The 15 senior economic development experts that comprise the Innovation Crescent Board of Directors are available to assist companies and site selectors find the best locations for businesses while offering a range of incentives and services that help companies thrive. Organizations located or relocating here have access to an economic development single point of contact, as well as the collaborative expertise of our entire leadership team. Contact them here.
Chairman of the Board
Masino has served as Chairman of the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership since its inception in 2008, orchestrating the partnership’s launch and start-up initiatives, as well as currently leading its economic development efforts. Also the Chief Executive Officer at Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership Gwinnett, Masino oversees the business recruitment and retention efforts for Gwinnett County, as well as the implementation of the Partnership Gwinnett Strategy. To create this community-focused economic development (ED) organization, Partnership Gwinnett, Masino worked with public and private leadership on ED studies in 2006 and 2011, respectively; and spearheaded the implementation efforts of the initial 5-year plan—which brought approximately 300 company expansions and relocations, over 13,000 jobs and more than $800,000,000 in investment to Gwinnett. The second iteration of the plan began in January 2012, and the third 5-year strategy will begin in January 2017.
A leading authority on local and state economic development, Masino is regularly sought after for prominent speaking engagements throughout metro Atlanta, Georgia and internationally. As a result of his extensive expertise in the economic development arena, Masino is a preferred interviewee for regional and local television, radio, newspaper and magazine outlets.
Vice Chairman of the Board
Bethany is the Vice President, Economic and Talent Development for the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce (GNFCC). After joining the GNFCC staff as Project Manager in 2013, Bethany quickly rose to her current position as the leader of GNFCC’s economic and talent development team.
A proud alumnus of the Regional Leadership Institute and Leadership North Fulton, she currently serves as a distinguished Board Member for the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership and as a Member of the United Way North Fulton Campaign Cabinet. In addition, Bethany is as a Member of both the Innovative and Prosperous Sub-Committees for the Atlanta Regional Commission Strategic Implementation Plan and a Member of the Leadership North Fulton Curriculum Committee.
In 2015, Bethany was selected as “Top 40 Under 40” by North Atlanta Business Post, a distinguished honor meant to recognize young leaders in the North Fulton community.
J.R. Charles is the Economic Development Director of Oconee County, and he oversees the department’s industrial development, commercial expansion, and tourism promotion initiatives. A graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia and an expert in digital marketing and branding, J.R. has served as a small business advisor, an industrial recruitment specialist, and economic development director during his career.
Kornelius Bankston, director of Bioscience, Industry Expansion, at the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), is responsible for supporting and enhancing MAC’s efforts to retain, recruit and expand companies across the 29-county metro region. The Bioscience priority industries include, but are not limited to, medical devices, pharmaceutical, biotech and health IT. Kornelius also leads the Bioscience Leadership Council.
Prior to joining MAC, he served as the Program Manager at Morehouse School of Medicine’s Division of Industry Collaborative Research. He managed Morehouse School of Medicine’s industry sponsored clinical trials and relationships with pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies.
Prior to MSM, Kornelius was a Project Manager at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, where he managed Georgia’s relationships with the global Life Science and Biotechnology community.
Kornelius holds a Master of Business Administration from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in Biomolecular Chemistry from Emory University and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Morehouse College.
As President of the Decide DeKalb Development Authority, Ray Gilley leads a professional staff and works with his board and partners to deliver comprehensive economic development services designed to increase high wage jobs, capital investment and diversify the DeKalb economy. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer at Solodev, a leading provider of content management software that enables organizations to easily manage and maximize their online presence. Ray also served 15 years in professional and executive roles in the electric utility industry and is a current and past board member of multiple economic development organizations.
After 33 years with Kimberly-Clark, Bernd brings a wealth of industrial and RD&E knowledge and experience to the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership. For more than 12 years Bernd was responsible for the site selection of new consumer goods manufacturing facilities globally, opening green field facilities in Paris Texas; Ogden, Utah; Bogotá, Colombia; Cordoba/Mendoza, Argentina; Lima, Peru; Seoul, South Korea; and Valencia, Venezuela. He was responsible for developments similar in size and scope to the current Baxter BioScience facility in Georgia. Dave and his wife, Sue, relocated to Covington, Ga., from Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, where he retired from Kimberly-Clark. He joined Covington/Newton County’s Office of Economic Development in November 2013.
