Dr. Valerie Bennett
Dr. Valerie Bennett is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering, from Vanderbilt University and received her Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Bennett then worked as a software consultant for Manhattan Associates then joined Morehouse College as an Assistant Professor where she taught Engineering and Physics courses as part of the Dual Degree Engineering Program for four and a half years. She then joined the faculty at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta where she taught Physics and was one of the two founding Coaches of the Robotics Program. As the Head Coach of the award-winning High School Robotics Team, the team has won several Regional Competitions and has been recognized on the International Level. She has also served on the Georgia FIRST Robotics Regional Committee in the planning of Regional Events. In addition, she is Co-Coordinator of the Georgia FIRST Robotics Mentor Advisory Council. To expose student to the excitement and importance of STEM, she worked as the Physics Research Coordinator for the TRIO Program as part of the Upward Bound Initiative. She was also awarded the Innovative Teacher award by the Georgia Independent Schools Association.
Dr. Bennett has been a Research Coordinator for the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program and has been awarded the Innovative Teaching Award by the Georgia Independent Schools Association. She has served as the Morehouse Coordinator for the Dual Degree Engineering Program and Faculty Advisor for several student Organizations such as National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Physics Students, Society of Women Engineers (Spelman College), and Packard Scholars. Her community involvement includes serving as a Board Member and STEM Advisory Board Member of the Atlanta Cares Mentoring Organization, which was established by Susan Taylor, former editor of Essence Magazine. In the Greater Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, she serves as one of the lead Teen Sponsors and has organized several community projects.
Mr. Eddie Bridgeman, Sr.
President and Chief Executive Officer of The SaiSai Group, Inc., is known as an expert in the area of small business and nonprofit financial management. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Mississippi Valley State University in Finance/Accounting and earned graduate degrees from Millsap College and Columbia Theological University. Mr. Bridgeman started his professional career in 1987 as an assistant to the Comptroller of Georgia Baptist Hospital and quickly advanced through the ranks to become the primary accountant for two nursing facilities (Newtonhouse and Americana Healthcare).
In 1990, Mr. Bridgeman began working with Reliance Trust Company within the corporate trust/compliance unit. During his tenure, his responsibility included processing and compliance of the Nation’s largest Church bond trustee department. After relocating to Norcross, GA in 1995, Mr. Bridgeman became the first Chief Financial Officer of one of Atlanta’s largest and fastest growth mega Churches, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. While working in this capacity, he oversaw the growth from one facility on approx. 4 acres to 10 buildings and over 30 acres. He managed the finances for the 15,000 member church, a daycare center, a private Christian school, a mall and a full membership gymnasium. The organization grew from less than $300 thousand in annual revenue to over $8 million annually.
In 1997, Mr. Bridgeman held the position of Chief Financial Officer for the 100 Black Men of America, managing the overall multi-million dollar financial operations from 1997 to 2005. He was responsible for maintaining the general ledger and preparing financial statements and various financial reports for Federal, State, and other outside agencies, which includes reviewing and auditing grant contracts, amendments and other documents to ensure grant compliance.
In 1999, Mr. Bridgeman chose to apply the more than fifteen years of experience and knowledge gained from working in finance to his business interests. Using his entrepreneurial desire, he formed The SaiSai Group, Inc., a financial consulting firm with emphasis on small business development and internal control policies and procedures. The SaiSai Group manages the financial department for a number of non-profit organizations including the Trumpet Awards Foundation, the Friendship Force International, the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, the National CARES Mentoring Movement, Open Heart Open Minds, the Hospitality Industry Professionals, Jean Childs Young Middle School Band Boosters, BronzeLens Film Festival as well as a number of for-profit businesses.
He is a well-spoken workshop facilitator and has worked with numerous local and national organizations and conferences, in this capacity, including the Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce, 100 Black Men of America, the National Baptist Convention, Cynthia L. Hale Ministries, Republican Party of Gwinnett County, Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneur, the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, the National Business League, the National Association of Black Mayors, the Hopewell Association, the DeKalb County Public School Foundation, Clayton County Association of Realtors, Gwinnett County School System and many others.
Dr. Linda M. Avery
Dr. Avery transitioned from her last position as Director of Business Development/Owner Partner of Keller Williams Realty in the “Next Chapter” where her present business was birth. Avery & Associates Realty, where she is the proud Founder and CEO. Dr. Avery is dedicated in finding new talent, highest level of education, latest technology and keeping up with the “New Edge In Real Estate” and in Business worldwide.
This former Senior Vice President of a Fortune 500 Financial/Investment Company made the decision in 2000 to build a real estate agency par excellence. Out of that decision came RE/MAX Premier. “Premier” underscores the fact that her agency was the largest African American RE/MAX franchise Multi Office in the nation. In 2002, Dr. Avery purchased another RE/MAX territory located in the Cascade Area of Southwest Atlanta. This grows her influence from the “Hills of Stone Mountain to the Cascades of Atlanta”. Dr. Avery opened World RENOW Brokers in 2009 and operated as broker/owner. She owned and operated three locations in Tucker, Colonial Square, and Eagles Landings. She has expanded her Real Estate business to include financial Services and managing small businesses. Dr. Avery also owned and operated as the Owner/Director of Alpha Real Estate School in 2002 to 2009.
