Six New Board Members Join Athens Tech Foundation

Staff Report

Friday, January 14th, 2022

The Athens Tech Foundation board of directors has approved six new members to serve on the board for a three-year term beginning January 2022.

“I am grateful for the commitment of these community members who are willing to step up and help support our college and our students through service, as they all bring a wealth of knowledge to the board,” said Athens Technical College President Andrea Daniel.

The Foundation board is responsible for overseeing the fundraising and all private student support for the college including scholarships and emergency grants.

The new members of the board include:

Jeff Brown, Vice President of Support Services, St. Mary’s Health Care System, Inc.

Brown is a Georgia native, born and raised in Newnan, and has lived and worked in Athens since 2010 when he became system director of radiology and cardiovascular services at St. Mary’s Health Care System. In 2019, he assumed the responsibilities of vice president of support services for the health system. Jeff received his radiologic technology degree from the Grady Memorial Hospital School of Radiologic Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, and then served four years in the U.S. Navy. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Shorter University. He also holds a fellowship with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Paul Cramer, President & CEO, The Classic Center

After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Cramer began his successful career in Rochester, New York. In 1995, Paul worked with The Classic Center Authority and the local community in Athens, Georgia, to oversee the development and construction of The Classic Center. The Classic Center is a 350,000 square foot meeting and convention facility, with a 2,000-seat performing arts theatre, 2,000-seat arena, and 22,000 square foot outdoor covered pavilion, with a removable ice rink. The facility also houses the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau. Under his leadership, The Classic Center has remained an award-winning facility including 10-time Convention South Readers’ Choice Award, 2020 Stella Award, and the 2021 GBAC STAR Facility Certification.

Graham Joyner, co-founder and CEO, Metal + Petal

A native Athenian, Joyner handles the business and management side of Metal + Petal, a full-service interior design firm with his wife Jade. Educated at Young Harris College, he began his career in corporate management in Athens before moving on to work with Masada Leather and Outdoor. There, he mastered a wide variety of skills including buying, marketing, and website development. Years later, in 2015, he founded Boutique Brand Builders, a creative branding agency that assisted companies with everything from brand strategy to social media marketing and SEO to data analytics. The following year, the Joyners established Metal + Petal together.

Jeff Petrea, Northeast Regional Director, Georgia Power Company

Petrea and his team are responsible for establishing and maintaining effective relationships with community leaders and elected officials for 23 counties across northeast Georgia. He also has functional responsibilities to work with power delivery, customer service, and sales managers to serve customers across the region. Over his career with GPC, he has also worked in numerous departments including distribution operating, accounting systems, pricing and rates, customer service, corporate services, charitable giving, GPC Metro North, and external affairs/nuclear development. Jeff is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Certificate of Cooperative Education. He is a current member of the Rotary Club of Athens and past chairman of the board of directors for the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. 

Whit Richardson, Owner, Taziki’s Café

Richardson says he learned about what a sense of community is working and listening to the coffee crowd that gathered daily at his dad's soda fountain in Covington, Georgia. After graduating from Samford University, he founded a handful of startup businesses before opening a franchise restaurant, Taziki’s in Athens, Georgia in 2014. It is his love of Athens and desire to establish roots in this community that inspire him daily to be a good neighbor. When not at Taziki’s or serving in the community, he spends time with his fiancé Julia, their dog Cora Belle, and their cat Marley. He enjoys being a Christian, cheering on the Dawgs, playing golf and backgammon.    

Samuel M. “Sam” Young, Retired

Young was born in Ashburn, Georgia, and grew up in the small town of Rebecca, Georgia. He attended Middle Georgia College and Georgia Southern University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. Young’s first career was with Cobb County Board of Commissioners where he spent 31 years in a variety of department management level positions including assistant and interim county manager. Upon retirement, he and his wife Susan moved to Lake Oconee in Greene County. A second career was started there, spending eight years in the custom home and commercial building business with Calvert and White Custom Homes and Oconee Construction Group, LLC. Young spent the last five years serving as the economic development director for the Greene County Board of Commissioners. He is treasurer for Greensboro First United Church and a member of the board of directors for the Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as the Greene College and Career Academy.  

The mission of the Foundation is to partner with Athens Technical College and with the community to build the workforce of today and for the future. To learn more about the Foundation, visit