LEADERSHIP TEAM

The 15 senior economic development experts that comprise the Innovation Crescent Board of Directors are available to assist companies and site selectors find the best locations for businesses while offering a range of incentives and services that help companies thrive. Organizations located or relocating here have access to an economic development single point of contact, as well as the collaborative expertise of our entire leadership team. Contact them here.

EJane Caraway

EJane Caraway

President

ejcaraway@georgia.org

As the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Director of Life Sciences, EJane leads her team in providing assistance to companies considering Georgia as a business destination. In addition, she helps identify and pursue prospective companies with expansion or relocation potential. Per companies with operations in Georgia, EJane works to develop solutions for their business needs. She also provides assistance to local chambers of commerce and development authorities in their economic development outreach.

EJane has been with GDEcD since Fall of 2009 as a project manager for Region 4. Throughout her tenure, EJane has helped GDEcD work and close many projects, including Jindal Poly Film ($205m/243 jobs), Yamaha ($35m/300 jobs), Greenway Health ($18.5m/550 jobs), CAT Griffin ($120m/206 jobs), NCR ($145m/1864 jobs), Anthem ($17M/1800 jobs), Facebook ($750m/200 jobs), Google ($45m/300 jobs) and Boehringer Ingelheim ($162m/225 jobs) and many others.

Prior to joining GDEcD, EJane was Vice President of Business Development with Southern Creations Development, served as President of the Muscatine Development Corporation and was a Director both at MCI and Sprint for the Southeast Region. EJane has owned several businesses of her own and has been involved in commercial development in GA, TN, AL and FL.

EJane earned her Certification as an Economic Development Finance professional through the National Development Council. Her membership affiliations include the Georgia HIMSS Board, GA Bio Board, Innovation Crescent Board, Georgia Economic Developers Association, Southeast Development Council, Korean Southeast US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and several others.

A native of Tennessee, and a Georgian by choice, EJane holds a BS Degree in Business Management from East Tennessee State University.
EJane has been a team leader in several communities for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society serves on the GA Bio Board, GA HIMSS Board, IHIT Advisory Board and served many years for the Boy Scouts of America. She is also active in her church at Oak Hill and has served on the Women’s Ministry Board and the Global Mission Team. EJane is a member of the Business Women’s Golf league.

EJane has two adult children. Both of EJane’s children attended Georgia College and State University. Her daughter and son-in-law served as missionaries in Uganda. EJane’s daughter is now an educator and administrator at a private school in Georgia and her son is employed by Walmart Corp. EJane has a granddaughter, Ella, born in 2018 and a grandson, Judah, born in 2020.

Bob Hughes

Bob Hughes

Treasurer

bhughes@madisonga.org

Bob currently serves as the President and Economic Development Director for the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Chamber in 2006, Bob spent 36 years with a major electric utility in the area of Economic Development, Wholesale Power Sales, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at both the State and Federal level.

Bob is active in the community serving on the Development Authority of Morgan County, the Morgan Memorial Healthcare Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Morgan County High School College and Career Academy and the Workforce Development Board for the Northeast Georgia Region. He also serves on the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Bob holds an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and a MBA from Georgia State University. He is an Army veteran and lives in rural Morgan County with his wife Rose Mary. He is the proud father of two children and grandfather of two grandchildren.

John Scott, CEcD

John Scott, CEcD

Secretary

John Scott is the Director of Economic Development with the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce.  John’s role is to work with established industries and to provide assistance to businesses who are considering locating in Jackson County, Georgia.

John Scott is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council and has a Master’s Degree in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi.

John is married to Shelley Scott and has four kids.

Courtney Bernardi

Courtney Bernardi

Board Member

cbernardi@oconeechamber.org

Courtney serves as President of the Oconee Chamber of Commerce in Oconee County, Georgia.

Prior to her time in Oconee, Courtney served as the lead economic development official in the City of Johns Creek, Newton County, Ga and Jackson County, Ga.  In these communities, her focus was on recruitment of new industry, business retention and expansion programs and the creation of a retail strategy for each county.  Prior to her tenure with Jackson County, Courtney spent five years with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Courtney is a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development and multiple community leadership programs, holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology from Presbyterian College in South Carolina and a Master of Public Administration from Kennesaw State University.

