To ensure industry input into our programs, the College of Business has a leadership board consisting of business leaders. The Leadership Board is a diversified group in terms of gender, racial composition and size of businesses that the members represent. The Leadership Board for the College of Business consists of individuals who are nominated by the Board's Committee and elected by Leadership Board members.
The purpose of the College of Business Leadership Board is "to provide advice, guidance and support for the continuing development of high quality business programs at Georgia College."
The Leadership Board assists in promoting the College of Business to the business community, augmenting existing career counseling and placement services, providing the faculty with continuing opportunities for interaction with the business community and sharing special insights through classroom presentations. A natural result of the Leadership Board has been financial support for many of the College of Business activities, such as student scholarships.
Leadership Board Members
Keith Barlow (Milledgeville, GA)
Mr. Barlow has been the Publisher of The Union- Recorder newspaper for 28 years (since 1991). He is highly active in the local community and served as Part Chairman of the Board of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce as well as Past Club President of the Milledgeville Rotary Club.
Mr. Barlow graduated from Georgia College with a degree in Computer Based Information Systems in 1991 and was a member of a fraternity. Mr. Barlow met his wife, Paige (fellow alumnus) at Georgia College. Paige is now an art teacher at Georgia Military College.
Amber Bennett-Brannon (Atlanta, GA)
Amber is a business consultant for the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. UGA SBDC is a public service and outreach initiative to grow Georgia’s businesses by offering one-on-one consulting, industry research, and continuing education for small business owners. Previously, Amber has worked in business management and operations for both the not-for-profit and small business industries.
Her main consulting focus is on access to capital through commercial lending. Amber graduated from Georgia College with both her bachelor and master’s degrees in accounting. As an alumna, Amber has stayed involved with Georgia College as a former Alumni Association board member and a current member of the College of Business Leadership Board.
She established the Amber Melinda Bennett Endowed Scholarship in 2015
A. “McKenzie” Davenport (Milledgeville, GA)
Mr. Davenport started his career as an auditor at Ernst & Young in Atlanta. He then worked for eight years at Arcilla Mining & Land with Foundation Member, Ted Smith. McKenzie moved to Fowler Flemister Concrete in June 2018 where he currently serves as CFO. McKenzie received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Auburn University. He has served on the board since 2019.
Advocating for management, while creating a pro-employee environment, thus eliminating the need for third-party intervention. Supporting employers and employees in their fight against unwelcome / forced unionization.
Larry Edwards (Milledgeville/Atlanta)
Larry Edwards is the National Accounts Manager for Sigma Plastics (since 2007). Prior to this, he was the National Sales Manager for PCL Packaging (1989-2007).
Mr. Edwards earned a MBA from the Terry College of Business, UGA and currently serves as the Treasurer of The GC&SU Foundation Board of Trustees.
Larry and his wife established the Larry and Sharon Edwards Endowed Scholarship in 2015.
Chris Gibson (Macon, GA)
Chris Gibson is the City Executive/Commercial Loan Officer for the Gray Branch of Exchange Bank. Prior to this he worked for BB&T for 14 years in multiple rolls including Branch Manager for the Milledgeville area.
Mr. Gibson earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2000 and his MBA in 2002, both from Georgia College.
He has served the university as a member of the Alumni Board and as a Foundation Trustee. Mr. Gibson has been a part of the Bunting College of Business Leadership Board since 2017.
Jeff Lacksen (Sparta, GA)
Jeff Lacksen is the owner of an 11,000 acre tree farm, Lacksen Family Farm. Prior to this he was owner and president of TREECO, a forestry consulting business that provided machine planting of open land and site prepared land, as well as, machine VBlade planting and root raking.
Mr. Lacksen’s two daughters attended Georgia College during high school and enjoyed their time at the university.
His family’s passion is long-distance running and traveling.
Jim Lynch (Greensboro, GA)
Mr. Lynch founded his business consulting group in 2017 (Lynchpin Associates, LLC).
Prior to this, he spent a long career working at UPS in a variety of roles: Director of Worldwide Licensing, Director of Retail Marketing, Director of Global Marketing, etc. Prior to UPS, he also worked for the Coca-Cola Company for 14 years.
Mr. Lynch holds a B.A. Business Management from Seattle University and MBA from Emory University. He joined the Bunting College of Business Leadership Board in 2019.
Mike Madison (Atlanta, GA)
Mike Madison is currently the Senior Director of Product for Westhill. He was previously the Product Manager for Acoustic and has also worked in several other capacities including: Senior Manager, Customer Success- Aha! Senior Director/Head of Product- dESCO- FieldEdge, SAI Global Ethics and Learning.
