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Newsmakers in business, June 22
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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.

Fessler to head marketing firm’s Birmingham office

Morton Vardeman & Carlson, a Gainesville-based strategic marketing firm, has opened a satellite office in Birmingham, Ala.

Senior account executive and public relations strategist Tiffany Townsend Fessler will head the satellite office. Fessler first joined the firm in 1999 as a public relations account executive. After moving to Atlanta and working for international public relations firms GCI Group and Edelman, Fessler returned to Morton Vardeman & Carlson in 2011. She develops strategic marketing plans and guides client strategies.

The office will allow the firm to expand its regional footprint and better serve clients across the Southeast.

“We’re excited about this new opportunity and feel the Birmingham region is similar to our North Georgia base,” said John Vardeman, president of Morton Vardeman & Carlson.

Morton Vardeman & Carlson is Northeast Georgia’s oldest and largest marketing, advertising and public relations agency. Founded in 1973, the firm specializes in strategic business-to-business and consumer-oriented communications.

Health director Westfall earns achievement award

David Westfall, health director for Georgia District 2, received the 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Westfall oversees 13 county boards of health in North Georgia.

Since graduating from Rollins, where he was a Georgia Health Foundation Fellow, he has advocated coalitions among health departments, free clinics and primary-care providers to improve community health care access. For example, the Hall County Health Department and The Longstreet Clinic have started an obstetrics service for low-income pregnant women.

He also secured a grant from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation to increase primary-care services for HIV patients.
Westfall has made employee development a priority. He began a “public health 101” session at each county board of health meeting, during which he presents a short education segment on an aspect of public health.

He also instituted an employee development program for district staff and an employee assistance program.

Westfall is a board member of a number of public health organizations, such as the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, the Foothills Area Health Education Center, the Regional EMS Advisory Council and the Appalachian Nurse Practitioner Clinic.

He teaches in Emory’s Executive Master’s in Public Health program and is the current chairman of the Emory and Georgia Public Health Training Centers’ joint advisory board.

Norton Insurance to service National REIA

The Norton Agency has been selected as the exclusive provider of insurance products for the National Real Estate Investors Association.

National REIA is the nation’s largest real estate trade association with 48,000 members.

RealProtect, Norton’s risk assessment, consultation and completive insurance protect platform for real estate investors, will service REIA members. It provides coverage to more than 5,000 rental homes nationwide.

“We are excited to be selected by such a prestigious organization as their member’s insurance partner,” said Bob Norton, president and CEO of Norton Insurance. “Our proven systems, processes and competitive product offerings were the leading factors in our selection as their partner.”

The Norton Agency, based in Gainesville, is Georgia’s largest independent real estate insurance firm with 19 offices in three states.

Regional events