Feb. 21, 2020   

Chandler testifies

House Passes GBA Priority Bill

Legislators returned Monday from a 10-day recess that was spent on a deep dive into the current fiscal year’s revenue to determine spending priorities. The Banking Department’s annual housekeeping bill managed by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) and developed in concert with GBA, was passed unanimously by the House. GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler testified before a Senate committee considering new authorities to be operated by the associations representing the cities and counties. Based on feedback from our members, Chandler urged caution about creating yet another opportunity for governmental bodies to compete directly with the private sector. Regulating the hemp industry also got attention when the House Agriculture Committee reported legislation to ensure Georgia’s hemp regulatory structure will comply with federal law. Our interest in the budget process is mostly related to how legislators allocate money collected by the Department of Banking and Finance back to the agency to conduct their mandated supervisory and licensing duties. Commissioner Kevin Hagler and his staff have done an excellent job presenting their needs while recognizing that money will be tight. We will publish our Legislative Update after the General Assembly adjourns for the week, so be looking for that. Click here to learn more about the issues we’re tracking or contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, with questions.


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First Lady and Gov. Kemp

Governor Thanks Georgia Bankers for Support

You likely read in recent GBA Bulletins of the response GBA members made to Gov. Brian Kemp’s request to join him and First Lady Marty Kemp to raise awareness of red flags to help stop human trafficking in our state. Bankers throughout Georgia joined in the campaign by having employees view a video prepared by the State. Many downloaded the See Something/Send Something app and bank employees gathered in informal conversation groups to share their thoughts and reactions. It was shocking to learn that human trafficking has been reported in more than 90 percent of Georgia’s counties. State and federal law enforcement reported receiving credible information from our most urban counties to our most rural. GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen wrote Gov. and Mrs. Kemp letting them know of the industry’s response. Click here to read a nice letter from the Kemps thanking you for your efforts. To learn more about how you can be involved, click here to go to the Department of Administrative Service’s website that contains additional links to the training video and other statistics. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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We Will Miss GBA Past Chairman Jack Hunnicutt

GBA’s past chairman Kenneth J. "Jack" Hunnicutt died last week after an extended illness. After serving in the U.S. Army, Hunnicutt returned to Moultrie, married Tina Jones and began work with a local Moultrie bank before spending several years with the former Citizens & Southern National Bank. He was approached by local leaders to become the organizing CEO of a new bank in town, American Banking Company, and he accepted the challenge. Under Hunnicutt’s leadership the bank grew to a regional bank with locations in South Georgia, Alabama and Florida and rebranded into Ameris Bank the year before he retired as chairman in 2006. Services were held this past Monday at the Funston Baptist Church where he was a life member. "Jack was mostly self-educated with a determination to succeed. He was tough-minded and expected the best of himself and everyone around him. Behind that toughness was a genuine desire to do the right thing. At his services, one of his granddaughters read a familiar passage from Ecclesiastes about there being a time for all things. That really hit home with me as GBA needed Jack in 1995-1996 when he served as our chairman. I will always remember him for tackling tough issues with a determinedness to see them through to a rightful conclusion. He will go down in our history books as one of GBA’s finest elected chairmen," said GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen. Click here to read more about Hunnicutt.


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Coalition Formed to Help Un-banked and Under-banked Consumers and Businesses

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced the launch of the Bank On Atlanta Program, a collaboration between financial institutions, community-based organizations and local government to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to be financially healthy by connecting them to safe, affordable and certified banking accounts. Mayor Bottoms referenced a study conducted by the city in 2017 that reported 7.5% of city residents are unbanked and 27.9% are underbanked. Bank On Atlanta’s mission is to empower individuals and families to improve their financial capability, health, and independence. The program connects residents to safe and affordable accounts at their partner financial institutions. Bank On Atlanta is part of the national Bank On movement, made up of dozens of similar local coalitions across the country. The nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) is the national partner. Several GBA members are among the founding partners: Citizens Trust Bank, Cadence Bank, Chase Bank, Iberia Bank, Bank of America, Regions Bank, Wells Fargo and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs. Click here for more information.


