Top 10 in 10

by Steve Bracci

Young professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 are expected to have more influence on the future of economic roles and lifestyles than many generations that have come before them. Cities across the country are vying to retain and import a generation that is thought to be green, highly-educated and one that is radically transforming work environments and social networks. Most business development experts agree that cities that create a landscape and culture that cultivate young professionals will be at a competitive advantage in terms of business attraction and quality workforce.

The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Augusta Magazine, is pleased to announce and showcase 10 of Augusta’s most outstanding young professionals. The young professionals featured in this article entered into a competitive nomination process in March and have emerged as this year’s most promising and rising stars. We salute the achievements of these outstanding individuals and look forward to watching their dreams unfold.

To further recognize these individuals, the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce will submit a nomination on their behalf to the 2014 Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 competition. Recipients will also be honored at the Chamber’s Member Economic Luncheon on June 12. The luncheon will include a presentation and recognition by Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, a former Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 honoree.

With the program now in its fifth year, Augusta’s reputation for youthful and extraordinary talent Is growing both regionally and statewide. We have much to be proud of both now and in the future as these incredible individuals take their places among our community’s leadership.  
—Sue Parr. president,
Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce

Jason Blanchard
Age: 34
Company: Tucker Long PC
Position: Litigation Attorney

Selected as a 2014 Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine, Jason Blanchard says he will always be a student of law, constantly learning about new or evolving practice areas. At Tucker Long, the 2007 graduate of Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law concentrates his legal practices on a wide variety of civil litigation matters, including employment, business, commercial, real estate and personal injury cases. Blanchard has focused significantly on appellate litigation and has taken numerous cases to the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Department of Labor’s Board of Review. After taking the next five years to become more proficient in bankruptcy law and obtain an ownership stake in the firm, Blanchard, also a CPA, will have his eye on a judgeship, a position that will allow him to utilize his experience in both accounting and law to serve the community.  Additionally, it is a long-term goal of his to form a foundation that provides college scholarship opportunities for low-income students in the Augusta area.

Courtney Bodie
Age: 27
Company: Moses Law Group, LLC
Position: Associate Attorney

Courtney Bodie set her goals early to be a lawyer. After graduating with honors from the Terry Business College at the University of Georgia, it was on to Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, where she was made a member of the Brainerd Currie Honor Society for outstanding academic achievements and distinguished contributions to the law school. She also received a certificate of achievement for participation in the Law and Public Services Program in recognition of exceptional commitment to public service while studying at Mercer. As an associate attorney at Moses Law Group, Bodie has demonstrated an unprecedented dedication to solving clients’ needs in an empathetic manner. Described by her firm as a “caring counselor,” Bodie’s passion for people extends beyond her profession. She plans to continue her involvement with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, participate in Leadership Augusta and find other ways to give back to the community where she was born and raised. Within the next five to 10 years she will seek to grow as a lawyer and take on a leadership position with a local organization or charity.  

Lauren Dallas
Age: 29
Company: The Augusta Sports Council
Position: Marketing Coordinator

Lauren Dallas knows how to bring an organization into the spotlight. As the marketing coordinator for the Augusta Sports Council (ASC), Lauren Dallas is responsible for managing brand awareness, marketing communications and coordination of the Ray Guy Award for the collegiate punter of the year. Her dedication to a strong marketing plan resulted in historic growth for the ASC’s 2014 Georgia Regents University Augusta Half Marathon and 10K. Increased recognition and engagement yielded a 13 percent rise in participation. Even more impressive—voting for the Ray Guy Award increased by more than 100 percent and nominations increased by 40 percent, resulting in a record high of 89 nominations. These numbers can be attributed to Dallas’s continuous communication with sports information directors, national media and previous winners. Over the next five years, Dallas wants to build on her momentum as a forward thinker capable of contributing to the community. Success, she says, will be a process of asking herself two questions: Am I challenged and have I positively impacted others? Being able to answer yes to those questions will fuel her efforts both professionally and personally.

Fletcher Dickert
Age: 28
Company: Allen Batchelor Construction
Position: Construction Project Manager

Fletcher Dickert is no stranger to the construction industry. While earning his B.S. in construction science and management at Clemson University, Dickert took the opportunity to gain real-world experience through several summer internships and jobs with construction companies in Atlanta and Augusta. He worked his way up at Allen Batchelor, from intern to assistant project manager to his current position as project manager with the Augusta-based commercial general contractor. Dickert is responsible for the successful, overall delivery of commercial, healthcare, industrial, institutional, religious and multi-family projects ranging in value from a few thousand dollars to several million. Nine years ago he became one of the first few in the Augusta area to become a LEED accredited professional. Although he hasn’t had the opportunity to work on a LEED project, he has incorporated green practices into all of his work. Outside of Allen Batchelor, Dickert serves as one of the youngest ever elected members of the North Augusta City Council. Because of his background, his contributions to the Project Jackson efforts have been much appreciated by his fellow council members and the community. 

