Please welcome our 2019 Board of Directors!
Keith Cooley, Board Chair and Resource Development Chair.
Keith grew up in Marietta Georgia and has had a house at Lake Oconee in Putnam County for almost 20 years. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech and worked in the software industry with several Atlanta companies during his career. He is currently retired and keeps busy with volunteer activities at TPAC, Georgia Tech and on the POA Board at Cuscowilla, with a little golf mixed in for variety. He also is a member of the Reynolds Chorus and the Greensboro Chamber Choir.
Keith and his wife, Peggy, are longtime supporters of the Plaza Arts Center. They have two children, Lara and Bryan, and a daughter in law, Danielle who all live in New York City. They enjoy singing in the community choruses, playing golf, and travel.
Susan Usry – Vice Chair – NEW 2019 Board Member!
Susan spent the majority of her career as an administrator in the Putnam County Charter School System, serving as assistant principal of the Elementary School, Director of Special Education, and then principal of the Elementary School, the Primary School, and the Middle School before retiring. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Elementary Education and of Mercer University with a masters in Middle Grades Education. She went on to obtain a specialist and doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Georgia.
Susan and her husband, Tom, have one child, Addie Grace, who is currently in elementary school at Putnam County Elementary School. They attend Eatonton First United Methodist church and enjoy living in Putnam County with all it has to offer plus its close proximity to Atlanta.
Joe Hudson, Treasurer Committee Chair.
Joe was born and raised in Putnam County and is one of the original Founders of The Plaza Arts Center project. He served as Executive Vice President of the Farmers & Merchants Bank where he was employed for 45 years. He is extremely involved in the day to day operations at The Plaza and helps to ensure fiscal responsibility.
Richard Wade, Secretary.
Richard grew up near Lexington, Kentucky and has lived in Georgia since 1976. He moved to Eatonton in 2001. He is married to Marianne Wade. They have two sons and five grandchildren. Richard has two Mechanical Engineering degrees—a BSME from the University of Kentucky and an MSME from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The majority of his career (30 years) was spent with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) where he contributed to numerous Department of Defense technology programs. He was a Star Warrior during the Reagan administration and enjoys golf in his retirement.
Richard and Marianne have been long-time contributors to the Eatonton–Putnam Arts Foundation dating back to the original restoration of the Plaza Arts Center. They have also been strong supporters of the Plaza 100 Program.
Murray Air, Plaza Community Center Committee, Strategy, and Resource Development.
Murray is a native of Florida and moved to Eatonton in 2017 after 20 years in Houston. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech and the Harvard Business School. His 30-year career with Amoco Corporation and British Petroleum in international finance, high technology businesses and global property management entailed assignments in Chicago, Calgary, London, Houston and the remote island of Papua New Guinea where he was CFO of one of the worlds largest copper mines. Since 2012, he has served as a Senior Advisor with the Taffrail Group in Atlanta.
He and his wife, Mary, have three grown daughters and 3 grandchildren. He is interested in historic preservation initiatives and leadership in non-profit organizations and community activities.
Dudley Carter, Facilities Chair.
Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Dudley first completed a tour in the United States Marine Corps before attending the prestigious Culinary Arts Institute in Baton Rouge, LA. After graduating he pursued a successful career as a Chef for 25 years in different hotels and restaurants across the southeast. Upon retiring from his foodservice career, Dudley starting a home building and maintenance business. Constructing 42 homes in Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
Dudley and his wife of 30 years live in the historic district of Eatonton in a home built in 1811. They enjoy cooking, shooting, and swimming in the 1/2 Olympic pool in their backyard.
Emily Findley – NEW 2019 Board Member!
Emily is a native of Georgia and the fifth generation from Gwinnett County. As a graduate of Georgia Tech, she has worked in many unique fields from engineering, real estate, to owning and operating restaurants. She discovered her love of volunteering while living in Madison with her husband, Mike, and their two children. Emily volunteered with Madison’s 1996 Olympic Torch Committee, the Morgan County Cultural Center, Tour of Homes, as Class Administrator for Bible Study Fellowship, and many other organizations.
Emily and Mike now reside full time at Lake Oconee. She enjoys shooting sporting clays, spending time with their dogs, traveling, and supporting the Arts. Their son is recently married and graduated from Auburn University and their daughter is a student at SCAD.
Tom Martin, Strategy and Resource Development.
Tom Martin graduated from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio with degrees in English and Education. He entered real estate in 1968 and over his 49-year career, has created, organized, managed and led residential and commercial real estate companies in Colorado, Florida, North and South Carolina and Georgia.
In 1987, Tom was named CRB of the Year and voted “Coach of the Year” by his peers on the National Real Estate Brokerage Managers’ Council faculty, where he held Master Instructor status. He was the 1989 President of the Managers’ Council and is one of only five CRB’s internationally to ever receive the coveted “Eagle” Award.
