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Governor Perdue Names New Chief Financial Officer and Department Heads for Revenue, Banking and Finance, Community Affairs and Commission on Soil and Conservation

Thursday, June 12, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today presided over a swearing-in ceremony of five new department head appointments.

Thomas Hills was named as the state's Chief Financial Officer, Bart Graham was named Commissioner - Department of Revenue, David Sorrell was named Commissioner - Department of Banking & Finance, Mike Beatty was named Commissioner - Department of Community Affairs and David Bennett was named Executive Director - Commission on Soil and Conservation. Beatty's and Bennett's appointments will require confirmation by their respective departments' boards.

"In communicating my vision for a healthy, safe, educated and growing Georgia, I've recognized that our state's success will be closely linked to the individuals chosen for key leadership positions. The addition of these talented individuals will certainly contribute to my vision of making Georgia the best managed state in the nation," said Governor Sonny Perdue.

"Each of these individuals brings a commitment to excellence and public service and strong professional and educational credentials to the roles they have accepted today. Georgians will benefit from their leadership of these important state government units," added Governor Perdue.

Brief biographies of the newly appointed department heads are provided below:

Thomas (Tommy) Hills, Chief Financial Officer. From 1965-2001, Tommy Hills had a long and distinguished career at Wachovia Bank, N.A., gaining experience in corporate banking, retail banking, systems planning, loan administration and financial analysis and providing oversight of the bank's management development program. In his final position at Wachovia, Hills served as the bank's Executive Vice President and Atlanta City President.

From 2002 to present, Hills served as Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Campaign Director for Coxe, Curry & Associates. In this role, Hills had oversight responsibility for administration of human resources, finance, research and records, office management, technology, campaign communications, marketing and new business development.

Hills extensive civic and community involvement has included the Atlanta Historical Society, Board of the Hospital Authority of Fulton County, Georgia Council on Economic Education, YWCA of Greater Atlanta, Atlanta Business Community Development Corporation, Leadership Atlanta, The Atlanta Opera, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. His professional memberships include the State Bar of Georgia, American Bankers Association Alumni Council and the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

He is a graduate of Emory University's undergraduate and law schools. He is currently a candidate for a Masters in Arts in Southern History at Georgia State University.

Bart L. Graham, Commissioner - Department of Revenue. Bart Graham brings seven years of operating experience in information technology, commercial banking and defense contract manufacturing industries and nearly 12 years of capital markets and corporate banking experience. Prior to serving as Deputy CFO, Graham was employed as chief financial officer and corporate secretary of Seventh Wave Technology, Inc. He also previously served as chief financial officer of Bank Atlanta. During his tenure with Seventh Wave Technology and Bank Atlanta Graham was also a partner with Tatum CFO Partners, LLP. Prior to this, Graham was Senior Vice President - Syndications of Wachovia Capital Markets. Graham began his career with Wachovia Bank where he spent eight years as a corporate banker with market responsibilities around the southeast United States.

Graham is an honors graduate with Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Tennessee - Knoxville. Graham and his wife Susan have two children, a daughter and a son and reside in Atlanta.

David Sorrell, Commissioner - Department of Banking and Finance. David Sorrell has previously served as Acting Commissioner with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance (DBF). In this role, he set policy and provided executive oversight for the DBF's supervision of 259 banks and 78 credit unions chartered in Georgia with assets over $170 billion. The DBF also licenses over 3,000 mortgage lenders and brokers, check cashers, sale of check companies and money transmitters.

Sorrell began his career with the DBF in 1974 as an examiner in Northeast Georgia area. He has served as the Senior Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner for Supervision and as the Director of Administration. His professional affiliations included the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors. He is recognized as a Certified Examinations Manager by CSBS.

He is a 1985 graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a 1973 graduate of the University of Alabama where he earned a degree in Finance.

Mike Beatty, Commissioner - Department of Community Affairs. Mike Beatty is a lifelong resident of Jackson County. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia. He and his wife have owned and operated small businesses including a poultry and cattle farm and Beatty Properties, a residential development company for many years. He previously worked as an educator, teaching and coaching football in the City of Jefferson, Banks County and Jackson County school systems for eight years. Mike has also served as a State Representative and State Senator. Mike and Judy Beatty have been married for 32 years. They are the parents of one daughter and the grandparents of three. The Beattys are members of Grove Level Baptist Church in Maysville, Georgia.

William David Bennett, Executive Director of the Commission on Soil and Conservation. David Bennett is a native of Eastman, Georgia and was raised on a farm in Dodge County. Bennett received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1974 from the University of Georgia. He began his career with the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission in 1974 and worked to establish the Commission on Soil and Conservation's (Commission) first southeast Georgia regional office. Bennett led the Commission's Milledgeville office until accepting the position of Deputy Executive Director in 1999. He was named Acting Executive Director in May 2003.

Through three decades of natural resource experience, Bennett has developed a clear understanding of urban and rural resource conservation. He has worked with local governments on urban water conservation initiatives and implemented the Commission's agricultural water conservation program, which includes mobile irrigation labs, developing water conservation plans, and collaborating with state and federal agencies and academic institutions on agricultural water research.

He is a member of the Baldwin County Agricultural Club and serves on the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Agricultural Economics Advisory Council. In addition, he has received numerous service awards from the State of Georgia, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors.