Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Zoo Atlanta’s President and CEO Takes Position in Washington D.C.

Zoo Atlanta’s President and CEO Dennis Kelly has been named Director of Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., effective February 15, 2010. After a nationwide search Dennis Kelly will leave Zoo Atlanta to oversee operations for a 163-acre facility in Rock Creek Park and a 3,200-acre Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia.

"This is a bittersweet announcement for me," said Mickey Brown, Chairman of Zoo Atlanta’s Board of Directors. "It’s been an honor to work with Dennis, his talent, business acumen and foresight has helped Zoo Atlanta become a world class zoo."

Since his tenure at Zoo Atlanta, Dennis Kelly has spearheaded groundbreaking projects such as the 25- year master plan, renegotiation of a new giant panda agreement (the details of the new agreement will be released in the upcoming weeks pending the close of the Give So They Stay campaign and final approvals in China), state of the art capital improvement projects, as well as the creation of a fiscally sound zoological institution. He raised more than $40 million in both public and private funds for Zoo Atlanta during his six-year tenure.

As president of Zoo Atlanta for the past six years, Kelly enhanced the institution’s scientific and animal welfare programs and visitor experience and rebuilt its marketing, government relations and fundraising capabilities. Kelly also provided the environment and resources for important scientific and conservation work by the Zoo’s staff, including collaboration with National Zoo scientists on giant panda breeding and conservation. Under his leadership, Zoo Atlanta strengthened its education programs and assisted in developing education departments in dozens of zoos in China.

"I am excited about Dennis’ new position with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo," said Brad Benton, incoming Chairman of Zoo Atlanta’s Board of Directors. "This is a testament to the talent and expertise of one of the nation’s top zoos. He has left an indelible mark not only on Zoo Atlanta but also the City of Atlanta."

Zoo Atlanta’s master plan will continue as planned. The talented members of the senior leadership team will oversee the day to day operations of the organization while the Board of Directors implements a nationwide search.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. After serving in the military, Kelly held positions with Procter & Gamble and Touche Ross & Co. He worked at The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta from 1982 to 1999, serving in various positions. In 1997, Kelly was appointed chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola Europe, overseeing marketing efforts for flagship and local brands in those markets. In 1999, Kelly joined Green Mountain Energy Co. as president and soon after was named CEO. During his tenure, the company’s annual sales grew from $60,000 to $250 million.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FBI 2009 Director’s Community Leadership Award for Atlanta

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Gregory Jones, FBI Atlanta, presented today the Director’s Award for Community Leadership for 2009 to WAGA Fox 5 News for its “Georgia’s Most Wanted” program. Awards were also presented to that production’s reporter, Doug Evans, its photographer Gustavo Valdes, and it’s Executive Producer Leslie Duffield.

WAGA FOX 5 News initiated its “Georgia’s Most Wanted” program in 1997. WAGA Reporter/Anchor Doug Evans took over the project in early 2005. The program was designed to give a more in depth look at some of Georgia’s more heinous crimes, to include the victim’s perspective on the crime, in order to not only report the crime, but to elicit tips for law enforcement in an effort to further the justice process and, in the process, make the community in which they serve a better, safer place. “Georgia’s Most Wanted” has featured hundreds of unsolved crimes over the years, including many cold cases. Many of the victims and their families have expressed gratitude for having their stories told.

Some highlights:

* At least 14 fugitives featured on “Georgia’s Most Wanted” have been arrested since '05. These fugitives include murderers, bank robbers and child molesters.
* Reports on high profile cases including double murder suspect Derrick Yancey and Atlanta's Standard Bar robbery and the murder of bartender John Henderson. As part of his coverage on this story, WAGA’s Doug Evans traveled to Baltimore to interview John's father.
* Georgia’s Most Wanted was the first to report that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was taking a fresh look at evidence in the 1997 Levi Frady murder case, a tragic but unsolved child abduction case. For the story, Doug Evans interviewed for the first time, Levi's boyhood friend and the last person to see him alive.

WAGA’s approach to the production of “Georgia’s Most Wanted” is one of partnership with the many law enforcement agencies throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the State of Georgia. WAGA willingly provides the much needed platform to disseminate to the public the case information, the law enforcement officer’s perspective on the crime, as well as the victim’s perspective, all of which are critical in eliciting information and tips on behalf of law enforcement. WAGA, being the local Fox affiliate, works closely with Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted” and has often been an advocate for getting Atlanta area cases presented to a national audience.

