Los Angeles Alumni Reception

Join fellow Grady alumni to network and give students in our Grady L.A. program a warm Southern California welcome.

Complimentary appetizers and 2 beverage tickets are provided. Your $10 registration fee supports students in our Entertainment and Media Studies program.

Please register by June 21.

Register through this link.

Peabody win comes full circle for Grady College alumnus

When Randy Travis (ABJ ’82) was a Grady College journalism student, he took a class called “History of Program Ideas,” taught by Worth McDougald, director of the Peabody Awards from 1963 to 1991. Each class period was spent analyzing a different entry from the vast Peabody archive — all exhibiting the best in storytelling techniques.

“If someone had told me 39 years ago, that one day, a story that I had a hand in would be in those archives with all those shows I listened to, I would have said ‘you’re crazy,’” Travis said, with a combination of humility, shock and pride in his voice. “But, they put me on the path of storytelling…that’s what that class did for me.”

On May 18, Travis, a reporter for the investigative team from WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta, will accept the Peabody Award for investigative journalism for a series that aired in 2018 called “$2 Tests: Bad Arrests.” The 78th Peabody Awards ceremony takes place May 18, 2019, in New York City.

“I have been fortunate to win awards in my career,” Travis said, “and, they are always thrilling, but this is the cream of the crop. This is an award that you dare to dream about.”

The series examined inexpensive drug tests used by many police departments during traffic stops. The tests are designed to analyze substances found in cars and determine whether the substance is a narcotic or not. The problem is that many tests are returned with false-positives for harmless everyday items like headache powder, cotton candy and vitamins. Citizens were arrested, creating chaos in their lives, time in jail, lost jobs and tarnished reputations…all based on information that many times was false.

When Travis suspected that this was not an isolated incident, he and the I-Team investigated whether these false-positive results were a trend. Over six-month period, the team submitted FOIA requests and researched incident reports indicating a drug test came positive for illegal drugs. After reviewing more than 1,000 records from police precincts, sheriff’s offices and other law enforcement agencies in Georgia, the investigators found at least 145 cases were false-positives and resulted in arrests based on these drug tests. Travis said that number is conservative because that number doesn’t include reports that were restricted and were not reviewed.

As a result of this investigative report, changes are being made in the law enforcement process: “The most encouraging result we have seen from our investigation,” Travis said, “is that police departments now are not accepting the results of these tests as gospel. They are using them as just one of many tools to decide if someone should be arrested.”

Randy Travis (l.) and Ashlyn Webb (second from right) are joined by Dale Russell, senior investigative reporter, and Mindy Larcom, producer for the FOX 5 I-Team after the series won an award from the Atlanta Press Club in April. “Randy Travis, Dale Russell, Dana Fowle, and the FOX 5 Atlanta I-Team are truly my role models. Having the chance to intern with such phenomenal investigative reporters was an honor. ” (Photo: Courtesy of Ashlyn Webb)

Many law enforcement agencies have stopped using the kits entirely or they are waiting to arrest a suspect until after the confirmation of the questionable substance is returned from the state crime lab.

There are other impacts of the report, as well.

Just as McDougald set Travis on a path of storytelling that eventually led to this Peabody Award, so did Travis have an impact on the education of two Grady College students.

Ashlyn Webb (AB ’19), a third-year journalism student, spent the summer of 2018 interning for the Fox 5 I-Team, and Sidney Shadrix (MA ’19), spent a week shadowing for the I-Team. During the time Webb and Shadrix were with the I-Team, they worked on the “$2 Test” series, gathering, following up and analyzing the police incident reports. In addition, Webb interviewed some of the victims in the report.

“I really appreciate assistance of the interns,” Travis said of the Webb and Shadrix. “We really are a team and it was great to have the interns as part of our team for this significant project. They were a second and third set of eyes that helped us find stories to tell the story

For Webb, interning at Fox 5 was a growth experience where she could apply lessons learned in class. Lessons including accessing records, analyzing data and fact checking from Information Gathering class and how to file FOIAs and open records requests discussed in Communication Law were used day to day last summer.