As a founding board member of the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership, Al Nash offers a wide breadth of knowledge and strategic leadership to the organization. He is also currently the executive director the Development Authority of Fulton County and past executive director of Progress Partners of North Fulton Atlanta, the economic development initiative of the Greater North Fulton Chamber. A native of Atlanta, Nash has over 35 years of business experience, and has demonstrated his commitment to the community by serving as a leader of some of the region’s and the State of Georgia’s most influential business and civic organizations. Nash’s past accomplishments and current projects are vast, and they span the real estate, business and economic development arenas.
Randi Mason is the Director of Economic Development at Invest Atlanta where she focuses on attracting jobs and investment to the city of Atlanta. She has more than ten years’ experience developing strategies to promote job creation and investment in Atlanta’s core, with a specialization in incentive structuring. She works with Invest Atlanta’s economic development partners to generate and manage business attraction projects. She has worked with companies including UPS, Worldpay, Parkmobile, Kaiser Permanente, and Honeywell. Randi earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from the University of Georgia.
Bill Keir joined the Clayton County Office of Economic Development as its Deputy Director in January, 2014. He manages the industry clusters of Logistics & Transportation and Bio/Life Sciences & Healthcare, plus workforce development. In addition he assists existing Clayton County businesses with access to incentives and resources to help them grow and be profitable. He has a proven track record in economic development from the public and private sectors, and specializes in creative financing for new and expanding businesses. Prior to joining Clayton County, Bill was the Economic Development Manager for the City of Roswell, GA, where he assisted in attracting the new GM Technology Center with an initial investment of over $20 million and over 300 new jobs. As Executive Director of the Tipton County Economic Development Corporation, he landed a new GETRAG Transmission Corporation plant for the county with $530 million in new investment and 1100 new jobs, the state’s second largest project. He also managed two large business center infrastructure projects totaling over $700,000. Bill is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.
Guy Herring serves as the Director of Economic & Community Development for Barrow County and its municipalities. In this role, he leads the economic development efforts of the Barrow County community in the recruitment of new industry, promotion and expansion of existing industry and the development of quality industrial sites. Herring has over fifteen years of experience in community and economic development, life science R&D, real estate and project management. He serves as treasurer for Georgia’s Innovation Corridor Joint Development Authority, the four-county development authority along University Parkway within the nucleus of the Innovation Crescent.
A Marietta native and lifelong member of the Cobb County community, Rob Garcia is a passionate advocate for the role of education in Cobb’s economic development efforts. As the Project Manager for the Cobb Workforce Partnership, Rob has localized the efforts of Governor Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative to create a strong link between educators and employers in Cobb, leveraging the business community to create strong talent pipelines in each of the county’s education institutions. Rob serves on the Cobb Workforce Investment Board and is the youngest member of the Chattahoochee Technical College Board of Directors in history, connecting local workforce development with Cobb’s secondary and higher education institutions. He also serves on the board of Georgia’s Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership and the United Way Cobb Advisory Board. Rob graduated with a finance degree from Auburn University in 2015 and currently works as the Talent Development Manager for the Cobb Chamber and Cobb’s Competitive EDGE.
Bob currently serves as the President and Economic Development Director for the Madison Morgan County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Chamber in 2006, Bob spent 36 years with a major electric utility in the area of Economic Development, Wholesale Power Sales, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at both the State and Federal level.
Bob is active in the community serving on the Development Authority of Morgan County, the Morgan Memorial Healthcare Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Morgan County High School College and Career Academy and the Workforce Development Board for the Northeast Georgia Region. He also serves on the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
Bob holds an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and a MBA from Georgia State University. He is an Army veteran and lives in rural Morgan County with his wife Rose Mary. He is the proud father of two children and grandfather of two grandchildren.
Amy the Director of Economic Development for Oglethorpe County. She graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia and has experience in Planning, Real Estate Development and Project Management.
Amy took a sabbatical from the career world in 2008 to complete a life-long dream of thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. Since returning from the woods, she has focused her career on Community and Economic development in the Northeast Georgia area.
Amy is an active member of the National Ladies Homestead Gathering, an avid runner and a fearless cook.