Mr. Madison earned a BBA in Management Information Systems in 2006, a MBA in 2007 and Master of Management Information Systems in 2015, all from Georgia College.
During his tenure at GC, he was highly involved in campus life and was named the Outstanding Student of the Year for the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business (2006) and the Outstanding Departmental Major, MIS, (2006).
Mike McCabe (Milledgeville, GA)
Mike McCabe is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. His wife, Christy, is the owner/instructor of a local dance studio, The Vibe.
Mr. McCabe earned a B.S., Management from Georgia College in 2003
Larry Moore (Eatonton, GA)
Larry Moore was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. His ancestors were among Georgia’s early settlers. He stole the school bus while in high school, but served no time and went on to receive an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, later doing graduate work in management and economics at several colleges in different sections of the country, including Princeton, NYU, and Pace. With wife Jenny, an Agnes Scott alum who has no record and has served as part-time faculty at Georgia College, he purchased a home on Lake Oconee 25 miles from Georgia College in 1994 before retiring in 2000 after careers as an AT&T Vice President, founder of MooreCom and Division President of CD Tech, while living in a number of US cities. While at AT&T Larry spoke to business classes at Harvard and MIT on business models.
Current and past community activities include: Chairman of the Historic Scenic Byway Corp. Board, Business School Leadership Board (Business) at Georgia College, columnist for the Eatonton Messenger and Lake Oconee News, Georgia Public Radio (NPR) Commentator, Eatonton Main Street Board Chairman, Rock Hawk Effigy & Museums CEO, Eatonton Kiwanis. He is a past Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and later Volunteer of the Year for Putnam County.
Past outside activities have included: running marathons and triathlons, bicycling, running 1984 Olympic Torch and serving on 1996 Olympic Committees, coaching Little League baseball and community basketball, and recruiting minorities and women for MIT and Georgia Tech.
James Robertson (Atlanta, GA)
James Robertson joined Aruba at the beginning of 2019 after a successful career in the Media and Entertainment industry where he held numerous Operational, Engineering and Executive roles across multiple disciplines including Infrastructure, Networking, IT Security, Satellite Operations and Broadcast Media Technology.
James is a hands-on technologist who brings a pragmatic approach to each and every situation – finding the right solution that best fits the need. At every stage of his career James has lead teams through significant M&A, R&D, Company Acquisitions and Business Transformations that have unlocked value, enhanced capabilities, pushed technology forward and ultimately driven successful business outcomes.
At Aruba, James serves as part of the Industry Executive Group within the Office of the CTO. This small team of visionary industry experts have all led complex organizations and have been recognized for their deep technical leadership and business excellence. As part of his role, James helps to enhance strategic and thought leadership between Aruba, its partners and customers, that further strengthens our “Customer First, Customer Last” philosophy.
James regularly speaks at industry events globally and leads Aruba’s Executive Forums and Technical Advisory Forums held throughout the year.
He holds a BSc and MS in Computer Science with specializations in Networking, Security and AI. He has also contributed to numerous industry publications, text books, standards research and product development across technology and media over his career.
Originally from the UK, James and his family now live in Atlanta, Georgia. He has served on the Leadership Board and the IT Advisory Board for the Bunting College of Business.
Priscilla Ruckno (Vidalia, GA & Dallas, PA)
Priscilla Ruckno presently own Prissys, Inc. (aka Prissys of Vidalia). She started Prissy’s in 1986 in Vidalia, Georgia selling quality specialty foods with Vidalia Onions. The company later expanded into other Southern Foods and today sell into 42 States and 3 international countries.
Ms. Ruckno earned a B.S. in Political Science 1976 and MBA in 1977 both from Georgia College. Ms. Ruckno was also the first woman to graduate from Georgia College with an MBA.
She is married to Louis Ruckno and has one son, Walker Oxley who works with Prissy’s and manages all IT for the company.
Wilbur Strickland (Hilton Head Island, SC)
With over three decades of experience in driving product innovation, research & development, quality methodologies and organizational streamlining, Wilbur Strickland has helped world-class CPG companies like Mondelēz International, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Procter & Gamble realize remarkable success.
Presently, as the Founder & CEO of Next Result Innovation, Wilbur focuses on helping clients develop winning products, packages and services. He’s an agent for positive change – keep what’s good; improve what needs to be better, and deliver extraordinary results.
Having worked across Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Wilbur is widely recognized by industry experts and thought leaders for deep skills in innovation creation, business growth, product commercialization, process improvements and start-up operations in global market spaces.