David Bernd

David Bernd

Board Member

dbernd@selectnewton.com

After 33 years with Kimberly-Clark, Bernd brings a wealth of industrial and RD&E knowledge and experience to the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership. For more than 12 years Bernd was responsible for the site selection of new consumer goods manufacturing facilities globally, opening green field facilities in Paris Texas; Ogden, Utah; Bogotá, Colombia; Cordoba/Mendoza, Argentina; Lima, Peru; Seoul, South Korea; and Valencia, Venezuela. He was responsible for developments similar in size and scope to the current Takeda BioScience facility in Georgia, taking it through numerous sales from Baxter, to Baxalta, followed by Shire, and now Takeda.

Dave and his wife, Sue, relocated to Covington, Ga., from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, where he retired from Kimberly-Clark. He joined Covington/Newton County’s Office of Economic Development in November 2013, where he now serves as Vice President of Economic Development.

Amanda Blanton

Amanda Blanton

Board Member

ablanton@cobbchamber.org

Amanda Blanton is the Economic Development Manager for the Cobb Chamber Economic Development team and Select Cobb. Amanda supports the organization by providing essential research and demographic information to the Chamber membership as well as prospective companies and existing industries within Cobb County. Additionally, Amanda is working to promote international commerce connectivity to the Cobb business community. Amanda also serves as administrative support for the Development Authority of Cobb County and Cobb’s Redevelopment Efforts. Prior to her role at the Chamber, Amanda was the Membership Manager for a premier golf community in Cashiers, North Carolina.

Andrew Carnes

Andrew Carnes

Board Member

acarnes@partnershipgwinnett.com

Andrew Carnes serves as the Vice President of Economic Development for Partnership Gwinnett. He joined Partnership Gwinnett in 2015 as the Director of Economic Development and was promoted to Senior Director of Economic Development in 2017.

As the VP of Economic Development, Carnes oversees the countywide economic development strategy which includes business recruitment and retention efforts, redevelopment, entrepreneurship, workforce development, as well as industry programs and events.

In this role Carnes also oversees the international marketing efforts for Gwinnett County and has been invited to participate in international delegations to the headquarters of many Gwinnett companies, including those in Belgium, the Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, South Korea, and Switzerland.

Prior to Partnership Gwinnett, Carnes served as the Executive Director for the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority where he managed and directed the countywide economic development strategy, including existing industry expansion services and recruitment of new business. During his time in Dalton-Whitfield Carnes helped to land the Engineered Floors project which created 2,400 jobs and $450 million in investment. This project was selected as GEDA’s Deal of the Year Award, Area Development’s Golden Shovel Award, Trade & Industry Development’s CiCi Award for Community Impact, and a Top Project of the Year by Site Selection Magazine.

Over the course of his career, Carnes has assisted in creating over $2.1 billion in capital investment and over 12,000 jobs.

He is currently a member of the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association (GEDA), the International Economic Development Council and the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC). He serves on the GEDA Young Professionals committee and is the past Co-Chairman of SEDC’s Young Professionals committee for 2015 and 2016.

Carnes earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA and graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute in 2015.

Scott Evans

Scott Evans

Board Member

sevans@forwardforsyth.org

Scott serves as the Senior Technology Project Manager for Forward Forsyth, the economic development partnership between the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, the Forsyth County Government, the Forsyth County Board of Education and the higher education institutions located in the county. In 2018 Scott was tasked to build an economic development recruitment program that specifically focuses on attracting companies who work in emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT, e-commerce, fintech and cyber projects. Along with the recruitment of technology companies Scott also handles corporate headquarter relocations.

Before coming to the Forsyth County Chamber Scott spent a career as a management consultant working with corporate leaders on major strategic initiatives. In 2013 Scott lead a strategic change management program for a state government agency that resulted in the development of the first cloud-based, mission-critical enterprise solution. Before for that he specialized in leading financial turnarounds of company heading toward bankruptcy.

Scott and his wife Beth live in Alpharetta and spend the weekends rooting for their two grandson’s baseball teams. 

