University of Georgia 40 Under 40 Class of 2016 Includes Mitchell Reiner

University of Georgia 40 Under 40 Class of 2016 Includes Mitchell Reiner


2016 40 Under 40 Class Photo

The University of Georgia Alumni Association celebrated the members of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2016 September 8 at Flourish in Atlanta. This program, in its sixth year, recognizes outstanding young UGA alumni under the age of 40. The list includes our Chief Operating Officer, Mitch Reiner.

Nearly 400 nominations were submitted for the Class of 2016. Selections were based on the graduates’ commitment to a lifelong relationship with UGA and their successes in both personal and professional endeavors. This year’s class includes alumni in a variety of industries ranging from law to optometry, and it includes current and former NFL players and a Grammy award-winning country music artist. Nominations opened in February and remained open through early April.

“Announcing the 40 Under 40 honorees each year is exciting,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “We received hundreds of nominations this year, highlighting the incredible accomplishments of UGA’s young graduates. It is truly challenging to narrow the list down to 40.”

Mitch graduate from UGA in 2005 with a BBA in Finance. Upon graduation, he joined the CIA team and became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, joined CIA’s Investment Committee, and is currently responsible for day-to-day operations, along with driving the strategic initiatives of the firm forward.

Mitch identifies three core pillars that define his time and life: family, business and community. He most recently received an award from the Terry College of Business as Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year and has taken on various leadership roles with the Atlanta Hub of Global Shapers, LEAD Atlanta class of 2015, and currently resides as the President of WonderRoot.

Mitch says about the honor, “The 39 other people on this list have been amazingly successful across business, politics, non-profits and community service.  I am truly humbled to be considered among this elite group.”

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, including their city, title and employer, are:

  • Allison Alexander, Silver Spring, Maryland, vice president, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
  • Brooks Andrews, San Francisco, vice president, Essex Woodlands.
  • Hammad Aslam, Birmingham, Alabama, doctor, UAB Hospital.
  • Kevin Aycock, Atlanta, president, Kevin Aycock Homes.
  • Jennie Blake, Atlanta, director, Cox Foundations.
  • Lance Boles, Hartwell, owner, Independent Pharmacy Stores.
  • Brittany Brown, Jacksonville, Florida, combat stress recovery specialist, Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Brendan Buck, Washington, D.C., chief communications advisor, Office of the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
  • Katie Childers, Atlanta, deputy chief of staff-policy, Georgia Governor’s Office.
  • Lana Chumachenko, Grayson, senior real estate representative for existing restaurants (Southwest, Midwest, Northeast), Chick-fil-A.
  • Eric Cohen, Whigham, owner, R&E Pecans/Pecan Ridge Plantation/Truffles by Tate/Cohen Crop Consulting.
  • Derick Corbett, Atlanta, chief of staff, Office of Congressman Rob Woodall.
  • Thomas Davis, Waxhaw, North Carolina, NFL linebacker, Carolina Panthers.
  • Mandy Edwards, Statesboro, owner/founder, ME Marketing Services.
  • Meredith Forrester, Atlanta, senior vice president-senior managing director of internal audit, SunTrust Bank.
  • Dave Haywood, Nashville, Tennessee, singer/songwriter, Lady Antebellum.
  • Steven Herndon, Smyrna, president, Safety Net Recovery.
  • Ryan Irvine, Atlanta, senior vice president, CBRE.
  • Travis Johnson, Atlanta, assistant commissioner, external affairs and facilities, Technical College System of Georgia.
  • Amanda Lang, Bishop, partner and senior consultant, Forisk Consulting.
  • Chase Lawrence, Athens, founder and principal, CollegeTown Properties LLC.
  • Ronnie Mabra, Atlanta, state representative and attorney, The Mabra Firm LLC.
  • Elliott Marsh, Statesboro, precision ag coordinator, Southern States Cooperative.
  • Adam Miller, Chicago, design principal, Chicago Roof Deck and Garden.
  • Thai-An Nguyen, Atlanta, outbreak assessment unit lead/senior epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Erica Parks, Elgin, South Carolina, health promotion officer/ORISE Fellow, U.S. Army Training Center & Fort Jackson.
  • Lauren Pittenger, Atlanta, senior associate, Booz Allen Hamilton.
  • Mitch Reiner, Atlanta, chief operating officer/founder and managing partner, Capital Investment Advisors/Wela.
  • Heather Ripley, New York, senior associate-federal and international tax, Alston & Bird.
  • Wes Rogers, Athens, president and CEO, Landmark Properties.
  • Stephan Schaefbauer, South St. Paul, Minnesota, assistant director, MN USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
  • Mark Schaeffer, Birmingham, optometrist, Schaeffer Eye Center.
  • Meredith Seacrest, West Hollywood, California, executive director and chief operating officer, Ryan Seacrest Foundation.
  • Julie Smith, Sandy Springs, vice president of external affairs-south area, Verizon Wireless.
  • Sarah Smith, Atlanta, management officer, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Christina Swoope, Hanover, Maryland, Medicare program examiner, Office of the President of the U.S.
  • Andres Villegas, Macon, president, Georgia Forestry Association.
  • Benjamin Watson, Metairie, Louisiana, NFL tight end, Baltimore Ravens.
  • Will Witherspoon, Chesterfield, Missouri, owner, Shire Gate Farm.
  • Jenah Zweig, Washington, D.C., supervisor of policy and technical assistance, U.S. Department of Energy.


For more information about the 40 Under 40 program or to view lists of previous honorees, visit

Images of the 2016 40 Under 40 honorees and the entire class are online at and original versions may be requested by emailing

About The UGA Alumni Association

The UGA Alumni Association supports the academic excellence, best interests and traditions of Georgia’s flagship university by inspiring engagement through relevant programming, enhanced connections and effective communications. For more information, see



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