Maria Lynn Fuller
Age: 29
Company: Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
Position: Director of Operations for Human Capital Management

Eight years deep in her career at ADP, Maria Lynn Fuller has proven to be a force in the company’s human resources department. She started as an intern in the corporate offices in New Jersey, earned her way to a project specialist position and then advanced to management. As a strategic leader who focuses on talent, market conditions, continuous improvement and employee and client engagement, Fuller has driven desired business outcomes for ADP and its clients. Having recently completed her Professional in Human Resources certification, Fuller is primed to reach her long-term goals of helping ADP gain new share in selling and promoting its human capital management products and becoming a vice president overseeing global human capital initiatives for ADP. Recognized this year as one of ADP’s Women Making a Difference, Fuller’s contributions to the workplace and the community are a cut above. She completed the Leadership in Columbia County program, has participated in Junior Achievement in Augusta, leads service retreats for high school students at her church and is on the board of the Forward Foundation. 

Isaac Kelly
Age: 31
Company: Augusta Staffing Associates
Position: Recruiter/Staffing Specialist

Networker extraordinaire—that’s probably the best way to describe Isaac Kelly. His effervescence is widely recognized among his colleagues and is in part responsible for his impressive knack for connecting people and pushing boundaries in the community and in business. Kelly has played an integral role in re-shaping the Job Shop/Augusta/Aiken Staffing brand by leading the innovative charge in developing a new company logo and color scheme, managing 18 company social media networks and co-managing company sponsorships of groups, causes and events. Augusta Staffing Associates has a lot to look forward to with Kelly on board, as his company goals include creating three dedicated divisions for the medical, information technology, and hospitality industries; and opening an office in Savannah, Ga., within the next 10 years. Kelly is not only a game changer professionally but also philanthropically. He is on the nomination committee for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an advisory board member at Miller Motte Technical College, a non-profit coach for Michelle’s Kids and founding president of Augusta Pride, which attracts more than 10,000 people to its annual event.

Tiffany Mallory
Age: 30
Company: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern
District of Georgia
Position: District Financial Litigation Attorney

Tiffany Mallory brings a unique combination of urban and rural legal experience to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. Prior to joining the office, the University of Georgia School of Law graduate was the senior law clerk in Judge W. Louis Sands’s chamber in Albany, Ga., and a litigation associate at Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan in Atlanta. At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mallory represents the federal government in virtually all litigation involving violations of federal law and also serves as the chief of the financial litigation unit. Over the next five to 10 years, Mallory wants to become a dynamic leadership force, utilizing her position to educate policy makers about the decline of rural areas as their once prosperous industries weaken from the flight of young talent and the aging of its citizens. She envisions implementing policies that encourage young professionals to return to these communities and be part of their revitalization. Currently, her primary civic involvement includes speaking about self-esteem and good decision making at area schools.  

Mark Reeves
Age: 35
Company: Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP
Position: Associate Attorney

In his nine years with Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, Mark Reeves has earned a reputation nationwide as a preeminent litigator with exceptional writing skills and deep knowledge of complex Native American law. He forayed into this specialty as a member of a litigation team that forced the U.S. government in 2012 to compensate Native Americans 3.4 billion dollars for losses related to poor accounting and management of trust assets by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Treasury Department. Reeves is currently litigating at least two cases of national significance to Native Americans: one involving the water rights of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs, Cal., and another involving the State of Alabama’s attempts to curtail the federal gaming rights of the Creek Indians. In addition to his unmatched professional achievements and skills, Reeves is a family man who is also active in the Augusta community through his work with the Augusta Bar Association, the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy and other non-profits. He is also a recipient of the Kilpatrick Townsend Managing Partners’ Pro Bono Award, given to recognize the most significant pro bono contributions made by one attorney in a firm of more than 600 lawyers. 

Steven Sanders
Age: 33
Company: Fulcher Hagler LLP
Position: Associate Attorney

After graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law, Steven Sanders immediately began to exhibit the best qualities of a lawyer at Fulcher Hagler, including integrity, leadership, sound research skills and superb communication. Sanders came from law school prepared, having served as an active student leader and an editorial board member of the South Carolina Law Review. He had argued before the Supreme Court of South Carolina as a finalist in the J. Woodrow Lewis Moot Court Competition and he also received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for high marks in trial advocacy and criminal procedure. As an associate attorney with the business and taxation group at Fulcher Hagler, Sanders’s practice areas include estate planning, probate and estate administration, corporate and business organizations, personal asset protection, contracts and property transactions. His professional goals over the next five to 10 years include becoming an active leader in the firm, publishing legal scholarship and supporting initiatives that will help Augusta-Richmond County become a more vibrant, attractive place for young people, families, and businesses.

Chad Walters
Age: 34
Company: Lean Blitz Consulting
Position: Continuous Improvement Consultant

There are those who dream and those who envision, make things happen through intrepid persistence and innovation. Chad Walters became one of Augusta’s finest visionaries when he opened Lean Blitz Consulting to help small businesses remain competitive with an evolving global market through process optimization and waste reduction.  Using Lean and Six Sigma principles, Walters provides consulting and coaching to all types of companies, including Automatic Data Processing and the Salvation Army family stores. One of 29 writers chosen for the American Society for Quality’s Influential Voices program, Walters’s past clients and employers for continuous improvement projects and assessments include the Atlanta Braves, the Dannon Company, Thomson Plastics, Elmore Sports Group, and the South Bend Silver Hawks minor league baseball club. Over the course of his career, Walters has helped companies improve their bottom line figures by nearly eight million dollars through cost savings or optimized performance. In addition to expanding the practice and reach of Lean Blitz Consulting, Walters would like to give back by holding workshops and working with local chambers and clubs to discuss opportunities for improved competitiveness.


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