(L-R): Emerson B. Hall, FDIC, Associate Director, Community Affairs Division of Depositor and
Consumer Protection; Venus Lockett, Bank On Program Manager, City of Atlanta; Mayor Keisha
Lance Bottoms
; Chad Gregory, South Metro Atlanta/West Georgia Region Bank President,
Wells Fargo; David Rothstein, Principal, Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund



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Attention to Detail and Lessons in Dog Grooming with Becky Oliveros

Becky Oliveros, CRCM, AVP and risk officer for OneSouth Bank in Macon, learned from an early age that inattention to detail can be costly for a business. One day when Oliveros was 15 and working in her first job for a dog grooming business, she allowed a client to enter into an employee-only area, where the client’s dog spotted her, became overly excited and leapt from her cage, chipping her teeth as she fell. "I was so upset when I realized I could’ve avoided this had I paid attention to the small detail of making sure the cage was locked," she said. In her career as a bank compliance officer, attention to detail has come in handy. The director of the GBA Compliance School discusses about her professional journey, credits graduating from the GBA Compliance School with "empowering me to take a seat at the table, as a trusted member of management, acting in ways of a safety net, protecting profits," shares surprising alternative career paths she might have picked and more in her GBA Member Profile.


Related: The newly designed GBA Compliance School is coming up on May 3-8 at the UGA campus in Athens. Get more details and enroll here.


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Hagler Named to FDIC Advisory Committee

FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams has named Georgia Department of Banking Finance Commissioner Kevin Hagler to a 15-person committee of state bank supervisors as another mechanism for state regulators and the FDIC to discuss a variety of current and emerging issues that have potential implications for the regulation and supervision of state-chartered financial institutions. "State supervisors play a crucial role in our regulatory framework," said Chairman McWilliams. "While the FDIC has had a good relationship with state supervisors, this Advisory Committee will serve as a formal venue to engage on issues pertinent to state-chartered banks." Hagler has served as Georgia’s commissioner since his appointment by former Gov. Nathan Deal in 2013. He is also the chair-elect of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. Click here for a list of the other advisory committee members.


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Be Sure You’re Registered to Vote

With GBA’s Democracy Days in full swing, we wanted to remind our members that the Presidential Preference Primary is coming up March 24. That means the last day to register to vote is February 24. The Georgia Secretary of State’s website is the right place to check your voter registration status, so click here to go to the My Voter Page see your status or register to vote online. Ensuring maximum participation is one of the goals of our Democracy Days project, so please make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to vote. Early voting in the Presidential Preference Primary begins March 2 and Saturday voting will be held March 14. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Last Chance to Register for the Valdosta Symposium - March 3

GBA along with the Langdale College of Business at Valdosta State University will host the annual South Georgia Community Bank Symposium on March 3. This event will feature a panel of Valdosta students that will showcase several ways they are preparing for careers in financial services, contributing to financial literacy on campus and in the community and their views about traditional banking products, services and career opportunities. Other content will include a strategic thinking and key bank management trends by George Igler of Igler and Pearlman, P.A. as well as a session on forest resources by Chuck Williams, director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. And the Executive Director of Gov. Brian Kemps' Georgians First Commission, Scott Hilton, will be the luncheon keynote speaker discussing a number of initiatives the Commission will be announcing to make Georgia the number one state for small business. Click here to see the full agenda. CEOs, CFOs, bank directors, senior lenders, senior retail bank managers and emerging leaders would all benefit from attending this event. Click here to register.


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Two Weeks until the Compliance Peer Group Meeting – March 5

Attention Bank Compliance Professionals! You've asked for more opportunities to collaborate with your industry peers, and we've heard you. GBA will host its first 2020 Compliance Peer Group Meeting on March 5, 2020, at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. The meeting will have an open peer discussion format and Bo Fears, Deputy Commissioner of Consumer and Legal Affairs at Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, will be leading the discussion on cannabis/hemp/CBD and banking. Anyone responsible for managing part or all of a financial institution's compliance risk management program should attend. Please submit your topics for the peer exchange to Jenna Lynn Warner. Click here to register.


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Leadership GBA Sporting Clays Tournament Re-Scheduled for March 19

We are hoping the third time is the charm! Due to rainy weather again this week, the Leadership GBA Sporting Clays Tournament has been re-scheduled for Thursday, March 19, at Old Hudson Plantation. If you were registered for yesterday’s event, your registration will apply to the new date and you don’t need to do anything. If your schedule is clear for March 19 and you’d like to join us, click here to sign up. Feel free to contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with any questions, 404.420.2024. The event will start at noon with a barbecue lunch and a 1:15 p.m. shotgun start.