From his early days at Procter & Gamble – helping to facilitate multi-billion dollar R&D integrations to spearheading development for the 'Swiffer' brand (generating $1B in revenue in record time) – Wilbur’s played an integral part in expanding and building global brands.
Upon joining Cadbury, he led teams through successful product launches, supply chain innovations and building new organizations. Later with Kraft Foods and Mondelēz International, Wilbur led the design and delivery of critical product, process and packaging technologies and innovation platforms that earned an industry reputation for the highest rate of innovation and level of incremental growth from new products over any competitor. Along the way, Wilbur became the inventor or co-inventor of more than 25 US and international patents.
In 2017, Wilbur launched his consulting business, Next Result Innovation, with a passion to help others bring ideas to reality — delivering deep industry expertise as a Change Agent, Entrepreneur, and Strategic Leader.
Outside of the corporate and business world, Wilbur serves on a number of committees in his local community, and still finds some time to devote to his passion for cars – collecting cars and enjoying the good-spirited camaraderie of various clubs.
Wilbur has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Joel “Eric” Tillirson (Sandersville, GA)
Eric Tillirson joined Thiele Kaolin Company as Marketing Manager in 1999. He progressed through various commercial roles and in 2004, he was appointed Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Thiele and in 2011 he was appointed the company Vice President with continued responsibility for the sales, marketing and technical service function. In November 2013, Eric was promoted to Senior Vice President and Director of Sales Development. In this role, Mr. Tillirson was responsible for Thiele’s global sales and marketing activities in over 15 countries. Mr. Tillirson was appointed President of Thiele Kaolin Company by the Board of Directors in February of 2015. He also serves as President of the Company’s silica operations, Short Mountain Silica, in Tennessee.
Before joining Thiele, Eric worked in various sales, marketing and technical service roles in the specialty chemicals industry. He has been awarded patents for novel chemical products and has been active in various paper and chemical industry associations.
Eric received his Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia College and his Bachelors of Science degree in Chemistry from Presbyterian College.
Eric currently serves as Leadership Board Member of the J. Whitney Bunting School of Business at Georgia College and State University, a Board Member of the Brentwood School Foundation and a Board Member of the Georgia Mining Association.
Eric and his wife Jennifer have two sons: Sims (29) and Joel (25) who reside in Columbia SC.
Margaret “Stacy” Tolbert (Macon, GA)
Stacy Tolbert is the President of Tolbert and Associates (2009-Present). Prior to this, she was an Agent at Protective Financial Services (1996- 2008).
Ms. Tolbert received a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southwestern University in 1985 and her MBA from Georgia College in 1992.
Her son Neal graduated from Georgia College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2018 and a graduate degree in accounting in 2019.
James Wall (Lawrenceville, GA)
James Wall began his career with Cotton States Insurance as a Programmer Analyst in 1980. While at Cotton States he held increasing roles of management responsibility in the areas of Information Technology, Sales, Marketing and Operations. He led Cotton States in the first Agency based PC deployment of a distributed automated Sales and Claims technology. Cotton States Insurance is now known as Country Financial.
James joined BellSouth, now AT&T, in 1998 as a Senior Business Analyst in the Interconnection Services Sales Operations organization. While at AT&T he held increasing roles of responsibility as a Manager and Director across Interconnection Services, Small Business, Consumer, Sales Operations, and IT. He was Lead resource for the Y2K conversion in Interconnection Services and managed teams for large-scale multi-discipline projects. In his final role at AT&T he and his team were responsible for the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications that manage customer calls into the Consumer and Small Business Sales & Technical Support teams ensuring the customer information is captured and the call is sent to the representative who can handle their request. He was a 5 times recipient of the “Pinnacle Award” which recognizes the top 5 percent of employees in the Sales and Sales Operations organizations.
James was a 1981 graduate of Georgia College with a B.B.A. in Management. He retired in December 2020, after a 40-year career in the Financial and Telecommunications industry. James looks forward to spending his free time hobby gardening, traveling, and giving much more time in volunteer service to his local church and Georgia College.
Kim Wall (Lawrenceville, GA)
Kim Wall is Director of Business and Community Development for $1.6 Billion Georgia United Credit Union in Atlanta. With over 35 years of financial marketing experience, Kim has served in numerous leadership roles – from Marketing Director to Vice President for this AJC Top Workplace. Kim’s team is responsible for planning and administering a multitude of signature community service programs, driving new business to branch and online channels, and supporting strategic plan goals and objectives. She also serves as the Executive Director for the Georgia United Foundation, a 501c3 philanthropic organization.
Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Georgia College and State University where she was vice president of her sorority, a member of Rho Lambda Honor Society and a student orientation leader. A graduate of the Credit Union Executive Society’s Executive (CUES) Marketing Institute, Kim was selected as CUES’ national “Marketing Professional of the Year” due to achievements in the workplace. She is also a founding member and former Executive Board member of the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council who honored Kim with their Hall of Fame Award for career achievement in 2012.
A past chair of the GCSU College of Business Leadership Board, Kim and husband James have been serving on the board since 2009. The Walls received the Alumni Service Award in 2013 and have recently endowed an annual scholarship for a deserving College of Business student. Active as a community and church volunteer, Kim is proud to point out daughter Katherine continued the family GC legacy, by earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Milledgeville.
Barry Wolfe (Greensboro, GA)
Barry Wolfe gained eight years senior level experience as the Senior Director of Labor/Employee Relations for Dean’s Foods and Dairy Farmers of America before he opened his own firm, Lone Wolfe Consulting in 2020. He advocates for management, while creating pro-employee environments and eliminating the need for third-party intervention and is committed to supporting employers and employees in their fight against unwelcome/forced unionization.
In 2019, he became an adjunct professor at Georgia College where he teaches “Labor Relations“ and “Principles of Management.” Mr. Wolfe has also taught classes at Penn State University and Brenau University.
Mr. Wolfe holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, along with a M.S. in Industrial Relations from Marshall University and a B. A in Political Science and English from West Virginia Wesleyan College.
He has been a member of the Leadership Board since 2019.
Rhonda Wood (Macon, GA/ Washington, D.C.)
Rhonda Wood is the Deputy HRS IT Program Manager at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
She has worked at the OPM for over 35 years and was the Chief, Employee Systems from 1985 until 2016.
Ms. Wood graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Based Info Systems from Georgia College in 1984 and received a graduate degree in 1989. At Georgia College she was a member of the Honors Program and she was also awarded the 1990 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. She is a former Foundation Trustee and former GC Alumni Board Member.
Jamie Reid (Milton, GA)
Dr. Micheal Stratton (Milledgeville, GA)
Dr. Micheal Stratton is Professor of Management and Dean of the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business at Georgia College & State University, the designated public liberal arts institution of the University of Georgia System. Prior to joining Georgia College and State University in July 2020, Dr. Stratton served as an academic leader and faculty member at The University of North Carolina Asheville since 2010. He is also in the second year of his three-year term as President of the Management and Organizational Behavior Teaching Society (MOBTS) for which he has served in various capacities on the Board of Directors since 2012.
Kari Brown (Milledgeville, GA)
Kari Brown is the Coordinator of Business Outreach for the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business at Georgia College & State University, the designated public liberal arts institution of the University of Georgia System. Prior to joining Georgia College in 2013, Mrs. Brown served the state of Georgia as a communications and public affairs specialist for the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities. She continues to serve her local community through work with the local Convention & Visitors Bureau and Georgia's Old Capital Heritage Center.
Whitney Picket (Augusta, GA)
Ms. Pickett worked as the Associate Director of the Pharmacy Department at the Medical College of Georgia (now Georgia Regents University Hospital) from 1967 until 1998.
Ms. Pickett is also the daughter of J. Whitney Bunting for whom the College of Business is named after. Ms. Pickett often travels with and is accompanied by Erich Thorpe (in photo) with her to board meetings.
The two were recently wed after many years of courtship.
Dr. JoAnn Jones (Milledgeville, GA)
Dr. Jones is a retired professor and former dean of the College of Business at Georgia College (1976 to 2003).
In Milledgeville, Dr. Jones has been very active in the community and served as the first female chairwoman of The Development Authority of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Ph.D., Economics, Louisiana Tech University MBA, University of Louisiana at Monroe
BBS, Business Education, University of Central Arkansas
Dr. Jones has created several scholarships to benefit students in the Bunting College of Business: The Jo Ann Jones Endowed Scholarship, The Ken Jones Endowed Scholarship (in honor of her husband, Dr. Ken Jones, who was the former dean of the Graduate School at Georgia College) and The Joy Godin Endowed Scholarship (in honor of her daughter, Dr. Joy Godin, MIS professor at Georgia College).
Anthony “Tony” Tan (Las Vegas, NV)
Tony founded and served as CEO of one of the earliest private-labeled broadband internet and communications services companies and established the first intellectual Capital Partnership Program in technology for higher education in the State of Georgia.
Tan has served as a Leadership Board member to the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business and as a Trustee to the Georgia College & State University Foundation.
Mr. Tan was inducted into the 2013 class of the Academy of Distinguished Alumni and Friends, presented by the GC&SU Foundation. Mr. Tan was also awarded an Honorary degree from Georgia College in 2009.