Board of Directors
Tom Johnson, President
Senior Executive, Accenture
Tom recently retired from Accenture as Managing Director where he was responsible for a worldwide organization of Information Technology professionals developing and supporting software solutions for Fortune 500 clients. He has over 34 years of experience in the IT industry and traveled extensively in support of his clients. Tom has been married to Wanda for over 33 years and they live in Roswell, GA with their two dogs and three cats. Tom and Wanda helped launch the Friends of Red Top Mountain state park in 2001, and have been avid supporters of National, State, and local parks for many years. They are avid outdoors enthusiasts, and spend as much time as possible enjoying and photographing nature. Tom is also a member of the Ga Press Association and photographs sporting events in the Atlanta area including the Atlanta Falcons and Ga Tech athletics.
Glenn Ivie, Vice-President
Land Management Manager (Ret.), Georgia Power Company
Glenn Ivie has been a board member of the Friends of Georgia State Parks for fifteen years, serving in a variety of leadership positions. Glenn is retired from the Georgia Power Company as a manager in the land department. In this role, he was responsible for managing six full service campgrounds and public access to all federally licensed hydro projects, as well as other traditional land management activities, such as forestry and leasing. Glenn served for many years on the advisory board of the Atlanta office of The Trust for Public Land and the board of the Sandy Springs Conservancy Glenn and hIs wife, Gail, reside in Clarkesville, Ga.
Scott Hanson, Secretary
Partner, The Direct Marketing Group
Scott Hanson has a varied career as an expert in direct response marketing and political affairs as well as extensive experience as a volunteer with nonprofit organizations addressing conservation and outdoor recreation issues. In addition to Friends, Scott has been an active volunteer with the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area, a director of the Southeastern Flower Show and director of Park Pride Atlanta.
Sarah Visser, Treasurer
Assistant Branch Chief, Land Protection, Georgia EPD
Sarah Visser has a background in nonprofit management enhanced by extensive experience working with environmental agencies. She joined the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation (KGBF) in May 2011 as its first Executive Director; guiding Keep Georgia Beautiful’s transition from a state program to a nonprofit. Sarah supports the work of 78 local Keep America Beautiful affiliates, the largest network in the nation, as they build sustainable communities through litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, water resource management and community greening.
An expert in board development and community engagement, Sarah is a member of the Keep America Beautiful “NextGen” team for curriculum development, is one of nine KAB National Trainers and has provided training and facilitation services for local, state and national organizations. She is the 2014-2016 President for the Keep America Beautiful State Leaders Council and has also served on the Keep DeKalb Beautiful board and Georgia’s Project Learning Tree Steering Committee. Sarah is a current member and a past president of the Georgia Urban Forest Council. Prior to joining the Foundation, Sarah spent more than ten years in state government, first with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ Keep Georgia Beautiful Program and then at the Georgia Forestry Commission as the Program Manager for Georgia’s Growing Green, a federally-funded job creation and tree planting grant program. In 2013, Sarah was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s inaugural “50 People in Sustainability” list and in 2014 to Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40”. Sarah holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Georgia. She lives in Grayson with her daughter Norah and pet cat, Lily.
Executive Director, Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
Prior to joining Friends as Executive Director in 2007, Andy had served more than 25 years in leadership positions creating, leading and managing local and national nonprofit organizations in Paralympic sports. From its inception in 1990 to its successful conclusion, Andy served as president and chief executive officer of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games – the world’s second largest sporting event in 1996. Following the 1996 Paralympics, Andy led the creation and development of BlazeSports America, a national nonprofit organization serving children and young adults with physical disability. Andy has served in a variety of volunteer capacities, including ten years on the U. S. Olympic Committee’s Committee on Sports for the Disabled, as a member of the board of trustees of Leadership Atlanta, the board of directors of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is an active member of the Atlanta Rotary Club. Andy is an avid outdoorsman enjoying fly fishing and kayaking with his wife, Marina.
Director (Ret.), Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1965, moved to Georgia to work as a Regional Planner for the Oconee Area Planning Development Commission in Milledgeville, Georgia. In 1972, accepted a position with the Bureau of State Planning and Community Affairs where I helped produce State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans. After Governor Jimmy Carter reorganized state government, I moved to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources where I eventually headed up the Funding Unit. This unit was responsible for administering the federal Land and Water Conservation Funding Program. Later moved to the State Parks and Historic Sites Division where I eventually became the State Parks Director in 1995. During this time I founded the Friends of Georgia State Parks. After retiring in 2002 became involved with several nonprofit organizations.
Senior Advisor (Ret.), Capitol Partners Public Affairs Group, Inc.
Tom retired from Capitol Partners in 2012 but remains very active in the political, civic and business communities of Georgia. in 1991, he was named by Georgia Trend magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. He has served on multiple boards and continues to be passionate about public service in Georgia.
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
As Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Mark Williams is the sixth person to head the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its approximately 1600 employees. DNR has statewide responsibilities for the management and conservation of Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources, including fish and wildlife, land conservation, coastal resources, historic preservation, and sustainability initiatives. DNR protects and conserves Georgia’s diverse wildlife populations and provides quality outdoor recreation through its management of more than one million acres of public lands in state parks, natural areas, public fishing areas and wildlife management areas.
Mr. Williams serves as Chairman of the Coastal Marshlands and Shore Protection Committees and serves on the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, the Land Conservation Council, the Jekyll Island Authority, the Sapelo Island Heritage Authority, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the Governor’s Water Supply Program Task Force, and the Georgia Aviation Authority boards. Mr. Williams also serves on Savannah River Council. He is a director of Prime South Bank, past president of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and recipient of its 2011 Distinguished Service Award, past president of the Rotary Club, and served as chairman of the Wayne County Hospital Authority for four years.