* The GBA StatePAC contributes only to candidates running for state-level office such as the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor’s office and the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Contributions can be made from an individual, from bank funds if you are a state chartered bank or from a national bank holding company if the contribution is made from funds other than those resulting from the operations of the national bank.


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Concurrent Bank Security and Marketing conferences - April 2-3, St. Simons

Crisis Management Session Features Collaborative Activity for Marketing/Security Pros

The brand-new GBA Marketing Conference will take place concurrently with the GBA Bank Security Conference April 2-3 on St. Simons Island, and we’re using this opportunity to have the two groups of bankers collaborate on a unique crisis-management exercise led by GBA favorite presenter Cpl. Erik Rooks of the Gwinnett County Police Department. Cpl. Rooks will lead the bank marketing pros and security officers in an interactive team-building activity where they must work together to respond to a simulated emergency/crisis situation. Attendees are encouraged to bring a copy of the bank’s business continuity plan and/or any applicable written procedures. While participants don’t need to be from the same bank, this is a new and valuable opportunity to send bankers to both conferences and have your staff work together to make sure the bank’s policies and procedures are solid. Click here for more information on the Marketing Conference, and click here for more information on the Bank Security Conference. Registration for both conferences is $395 per person through March 18 (add $50 afterward). With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Bowman and Nichols

New location!

The 2020 BSA Experience – Aug. 24-27, the Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands

The Fed will soon roll out a new tailored Bank Secrecy Act examination process, Michelle Bowman said during a recent Q&A with ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. "If you are a low-risk institution, we will scale our examination process, requirements and models to tailor for that risk," she said. "My expectation is that we will see a significant reduction in the number of hours that we spend in your institutions." She added that she hopes to roll this out by the end of the first quarter. We'll have all the details of any new proposal covered at the 2020 BSA Experience Aug. 24-27 at the Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands in Buford. GBA is partnering again with Terri Sands of Secura Risk Management to bring you this popular event, which has been enhanced this year to include more case studies, team participation and relevant topics based on feedback and emerging risks. Click here to find out more and to register.


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HR Professionals Institute March 18-20

Women in Retirement – Obstacles and Strategies to Succeed  

America’s retirement crisis is being felt both by individuals and employers whose workers can’t afford to retire. However, the crisis is felt more acutely by women. Women live longer, are more likely to be single later in life, earn less, carry more debt, are time-starved and therefore may procrastinate when it comes to retirement planning. At the 2020 GBA HR Professionals Institute March 18-20 at the Westin Jekyll Island, Monika Hubbard of Unified Trust Company will talk about taking action now and how plan sponsors can influence better retirement outcomes for all employees, which will in turn achieve better business outcomes, such as increased employee productivity. Get details on all the other sessions and register here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions, 404.420.2034.


Related: Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are available.


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The Class of 2022 - Georgia Banking School

We’re are looking forward to welcoming the new freshman class of Georgia Banking School to the May 3-8 session in Athens. During the three year program, students develop a thorough understanding of banking, focusing on the key functions of banking, their interrelationships and their determinants of profitability; develop analytical skills and management techniques and create an awareness of the banking environment and the role of commercial lending in the industry. Make sure your bank is represented among the incoming first year class. Apply by Feb. 28 to save $130 on tuition. Get more info here, or click here if you’re ready to enroll. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034, or Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035.


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President of Georgia Chamber of Commerce to Kick Off GBA Annual Meeting in Bermuda

We’re bringing a taste of home to GBA’s Annual Meeting this summer in Bermuda! Georgia native Chris Clark, CCE, CEcD, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, will be the opening speaker when bankers convene at the Fairmont Southampton in June. Clark, who has served in his position since 2010, will look ahead to 10 global trends expected to have a major impact on our state and on our businesses – both small and large. Clark will offer his unique perspective on Georgia’s economic outlook and what we might expect during the foreseeable future. The Georgia Chamber was founded 105 years ago to focus business and local chamber interest on advocacy and economy growth and today is the largest advocacy organization in the state, and one of the seven largest chambers in the country. It is the only chamber of commerce in the world to win Chamber of the Year two years in a row from two separate organizations. Don’t miss this and other exceptional sessions coming your way this summer. Click here for a complete agenda. To make sure you secure the hotel accommodations you prefer, register soon. You must register for the meeting first in order to receive hotel reservation information. Once you’ve secured your hotel, we encourage you to book flights as it is prime season in Bermuda in June and flights will fill up quickly. Click here for a helpful early planning checklist. Associate Members are invited to participate by exhibiting or sponsorship. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.


