Georgia Environmental Health Association

Member of the Year Awards

2018 Member of the Year: Maggie Rickenbaker

Maggie has been an active member in GEHA for many years, have served as President of the association, and actively increasing GEHA’s scholarship opportunities and student involvement. Originally hailing from Newnan, Ga., Maggie obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia. She began working for the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture in 2003 where she is a Retail Food Specialist in the Coastal Georgia region. In her free time, you can find Maggie knitting, spinning wool, playing the ukulele, cycling, and kayaking around Savannah’s many waterways

2017 Member of the Year: Allison Strickland (photo and bio coming soon)

2016 GEHA Member of the Year:  Chef John Szymanski

Chef John is the Food Safety and Regulatory compliance manager for Kroger Atlanta, where he is responsible for food safety training, third party audits, consumer education, and regulatory compliance. John was the 2016-17 President of the Georgia Association of Food Protection and the President of the GEHA Foundation. In 2015, he was named a “Georgia Grown Chef of the Year” by Governor Nathan Deal and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. John is one super guy who year after year has demonstrated unfailing support and dedication to GEHA! Our conference events would not be the same without him (and Kroger’s) continued involvement and assistance.

2015 GEHA Member of the Year: Kathy Worthington

Kathy Worthington works for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Division and has over 20 years of experience in the inspection industry. She holds a B.S. in Animal Science from Berry College in Rome, GA. Kathy has been one of GEHA’s most dedicated officers and members during the past several years. She attended every meeting and conference and helped guide the organization during tough financial times. Kathy went above and beyond her expectations in her leadership roles with GEHA. Thank you Kathy!

2014 Member of the Year: John Ford

John Ford is the Georgia representative of Infiltrator, and an active GEHA member. He is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a bachelor of science degree in biology, a minor in chemistry, and minor in business. John was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, and of the Omega National Honors Society. Post graduation, he began work for Infiltrator in 2001, where he has worked since. John has always been a great supporter of GEHA and helps with conference organization, membership recruitment and the overall betterment of GEHA.

2013 Member of the Year: Dwain Butler

Dwain Butler is the Environmental Health District Director for the 16 counties in the Southeast District, 9-2. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University, and began work as an Environmental Health Specialist in Wayne County in 1994. In 2001, he became the Ware County Environmental Health Manager, and in 2003 he was promoted to Environmental Health District Director. During his time as the district director, he developed a well water safety program throughout the district which involves testing private wells. In 2006, Dwain graduated from the prestigious CDC Environmental Health Public Health Leadership Institute, and is working with Georgia Southern University in Statesboro to develop an Environmental Health Public Health Leadership Institute for environmentalists in the state of Georgia. Dwain graduated with his Master’s in Public Health from University of Florida in 2008.

2012 Member of the Year: Krissa Jones

Krissa Jones is a Food Processing Specialist with the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA), and has worked with GDA for 16 years. Krissais responsible for a territory of 30 counties with about 100 manufactured food facilities. Krissa utilizes education while regulating, achieving compliance as well as building communication with industry providing a partnership in food protection.

Krissa is a specialist for manufactured foods including Acidified Food Processing, Low Acid Canned Food Processing, State Food Contract Auditing, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for juice and seafood, Good Manufacturing Practices, and Inspection Techniques & Evidence Development. Through her extensive food safety training, experience, and dedication she became one of the initial specialists upon inception of the Food Processing Program in 2009. Also in 2009, Krissa finished her year as GEHA President.

Krissa received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry from Shorter College, and enjoys spending time with her three children.

2011 Member of the Year: Julia Campbell

Julia Campbell is very deserving as this year’s recipient following many years of participation in GEHA as the Editorial Committee Chair, other volunteer activities for GEHA and in her community, and as a member of and speaker at the national association’s annual conferences. As the Committee Chair for several years, Julia designs, writes articles and edits submissions for, and publishes on-line the journal “Georgia Environmentalist”, the official publication of GEHA. In addition, Julia recently received local and national recognition as a DPH employee for organizing, collecting, and mulching over 2,400 abandoned tires in a northwest Atlanta neighborhood, for reuse in the community as decorative landscaping.