“Having the chance to work on this Peabody-Award winning investigative series with Randy Travis and the FOX 5 Atlanta team was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Webb said of the group that continues to mentor her even after internship has ended. “It’s even more rewarding to see the story that I had the privilege of contributing to is making a difference locally, nationally, and now, even internationally.”

View a special presentation of “$2 Tests: Bad Arrests” here.

Peabody Citation for $2 Tests: Bad Arrests

In a prime example of the ripple effect of excellent local investigate reporting, reporter Randy Travis delves into the reliability of drug-testing kits, known as “$2 Tests,” used by police around the country as a quick, cheap way to analyze suspicious substances in the field. Despite warnings of the tests giving false positives, dashcam videos show how police regularly relied on them to arrest individuals for everyday items such as headache powder, vitamins, or cleaning supplies. The coverage led police departments to drop the tests and compelled professional associations to educate law enforcement, prosecutors, and public defenders on the fallibility of the tests.

Executive Producers: Eric Ludgood. Associate Producers/Producers: Mindy Larcom, Aaron Willen, Randy Travis. Writers: Randy Travis. Editors: Randall Rinehart. Reporters: Randy Travis. Photography: Aaron Willen.


Grady Salutes celebrates alumni and friends

Nearly 200 alumni, faculty, students and friends celebrated Grady College and its 2019 honorees on April 26 at the Athens Cotton Press during the annual Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Leadership and Commitment.

Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08) emceed the evening along with Dean Charles Davis, and the event was produced by Jody Danneman (ABJ ’88) and Atlanta Image Arts.

Alumni award honorees included:

    • Chris Holcomb (ABJ ’85) received John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award, and as the Lifetime Achievement recipient, Holcomb was also inducted into the Grady Fellowship. Holcomb talked his journey that has led him to his role as chief meteorologist at WXIA-TV and the sacrifices his parents made so that he could attend the University of Georgia. “They would be so proud to know that the same school that they saved to pay tuition is now honoring their boy.”
    • Henry “Hadjii” Hand (ABJ ’98) is the recipient of this year’s Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award. The screenwriter and producer, who also teaches in Grady’s MFA screenwriting program, spoke about his relationships with those who helped him get to where he is today, including his mentor, Nate Kohn, who directs the MFA program. “You don’t get to these moments in life by yourself,” Hand said. “It really takes a village.”
    • Angela Alfano (ABJ ’10) received the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award. Alfano, who is director of corporate communications for Major League Soccer, has been in sports marketing and communications throughout her young career, including her introductory role with Georgia Athletics while she was still a student. “Like any good football loving Bulldog, while at UGA I learned the importance of fourth and goal on the field, but it was my “professional coaches” – my Grady teachers and mentors – who taught me about fourth and goal in life…taught me how it takes dedication, heart and a commitment to excellence to become a champion off the field.”
    • James “Ford” Risley (MA ’92) accepted the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. Risley is professor of communications and associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University, but earned his master’s degree at Grady College and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida at the same time that Dean Charles Davis earned doctorate degree from Florida. “I’m so grateful I pursued my master’s here,” Risley said. “I learned the importance of teaching and scholarship.”

    The Sanford Circle induction, a posthumous honor presented to someone whose spirit remains

    Charles Hayslett accepted the Sanford Circle induction on behalf of his good friend, the late Tom Crawford. “He was also my good and great friend, maybe the best I ever had, and I was privileged to be his,” Hayslett said of Crawford.

    with Grady College was presented to Tom Crawford (ABJ ’72), founder and editor of “The Georgia Report.” The honor was accepted by his good friend, Charles Hayslett (ABJ ’73). Hayslett began his comments: “Live as long as I have and you’ll come to appreciate things that might have gotten past you in your youth.  One is to recognize greatness when it crosses your path.  Another is to value good friends. In Tom Crawford, I guess you’d have to say I had a two-fer.”