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Loan Documentation Seminar - April 3

You’re invited to attend the spring Loan Documentation Seminar on Wednesday, April 15, at Middle Georgia State University, Macon. During this full-day event, Mike Allen, EVP, Director of Real Estate Credit Risk with Cadence Bank, will cover how to prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques. Commercial loan officers, commercial loan personnel, loan assistants and closing specialists should attend. Register by April 7 to receive the early-bird price of $250 per person ($25 off)! A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register here! What You'll Learn:

  • Background and Review

  • Identifying the Borrower

  • Identifying the Collateral

  • Evidencing the Debt

  • Attaching and Perfecting the Collateral

  • Real Estate Specifics

  • Residential Construction Lending

  • Guarantees.

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Leadership Conference – Crowd Favorite Jonathan Hightower to Speak

As consolidation and the push for growth dominates the banking news, many are asking if smaller banks and banks serving smaller communities can remain relevant. It’s a big question. At GBA’s Leadership Conference, July 13-15 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL, one of our favorite experts is willing to take that issue on. In his session "Thinking Big but Staying Small," attorney and trends-watcher Jonathan Hightower, Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford, will discuss top strategies community banks can utilize as a competitive advantage as well as ways that bankers in any size bank can serve smaller markets. He’ll will also discuss ways smaller banks can manage the corporate and regulatory risks they face in today’s environment. Be sure someone from your bank plans to join us this summer. Click here to see the detailed conference schedule. Click here to register. And don’t forget, if you’re a member of one of GBA’s Leadership Roundtables, your Leadership Conference registration is included (but please register to let us know you will attend). Be sure to book your hotel soon as July is the hotel's busy season. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.


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Rural Development and Lending Conference - Sign Up Today!

The 2020 GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference is coming up on May 18-19 on St. Simons Island. We have confirmed the following speakers and topics:

  • Precision Ag: Technology Trends Shaping Agribusiness with Brian Kelley, president, Ag Technologies, LLC

  • Update from Washington, D.C. on Agricultural Finance Policy with Ed Elfmann, SVP, Agricultural and Rural Banking Policy for ABA

  • Economic Update with Dr. John C. McKissick, professor emeritus, Dept. of Ag. and Applied Economics, UGA

  • Regulatory Update with Tony Wright, loan review / syndicated loan specialist, FDIC

  • Timber and Forestry Update with Chuck Williams, director, Georgia Forestry Commission

  • Georgia Heirs Property Law Center with Skipper G. StipeMaas, JD, Executive Director.

The per-person registration price is $395 for registrations received through May 4; $445 for registrations received beginning May 5. Get details and register here. To reserve a room at The King and Prince, call 800.342.0212 and be sure to mention that you are with the Georgia Bankers Association to receive GBA’s special nightly rates: $219 (Resort View – Historical Building); $234 (Partial Oceanview); or $249 (Oceanfront). With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034. 


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Streamline Vehicle Title & Lien Release Management with DDI Technology

The GBA has endorsed DDI Technology for more than 10 years because their Premier eTiltleLien® solution enables your bank’s loan operations team to improve reporting and manage exceptions within a simple, user-friendly application. Committed to excellence, DDI continues to focus on improving their products, education and consulting services in all areas of vehicle registration. DDI fosters partnerships with progressive and innovative businesses including federal, state and local governments by supplying them with the technologies to enable dealer and finance partners to provide the best service to their customers while saving time and money. The four biggest benefits to working with DDI include:

  • Simplified Titling Process

  • Reduction of Fraud & Errors

  • Elimination of Space-Wasting Paper Storage

  • A Responsive Customer Support Team

For more details about DDI Technology or to join the more than 4,000 customers they have today, please contact Director of Sales Todd Phillips, 803.808.4937.


