Chamber’s MetroOne Program Recognizes 18 of Metro Valdosta’s Top Young Professionals

Press release from the issuing company

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The Chamber’s MetroOne program recognized 18 of Metro Valdosta’s top young professionals on Thursday evening at the 4 Under 40 reception. Finalists were commended for their many accomplishments in their career fields as well as their community service. The nominees included business owners as well as leaders in education, medicine, financial services, non-profit organizations and marketing. During the event which took place at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, guests enjoyed food and beverages, courtesy of Southeastern Federal Credit Union, and celebrated the successes of each nominee.  

Eric Johnson (Guardian Bank), Jamie Baltrus (United Hospice), Malynda Dorsey (Valdosta State University) and Micha Hogan (Wild Adventures) were announced the 4 Under 40 young professionals of 2014 based on their professional accomplishments, experience, community involvement, leadership qualities and entrepreneurial spirit.  In addition to this title, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce will nominate these outstanding young professionals for Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40. 

Johnson is a Commercial Banking Officer at Guardian Bank.  He serves on the Greater Valdosta United Way Board of Directors and is credited with organizing the Valdosta North Rotary Club’s inaugural Teacher Appreciation Dinner.  A graduate of Leadership Lowndes, Johnson was also selected by the local district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration as Georgia’s Financial Services Champion.

Baltrus is the Community Relations Director for United Hospice Division of UHS Pruitt Corporation.  She is a member of several professional associations and serves as the United Hospice Foundation Chairman and Public Relations Chair for Valdosta North Rotary International. Baltrus is part of the 2014 Leadership Lowndes class and volunteers with LAMP, Community Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity and United Way.

Dorsey is Co-Owner of Organized Arts and is the Communications Specialist for Valdosta State University.  Dorsey was a 2014 Lifeline Conference Presenter and utilizes her communication skills as the Public Relations Chair of Jewels for Julie and Webmaster and PR Co-Chair for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Kappa Eta Omega Chapter. Dorsey is also a member of the Pi Alpha Alpha Public Relations Honor Society, Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta, Leadership Lowndes 2014 class and Brooks County Schools CTAE Advisory board.

Hogan is the Marketing Manager for Wild Adventures Theme Park.  She serves on the Chamber’s World Class Employee Recognition Committee and is the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Theology On Tap Co-Coordinator.  Hogan has been the park liaison for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Walk, Second Harvest of South Georgia Derby Duck Race, Community Partners in Education and served on the Valdosta-Lowndes Azalea Festival Committee.  Hogan is also a Valdosta Rotary International Service Above Self Nominee.

Courtney Gooding (Southeastern Federal Credit Union, MetroOne Co-chair), Addison Smith (Georgia Power), and Sharah Denton (Brooks County Board of Education) presented the awards during the reception.  Denton was a 2013 Metro Valdosta 4 Under 40 Award recipient and a 2013 Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 Honoree. “It really demonstrates our community's support of our talented young professionals and appreciation for all they are accomplishing as business and community leaders,” said Gooding of the 4 Under 40 program. 

Metro Valdosta’s 4 Under 40 were chosen by an outside panel of judges from the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. 4 Under 40 is a program of MetroOne Young Professionals Network with the goal of recognizing outstanding achievement among young professionals in our community.

MetroOne is a Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce initiative with the goal of attracting and retaining young professionals to the Metro Valdosta area.  Founded in September 2007, the group focuses on three key areas:  networking and community engagement, professional development and young professional advocacy.  For more information about MetroOne, visit