Currently, he is President of Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty, a commercial and residential real estate brokerage in the lake country of central Georgia. He and his company are passionately committed to giving back to all the communities they serve. Of the current 83 plus agents and staff within the company, over 80% are integrally involved in some form of volunteer community service.
Tom is married to Linda. They have four grown children (living in Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Louisiana) and seven grandchildren. They enjoy travel, sporting events, spending time with family.
Jude Martincic, Volunteer Chair and Policy Committee Chair.
Jude is a native of the Chevy Chase area of Washington, DC; however, she spent a good part of her life in Annapolis, MD while working for the State of Maryland in Economic Development, running numerous financing programs along with sister-state programs in France, Japan, and China.
Upon moving to Georgia in 1997, with her husband of 39 years, Joe, she began volunteering at The Plaza Arts Center through its sub-organization, the Plaza Alliance for the Performing Arts (PAPA) and has served as Floor Captain for the Plaza’s Event Volunteers at most productions since 2012. She also managed to volunteer for the Oconee Performing Arts Society (OPAS), Putnam General Hospital (PGH), Putnam County Elementary School (PCES), the LOCC Youth Alliance Programs and she began the Reynolds Chorus in 2000. While a member of Lake Oconee Community Church, Jude held several leadership positions and chaired their Leadership Circle.
Tara Rocker – NEW 2019 Board Member!
Tara Rocker is from Savannah, Georgia and now lives in Eatonton. As a graduate of the University of Georgia, Tara has spent her career in all facets of Marketing and Development. From book publishing to event planning, she has had an exciting career working with non-profits, corporations, and political campaigns.
As the mother of three young children, she and her husband, Walt Rocker III of Eatonton, are enjoying raising the fifth generation of their family to reside in the Eatonton Historic District. In her spare time, Tara enjoys volunteering, entertaining, and running.
Bobbie Thompson, Operations Chair.
Bobbie J. Thompson was born and raised in Connecticut and moved to Milledgeville, Ga in 1974 when she married a Milledgeville native. Bobbie helped found the Animal Rescue Foundation, Inc. (ARF) in Milledgeville in 1983 and was the President of it for 30 years. During that time, she learned about non-profits from the ground up. She attended several training workshops across Georgia and the southeast on many aspects of animal sheltering and board governance. Bobbie is a 1991 graduate of Leadership Baldwin and was a Baldwin County Community Torchbearer with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Bobbie moved to Putnam County in 2013. She began volunteering with the Plaza in March 2016.
Sara Tomson-Hooper, Resource Development/Grants.
Sara Tomson-Hooper holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Social Work. She has twenty-five years of experience in human service administration, combined with consulting and academia. Ms. Tomson-Hooper is currently employed with Habitat for Humanity International as Associate Director of Strategy Planning and Support. Prior to joining Habitat for Humanity in 2013, Ms. Tomson-Hooper spent thirteen years in non-profit management and twelve years in executive consulting.
Ms. Tomson-Hooper’s consulting firm assisted non-profit organizations with advancing funding and programmatic strategies; cultivating resources; enhancing professional development; assuring quality standards, and evaluating program outcomes.
Ms. Tomson-Hooper currently serves on the Board of Regents and the Advancement Committee for Wartburg College, a private liberal arts college in Iowa. She is also a member of and serves on the Program Committee for Blue Ridge Institute, which is a non-profit educational organization and the oldest continuing institute of its kind in the country, organized more than 88 years ago. In Eatonton, Ms. Tomson-Hooper is on the Board of Directors of the Eatonton Main Street Program, The Plaza Arts Center, and The Artisans Village.
Avis Williams, Plaza Community Center Committee.
For nearly 11 years Avis Williams worked at the Lake Oconee Community Church in Greensboro as the Pastor of Community Transformation. In this role, she worked to connect the community together in a number of ways. She organized a community Bible Study, a Youth Alliance, between the Greensboro Housing Authority, the Greene County Schools, Putnam County Charter Schools, and LOCC for elementary students ages 6-12 years. The Youth Alliance provides cultural, historical, and educational enrichment for the students with a four-week summer program. She also organized the Entrepreneur’s Club for Putnam Middle School to teach students how to interact with local business owners and how to create ideas and write business plans. Avis was also instrumental in creating the Imagineers Club at the Putnam Middle School which partners middle school students with local writers, musicians, and artists.
Recently, Avis has taken the role of Community Liaison for the Putnam County Charter Charter School System. She is now serving as the representative of the Putnam County Charter School System to the at large community. She is currently working on building an Alumni Network of students and assisting the Director of Experiential Learning with hands-on educational opportunities for all students.
In 2018 Avis received a Doctorate of Ministry: Theology from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University – Atlanta, GA, USA