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Pond Recognizes New Senior Associates

December 14, 2017


Pond, an industry leader in planning, architecture, engineering and construction services, is proud to recognize individuals who demonstrate extensive knowledge in their respective fields, with promotions to senior associate. These leaders embody Pond’s dedication to providing its clients with exceptional customer service and innovative solutions.

Corporate Health and Safety Director Jim Davis has successfully completed more than 30 years of professional safety leadership. He utilizes this experience at Pond to develop, implement and manage complex Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) programs, policies, and procedures for internal and external clients worldwide.

Director of Human Resources Pam Gower has more than 25 years in corporate environments focused in general human resources management excelling at talent sourcing and acquisition, engagement and retention, training and development, performance and change management, benefits negotiation and administration, policy/program design and implementation, organizational development, regulatory and reporting compliance and strategic planning. Currently, this leader at Pond is also the chair of the Gwinnett Employers Committee, and a member of the Southwest Gwinnett Employment Working Group and Society for Human Resource Management.

Director of Development Allan Iosue, PLA, LEED AP BD+C oversees Pond’s Florida business development for all Pond’s programs. Over the past 20 years, his experience has included design, land development, public involvement, leadership and strategic partnering. He is committed to the great City of Jacksonville and its future. Iosue is a trustee in the Jacksonville Chamber, and serves at the Chair for the Context Sensitive Street Standards Committee.

Program Director of Fuels Maintenance and Construction Mike Jeffreys, PMP has 30 years of experience in the fueling industry. His areas of expertise include program and project management of fuel system design build, construction and installation of fuel equipment and systems, troubleshooting and commissioning for complex systems and Pond’s clients around the world.

Director of Mechanical Engineering Van Lynn, PE, QCxP, LEED AP BD+C has over 18 years of experience in commissioning, mechanical and plumbing engineering design for new facilities and renovations in many areas that include office, retail, commercial, industrial, municipal and institutional. Lynn has comprehensive experience in sustainable and LEED design, as well as energy conservation practices and analysis.

Director of Civil Fueling Kenn Ussery, PE, LEED AP has over 25 years of architectural and civil engineering design and construction experience in many areas that include commercial, industrial and institutional, military, and fueling-related developments.

Matthew Wilder, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP has been a practicing landscape architect for 16 years. Throughout his career he has focused on public space design, parks, trails, greenways, and college campuses. All of his work is founded on the principles of conscientious environmental design and upon ethics of equity and sustainability. As Pond’s Director of Landscape Architecture, Wilder is a member of American Society of Landscape Architects.

“These individuals have demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment to our firm; they have gone above and beyond to contribute to our continued success,” says President and CEO Tony Parker.

About Pond
Pond, founded in 1965, is a progressive, full-service engineering, architecture, planning and construction firm providing professional solutions to government, corporate and private sector clients worldwide. Pond is headquartered in Peachtree Corners, GA with branches nationwide. Pond employs more than 550 individuals in various professional disciplines and is independently owned and operated.


Local Business Spotlight: New Boxing Club is a Knockout in Kennesaw

December 13, 2017

Ribbon Cutting

Named America’s fastest growing franchise in 2015 by Inc. Magazine, TITLE Boxing Club is open for business and teaching enthusiasts in Cobb County to roll with the punches.

Officially opened in late September, the Kennesaw club features personal trainers, free weights and 42 heavy bags. The location sits at 2090 Baker Road in the Publix shopping center next to Big Pie in the Sky, and Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling attended the grand opening to throw the ceremonial “first punch” at the club.

“Mayor Easterling has been phenomenal,” said Ben Olmstead, the franchise owner. “He’s a great individual. He’s very, very supportive of us.”

While TITLE Boxing is one of the leading names in boxing equipment, the company only broke into the boxing club world about 10 years ago. Its focus is a little different than the traditional club or the stereotypical version seen on television and in films.

“We put you through a boxer’s workout,” Olmstead said.  Bryan Scott and Ben Olmstead — photo courtesy of TITLE Boxing

There is no sparring and no one-on-one contact. Instead, the workout emphasizes high-intensity interval training and cardio workouts used by professional boxers. Olmstead said the lack of physical contact between attendees is a positive element of his boxing club.

“It dials down the intimidation level,” he said, “when someone walks in and doesn’t see someone getting hit in the face.”

This is important, Olmstead explained, because the club encourages members of all ages and fitness levels to join.

While TITLE Boxing Club is part of a national franchise, the owners stress that the Kennesaw branch is invested in the community. In October, the boxing club hosted Ladies Fight Night to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.

“What better way to fight breast cancer than to take it out on the punching bag?” Olmstead said.

In addition to events like Ladies Fight Night, this location is a member of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and supports initiatives like Kennesaw’s Grand Prix 5K running series and the Swift Kids running club. Earlier in the fall semester, the Kennesaw State University women’s basketball team attended the boxing club twice a week for training.