Amy Love

Amy Love

Board Member

alove@investatlanta.com

Amy Love leads the technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship efforts for Invest Atlanta. She leverages Invest Atlanta resources to support a robust innovation ecosystem where technology companies can launch, scale, and locate in the city, and create tech talent opportunities and community impact so all Atlantans can thrive.

Amy has spent the last decade focused on technology-based economic development, most recently at the South Carolina Department of Commerce as the state’s first-ever director of innovation, and at the Georgia Institute of Technology Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), where she grew ATDC’s statewide program to serve technology startups across Georgia. She holds a Masters in PR and Journalism from the University of South Carolina, and a BA in English from Furman University. Amy is a South Carolina Liberty Fellow, part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Lisa Maloof

Lisa Maloof

Board Member

lmaloof@barrowga.org

In August 2018, Lisa Maloof, a Barrow County native, was named the Director for Economic Development for Barrow County.  In her role, she is responsible for recruiting new industry and supporting existing industry expansions.

In May 2018, after 32 years of service, Lisa retired from the Technical College System of Georgia.  The last sixteen years of her career, she served as the Campus Dean of the Barrow County Campus.  During her tenure at Lanier Tech, she helped secure funding for a new Lanier Tech campus in Barrow County.  She also assisted with the design and construction of the new $16,000,000 campus.  The new Barrow County Campus opened in January 2015 and houses programs supporting advanced manufacturing, including engineering, mechatronics, automotive and welding, in addition to programs in business, professional services and healthcare.

Lisa has served three terms as a board of director for the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce and chaired the board in 2007.  She has also served on the Joint Development Authority of Winder-Barrow for the past twelve years.  She also represented Barrow County on the Jackson EMC Operation Roundup Board for many years until her retirement.  Lisa is a Rotarian and a member of the Winder First United Methodist Church.

In 2015, she was named Barrow County Business Woman of the Year and was elected in November to represent District 3 on the Barrow County Board of Education.

Randi Mason

Randi Mason

Board Member

rmason@decidedekalb.com

Randi Mason is Vice President of Economic Development for Decide DeKalb. Randi has over 10 years of experience in economic development in the metro Atlanta area. Prior to joining Decide Dekalb, she served as Vice President of Economic Development for Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s Development Authority. She currently serves as a Board member of the Atlanta Sister Cities Foundation as well as holds active memberships with Georgia Economic Developers Association, International Economic Developers Council and the Urban Land Institute. Randi is a proud alumnus of Georgia State University where she earned her Master of Public Administration.

Maria Thacker-Goethe

Maria Thacker-Goethe

Board Member

mthacker@gabio.org

Maria Thacker-Goethe has more than 13 years of experience in non-profit management and development. She was appointed president and CEO for Georgia Bio and the Georgia BioEd Institute in February 2019. Maria has helped build the organization into one of the top state bioscience and medtech associations through her community outreach and engagement, member development, and leadership on various special projects and programs to increase community connections and resources. Additionally, she had been responsible for conceiving, developing and executing a comprehensive internal and external communications strategy.

In addition to her work with Georgia Bio, Maria is Executive Director of the Georgia Global Health Alliance which strives to advance global health equity by promoting and facilitating collaboration amongst business, academia, non-profits and government organizations within Georgia and linking them with partners in the US and other countries. Officially launched in late 2016, GGHA is working with the global health community in Georgia, local community business leaders, and national partners to develop strategy and organize the sector to embrace collaboration and speak with a collective voice. GGHA is a lead partner along with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Deloitte for the Global Health ATL campaign. GGHA is housed within Georgia Bio.

Maria has a diverse background including environmental health, women’s health and health communications and marketing. Prior to joining Georgia Bio, Maria participated in a fellowship at Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in environmental investigations, working closely with the National Center of Environmental Health in Chemical Demilitarization.

Maria serves as a board member of the CJD Foundation, the Southeast Life Sciences Association, the Council of State Bioscience Associations, the Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes, and the Kennesaw State University Research and Service Foundation. She is a 2019 recipient of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 Award for career achievements and having demonstrated social responsibility; 2019 recipient of the Metro Atlanta Chamber Phoenix Award for her role as an ambassador for life sciences and global health in the state of Georgia; and 2009 recipient of the Power 30 Under 30 Award for professional and community excellence.

