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Governor Perdue Announces Appointments to Stakeholder Advisory Board

Friday, July 2, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA, GA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the following appointments to the Stakeholder Advisory Board. The purpose of the Stakeholder Advisory Board is to work with the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the Environmental Protection Division to establish education and training programs for professionals in the erosion and sedimentation field. The Board is administered by the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

Brief biographies are provided below:

Karim Shalahee, Ph.D., 59, Snellville, GA, Soil and Water Conservation Commission Representative— Shalahee is the Urban Water Resource Program Manager for the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. He has conducted erosion research at the University of Georgia and Utah State University. Shalahee has an extensive background in hydrology and watershed modeling and has been published in technical journals. He is a certified professional in Erosion and Sedimentation Control and holds a Doctorate in Hydrology from Durham University in England. He and his wife, Zahra, have one son.

Connie Wiggins, 53, Buford, GA, Soil and Water Conservation District Representative— Wiggins is the Executive Director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, a position she has held since 1985. She worked in the environmental education and solid waste fields for two decades and as the Solid Waste and Recycling Director, where she developed a county-wide recycling program. Wiggins serves as a founding member and Chairman of the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership, is former Chairman of the Governor's Environmental Advisory Council, and is Chairman of the Georgia Watershed Dams Committee. She has received numerous awards for her service. Wiggins and her husband, Tom, have two children and two grandchildren.

James K. Magnus, 47, Hapeville, GA, Department of Transportation Representative— Magnus is the Assistant State Construction Engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation. In this capacity he coordinates construction activities across the state. Magnus writes and maintains erosion and sedimentation specifications and manages the Worksite Erosion Control Certification Program. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Southern Technical Institute and has worked with GDOT since 1980. Magnus has a son.

Alice Jeanne M. Champagne, 43, Marietta, GA, Environmental Community Representative— Champagne has served as a Watershed Protection Specialist for the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper since 1994. In this capacity, she oversees the Erosion and Sediment Control Program, monitors development patterns along the river, and inspects construction sites for compliance with the Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act. She serves as the Cobb County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and is on the Peachtree/Nancy Creek Technical Advisory Committee. Champagne earned a Thermal and Environmental Engineering degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She and her husband, Dennis, have two children.

James R. Hamilton, 51, Duluth, GA, Erosion and Sedimentation Overview Council Representative— Hamilton is the President and owner of Southern Civil Engineers, Inc. He specializes in roadway design, water resources, erosion control, riparian management, and land development. Hamilton was named Engineer of the Year in 2001 by the American Council of Engineering Companies. He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the Erosion & Sedimentation Overview Council of Georgia, and the Nancy Creek Technical Advisory Committee. Hamilton is a graduate of Georgia Tech. He and his wife, Jamie, have two children.

Mark Steven Byrd, 33, Bonaire, GA, Development Community Representative— Byrd is the owner of Byrd and Company, a construction, development, and property management corporation. He is a member and former director of the Warner Robins Area Chamber of Commerce. Byrd is a member of the Home Builders Association of Warner Robins, currently serving as the Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. He volunteers his time to the community as Treasurer of the Christmas for Kids Celebrity Golf Outing and Auction, and Coordinator of the Georgia Sheriff's Youth Homes Golf Outing. Byrd earned his Finance Degree from Georgia Southern University. He and his wife, Amy, have a son.

Aaron Varner, 56, Covington, GA, County Government Representative— Varner is the Chairman of the Newton County Board of Commissioners. He is a member of the Community Service Board, the Newton County Board of Health, Newton County Development Authority, and the Northeast Regional Development Council. Varner served in Vietnam, receiving several accolades, including a Bronze Star. He is a graduate of both DeKalb Technical College and the University of Georgia 's Carl Vinson Institute of Government. He and his wife, Ann, have two children and three grandchildren.

George B. “Ben” Thompson, IV, 37, Statesboro, GA, Educator Representative— Thompson is the Director of the Coastal Rivers Water Planning and Policy Center at Georgia Southern University. He is also the Acting Assistant Dean for External Relations and an Associate Professor of Legal Studies. Thompson is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Environmental Law Section, the South Carolina Bar, and is on the Board of Directors of the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. Thompson earned his Political Science and Master's Degrees from Georgia Southern and his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina. He and his wife, Kathleen, have a son.

Robert J. Ringer, 45, Stone Mountain, GA, Environmental Protection Division Representative— Ringer is an Environmental Specialist in the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Unit with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Water Protection Branch. Prior to this, he served as the Senior Geologist in the Hazardous Waste Management Branch. Ringer is a member of the Atlanta Geological Society and serves on the Board of the Belle Glade Homeowners Association. He received a Geology Degree from Wichita State University and has taken courses in Hydrology at Georgia State University.

Jo Ann J. Macrina, Suwanee, GA, Engineering and Design Community Representative— Macrina is the Southeast Regional Water Resource Manager for Manhard Consulting. For eighteen years, she has worked on watershed management, environmental preservation and permitting, flood protection, and erosion control. Macrina has served as Project Manager for Stormwater Master Plans and Watershed Management Plans across Georgia and in other Southern states. She is the winner of six project awards and is published in twenty-eight technical papers on watershed and stormwater management. Macrina volunteers her time with the Junior League of North Fulton and Gwinnett Counties. She earned a Civil Engineering Degree from the University of Texas and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of South Florida. She and her husband, David, have a daughter.

Burns Wetherington, III, 37, Douglasville, GA, Public Utilities Representative— Wetherington is the Senior Environmental Specialist for the Georgia Power Company, where he works with local, state, and federal officials to shape environmental policy. Wetherington manages environmental compliance programs, and organized a builder-utility organization to coordinate work in developing areas. He was previously employed with Southwire Company in Carrollton as the Senior Environmental Engineer. Wetherington holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech and a Master's Degree from Duke University. He and his wife, Francis, have two children.

Gregory D. Teague, 30, Ellijay, GA, Municipal Government Representative— Teague is the Public Works Director for the City of Marietta. He oversees five divisions employing 114 workers. Prior to this, Teague was the City Engineer for Marietta, implementing the city's transportation, stormwater management, and utility permitting programs. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Public Works Association. He holds a Civil Engineering Technology Degree. He and his wife, Sabrina, have three children.

Douglas L. Easter, 66, Lilburn , GA , Construction Community Representative— Easter is a Consultant and Instructor for H B Training and Consulting, where he teaches OSHA construction standards. He has extensive experience with scaffolding and construction safety. Easter's career has exposed him to everything from high-rise and parking deck construction to bridge construction. He also has experience in the sales side of the industry. He volunteers his time to numerous civic organizations, including the Shriners, Masonic Children's Home, and Waltom EMC Operation Round-up. He and his wife, Nancy, have two children.