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Giles knows he has big shoes to fill
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Mike Giles, 46, has served as senior vice president of the Georgia Poultry Federation since 2000. He will assume the post of president at the beginning of 2009, succeeding Abit Massey, who will become president-emeritus.

"These are big shoes to fill," Giles said. "It's a challenge and I'm excited and honored by the opportunity."

Giles spent a number of years as assistant to U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., but for the past few years has worked side-by-side with Massey.

"Thankfully, he's going to be around so I can call on him after the transition," he said.

He said the federation is working well and he does not expect to make major changes. The federation operates with a relatively small staff.

In addition to Giles and Massey, the support staff includes Beverly Cronan and Claudette Aycock, who have been with the federation for many years.

"I have an agricultural background," said Giles, whose family owned an agricultural business in his hometown of Unadilla in south central Georgia.

Following his service to Nunn, Giles worked with the University of Georgia in Athens before coming to the federation.

Giles and his wife, Carla Abshire, have made their home in Gainesville for the past few years.

"We love Gainesville," Giles said. "When I was at the University of Georgia, I was happy there. Then, Abit came to me and talked about the opportunity with the federation and it seemed like a good fit."

In his assignments with Nunn, Giles operated the senator's Gainesville office in the Federal Building.