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Newsmakers, Dec. 28
Tiffany Whitmire
The Times wants to know about promotions, new management hires and other personnel news in your business. We'll publish the information each Sunday on the Business page. Send information, including a photograph and contact information, to Harris Blackwood at You also may use regular mail at Newsmakers, The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503.

Rushton & Co. promotes two execs
Rushton & Co., a Gainesville accounting firm, has announced the promotion of Tiffany Whitmire to senior associate and Nick Bruner to audit senior.

As senior associate, Whitmire is a consultant to the manufacturing and construction industry.
A Lula native, Whitmire earned her Certified Public Accountant certification in 2007. The North Georgia College & State University graduate joined Rushton in 2005 as an associate and is a member of the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

In his new position, Bruner will specialize in auditing of government, manufacturing, construction and nonprofit entities.

The Albany native, who has been with the firm since 2005, is a Certified Public Accountant. Bruner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Employees, officials honored by regional development center
The Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center honored employees and board members during its annual awards banquet.

Peggy Lovell, an executive assistant, was selected as outstanding employee for 2008.

"Peggy has worked with this organization for 31 years and continues to give 150 percent to her efforts," said Danny Lewis, the organization's executive director.

Lovell and her husband, Hoyt, reside in Gillsville with their two daughters.

David Aldrich, city manager of Hartwell, was named appointed official of the year. The selection is made by the staff of the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center and recognizes an official who serves in an appointed position within the 13-county region.

Dahlonega City Councilman Sam Norton was selected by the staff as the elected official of the year. Norton represents the city of Dahlonega on the development center's board of directors. He and his wife, Julia, own the Picnic Cafe and Dessertery in Dahlonega.

The board of directors of the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center selected Rex Farmer as the 2008 board member of the year.

Farmer received 21 nominations from the 44 member board. He has been on the board since 1994. He and his wife, Rachel, live in North Hall, where they are active in agribusiness.

State Rep. Charles Jenkins, R-Blairsville, was presented with the chairman's award of excellence.
Jenkins currently represents Rabun, Towns and Union counties and part of White County in the Georgia Mountains Region.

Appraiser Carver earns SRA designation
Julie A. Carver, owner of Georgia Highlands Appraisals in Gainesville, has been awarded the Senior Residential Appraisal designation for appraisers involved in the valuation and analysis of residential real estate by the Appraisal Institute.

The SRA designation is earned upon the successful completion of a graduate-level curriculum, which includes a written demonstration appraisal report or alternative and attaining 3,000 hours of qualifying experience requirements.

Also, designees must abide by both the appraisal profession's Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the Appraisal Institute's Standards of Professional Practice and Code of Ethics.
SRAs are recognized experts in appraising residential properties. Currently, about 4,200 real estate appraisal professionals hold the SRA designation. The average appraiser takes five to seven years to complete the educational and experience requirements.

Regional events