New Chamber leadership team takes charge
Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Chairman Denise Deal began her association with the Chamber in 1998 when she located to Gainesville as Commercial/Industrial Marketing Representative for Jackson EMC. A graduate of UGA, Denise acquired a MBA in Business Administration from Brenau University in 2002 and was named the J. Alton Wingate Graduate Student of the Year.
She began her Chamber volunteer work as an Associate Director and became heavily involved in governmental affairs and the AgriBusiness, Infrastructure and Issues Committees. She served two years as Vice Chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division and was instrumental in coordinating political forums, the annual Eggs & Issues Breakfasts featuring our legislative delegation and ongoing public relations treks to the Capitol with famous “chicken boxes” for all 300 + delegates.
In her role as Chairman, Denise seeks to begin implementation of the VISION 2030 goals or “Big Ideas,” focusing on quality growth, development and quality of life. She is attentive to issues involving new health care initiatives, green space preservation and addition, educational programs and economic development and redevelopment projects.
A graduate of Leadership Hall County and a 2003 graduate of Leadership Georgia, she is dedicated to maintaining the Chamber’s strong tradition of leadership building. This year, the Chamber will plan for the initiation of a Senior Leadership Program to compliment the recently installed Youth Leadership program and the 25 year old Leadership Hall County Program.
A native of Thomaston, Georgia, Denise is currently Executive Director of VISION 2030. In addition to her duties at the Chamber, she serves on the Board of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center and on Brenau University’s President’s Advisory Board. She is a member and past president of the Gainesville Kiwanis Club and was named to the 2006 “40 Under 40” list in Georgia Trend Magazine and Young Woman of the Year by the Gainesville Jaycees in 2007.
Denise and her husband, Judge Jason Deal, have three children and reside in North Hall County.
Gainesville business executive and Chamber Chairman-Elect R.K. Whitehead is President of Whitehead Die Casting. The Company was started in Atlanta in 1950 and moved to its present location on Atlanta Highway in South Hall County in 1990. They produce aluminum and zinc die castings from the simple to the complex, supporting a variety of industries, including lighting, construction, and recreational vehicles.
R.K. is following in the footsteps of his grandfather who founded the company and his father who managed the business until his death in 1990. R.K. joined the family business in 1990 after graduating from Georgia Tech in 1987 and attending Wharton Business School in 1990. Prior to joining the company, he was employed as a consultant for Energy Management Associates in Atlanta, where he performed analysis of electric utility production costing and capital expenditure scenairos.
R.K. is a graduate of the Leadership Hall County Class of 1992 and Leadership Georgia 1998. R.K. served as Chairman of the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council from 2003 to 2005. In addition, he has served the Chamber on the Executive Committee and Issues Committee. He served on the Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority for four years.
In addition to his involvement with the Chamber, R.K. currently serves on the Northeast Georgia Health Systems Board and is Chaiman of the hospital’s Finance Committee. He is also a board member and officer of Elachee Nature Science Center, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, NorthHouse, and the Chicopee Area Woods Park Commission. R.K. was recognized by the Gainesville Jaycees as the 2005-2006 Young Man of the Year.
R.K. and his wife, Laura, have four children and reside in Gainesville.
As President and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber since 1998, Kit Dunlap has guided the Chamber through many challenges and grown the organization into one of the most well-respected in the state.
Over the last 10 years, Kit has overseen multi-million dollar community and economic development initiatives (HALLtogether, HALLmark) that funded the state-of-the art Chamber building, economic development programs, education and government affairs programs, and VISION 2030.
The Chamber, under Kit’s leadership, has spearheaded successful SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) campaigns for infrastructure in Hall County (roads, sewer and water, parks, jail, library, etc) and Education SPLOST campaigns for the construction of new schools in Gainesville and Hall County.
Through challenging economic turns and events, Kit’s leadership has guided the Chamber to solid ground with a membership base of 2,600 individuals, in a new building and a professional staff of eleven individuals.
A native of Jasper, Alabama and a Brenau College graduate, Kit is at the top of the industry among fellow Chamber executives and has a strong economic development background.
She served on the Board of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism (Georgia Department of Economic Development) for 10 years, and as chairman for two years. She is a founding member of the Gainesville-Hall County Economic Development Council, and served as the council’s first chairman in 1992.
Kit is currently serving as a Board member for the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, SunTrust Bank and on the Board of Trustees at Brenau University. She serves as Chairman of the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District and was recently appointed by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle as a member of his economic development advisory board.