With the production of “Georgia’s Most Wanted”, WAGA Fox 5 News has certainly demonstrated that it is a community leader by not only reporting the crime but by being an advocate for the victim and a conduit for law enforcement.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Leapfrog Group Releases Its 2009 Top Hospitals List

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While Congress debates whether health care reform would control health care costs, Leapfrog's purchaser members point to 45 hospitals that lead through example -- delivering the best quality care in the nation while attaining the highest levels of efficiency. Thirty-four urban, eight children's and three rural hospitals have been named 2009 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on results from The Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

New this year, Leapfrog recognizes a new category: Top Rural Hospitals. The award winners in are located in Georgia and Maine:

-- Polk Medical Center; Cedartown GA
-- Stephens Memorial Hospital; Norway ME
-- Waldo County General Hospital; Belfast ME

This year's top urban hospitals are located in 13 states - Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington:

-- Mayo Clinic Hospital; Phoenix AZ
-- California Pacific Medical Center - Davies Campus; San Francisco CA
-- California Pacific Medical Center - California Campus; San Francisco
-- California Pacific Medical Center - Pacific Campus; San Francisco CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center; Anaheim CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center; Baldwin Park CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Bellflower/Downey Medical Center; Bellflower CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Hayward Hospital; Hayward CA
-- Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Hospital; Sacramento CA
-- Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Hospital; Sacramento CA
-- Stanford Hospital & Clinics; Stanford CA
-- University of California Davis Medical Center; Sacramento CA
-- NorthShore University HealthSystem's Highland Park Hospital; Highland
Park IL
-- Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Chicago IL
-- Rush University Medical Center; Chicago IL
-- University of Maryland Medical Center; Baltimore MD
-- Baystate Medical Center; Springfield MA
-- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Boston MA
-- Brigham and Women's Hospital; Boston MA
-- North Shore Medical Center - Union Hospital; Lynn MA
-- Norwood Hospital; Norwood MA
-- Detroit Receiving Hospital; Detroit MI
-- Harper-Hutzel Hospital; Detroit MI
-- Mayo Clinic - Methodist Hospital; Rochester MN
-- Mayo Clinic Saint Marys; Rochester MN
-- Regions Hospital; Saint Paul MN
-- The Valley Hospital; Ridgewood NJ
-- University Medical Center at Princeton; Princeton NJ
-- James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute; Columbus OH
-- The Ohio State University Hospital; Columbus OH
-- Lehigh Valley Hospital; Allentown PA
-- Bon Secours St. Francis Health System; Greenville SC
-- Vanderbilt University Hospital; Nashville TN
-- Virginia Mason Medical Center; Seattle WA

Top pediatric hospitals in 2009 achieved a quality score of 95 or better through Leapfrog's Hospital Recognition Program and are located in California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee:

-- Childrens Hospital Los Angeles; Los Angeles CA
-- Children's Hospital of Orange County; Orange CA
-- Children's National Medical Center; Washington DC
-- Children's Hospital Boston; Boston MA
-- Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota - Minneapolis;
Minneapolis MN
-- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Cincinnati OH
-- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; Pittsburgh PA
-- The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt; Nashville TN

The Leapfrog Group ( uses the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for Americans. The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 by the Business Roundtable, and is now independently operated with support from its members.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing hospitals' performance on the national standards of safety, quality, and efficiency that are most relevant to consumers and purchasers of care. Hospitals that participate in The Leapfrog Hospital Survey achieve hospital-wide improvements that translate into millions of lives and dollars saved. Leapfrog's purchaser members use Survey results to inform their employees and purchasing strategies. In 2009, 1,206 hospitals across the country completed The Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Georgia Law moot court team takes first place in regional competition, advances to nationals

Three University of Georgia School of Law students joined forces to take home the top trophy at a regional round of the National Moot Court Competition held Nov. 20-21 in Atlanta. This trio, composed of third-year students Marie E. Greene, Kevin P. Murphy and Ashley L. Scruggs, will now advance to the national tier of this tournament to be held in New York City during February.

Coached by Georgia Law’s Director of Advocacy Kellie Casey Monk, the Georgia team defeated students from Georgia State University, Florida Coastal, Barry University and the University of South Carolina in the preliminary rounds.They again overcame South Carolina in the semifinals and then beat Emory University to become regional champions.

“All of the teams we faced in the tournament were superb,” Monk said.“The level of competition seems to get better each and every year. This team worked so very well together.We are indebted to all of the faculty and alumni who help us to prepare.We look forward to performing well at nationals.”