Maria received her Master in Public Health in health education/communication, and maternal and child health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and her Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Sweet Briar College. Additionally, Maria has volunteered for over 10 years with the Junior League of Atlanta/La Amistad Estrellitas program which works to empower Latina teens. When she is not busy working or volunteering, she spends her time with her daughter Cecilia and husband Patrick.

Erica Rocker-Wills

Erica Rocker-Wills

Board Member

erica.rocker-wills@claytoncountyga.gov

Erica Rocker-Wills is an economic development professional for the Development Authority of Clayton County. In her role as Senior Business Development Manager, She is charged with business recruitment, retention, expansion efforts, partnership engagement, project management and relationship management for Clayton County, Georgia. As an experienced community builder, Erica previously served on numerous boards and commissions throughout her work in North Fulton and South Fulton County including: Habitat for Humanity, Atlanta Medical Center – South, Westlake High School Touchdown Club, and the Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. With over 20 years in municipal government experience, Erica works daily with the public and private sector to bring congruence between city government and the local business community and maximize partnerships with state agencies that promote economic development. Erica serves on the Southern Innovation Crescent Board, Atlanta Regional Marketing Alliance, is a member of the Arts Clayton Arte’ Gras Committee, 2017 Class of Leadership Sandy Springs, the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA), International Economic Development Council (IEDC), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Sandy Springs Education Force, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Emory University Alumni Association, and the Atlanta Chapter of Turner Classic Movies Enthusiasts.

Erica holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Emory University and a major in Psychology/minor in English. She is a graduate of the Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute and the Georgia Academy of Economic Development. In her spare time , Erica enjoys writing , skiing and touring historic cemetaries.

According to Erica, she is an eternal optimist and finds balance in this quote, by Lebanese philosopher Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931).
“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose.”

Shane Short

Shane Short

Board Member

shane@choosewalton.com

Shane Short is currently the Executive Director of Walton County Development Authority. With over 25 years of experience in management, his experience is extensive to include economic development, local government, public relations, marketing, and fundraising.  He has served as an elected official, a small business owner, professional fundraiser, the President/CEO of two chambers of commerce, and the Executive Director of a local development authority.  Shane is a progressive thinker, an excellent strategic planner, public speaker, and meeting facilitator.

As an economic developer, Shane has company announcements totaling over $42 billion in local community investment to include companies such as TD Automotive Compressors (Toyota), Kubota, Carters OshKosh, Hitachi Automotive Systems of Americas, Flexo Converters, and Facebook.

Sepi Browning, FACHE, FHIMSS, PMP

Sepi Browning, FACHE, FHIMSS, PMP

Executive Director

sbrowning@georgiainnovationcrescent.com

Sepi Browning, FACHE, FHIMSS, PMP

Brighthour – HIT Consulting
President

Emory Healthcare, Inc. (Johns Creek)
Information Technology – Site Director

Sepi is a Healthcare Management Professional with 26 years of successful leadership in a variety of roles. In-depth experience in operational/project management and change management within healthcare Information Technology, Revenue Cycle and Clinical Support Services, including Electronic Medical Record (EMR), ICD-10, American Recover and Reinvestment (ARRA) gap analysis, and associated project portfolio creation for meaningful use in a hospital and physician practice environment.

Demonstrated expertise in implementing numerous health delivery projects focused on clinical, revenue, and technical arenas, involving system selection, procurement, workflow analysis, workflow documentation and workflow process improvement, configuration and development, testing, reporting, training, activation, launch and production support, and creation of policy and procedures for daily operations.

Core team facilitator and member of established clinical and revenue cycle governance with mission to effectively prioritize all Information Technology needs and create and maintain an operational roadmap. Certified Project Management Professional and International Project Management Professional.

Adept at leading clinical and revenue cycle staff while also accomplishing technical duties, practicing continuous communication, collaboration, and documentation to ensure both Human Resources needs and Technical needs were successfully met. A confident and hardworking professional focused on employee, customer and patient satisfaction.

Contact Us

+1.678.849.7841

info@georgiainnovationcrescent.com

Thank You

Thank you to the Innovation Crescent agencies of record. 

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