Keeping ties to the community has been important for Olmstead in opening this business, and he wants to use it as a way to help people feel safer and more prepared.

“It’s a very empowering thing to know how to punch and know how to defend yourself,” he said. “The police can’t be everywhere all the time. You have to be able to handle yourself for whatever situation arises.”

During the month of December, new members can purchase a Holiday Hits package, which includes gloves, wraps and two weeks of unlimited classes for $99.

*article courtesy of  Cobb County Courier

Americans Still Say They Will Make New Year’s Resolutions, Newly Released Saint Leo University Poll Shows

December 12, 2017

More than one-quarter of Americans say they will make New Year’s resolutions, according to a new survey released by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( The poll, conducted online November 19-24, 2017, sampled 1,000 adults nationwide.

This year’s poll shows 29.8 percent of respondents say they plan to make resolutions, which is up slightly from 27.2 percent in 2016. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points in either direction.

Traditional New Year’s resolutions held steady, the poll shows, with top responses being: lose weight (55.7 percent); save more money (56 percent); travel more (29.5 percent); and spending more time with family (26.5 percent). But 4.4 percent say they resolve to spend less time with family, a percentage that is up from 2016’s response of 0.4 percent. Poll respondents were allowed to give multiple responses as to which resolutions they are likely to make.

Vacationing more and finding a new job ranked in the top five responses with 29.9 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively. These were up significantly from 2016 when 23.2 percent said they resolved to vacation more and 20.2 percent said they would look for a new job.

“At their core, most New Year’s resolutions seek to create a positive change in some aspect of life; most often an area that has caused worry, shame, regret. . .we make resolutions to create the chance to change these foibles and missteps in the next year,” said Dr. Christopher Wolfe, associate professor of psychology at Saint Leo University.

It is a hallmark within positive psychology that humans are innately striving to become better, Wolfe said.  “A father of the ideology, Abraham Maslow proposed that humans striving toward this better self, must do so by attending to the many needs of the individual along the way—a hierarchy of needs.”

In the recent Saint Leo poll, “we find that the desire to lose weight remains a top goal for more than half of respondents,” Wolfe said. “Good health is a necessary base level, in this theory, for achieving all other rungs on the ladder toward a better self and therefore makes sense as a top resolution across the last several polls.”

Among those who say they will make New Year’s resolutions, 46.7 percent of Hispanics responded “yes,” followed by African-Americans at 44 percent, and whites at 23 percent. Among age groups, the poll shows 49.2 percent in the 18-to-35 age group will make resolutions while 31.6 percent of those age 36 to 55 will do so, and just 16.2 percent of those older than 56 will formulate resolutions.

“Those identifying within a minority culture may feel more compelled toward a need to create positive change as a result of fewer opportunities or the real or perceived feelings of inequality,” Wolfe said. “Does being a member of the dominant cultural group in the United States in some way protect or detract from the need to resolve for some change?”

Wolfe said he found the age gap in the poll results interesting, too. “More millennials are making positive resolutions as opposed to the generation of their parents,” he commented.

About the poll
METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 1,000 adult approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted November 19 through November 24, 2017. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can also be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 90,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Marietta City Schools Awarded $3.1M College and Career Academy Grant

December 7, 2017

CCA Press Release.12.7.17.FINAL

Superintendent Grant Rivera today announced that the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) awarded Marietta City Schools a $3.1M grant for a college and career academy. The Marietta High School College and Career Academy  (MHS CCA) will be located on the current Marietta High School campus and serve as a catalyst for school and community transformation – ensuring equitable academic access for all students and shaping the future workforce for Marietta and Cobb County.

“Marietta College & Career Academy builds on a shared commitment among education, business, and community leaders to champion the development of the modern workforce and will inspire students to ignite their passion, cultivate their innate abilities, and connect them with workplace opportunities to employ their unique talents,” said Rivera. “The 3.1 million dollar grant will be added to $9 million dollar investment already made by the members of our community through E-SPLOST funds. The opportunity to directly invest $12 million dollars into innovative college and career opportunities will lead to more workplace opportunities and skills, for more Marietta students.”

MHS CCA partners represent a cross-section of Cobb County industries including construction, healthcare, information technology, public safety, engineering, hospitality and other key industries. Additional strong partner support is also found in the Board of Education of the City of Marietta, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Marietta Business Association, and the City of Marietta Office of Economic Development. MHS CCA is fortunate to have a partnership agreement with four outstanding post-secondary colleges and universities, each serving as equal partners: Chattahoochee Technical College, Georgia Highlands College, Kennesaw State University, and Life University.

“I am appreciative to our Marietta community members for helping lead these efforts to transform education from a one-size fits all educational model into one that will truly prepare students for great careers for available jobs,” said Tim Brown, Director of Marietta’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education Director who led this
initiative for the district. “Marietta is poised to debunk the myth that college and career are separate paths to success. Our students will have opportunities to explore all of their post-high school learning and work opportunities in state-of-the-art classrooms with lessons led by industry professionals.”

