Grady alumni included in UGA's 40 Under 40 Class of 2017: Mariel Clark (ABJ ’01), Amelia Dortch (ABJ ’06), Katie Jacobs (ABJ ’05), Joshua Jones (ABJ ’08), Tucker Berta Sarkisian (ABJ ’00) and Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09).
Grady alumni included in UGA's 40 Under 40 Class of 2017: Mariel Clark (ABJ ’01), Amelia Dortch (ABJ ’06), Katie Jacobs (ABJ ’05), Joshua Jones (ABJ ’08), Tucker Berta Sarkisian (ABJ ’00) and Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09).

Six Grady alumni among UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017

The University of Georgia Alumni Association has unveiled the 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. The program began in 2011 and celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of UGA graduates who are under the age of 40.

This year’s class includes the following Grady alumni: Mariel Clark (ABJ ’01), Amelia Dortch (ABJ ’06), Katie Jacobs (ABJ ’05), Joshua Jones (ABJ ’08), Tucker Berta Sarkisian (ABJ ’00) and Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09).

The honorees will be recognized during the seventh annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon on Sept. 14 at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. Ernie Johnson, a 1978 UGA graduate, will serve as keynote speaker for the event. Johnson is a co-host on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” and is the lead announcer for “Major League Baseball on TBS.” He delivered UGA’s 2017 undergraduate Commencement address in May. Registration will open for the awards luncheon at in the coming weeks.

“We are excited about this year’s 40 Under 40 class,” Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations, said. “These young alumni are making a difference in the classroom, boardroom, operating room and everywhere in between.”

Nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April, and nearly 400 alumni were nominated for this year’s class. Honorees must have attended UGA and aspire to uphold the Pillars of the Arch. Additional criteria are available on the UGA Alumni Association website.

“We received hundreds of nominations, and our graduates have made some incredible accomplishments,” Johnson added. “It is more difficult every year to narrow the list down to 40, and that is a testament to the caliber of our alumni. We are so proud.”

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, including their graduation year from UGA, city, title and employer, are:

  • Casey M. Bethel, 2005, Lithia Springs, Georgia Department of Education Teacher of the Year, New Manchester High School
    Travis Butler, 2009, Athens, president, Butler Properties and Development
    Eric Callahan, 2005, Griffin, owner, Callahan Industries
    Mariel Clark, 2001, Knoxville, vice president, Home + Travel Digital, Scripps Network Interactive
    Andrew Dill, 2006 and 2007, Marietta, director of government affairs, Lockheed Martin
    Amelia Dortch, 2006 and 2012, Auburn, Alabama, state public affairs specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Katie Dubnik, 2003, Gainesville, president, Forum Communications
    Rebecca Evans, 2010, Savannah, equine veterinarian, Evans Equine LLC
    Rebecca Filson, 2005, Roswell, regional vice president of operations, BenchMark Rehab Partners
    Matt Forshee, 2000, Evans, region manager for community and economic development, Georgia Power
    Nicholas Friedmann, 2006, Washington, D.C., private client relationship manager, Citibank
    James Gates, 2001 and 2004, Atlanta, partner, Bell Oaks Executive Search
    Christine Green, 2002, New York, general counsel, Leadership for Educational Equity
    Lauren Griffeth, 2005, 2008 and 2013, Athens, administrative director of agricultural leadership, education and communication, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
    Destin Hill, 2002, Phoenix, physician, Arizona Sports Medicine Center
    Dominique Holloman, 2001 and 2004, Atlanta, independent consultant
    Katie Jacobs, 2005, Athens, owner, Cheeky Peach Boutique
    Jonas Jennings, 2000, Athens, director of player development, UGA Athletic Association; president, JJ 75 Properties LLC
    LeRoya Chester Jennings, 2001, Atlanta, managing partner, Chester Jennings & Smith LLC
    Adam C. Johnson, 2016, Atlanta, senior consultant, Cognizant
    Joshua Jones, 2008 and 2016, Atlanta, president/CEO, Red Clay Communications Inc.
    Marcus Jones, 2009, Detroit, president, Detroit Training Center
    Kasey Knight, 2005, Quitman, pharmacist/owner, Lee & Pickels Drugs
    Matt Koperniak, 2002 and 2004, Sugar Hill, director of bands, Riverwatch Middle School
    Dorian Lamis, 2003, Atlanta, assistant professor/clinical psychologist, Emory University School of Medicine
    Dan Ludlam, 2004 and 2007, Atlanta, senior manager, real estate attorney, Chick-fil-A Inc.
    Gordon Maner, 2004, Charleston, South Carolina, managing partner, Allen Mooney & Barnes
    Maritza McClendon, 2005, Atlanta, senior brand marketing manager for OshKosh B’gosh, Carter’s Inc.
    Behnoosh Momin, 2015, Chamblee, health scientist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Travis Moore, 2003, Kirkwood, Missouri, senior brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch InBev
    Wes Neece, 2000, Atlanta, merchandising vice president for lighting, The Home Depot
    Julian Price, 2000, Watkinsville, physician/partner, Athens Orthopedic Clinic
    Tim Puetz, 2006, Silver Spring, Maryland, operations manager, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
    Tucker Berta Sarkisian, 2000, Atlanta, director of public relations, SweetWater Brewing Co.
    Maria Taylor, 2009 and 2013, Charlotte, North Carolina, sports broadcaster, ESPN
    Alissa Vickery, 2001, Mableton, senior vice president for accounting and controls, Fleetcor Technologies Inc.
    Sam Watson, 2002, Moultrie, managing partner, Chill C Farms/Moultrie Melon Co. ; state representative House District 172
    Laura Whitaker, 2007 and 2010, Watkinsville, executive director, Extra Special People
    Whitney Woodward, 2000, Covington, vice president for total rewards, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc.
    Alex Wright, 2008, Byron, overseas research fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The UGA Alumni Association
The UGA Alumni Association supports the academic excellence, best interests and traditions of Georgia’s flagship university by inspiring engagement through relevant programming, enhanced connections and effective communications. For more information, see

Date: July 7, 2017