This will be Georgia Law’s eighth trip to the national tier of the tournament in the last 10 years.In 2002-03, the school finished as national semifinalists, while in 2007-08, 2005-06 and 2003-04, Georgia teams were national quarterfinalists.

Considered one of the premier moot court competitions in the country, each year more than 150 law schools field teams in the National Moot Court Competition, which allows law students to hone their appellate advocacy skills by arguing before prominent members of the legal profession.

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BB&T names new regional president in South Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- BB&T today said it has named Bill Kilburg as president of its Peachtree City-based South Atlanta Region.

Kilburg, who joined BB&T in 2005, previously managed BB&T's Middle Market Banking Group in metro Atlanta. The 45-year-old succeeds Derek Lane, who was named to head BB&T's Greensboro, N.C.-based Sales Finance Department.

The South Atlanta Region has more than $1.7 billion in deposits and 31 financial centers. Regional presidents at BB&T are responsible for commercial banking, small business banking, retail banking and retail mortgage banking.

"Bill is an experienced banker and exceptional leader," said Lars Anderson, president of BB&T's Georgia operations. "His leadership is measured not only in the financial success of his team, but in the positive impact he's had in developing employees and as an important member of our Metro Atlanta senior leadership team. His market knowledge and leadership skills will serve him very well in his new role."

Kilburg has 22 years banking experience and previously served as a manager and relationship officer at former banks Barnett Bank and SouthTrust in corporate, institutional and middle market banking. He earned his bachelor's degree in Finance from Florida State University.

Lane, a Greensboro native who joined BB&T in 1987, had served as president of the South Atlanta Region since March 2008. He previously served as senior credit officer for Atlanta area operations since 2002.

"Derek made significant and lasting contributions to BB&T's foundation in Georgia," Anderson said. "He is a committed, respected, intelligent and highly productive leader, and we're proud to see him earn this outstanding leadership opportunity."

BB&T divides its footprint into autonomous community bank regions - each with its own president - to keep decisions close to the customer. BB&T also operates a Buckhead-based North Atlanta Region.

At Sept. 30, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T Corporation (NYSE:BBT) had $165.3 billion in assets and operated more than 1,800 financial centers in 13 states and Washington, D.C. More information about the company is available at

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Georgia State undergraduates excel at Model U.N. regional conference

Representing the interests of Sudan and Iran, two countries often criticized on world stage, is no easy task.

But Georgia State University students excelled at foreign diplomacy for these and other countries at the Southern Regional Model United Nations conference, held Nov. 19 -22 in Atlanta.

A team of 45 GSU undergraduates represented four counties, including India, Iran, Sudan and Morocco, and competed for their interests against roughly 700 college students from across the country.

In keeping with the university's track record, the GSU teams won a series of awards. Five of the Georgia State delegates were recognized as the "outstanding delegate" in their committee. Two of the Georgia State teams, Iran and Morocco, won the "Distinguished Delegation Award," ranking among the top five percent of teams overall. GSU's team from India also received the "Honorary Delegation Award."

"The students worked very hard to participate as some of the most difficult countries to represent," said Rashid Naim, senior lecturer in GSU's Department of Political Science and program director. "It's quite an exercise, requiring diplomatic skills. It gets young people to think about the world's problems and become problem solvers."

The conference provides participants the opportunity to learn about the U.N. system and important global issues facing the international community today, such as poverty, terrorism and HIV/AIDS. Students learn to conduct in-depth research, express ideas in formal writing and debate such issues within a diplomatic framework. As delegates, Georgia State students were assigned to countries and committees by the event organizers.

"You have to be in the mindset of your country," said James Dutton, president of the Georgia State U.N. Association. "You have to do a lot of research to know that country's point of view and you have to discuss the best way to do things. Sometimes it is a consensus and sometimes it is a battle."

GSU has been participating in the regional conference since 2003 and will head to the National Model U.N. Conference in March, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, N.Y. Georgia State has taken home the top prize from nationals, "Outstanding Delegation," for the past four years.

"We're hoping to accomplish it for a fifth time," Dutton said. "Nationals is the show. It's not just a weekend; it's an entire week of debate. That's what the entire year is focused on."

Students in Georgia State's Model U.N. Association are enrolled in an elective course that helps them prepare for competition. The undergraduates also help host a Model U.N. conference on campus for high school students, which was held earlier this month and attended by more than 450 Georgia teens.

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