant) made a positive contribution to your experience at UGA, please consider sending them a brief note. You may choose to remain anonymous or have your name attached to the note. 

You will be asked to fill out a simple form and acknowledge your appreciation for your teacher's work, dedication and extra effort. Share a simple thank you or an anecdote to let that teacher know what you enjoyed about their class and why it was important to you. 

Click here to complete the Thank-a-Teacher form

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