Grady College boasts six 40 Under 40 Recipients: David Mowery and Eric NeSmith

Grady College is proud to announce that six alumni are being recognized this fall as recipients of the UGA Alumni Association's 40 Under 40 award: Rachel Harper Fox (ABJ '97), Christy Hulsey (ABJ '98), David Mowery (ABJ '99), Eric NeSmith (ABJ '02), Elaine Reyes (ABJ '97) and Tracey Thomson (ABJ '00).

Selections were based on the graduates' commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their impact in business, leadership, community, artistic, research, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors.

Grady College will release profiles of two winners each week leading up to the ceremony on Sept. 18.

Name: David Mowery
Graduation Year: 1999
Current Occupation: Founder/President Mowery Consulting

Grady College: What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

DM: Take a business course or minor in business. The “business” side of the business is underrated in conjunction with its emphasis in a communications curriculum. If you can bring in contracts or contacts, or can keep the bottom line top of mind, you'll have a leg up in your organization. 

GC: What advice do you have for today’s young professionals?

DM: Pick one or two things you can be better at than most people — whether that's the legal side, the business side, the tech side, or the actual mechanics of doing your job in communications. It is a diverse field with much to offer, so don't assume that what you studied to do will be your ultimate career. I was a newspaper major, and now I run my own PR/Political Consulting firm in Montgomery, AL. I would never have predicted that or believed anyone who did predict that when I graduated. 

GC: What do you miss the most about being at UGA?

DM: The community and camaraderie that comes along with going to Georgia, the climate in Athens, the music scene, and the massive amount of information and time available to learn about whatever diverse subjects you want.


Name: Eric NeSmith
Graduation Year: 2002
Current Occupation:  Vice President of Business Development, Community Newspapers, Inc.

Grady College: What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?

EN: Conrad Fink’s Media Ethics. In this class, we dissected and discussed the coverage of current events. The action of analyzing all sides of a situation before making an informed decision soon became an ingrained process. I use the skills I learned in this class daily.

GC: What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you most attribute to your success?

EN: It was my first semester in the Grady College. It was also my first semester in one of Professor Fink's classes. When I received my first paper back, there was no grade at the top – only the words “See me” scrawled in red. The rest of the pages were left dripping with ink of that same color. On the third page in the margin, I noticed yet another red note. “NeSmith, take this sentence around the barn and shoot it.” That was the moment I realized average work was never going to be good enough. When I finally gathered my courage to go see Professor Fink, he walked me through what I had done wrong and set me on a new course. I ended up taking all of the classes he taught, and he continued to challenge and push me, wringing out every ounce of thought. He saw more in me than I did in myself and accepted nothing less than my best work. We stayed in close touch until his death nearly two years ago. I have that moment of realization and him to thank for much of my success.

GC: What advice do you have for today’s young professionals?
EN: As you work to find your way in your career, remember to keep in touch with Grady. Your former professors are valuable resources. Seek their guidance and opinion. As a Grady grad, you’re also now part of a vast network of fellow grads that are plugged into leadership roles in companies the world over. Do not be afraid to reach out to these fellow grads. They will be able to provide insight and may be able to even open a few new doors of opportunity as well.

For more information about the 40 Under 40 program, see

Date: September 11, 2014