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Newsmakers in business, Feb. 21
Jay Burkett

Howard named as Norton Residential Group president

The Norton Agency has announced the appointment of Tommy Howard as president and chief operating officer of Norton Residential Group.

Howard joined Norton in 1996 as an intern and has served in numerous capacities such as logistic manager, commercial sales, branch manager and general manager. He now oversees Norton’s Residential Brokerage Network across 22 counties and associate mortgage and title relationships.

Howard is a graduate of East Carolina, past president of the Hall County Board of Realtors, $1 million producer and currently a director of the Gainesville Rotary Club and Junior Achievement.

The Norton Agency operates 18 offices and employs nearly 300 people. For more, visit

Griffin new president, Ward is VP at Metro Appraisals

Gainesville-based Metro Appraisals has announced David B. Griffin as the company’s president after a corporate restructuring.

Griffin, 33, is an 11-year veteran of Metro Appraisals and since 2013 served as chief operating officer. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia, an MAI Designated member of the Appraisal Institute and a certified general real estate appraiser.

Metro Appraisals also announced the promotion of Cliff M. Ward to vice president. Ward has a business administration degree from the University of North Georgia, a management degree from Georgia Southern University and is pursuing additional education in accounting at the University of North Georgia. A veteran commercial real estate appraiser, Ward has been with Metro Appraisals since 2003.

Metro Appraisals founder and former President Robert A. Jaeger is moving into a new role as president emeritus after 28 years. Founded in 1988, Metro Appraisals is a commercial and residential real estate appraisal firm located at 100 College Ave. SE in Gainesville. For more, visit

M3 Accounting promotes Johnson to chief officer

Gainesville-based M3 Accounting + Analytics, a hospitality accounting and analytics software company, has promoted Casi Johnson to chief operations officer and innovations leader. She was previously the company’s executive vice president of operations.

Johnson began her career in the hospitality industry while a student at the University of Tennessee School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, eventually working up to being a general manager.

She joined M3 in 2000 and has also served as director of training, support manager and vice president of operations. Johnson helped open M3’s training center in the Tampa, Fla., area in 2009.

She earned her Master of Business Administration at the University of South Florida in 2012 and has served as an adjunct professor with the University of South Florida College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership. She is also a member of the International Customer Service Association.

M3 Accounting + Analytics has more than 500 customers, representing more than 4,000 properties.

Burkett, Dahlonega branch cited by United Community

Jay Burkett was named top financial adviser for United Community Bank during the fourth quarter of 2015. He is based in Cleveland but also works throughout the North Georgia region in Gainesville, Oakwood and Murrayville.

Also, the Dahlonega branch of United Community Bank was one of two honored as Treasury Management Service Referral Champions in Georgia.

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