    Honorees inducted into the Grady Fellowship included:

    • Connie Ledoux Book (PhD ’93). Book, the president of Elon University, accepted her induction in absentia via a recorded message. “It was at Grady that I learned the power of asking good questions,” Book said. “Like so many of you, I credit my time at UGA and Grady faculty and staff to my career, character and leadership.”
    • Richard Griffiths, a former CNN executive and current president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, spoke of his involvement with Grady College students through his role as an Cox Institute Industry Fellow. “Having a 43-year career in journalism and having the opportunity to share my mistakes with unsuspecting journalism students is a dream come true,” Griffiths said. He ended his presentation with a tribute to journalistic freedom and three journalists who have been killed, held hostage or arrested in recent weeks: Lyra McKee, Austin Tice and Maria Ressa.
    • Dean Krugman, who is a professor emeritus of advertising from Grady College and the founder of the Cox International Center, spoke about his love for the faculty and students. “I had a beacon that served me well,” Krugman said. “I got to come to Grady every day and engage with very bright students, where learning often went both ways.”
    Connie Ledoux Book was not able to attend, but sent a recorded message of thanks for her Fellowship induction.
    • Carole Munroe (ABJ ’82), the current senior director of brand communications for portfolio, loyalty and content for Hilton Worldwide and the former director of public relations and content relations for Disney Parks, drew on the leadership and loyalty lessons of the two men who founded those companies, Conrad Hilton and Walt Disney. She also drew on lessons from her mother and from Coretta Scott King, who Munroe was fortunate to work for as an intern for during her time at Grady College. “At the end of the day,” Munroe said, “real leadership is defined by servitude to others.”
    • Brian Robinson (ABJ ’97), who runs his own political communications firm, Robinson Republic, and is the former deputy chief of staff for communications for former Gov. Nathan Deal, talked about the hard skills he learned at Grady College and the role they had in his career success. He also talked about his pride in being a Georgia game, and that he is “especially proud to be a Grady Dawg.”

    The evening concluded with a dessert reception and the conclusion of the Grady Salutes auction, which brought in $20,000 for the general fund for Grady.



    Additional Grady Salutes assets:

    • View the Grady Salutes Flickr album to see pictures from the event
    • To view pre-event interviews with our honorees, please view the following Facebook links:

    Charles Davis; Chris Holcomb; Hadjii Hand; Angela Alfano; Richard Griffiths; Dean Krugman; Carole Munroe; Brian Robinson

    • Grady Salutes 2019 featured an evening celebrating Grady College, its alumni and its friends. The event took place at the Athens Cotton Press. Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ '08) emceed the evening along with Dean Charles Davis. Alumni award honorees included: ¥ Chris Holcomb (ABJ Õ85), John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. As the Lifetime Achievement recipient, Holcomb was also inducted into the Grady Fellowship. ¥ Henry ÒHadjiiÓ Hand (ABJ Õ98), the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award ¥ Angela Alfano (ABJ Õ10), the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award ¥ James ÒFordÓ Risley (MA Õ92), the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award Honorees inducted into the Grady Fellowship included: ¥ Connie Ledoux Book (PhD Õ93) ¥ Richard Griffiths ¥ Dean Krugman ¥ Carole Munroe (ABJ Õ82) ¥ Brian Robinson (ABJ Õ97) Charles Hayslett (ABJ '73), accepted the Sanford Circle induction on behalf of his good friend, the late Tom Crawford (ABJ '72). Athens, Georgia, on Friday, April 26, 2019 Photos: Sarah E. Freeman

Alumni Open House

Alumni and friends are invited to stop by and see what’s new at Grady on Friday, March 22, 3:30-5 p.m.in the Peyton Anderson Forum. This reception coincides with the Alumni Weekend sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association.

Grady Ambassadors will be available for tours of the building. Light refreshments will be served.

Alumni Weekend

All alumni and their significant others, friends, family (come one, come all!) are invited for a weekend to return to campus. With hotel blocks on site and events held on campus and around town, you won’t want to miss it! Price ($150/person and $250/couple) includes four meals, activities, a reception and tickets to TEDxUGA, not to mention some awesome swag!

Register by: Monday, March 4.

