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Newsmakers in business, Feb. 5
Jim Stewart

The Times wants to know about new management hires and promotions, major awards and other newsworthy accomplishments involving local businesses. We'll publish the information each Sunday on the Business page and Send information, including photos and contact information, to; please put Newsmakers in the subject line. You also may use regular mail at Newsmakers, The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503.

Stewart joins North Ga. Network's advisory board

Jim Stewart, chief technology officer at United Community Banks Inc., has been named to the North Georgia Network Community Advisory Board.

The network is building a high-speed fiber-optic network that will benefit Dawson, Forsyth, Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun, Towns, Union and White counties with more reliable and affordable Internet access.

The advisory board provides public oversight and provides feedback from the communities to the overall board of directors. As a member, Stewart will offer insight from a business standpoint.

"As a chief technology officer of a bank with locations across North Georgia and in North Carolina and Tennessee, Jim can provide his perspective for managing business technology for multiple sites," said Bruce Abraham, president and CEO of North Georgia Network. "He understands the importance of moving data quickly and how the fiber optic network will be a great asset for businesses in North Georgia."

Stewart is responsible for all technology-related functions at Blairsville-based UCBI, a role he has held since joining the company in 2001.

"I look forward to providing input and being a part of a venture that will totally change business and education in this area," Stewart said. "The North Georgia Network will place North Georgia schools and business on the same plain with others worldwide and open avenues that have not been available in the past."

The $42 million North Georgia Network broadband infrastructure project is made possible in large part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Robinson joins advisory board at Chattahoochee Bank

Raleigh T. "Rob" Robinson has joined the advisory board for the Board of Directors of Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia.

Robinson is CEO of Walters Management Co., an organization headquartered in Gainesville with offices in Georgia, Texas and Tennessee.

A native of Bainbridge, he formed Loan South Finance Corporation in 1996 and operated 10 locations throughout the state.

"We are pleased to have Rob join our advisory board," said Jody Lail, CBG President and CEO. "He is a well-respected business leader and will help us stay connected to our community".

Robinson and his wife, Kelly, have four daughters and are members of Gainesville First United Methodist Church.

Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia is located at 643 E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville; contact, 770-536-0607,

Crickey to direct MBA program at North Ga. business school

Kelli Crickey has been appointed as the new director of the Master of Business Administration program in North Georgia College & State University's Mike Cottrell School of Business.

The two-year, part-time program began in 2008 and the first group of students graduated in 2010. This fall, North Georgia's MBA program will move to the new University Center-Ga. 400 facility in Cumming from its current location in Cumming City Hall.

Crickey said she's excited about the new location and about helping guide young professionals on their career path.

"I have the privilege of playing a role in people's lives as they take this step. I know what a life-changer this is, and I can appreciate the process involved in making that decision," Crickey said. "I get to talk to people as they are deciding, ‘Is this the right program? Is the right time in my career and in my life?' We have a great program and it's nice to talk to people and decide if it is the right one for them."

Crickey came to North Georgia four years ago after spending 14 years with Nordson Corp. She currently is pursuing a doctorate in business administration and has an MBA and two bachelor's degrees in management.

In addition to her role as MBA director, she is an instructor in the business school, teaching undergraduate courses in international business, operations management and business management.

Stifel brokerage firm relocates to new Gainesville office

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. has relocated its Gainesville office to 212 Green St. The Gainesville office is co-managed by Al Crumley and Will Hicks.

Stifel Financial Corp. is headquartered in St. Louis. Its affiliates provide securities brokerage, investment banking, trading, advisory and other services to investors, businesses and municipalities. Visit online at

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