Being a Business Administration Management/Marketing major and receiving a Doctorate from A.P. Clay Theological Seminary has also been an addition to an alphabet soup of professional designations that attest to her dedication to properly qualify her to represent her customers and clients.
Among her many activities, she made time to chair various committees such as the African-American Renaissance Trust and holding memberships on various boards. She is and has been a member of the Atlanta Business League, Concerned Black Clergy, Georgia Real Estate Educators, Dekalb Board of Realtors, and Empire Real Estate Board, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda among others. Dr. Avery was the 2002-2003 President of the Empire Board of Realtist, 2002 recipient of the Phoenix Award of the Dekalb Board of Realtors. In 2003 Dr. Avery received The Georgia Minority Business Tenacity Award and received the Pinnacle Leadership Award given by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in February 2004 and Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award the same year. Dr. Avery was the first female to be voted in office on the RE/MAX of Georgia Broker/Owner Council. She held the position of Secretary & Treasurer. Dr. Avery has held and presently holds various positions at her church as well as other church boards and non-profits.
She has also been awarded a second Secretary of State citizenship Award for Business, Civil Rights Martin Luther King Medallion, the 100% Club (Top 1% of all Real Estate Agents in the country), Multi Million Dollar Club Award Dekalb Board of Realtors, President of the Empire Real Estate Board and the Broker/Owner President’s Award from RE/MAX of Georgia
Dr. Avery is known for her prescription of SUCCESS: Which Is:
- God First, Always Do What’s Right, Have A Positive Attitude, and Attitude Is Everything!
Mr. J. Michael Foley, PE, PMP, CCP
Mr. Foley has almost four (4) decades of broad based experience managing the technical and business challenges associated with complex projects and programs in the government, commercial, industrial, energy, power, utility, information, and insurance industries. He is a respected and proven source of practical expertise using industry “best practices” in strategic business and program planning; project management; project control; cost engineering and estimating; risk management; earned value management systems; contract management and administration; change order/claims management; dispute resolution; and regulatory defense.
Mr. Foley’s experience spans the life‐cycle phases of complex projects and capital programs from conceptual planning and engineering through construction, operations, maintenance, and decommissioning. He has established effective methods to integrate engineering, economic, financial, and risk management principals with leading technologies to analyze and manage schedule and financial risk on complex projects. He has played a leading role in performance assessments and management audits of electric utilities and electric utility projects. Mr. Foley’s expert technical capabilities have been utilized to successfully resolve contract differences, rate proceedings before public utility commissions, and matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has been designated as a technical expert in several disputes and has been accepted in United States Federal Court and proffered testimony as an expert witness. Mr. Foley is also well respected for being an advocate for STEM education and applied learning opportunities for students through robotics. He serves on the board of Directors of the Georgia Robotics Alliance, volunteers as a mentor to the FERNBANK LINKS Robotics Team in Decatur, GA, and provides training to teachers and students in FLL projects and robot programming Mr. Foley is a judge/inspector at FLL and FRC robotics competitions locally and nationally.
Susan Collins Stutts
Human Resource Manager at Wahoo Fitness
Suzy joined Wahoo Fitness, a consumer package goods company in the fitness technology space 8 months ago. Wahoo is a connective device company developing and selling their products internationally. Wahoo is a technology start up that began in 2009 and continues to grow and innovate how people work out. Suzy is responsible for the Human Resource function at Wahoo. Wahoo is active in the Capstone Projects at Georgia Tech University working with graduating seniors to complete their final course work projects.
Prior to Wahoo, Suzy was a Regional Sales manager in the commercial and residential furniture industry with Lorts Manufacturing. Suzy represented the 10 Southeastern States selling directly to retailers, designers, hotels, country clubs and architects.
Suzy took a few years off to raise children and volunteer as PTA President of Sarah Smith Elementary School. During the PTA term, Atlanta Public Schools opened the first kindergarten Annex with the help of the PTA of Sarah Smith Elementary. Northside Youth Organization held Suzy’s interests as the largest public park in the southeastern states, representing a participation of over 2400 softball and baseball, 800 basketball and 1500 football youths. Suzy was responsible for fundraising, community partnerships, sponsorships and numerous support positions.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, Suzy spent 12 years with Macy’s West as the Employee Relations Director of the Cosmetic division, representing $98 million in sales, she was responsible for 5000 beauty advisors in 95 Macy’s stores as a liaison between the cosmetic companies and Macys. Suzy also held positions in Corporate Recruiting, Corporate Training and Executive Human Resources located in their corporate offices in San Francisco and Los Angelos.