Grady College announces 2019 Alumni Award Winners

Grady College is honored to congratulate the following alumni on winning the 2019 Alumni Awards, which will be presented at Grady Salutes: A Celebration of Achievement, Commitment and Leadership on April 26, 2019:

  • Chris Holcomb (ABJ ’85) will receive the John Holliman Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Henry “Hadjii” Hand (ABJ ’98) will receive the Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award
  • Angela Alfano (ABJ ’10) will receive the John E. Drewry Young Alumni Award
  • James “Ford” Risley (MA ’92) will receive the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award

Named after the late John Holliman Jr., Grady alumnus and former CNN reporter, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors sustained contributions to the profession throughout a career. The Henry W. Grady Award honors a mid-career graduate who has been influential in his or her field. The Dean John E. Drewry Award recognizes a graduate of the last decade who has experienced a successful early career. The Distinguished Scholar Award honors an alumnus/a for excellence and sustained contributions to scholarship in journalism and mass communication education.

Chris Holcomb has been awarded multiple Emmys for his work as chief meteorologist at 11Alive WXIA/WATL, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, where he has worked for 27 years. During this time, he has also been honored with Gabby Awards for Best Coverage and an Associated Press Award for Best Weather Reporting. While pursuing his journalism degree at Grady College, he was selected for “The Lawmakers” internship at Georgia Public Television with the opportunity to report on the 1986 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Following graduation, Holcomb worked at WMAZ-TV in Macon. Holcomb earned his AMS Seal of Approval and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation from the American Meteorological Society. As the recipient of the Holliman Lifetime Achievement Award, Holcomb will also be inducted into the Grady Fellowship on April 26.

Henry “Hadjii” Hand is an acclaimed writer and producer with a voice for comedy. His first feature, “Somebodies,” premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and received a Golden Thumb Award from film critic Roger Ebert. Hand also wrote, executive produced and starred in the “Somebodies”television series for BET. Praised by the Associated Press as One of the Five New Shows to Watch, the show was also recognized by the LA Times Critic’s Choice as one of the highlights of 2008. Hand has also written and produced television pilots for Adult Swim, IFC, Fox Network and Disney XD. Currently, he works as a consulting producer on “Step Up,”a television series for Lionsgate/YouTube Premium. Hand serves as an instructor in the UGA’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Program in Narrative Media Writing.

Angela Alfano is director of corporate communications for Major League Soccer, playing an  important role in sponsorship, business ventures and digital media, among other responsibilities. Before MLS, she worked in public relations at Tough Mudder in New York City, at the National Football League headquarters and in corporate communications for the Washington Redskins. Alfano started in sports communications as a student assistant in UGA’s Sports Information Department. In addition to her public relations degree from Grady College, Alfano has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UGA and a master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University. She has been awarded the Chicago Skyline Award for “Establishing a New Identity for the NFL Draft” in 2016 by PRSA Chicago and was one of PR News’ “Rising Stars 30 and Under” in 2017.

James “Ford” Risley is a professor of communications and associate dean for undergraduate and graduate education in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University. He is the author or editor of four books, including editor of American Journalism, the scholarly journal of the American Journalism Historians Association. Before teaching mass media history and law, he was a newspaper reporter and freelance writer. In addition to his master’s degree from Grady College, he has his bachelor of arts degree from Auburn University and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Grady Salutes, which will also recognize the inductees into the Grady Fellowship and Sanford Circle, will begin at 6 p.m. at the Athens Cotton Press, 149 Oneta Street, Athens. Tickets for the Grady Salutes event can be purchased on the Grady Salutes ticket order webpage.

Eric Baker: from Grady College to Walt Disney Imagineering

It should come as no surprise that the son of a building contractor and a junior high school art teacher, would spend time sewing and designing his own Halloween costumes at 8-years-old and molding his own Yoda masks a few years later; or, that he would grow up to work in the design playground of Walt Disney World.

Eric Baker (ABJ ’90) is a creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering, responsible for storytelling and playscaping the look and feel of everything from Disney cruise ships to its newest land, “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” scheduled to open in this year.

The Rossville, Georgia, native has always had a can-do attitude, which has propelled him throughout his life.

“Never say ‘no.’ Say ‘yes, I can do it,’ then try to figure it out,” Baker advises about a technique he learned from his mother.

Eric Baker addressing a group of students in Studio 100 in April 2018.

As a Grady College film production student and theater minor, he knocked on the door of the local cable 13 offices asking if they had a job. When they told him the only opening they had was doing make-up, he said “I can do make-up,” even though he knew little about it.

