AJC DBF Board of Directors

Judy Turner, President

Judy Turner is President of Private Bank of Decatur. She is responsible for all Decatur market initiatives. Judy has been in banking in Metro Atlanta for over 45 years, having started with Citizens & Southern National Bank in the Personnel Department. She worked in Auditing, became one of the first Personal Bankers when C&S started its Personal Banker program, and became an officer of the bank in 1974. A year after C&S became NationsBank (1995), Judy had an opportunity to go to work in the Decatur Office of Bank South. Three years later Bank South was purchased by NationsBank and several community leaders felt a need for a community bank in Decatur. They looked to Judy to organize and lead Decatur First Bank, where she was President. Community involvement has always been important to Judy, who currently serves as President of the Decatur Book Festival, Chair of the Development Authority of DeKalb County, Trustee of the DeKalb History Center, Treasurer of Seniors Helping Seniors and is on the board of the DeKalb Medical Foundation. She has served on the boards of both the Community Bankers Association and the Georgia Bankers Association. Judy lives in Decatur with her husband, Roy; they have a daughter and twin grandchildren.


 

 

Judy Turner

Brett Gadsden, Vice President

Brett Gadsden is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. His book, Victory Without Triumph: School Desegregation in Delaware, is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Building on the insights of scholars who alternately stress the significance of supportive elite and grassroots actors in measuring the outcome of civil rights struggles, this project stresses the ways that racial reforms, especially as law was translated into public policy, reflected the prerogatives of its detractors—as constitutive actors in Long Civil Rights Movement histories—as well as its supporters. Portions of his book project have been published in the Journal of African American History and will appear in the Journal of Urban History. Gadsden is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Smithsonian Institution, National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, American Historical Association, Hagley Museum and Library, and Delaware Heritage Commission. He lives in Decatur, GA with his wife and dog.

 

Brett Gadsden

Linda Harris, Vice President

Linda Harris is a 18-year marketing and communications professional and serves as the Assistant Director of Community & Economic Development for the City of Decatur. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature/Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College and her masters in communication from Georgia State University. She is a former columnist and stringer for a weekly newspaper and has written features for variety of local newspapers and magazines.

She serves as President of the City County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA), a national organization of government communications and marketing professionals.

She is the immediate past chair of the Wrens Nest House Museum/Joel Chandler Harris Association Honorary Advisory Board. She is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and active in a variety of civic organizations including Decatur Rotary.

Linda oversees Decatur’s community development and quality of life programs including Volunteer! Decatur and Special Events. She works with existing Decatur businesses on marketing and advertising programs, business development, special promotions and events to enhance the business climate.

She coordinates the city’s marketing, communications, education and outreach efforts including the monthly newsletter, website, annual report, and Kids Activity Book, and directs the Decatur 101 public education program.

 

Linda Harris

Richard J. Lenz, Secretary

Richard J. Lenz is founder, president, and CEO of Lenz, Inc., a full-service advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Decatur, Georgia.

For the past 15 years, Lenz has brought effective integrated marketing to businesses and cause-oriented organizations primarily in the fields of medicine, conservation, and education. A recognized innovator in the marketing field, Lenz helps clients reach their goals with the skilled use of cutting edge marketing tools including creative design, public relations, advertising, promotions, multimedia, and events. His company has lobbied in Washington, D.C. and has brought fundraising expertise to a variety of causes.

Lenz, an award-winning writer who has studied with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Taylor, and Robert Dana, is the author of two books and co-author of eight others. He has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles on a wide variety of subjects in the areas of conservation, politics, education, and healthcare marketing. He has won awards for photography and design as well.

Because of his love for the written word and the City of Decatur, Lenz joined The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Board of Directors in 2005 to help steer Decatur's first literary festival with his expertise in branding, marketing communications, fundraising, and events. More information about his company can be found at www.lenzmarketing.com.

Lenz is a graduate of the University of Georgia, is married to Dr. Wendy Hawke Lenz, and has four children, Laura, Claire, Kristen, and Eric.

 

Richard Lenz

Bill (William) E. Means, Treasurer

Bill Means is Consumer Marketing Manager for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bill has worked in the AJC Marketing Department since 1982. An award-winning video producer, Bill is an experienced technical director of meetings and conferences. During the 1996 Olympic Games, Bill had a leading role in newspaper sales. He has directed and managed numerous events, including the AJC Barbecue and Blues Festival, the AJC Money & More Investment Seminars, and the AJC Georgia 100 Awards Breakfasts. He has managed the AJC Honor Teacher Awards program, and currently leads the AJC Cup Awards program for graduating high school seniors. Bill is the manager responsible for the AJC Peachtree Road Race, the newspaper’s largest title sponsorship event.

Bill has lived in Atlanta most of his life, and received a BA in English from Emory University. He and his wife Sanda live in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta. An avid gardener and reader, Bill’s primary pastime is cooking.