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There’s No Better Time than Now to Talk with GBA Strategic Partner BankMarketingCenter.com

BankMarketingCenter.com (BMC), is a web-based marketing portal that helps banks quickly and easily produce professionally designed, bank-branded marketing material. For the same amount you would normally pay for one agency-designed ad or one quality stock photo, you’ll instead have access to thousands of professionally designed marketing materials, and OVER 9 MILLION STOCK PHOTOS FROM GETTY IMAGES. Once your marketing resources are created, you can easily send, via BMC’s portal, through your bank’s compliance approval process and send it to the printer or publisher of your choice. Each item will be saved in an organized order history, which can be helpful for during regulatory exams. BMC also has a comprehensive and easy to deploy digital display solution. GBA members interested in learning more about BMC are encouraged to request an online demo here. With feedback or questions, please contact BMC’s Neal Reynolds, 678.528.6688, nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.


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Recruit, Retain and Develop the Best Bankers with GBA Career Solutions


GBA Job Bank - GBA will post open positions, free of charge, for GBA members. See the open positions in Georgia here. We will also post professional summaries for bank-job seekers on our Bankers Available page. To make the process easy and answer any questions, we've developed this Q & A. Please contact Katina Prokos, kprokos@gabankers.com, 404.420.2021.


GBA Strategic Partner BankTalentHQ - The central feature of BankTalentHQ is its national bank-job board. Other key benefits include: resume search access, regional and national reach for your open positions, frequent special offers and custom sales/coaching programs. Visit BankTalentHQ to learn more. See the open positions in Georgia here, or search regionally or nationally here.


GBA’s Career Paths for Bankers™ - GBA’s Career Paths for Bankers™ is the most unique, organized and easy-to-use career development resource available for bankers and banks. GBA’s pioneering career development resource is unlike any other in the banking industry. Click here to start mapping your banking career today.


Why do people choose careers in banking? Whatever their talents, interests and educational background, there is a career in banking for them. Here are few good reasons to share with folks you know.


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GBA Community Connections

We want to share all the good work GBA member banks, bankers, Associate Members and Bank Counsel Section members do to support their communities. Read all about the Community Connections our banks and members have below. Share your Community Connections by sending a brief paragraph and any photos of activities you have to us and we'll publish them at our earliest opportunity. Send information to Katina Prokos and David Oliver, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:


Columbus - Synovus

The bank recently donated $4,000 to United Way of the Piedmont.


Dublin - The Citizens Bank of Laurens County

The Citizens Bank of Laurens County Student Council prepared and distributed Goodie Bags for more than 50 residents at The Dublin Place for their project.



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Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank

The bank was recently featured in an Atlanta Journal Constitution story about its role in the history and growth of Atlanta. Read the article here.


Claxton - Tippins Bank, A Division of Glennville Bank

Loan Officer Andrea Sapp received the Distinguished Service Award and Tippins Bank, a Division of Glennville Bank, was awarded Business of the Year at the Claxton-Evans Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.


Gainesville - Peach State Bank & Trust

President and CEO Ron Quinn recently received the W. Lee Arrendale Vocational Excellence Award from the Rotary Club of Gainesville.


Perry - Planters First Bank

Dan Duchnowski has joined the bank as Chief Deposit Officer/Chief Marketing Officer. Read more here.


Statesboro - Bulloch First, a Division of the Citizens Bank of Swainsboro

Abby Donaldson has been promoted to assistant vice president. Read more here.


Thomasville - TC Federal Bank

On Feb. 12, the bank’s Board of Directors adopted a Plan of Reorganization from a Mutual Savings Bank to a Mutual Holding Company and Plan of Stock Issuance pursuant to which TC Federal Bank will reorganize into the mutual holding company form of ownership. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Jessica Roberts has joined the bank as vice president of Mortgage Lending. Read more here.


Woodland - Talbot State Bank

Senior Executive Officer Edgar Chapman recently celebrated 55 years in banking. GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen presented Chapman with a plaque at a celebration event.


Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC

The firm has added Advisory Information Technology, LLC (AdIT) as a new subsidiary. Atlanta-based AdIT will augment Mauldin & Jenkins’ current IT capabilities to expand the depth of technology-related offerings the firm provides. Read more here.


Ottawa, ON - LemonadeLXP

LemonadeLXP recently announced the release of Digital Academy, a unique feature designed to help financial institutions drive adoption of their new fintech. Read more here.



Citizens Trust Bank
President and CEO
Cynthia Day

Tippins Bank







Chapman and Brannen



Read All About It: Send Us Your News

Please remember to include the Georgia Bankers Association on the list of recipients for announcements about promotions, new employees and special recognition your bank has received. We want to share your news with your colleagues across the state. Please forward your announcements and photos to GBA's David Oliver and Katina Prokos.


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