MHS CCA partners include: Dr. Ronald Newcomb, President of the Chattahoochee Technical College, Mr. Gary Bottoms, Chairman of the Cobb Chamber Board of Directors, President of the Bottoms Group, LLC, and Chair of the Marietta High School College and Career Academy Steering Committee.

“This grant is a game-changer for our city’s high school,” said Bottoms. “In today’s world, students want options and this academy will allow them to explore all of their aptitudes and interests in a safe space, surrounded by instructors who want to see them succeed
after high school.”

“The whole-school Georgia College & Career Academy model in Marietta will involve career pathways throughout the entire high school campus. Some of the existing physical space will be modified to give our students additional opportunities to prepare for their careers in a variety of meaningful, innovative ways,” added Brown.

Architectural renderings for a new addition to Marietta High School have been proposed by the MHS CCA. Upon receipt of today’s grant, the architectural design will be finalized and approved by the Board of Education and made available for public review. The new addition will match the exterior of the existing campuCCA Press Release.12.7.17.FINALs, and have an interior replicating post-secondary education and the workplace – ultimately encouraging workplace skill development and post-secondary readiness.

The school district plans to break ground on construction Summer 2018.

Second Show of Darci Lynne and Friends Live! Added Due to Popular Demand on January 13

December 7, 2017

DL_PressDarci Lynne Farmer is a 13 year old ventriloquist, singer, and Season 12 winner of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.

Coming off her record-breaking finale performance of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, the 13-year old Oklahoma native will bring her jaw-dropping talent, hilarious puppets, and vibrant personality to Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for one night only!

Tickets for both shows start at $25.00 and are available at, Bank of North Georgia Box Office at Cobb Energy Centre, or charge by phone 1-800-745-3000. The 3:00 PM show will go on sale Friday, December 8 at 10:00 AM.

According to AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, Darci Lynne first appeared on AGT as a shy 12 year-old who used ventriloquism to overcome her stage fright but stunned the crowd with a surprising singing act. See Darci Lynne wow everyone and get a Golden Buzzer from Mel B on AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.

She captured our hearts as the winner of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT. Now see the magic live –DARCI LYNNE and her puppet friends in their debut tour January 13 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM! 

Date:                          SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2018 3:00PM AND 7:00PM

Location:                    COBB ENERGY PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE

                                    ATLANTA, GA

Sales Locations:       TICKETMASTER.COM

                                    CHARGE BY PHONE: 800-745-3000

On Sale:                     3:00PM SHOW ON SALE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8 AT 10:00 AM.

MasterChef Junior Now Casting

December 7, 2017

MasterChef Junior is on a nationwide search for the most talented home cooks in America between ages 8-13 (at least 8 years old as of April 1st, 2018).

The casting team is coming out to Atlanta, GA on Saturday, January 13. Kids who wish to audition do not need to be seasoned master chefs with extensive experience in the kitchen. The team is looking for kids who love to cook, have an eagerness to learn and want to try out for this fun show!

If you think you are the next MasterChef Junior, the team would love to meet you at the open casting call. Minors coming to an open call must be accompanied by an adult guardian at all times.

To apply, visit

Alice Wheelwright to Lead KSU Marketing and Communications

December 5, 2017

Alice Wheelwright headshot

Kennesaw State University has appointed Alice Wheelwright as associate vice president for marketing and communications, effective Dec. 4.

As associate vice president, Wheelwright will serve as Kennesaw State’s chief marketing and communications officer. She will be responsible for the overall communications, research-based messaging, marketing and branding activity to increase the University’s visibility and support its mission, vision and goals.

Wheelwright brings a wealth of experience to her new position, most recently serving as vice president of marketing and communications for Stratford School, a private school with 23 campuses in northern and southern California. She previously held several leadership positions with Ecolab, Inc., a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technology and services.

“Alice Wheelwright brings a broad background — not just in the private sector, but also in the education sphere — and is ready to hit the ground running to help lead our efforts,” said Alex McGee, Kennesaw State’s vice president for external affairs and chief of staff. “Alice has a proven track record of setting strategic direction and implementing successful marketing and communications strategies, and we look forward to her bringing that same passion to Kennesaw State.”

Throughout her 23 years with Ecolab, Wheelwright served as vice president within business units: global marketing communications; global initiatives; global business development; and global accounts for Coca-Cola and Yum! Brands. Prior to Ecolab, she worked in marketing and product management for The Coca-Cola Company, Nabisco Brands and Ogilvy & Mather.

“I am impressed by what Kennesaw State has become, and I am excited about the opportunity to build on that and help take the University to an even higher level,” Wheelwright said. “Our team will continue to play a critical role to ensure that current and potential stakeholders know of the great work being done every day, the exciting educational opportunities at KSU and recognize the commitment to the future success of the institution.”

Wheelwright earned a degree in English/American literature from Brown University. Her volunteer experience includes serving as chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and a board member of WomenVenture and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.