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09.18.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Padgett “Pat” Wilson (AB ’96)

Padgett “Pat” Wilson (AB ’96) spent the summer between his junior and senior years at UGA studying abroad in Erlangen, Germany. That trip offered a number of “firsts” for the small-town Georgia native – his first time truly leaving home, his first passport, his first trip abroad, his first time dreaming in another language, his first train trip, his first glass of wine, and the first time to take “the blinders off to the world and the opportunities that exist outside of the life” he knew.

This young graduate has come a long way since those days. Today, he serves as the chief operating officer for the Georgia Department of Economic Development in Atlanta. In this role, Wilson directs the long-term strategy and daily operations of the Georgia agency tasked with growing jobs and investment across the state. He manages a $26 million annual budget and oversees approximately 170 employees in Georgia and 12 international offices.

After graduating from UGA, Wilson served as a Congressional intern, legislative correspondent, and North Georgia regional representative in Washington, D.C. From 2001 to 2005, he worked for Greenberg Traurig. The subsequent five years were spent in former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s administration – first as Perdue’s director of federal affairs in D.C., and then as his government affairs director in Atlanta.

In 2010, Wilson joined the Georgia Department of Economic Development as deputy commissioner of global commerce, and in 2011, was named the agency’s COO.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development is responsible for a number of important tasks, including growing and expanding the state’s existing industries; developing and recruiting new businesses to the state; enhancing Georgia’s trade relationships around the world; attracting tourists to Georgia; and promoting the state as an ideal location for film, video, music and digital entertainment enterprises. During the last three years, the alumnus has helped attract some big names to the state, including Baxter, Caterpillar and Starbucks.

In addition to his role as COO, Wilson serves as the executive director of Georgia Allies, a marketing partnership between the State of Georgia and the private sector that promotes Georgia’s economic development priorities. He is a former member of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors and a past president of the Georgia State Society in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to Pat Wilson on being named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. Tomorrow is the big day! It’s not too late to attend the 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium; walk-up registration will be available at 11:30 a.m. See you there!

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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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