“It didn’t pay much, but for me it was amazing because I had total access to the equipment,” Baker said. He worked his way up to the role of studio camera operator for the Larry Munson show and was able to use the equipment during off hours, which gave him experience to add to his resume.

His first paid job in an art department came after graduation and after completing the CareerStart Program sponsored by Disney. Following the program, Baker knew he wanted to stay in Florida, which was bustling with film production. He found out that some of the production crews at Nickelodeon went out to enjoy a drink after work, so he would show up at the same bar to network with the crew. He has never been afraid to talk with people, and the next thing he knew, he was working at Nickelodeon.

“For 10 years, I probably did every television show that Nick did,” Baker recalled of his days of creating the crazy buildings that Clarissa’s father was always building on “Clarissa Explains All,”  and trying to think about how to gross people out for “Double Dare.”

His resume also included Disney Channel shows like “The Mickey Mouse Club” and numerous projects with the Muppets.

“One of the highlights of my career was working with The Muppets,” Baker said. “They are incredibly talented people to work with. Jim Henson got everyone thinking collaboratively.”

When Baker wasn’t working, he was tinkering.

“On my own time, I built stuff,” Baker admits. “I would sit at home at night and build space ships and stuff like that.” Baker admits that he is most creative at night, sometimes waking up at 3 a.m. with his best ideas.

His work with children’s television led to more mainstream entertainment, including work on “From the Earth to the Moon,” a mini-series that earned Emmy nominations for actor Tom Hanks and for the special effects team that Baker was a part of.

The lure of children’s entertainment and theme parks were calling again. This time it was Universal Studios and they were building a new theme land based on the beloved Harry Potter book series.

Baker recalls his start at Universal Studios: “They called and asked if I could build models. I said ‘yes, I can build models,’ so I built them a castle. I didn’t know what it was, but it turned out to be Hogwarts Castle.”

Baker spent the next two years building concept models for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” before becoming the decorator for each of the four parks that were building, including parks in the United States and Japan. As a decorator, he focused on props and set dressing, like the 106,000 props used in Diagon Alley.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have such a great career. It’s show business and it’s never been like work to me.”

— Eric Baker (ABJ ’90)

The Harry Potter parks changed the landscape of theme parks because of their totally immersive experience.

“It was a game changer for the whole theme park experience,” Baker said. “It became the new bar that everyone was trying to reach.”

Baker and his team won industry accolades for their work, including the Paragon Award, the first of its kind for excellence awarded by the Themed Entertainment Association, and one that they said would not be given out again until someone tops the Harry Potter park. The award citation included praise for creating a “a completely seamless storytelling experience without parallel that is unmistakably superior to anything.”

But, it is the emotion and joy that families experience that brings the greatest reward to Baker. One of the most vivid experiences was the time he went to Hogwarts Castle as a spectator to watch the families enjoy the Castle just after it opened. He started focusing on two young fans who were dressed in Harry Potter robes, soaking in the experience.

“I knew I had done a good job when they dropped to their knees and cried,” Baker recalls. “I thought ‘we did it.’”

Eric Baker talks about his excitement when he sees families enjoying his work at the theme parks. He spoke with a group of EMST students in September 2018.

Just when it seemed that the pinnacle of his career had been reached, Baker received a call from Disney, offering him a job to create a similar experience for an unknown project. For the past three years working with Disney, Baker has been creating the new Star Wars themed lands in Florida and California, a project that even has him visiting movie sets including “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” to do research.

“Taking from film and creating something people can see and touch is so rewarding,” Baker explains of his work, which includes not only creating the look and feel of what people take away from the film, but also building sets and props for durability and longevity.

Baker is the first to admit that he has a pretty neat job. “This Star Wars project that I’m working on…it’s what I grew up with.” He describes visiting Skywalker Ranch, the production facility created by George Lucas, and getting to photograph all the props from the original films he grew up watching. “I was getting to see all the stuff up close from the films that pretty much changed my life. It was pretty emotional.”

He continues: “I’m incredibly fortunate to have such a great career. It’s show business and it’s never been like work to me.”

When the Star Wars lands  open next summer, Baker is confident it will be a multi-generational experience for families. He also has aspirations to be the only person to win two Paragon Awards. While he is on a good trajectory to do that, he doesn’t lose site of the emotions of bringing families together. “That’s the most rewarding thing about what we do…we make people happy.”