Mr. Williams represented the 178th district in the State House of Representatives for two terms from 2006-2010 and is a former high school teacher and football coach. He is the co-owner of Harris Real Estate in Jesup and a veteran of the Army National Guard.
Born in Valdosta, Mr. Williams received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia College and State University. He is a member of Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Altamaha Wildlife Association, the Satilla Riverkeepers, the Flint Riverkeepers, the Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Piedmont Park Conservancy.
Mr. Williams, his wife Pam and daughters Mary Katelyn and Miranda reside in Jesup in Wayne County and attend Unity Church of God.
Tally Sweat has worked for over forty years as an advocate for the development of parks and green space in metro Atlanta and throughout the state. As the former chair of The Garden Club of Georgia’s Roadside Beautification efforts, Tally worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation crews across the state to encourage wildflower plantings and helped design and promote the sale of the Georgia wildflower license plate. She has served as a member of the Georgia Advisory Council of the Trust for Public Land as well as president of the Callanwolde Foundation. Tally served as founding president of Park Pride Atlanta, Inc., and continues to give exemplary leadership to numerous initiatives dedicated to parks and the conservation of green space.
Elton R. (Al) Shauf
Colonel (Ret.), US Army
A career officer in the U.S. Army, Al served 32 years, retiring in the rank of colonel. He held numerous command and staff positions in air defense and personnel management, commanding battalions in the lst Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and holding principal staff positions at battalion, brigade and division levels. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (for service in Vietnam), and the Meritorious Service Medal. Al served as president of the Friends of Georgia Veterans’ Memorial State Park for several years, leading the effort to build the veterans’ monument in the park in 2005. In addition to Friends, Al volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and is active in the First Baptist Church of Cordele with his wife, Becky.
President, Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce
Monica began her duties as President of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce in October 1996 after performing various other positions in the organization since 1988. She attended Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, is a graduate of Leadership Crisp 1991, a graduate of Leadership Georgia 2003 and a 1996 graduate of the University of Georgia Institute for Organizational Management. She has also completed the 2-day and the week-long Economic Development Course sponsored by Georgia Tech and has participated in the Georgia Academy. She is very active in the community serving on several boards and committees. She is a member of the Cordele Kiwanis Club, Upward Basketball/Soccer Program, is a Charter member of the Friends of Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park where she currently serves as Treasurer.
She is married to David and they are very active in the Cordele First United Methodist Church. They have two sons, T.J. and Rob. In her spare time, she likes to read, spend time with family, friends and her three dogs.
Principal, Freedman Engineering Group
David Freedman is the Principal of Freedman Engineering Group, a small engineering firm specializing in outdoor recreation and projects that enhance the environment. He is the former Director of Engineering and Construction for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources where he served as project manager on some of the most notable projects in the State. These projects include restoration of the Sapelo Island Lighthouse, a building that will celebrate its 200 th birthday in 2020 and is one of the oldest buildings in Georgia still serving its original purpose, the stairway and cable suspension bridge into Tallulah Gorge, one of the most spectacular trail loops in the southeast, and the Sweetwater Creek State Park Visitor Center, the first building in the southeast to receive LEED for New Construction platinum certification and one of the most water efficient buildings in the nation. He recently served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Chapter of the U. S. Green Building Council.
At Freedman Engineering Group he continues to work on projects that connect people with the outdoors and their history including the Reverend James Orange Park Aquatic Facility for the City of Atlanta, the Restoration of the Stone Tower at Fort Mountain State Park, and the Helen to Hardman Heritage Trail along the Chattahoochee River in north Georgia. He is active in his community and is the Chair of the Marietta Historic Preservation Commission, serves on the Marietta Historic Board of Review, is on the Board of Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society, serves on the Board of the Len Foote Hike Inn, and the Local Advisory Board of the Emory University CREATE program (Culture, Religion, Ethics, And The Environment).
Director, Troutman Sanders Strategies
Connell currently serves as Senior Counsel to federal and state practice areas at Troutman Sanders Strategies. Prior to joining Troutman Sanders, he served for 25 years with The Coca-Cola Company. Connell enjoys many outdoor activities and has a deep connection with the southern portion of our state.
Past President, Friends of Cloudland Canyon
Marcy’s career has spanned a variety of interests. She spent over twenty years in the retail grocery and consumer goods industry with emphasis on merchandising, operations, and marketing, followed by experience in the non-profit sector as marketing and media relations director for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Marcy and her husband George then formed their own consulting firm, Chooch & Warbucks, to provide guidance, counsel and practical advice to businesses and non-profit organizations. Some of her favorite projects included: managing the implementation of a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to create an Alabama Artist Directory and curriculum for a series of business development seminars focused on the artistic sector in a five-county area; organizational process and administrative guidance to a retained executive search firm; strategic planning facilitation for Children’s of Alabama and St. Vincent’s hospitals Auxiliary Boards; and business development for an internet-based ticketing system designed for tourist railroad museums. Since moving to Cloudland, Georgia three years ago, she has been active with her homeowners’ association, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, and has accumulated over 600 hours of volunteer time with Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park. She served as President of that organization in 2017, and remains on its board of directors. Marcy and George enjoy home remodeling projects, hiking, international travel and visiting their two granddaughters, Emma and Maddie.