2010 Member of the Year: Chris Carter

Chris Carter is the District 5 Supervisor with the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) in the Consumer Protection Division, comprised of 46 counties in southeast Georgia. GDA is the agency which ensures public health in grocery stores, food storage warehouses, processing plants, wholesale and retail seafood, wholesale and retail bakeries, and all food safety for the retail industry. Chris graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and has worked with GDA since 1992. Currently, Chris lives in Alma, GA with his wife Renee and his two sons, Will (15) and Jacob (12).

2009 Member of the Year: Christy Blair

Christy Blair is currently county manager of the Gordon County Environmental Health in Calhoun, GA. Christie has worked as an Environmental Health Specialist for the District 1-1 Board of Health in Gordon County since her graduation from Jacksonville State University in 1994. Christy has worked in various disciplines of Environmental Health including Food Service, and On-Site Waste Water Management Systems. Christy assisted with the state’s first informational video for promoting and understanding Environmental Health produced by District 1-1. She also assisted with the state Onsite Wastewater Management Systems video that is being distributed with septic system permits. She has served on the GEHA Board for the last four years, and has been a member on the Door Prize Committee. Christy currently serves on the advisory board for American Red Cross, Gordon County Chapter, and is an active member of the Gordon County Local Emergency Planning Committee. She is married to Rusty, and they have a 12 year old daughter named Becca. In addition to being a mother, Christy enjoys traveling, photography, cooking, gardening and hanging out at the pool with a good book or magazine.

2008 Member of the Year: Sidney “Sandy” Shepherd

Sandy Shepherd is the Georgia’s Seafood Safety Officer for the Georgia Department of Agriculture in Savannah, GA. Sandy received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1980 from UGA in Geology. After working in the oil industry, he moved back to Georgia and worked in Atlanta as a Sanitarian with The Georgia Department of Agriculture in 1987. In 1994 Sandy moved from Atlanta to the Georgia Coast where he became more involved in Seafood Safety as a Senior Sanitarian. Over the past two years Sandy has

worked with regulatory agencies and industry to improve regulations dealing with seafood safety, labeling, and representation of seafood in Georgia. Sandy is active on various committees within the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference including the Vibrio Management Committee, Vibrio Education Committee and is Chairman of the Import Assessment Committee. He also serves on the Georgia Marine Fishery Advisory Council. Much of his time now is spent promoting seafood safety within Georgia by educating and training industry and inspectors. Sandy is currently a member of First Baptist Church in Richmond Hill where he serves in several ministry departments. Sandy has two sons, Blanton and Christopher and one Granddaughter that live near him in the Savannah area.

2007 Member of the Year: Tonya Gray

Tonya Davis Gray is presently employed by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Public Health, Environmental Health branch as a program consultant. She was employed by Coweta County Board of Health for 10 years after 13 years of employment as a sanitarian with the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

She began her career in environmental health as a wastewater lab analyst in Carrollton. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of West Georgia and a biology degree from Wesleyan College. The Georgia Registration Board of Environmental Health Professionals and NEHA both have issue the credential of Registered Sanitarian/EHS to Mrs Gray.

Beyond environmental health, she loves ballet, music, and soccer. Many GEHA members have watched her children, Davis and Amelia, grow from toddlers to teens while attending many educational conferences held each summer.

2006 Member of the Year: David Perry

David Perry Agricultural Sanitarian with the Jesup District Consumer Protection Division received the Georgia Environmental Health Association’s Environmentalist of the Year recognition during the Association’s annual meeting held during July.

Mr. Perry has been employed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture for 9 years and performs inspections of Food Sales Establishments, Seafood processing facilities and food production facilities.  He is described by his supervisor, Jimmy Outlaw, as an outstanding employee who is always willing to take on new challenges and assist others anytime needed.  He is described by Mr. Outlaw as being very instrumental in the implementation of the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Shellfish Certification program in coastal Georgia.

Mr. Perry has a Masters in Public Administration Degree from Valdosta State University where he graduated Cum Laude.  He also was awarded the E. R. Bradley for excellence in Social Sciences during studies at South Georgia College.

Mr. Perry lives in Jesup with his wife Angie and they attend the St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Douglas.

2005 Member of the Year: Hugh Coleman
2003 Award Winners
2002 Award Winners

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