 

Bill Means

George Bradford

George Bradford is an attorney with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Regional Counsel in Decatur, Georgia. He represents VA facilities and personnel in a wide range of legal matters throughout Georgia and South Carolina. An expert in Appropriations Law, he serves on the VA Office of General Counsel's Appropriations Law Specialty Panel. He also provides ethics training for all VA employees and teaches Continuing Legal Education courses on Veterans Legal Issues, Ethics and Professionalism. Prior to joining the VA he spent ten years in the private practice of law in Houston, Texas.

 

George Bradford

Jim Diedrick

Jim Diedrick grew up in the once small town of Issaquah, Washington, east of Seattle, with a glorious view of Mount Rainier (on clear days).He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington, and has taught at the University of Washington, Chapman University (California), Albion College (Michigan), The Newberry Library (Chicago), and Agnes Scott College.

Since 2005 he's been at Agnes Scott College, where he serves as Associate Dean of the College and Professor of English, as well as Associate Vice President for Special Programs. In this latter role he has worked with Daren Wang, Terra Elan McVoy and others to assure that the partnership between the college and the Decatur Book Festival is a creative and productive one.

His teaching and scholarly interests include literature in English, Victorian literature and culture, contemporary British fiction, and film studies. His most recent book is a co-edited collection of essays on Stanley Kubrick, Depth of Field: Stanley Kubrick, Film and the Uses of History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006). He has also written Understanding Martin Amis (University of South Carolina Press, 1995, 2004), and essays on Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, George Eliot and Mathilde Blind.

 

Jim Diedrick

Will Johnston

William N. Johnston Jr. is the Manager of Community and Customer Engagement for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His role is vast and many as he and his team create ways to interact and introduce AJC products to the Atlanta market. For over 6 years he has covered the Metro Atlanta area participating in such events like the AJC Decatur Book Festival, AJC Peachtree Road Race, and hundreds of other metro Atlanta festivals, tradeshows, concerts, and sporting events. On any given day you can find Will creating marketing campaigns, planning events, meeting with clients for possible promotional relationships, and connecting with the Atlanta community.

Originally from West Virginia, Will double majored in Sociology and Theatre at Coe College in Cedar Rapids Iowa, interned for The British Broadcasting Corporation in London, and spent a year teaching English in Chiang Mai, Thailand, before coming to Atlanta.

 

Will Johnston

Alice Murray

Founder and President of A Murray and More, Alice is a writer, photographer, and strategic planner. Her company creates and implements business and marketing plans for clients with a major emphasis on social media.

Alice was a founding member of the board of the AJC Decatur Book Festival and served for six years as board president. She is on the Advisory Board of Georgia Shakespeare and is a graduate the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2006.

She joined Lenz Marketing in Decatur as Business Development Director in 2007, where she also worked as Strategic Marketing Consultant.

Previously, Alice worked in many capacities at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, starting as reporter. She managed the company’s Special Sections and Advertising Creative departments and served as a director in the newspaper’s Marketing department.

Alice is originally from Cleveland, Tennessee, and is a journalism graduate of Auburn University.

 

Alice Murray

Alison Weissinger

Alison Weissinger is the Director at the DeKalb County Public Library. As Director, she oversees the administration of 22 DeKalb County branch libraries, and a $54,540,000 Library Bond program approved by DeKalb voters in November, 2005. Alison also manages the Georgia Center for the Book program at the DeKalb County Public Library which brings more than 100 author programs a year to DeKalb County.

Alison is a seasoned library veteran. She joined DeKalb County Public Library in 1997 as a youth services librarian. Additionally, Alison has served as a branch manager at several branches, including the Decatur Library, the county’s main library branch. Prior to being appointed Director, Alison served as the system's Adult Services Coordinator, directing adult programming, literacy and outreach services and the library’s website.

Alison earned her bachelor’s degree in German Literature from the University of California at Davis and her master’s degree in Library Science from Florida State University. She lives in Decatur, GA with her husband Chris and two children.

 

Alison Weissinger

Daren Wang, Ex Officio

Daren Wang, along with Tom Bell, founded the AJC Decatur Book Festival in February 2005, convening booksellers, presenters, authors, arts advocates, and community leaders to start planning and fundraising.

Before that, he had worked in public radio for 15 years, specializing in programming focused on authors, literature, and the arts. Programs he has produced have featured such luminaries as Kurt Vonnegut, Sidney Poitier, Alice Walker, Charles Frazier, Barry Hannah, Philip Glass, Reynolds Price, and Jimmy Carter. He was the last person to interview James Dickey before his death in 1997.

Series which he has produced and or hosted include The Spoken Word, Porches: The South and Her Writers, Circle of Friends, Between the Lines, ArtVoice, and Atlanta Forum.

He is the Publisher and Editor of Verb: An Audioquarterly, a literary magazine published exclusively in audio, which was listed as one of Library Journal’s Top Ten Magazine’s of 2006. It is distributed by University of Georgia Press.

Wang is a graduate of Cornell University. He lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife Eva.

 

Daren Wang