Bulldog 100 interview: Harold Hayes Jr.

We are honoring our Grady College alumni included in the 2019 Bulldog 100.

Bulldog 100 celebrates the 100 fastest growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

We interviewed honorees about their experience, advice and expertise for the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Harold Hayes Jr. (ABJ ’ 01) is co-founder and producer of SunnyBoy Entertainment. He is being honored with Craig Phillips (ABJ ’01), co-founder and creative director for SunnyBoy Entertainment.

What is the greatest piece of advice you received from a professor or staff member while at Grady?

HH: I remember professor Barry Sherman writing two words on the chalkboard that rightly changed my perspective into the endeavor ahead.  The two words were: “Show Business.”  That is the profession we were entering, a profession that entertains successfully only if the business portion is solidly executed.  It was the first lesson of of his Entertainment Law course and one that I remember every day while being and entrepreneur in the field of content media.

What is the most important skill an entrepreneur must master?

HH: I believe the most important skill as an entrepreneur is to be ready to strike and seek out opportunities to make earnest connections wherever they present themselves.  Some of my best connections in my career are a result of attending a non-industry event or cold calling someone I thought I’d never be able to gain a connection.

Bulldog 100 honorees will be celebrated with a ceremony in Atlanta on Jan. 27.

See our other Bulldog 100 profiles with Matthew Allen and Marc Gorlin.

Bulldog 100 interview: Marc Gorlin

We are honoring our Grady College alumni included in the 2019 Bulldog 100.

Bulldog 100 celebrates the 100 fastest growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

We interviewed honorees about their experience, advice and expertise for the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Marc Gorlin (ABJ ’95) is co-founder of Kabbage. He is also the founder and CEO of Roadie.

How did your experience at Grady College help prepare you for post-college work?

MG: Grady taught me how to tell a story and how to make people care. I really think Grady grads are the best at connecting with an audience, bringing an idea to light and, most importantly, making people care. If you’re raising money for things, starting a business, hiring employees or bringing in customers, you have to make sure people care. You have to connect with them on a personal level. From the very beginning at Kabbage, storytelling made a difference. It’s how we got people engaged — from our engineers to our partners to our investors. And it was from that beginning that we got enough folks caring about the vision and mission of the company that it was able to become what it is today.

What does it take to be a viable entrepreneur in today’s business climate?

MG: It all revolves around people, both internal and external. Inside a company, you have got to find dragon slayers. You have to find those people who believe they can achieve something impossible, especially if you’re trying to start something new. These kind of people are doers and “figure-it-out’ers.”Scrappiness is in their DNA. These are the kind of people you need inside your company, but you need them on the outside, too. , Whether you’re looking at a prospective customer or partner or investor, you have to find people who care and people who have juice within their organization to get things done.. Find people who care, find people with juice and find small projects you can work on together.

How did you land your first job after Grady and how would you advise current seniors soon searching for jobs?

MG: Everybody has a unique voice and path. As you’re searching for jobs, ask yourself questions like: what are you passionate about, what do you want to do and what will it take to get you there. There is nothing worse than doing something you hate. Figure out what you like to do and write it down. Create your own filter of what is important to you. When opportunities come in, you run them through that filter.

For me, that meant figuring out how to be an entrepreneur from the very beginning. My dad was entrepreneur, so of course he told me early on: “Don’t get a job. Find a deal.” For me, that meant starting my own company right out of college instead of going to work at somebody else’s.

What is the most important skill an entrepreneur must master?

MG: You’ve got to realize that perfect is the enemy of done. You have to be agile. Not only are things not going to be perfect, but sometimes they’re going to be just plain messy.But sometimes you need to get that first version  done, just so you can start working on the second version and continue making it better.. Move quickly and make the best decision you can based on information you have at the time. Then, move on. It’s easier to make a wrong decision and correct course quickly rather than getting stuck in the mud trying to be perfect. The way you find the right answer is to try things and make mistakes. Then, learn and formulate the next step.

Bulldog 100 honorees will be celebrated with a ceremony in Atlanta on Jan. 27.

See our other Bulldog 100 profiles with Matthew Allen and Harold Hayes Jr.