Great Things Start with Great People

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Meet those who have answered United Way's CALL TO ACTION; who are dedicated to ADVANCING the common good by working to create better opportunities for all; and who are bringing LIVE UNITED to life. Change won’t happen without you. Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED.

Joe Young
Meet Joe, the guy who is making #GreatThingsHappen.
Joe Young – not to be confused with the movie Mighty Joe Young – is the 2017 United Way Campaign Chair! Joe has a family legacy of giving. His grandfather, Bob Shaw, has always encouraged him to give back to the community where he works. He learned about United Way during his summers spent working at Engineered Floors while attending the University of Georgia. After graduation, Joe began working at Engineered Floors full time. He is currently the Home Depot Business Manager. Joe plugged into United Way at our annual CEO Trike Race and Kickoff a few years ago and he's been on the move ever since! Joe led Engineered Floor's Employee Campaign for several years and now he's taking his show on the road to lead the community Campaign! He has been an integral part of the Campaign Cabinet success for the past few years where manys of his accounts post an increase as he encourages them to take the 10% Challenge!

When you choose to LIVE UNITED, you are committed to making lasting change and improving lives in your community. Joe’s passion to give, advocate, and volunteer is what makes Great Things Happen with United Way!



Kim Thames

Great Things Happen when you get connected and become involved! Community Volunteer, Kim Thames, shares why she Lives United.
When she moved to Dalton, Kim recalls seeing an overwhelming need.  Soon after, a friend invited Kim to the Women's Leadership Spring Symposium. She discovered how United Way works to create a better community.
“Once I started Living United, suddenly Dalton seemed brighter, sweeter, and I witnessed a community where corporations and individuals came together to give back. It was something quite special and something I had never had the privilege to experience in the other three states I had lived. I truly felt like my time and money would make a difference.”
Kim is an active member of the Women's Leadership Council. She joined in May 2013. She currently serves on the United Way Board of Directors and Corporate Volunteer Council. When asked why United Way is important, she replied, "To me, United Way is hope! When you have options, you have hope. United Way is the HOPE of Northwest Georgia; it's the building blocks of a good life through education, basic needs, and health."







Tom Bundros
While busy as the CEO of Dalton Utilities, Tom Bundros still finds time to give back. Tom believes in United Way because, “there is no other organization that impacts such a broad spectrum of those in need and does so in a business-like and cost effective process.” Tom has his undergraduate degree in Economics & Business Administration and an MBA in Finance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Post college, Tom’s career has included various finance posts for Conoco, Southern Company in Atlanta and New York City, Colonial Pipeline as CFO, and was most recently CFO of Dalton Utilities before his appointment to CEO in January. When he’s not out improving lives, Tom enjoys bird hunting, yard work, gardening, working-out, and spending time with his wife, Laura, and their two kids, Anthony and Anna Grace.





Lynn Whitworth
Business woman, philanthropic champion, and friend. Lynn Whitworth is all of these and more. As the co-owner of Brown Industries since 1994, Whitworth knows what it means to be a leader. Her leadership skills have not only aided her company, but also those involved in local volunteerism. Whitworth is involved heavily with United Way of Northwest Georgia, where she is a board member, as well as co-chair and a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council.

“Our United Way has a very focused approach to advocacy, volunteering, and giving,” said Whitworth. They stay attuned to our ever-changing community needs and are great stewards of the resources that are entrusted to them.”

The United Way is happy to have Whitworth as a volunteer. “Lynn provides extraordinary leadership as a United Way board member,” said Amanda Burt, president of United Way.

“Lynn embodies the spirit of United Way’s call to action: ‘Give, Advocate, Volunteer — Live United.’”

Lynn and Keith Whitworth are currently among more than 75 members of the Tocqueville Society who contribute $897,000 of the annual United Way of Northwest Georgia campaign.

Whitworth has also volunteered with the Little Free Libraries project, a United Way literacy initiative and is on the board of the Family Support Council, a United Way community partner.

“Dalton is a caring, unique, and very special place,” said Whitworth. “It has blessed my life beyond measure. As a member of the United Way board, a volunteer, and a donor, I see yearly how volunteers assess our community’s most urgent needs and set those priorities for action,” she continued. “By being part of United Way, I am joining forces with so many, and together we are making a difference.”

Lynn is graduate of the University of Georgia and lives in Dalton with her with husband Keith. When not at Brown Industries or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren who all live in our community.

Karen Townsend
A board member, toastmaster, and mom - Karen Townsend is a busy lady. She is a dedicated, community-minded woman who has been very involved with United Way over the years.

Karen is the Board Chair of the United Way, Co-Chair of the United Way Women's Leadership Council (WLC), volunteers with Meals on Wheels, and serves on the board for Family Support Council organizing the annual Toast of the Town event. Karen Townsend shared about her involvement with United Way and WLC, "I am honored and humbled to be part of such a special community that allows United Way to use our resources to impact everyone around in such a positive way! The Women's Leadership Council reminds me of how powerful we can be if we all work together."

Karen graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and she is a tutor at Christian Heritage School and Champions of Dalton.  She and her husband, Brad, have three children, Bradley, Cole, and Evan.






JT Finley
Our heritage is rich with generous philanthropists and fundraisers who set aside competitive business environments and join together to take care of the people who live and work in Whitfield & Murray counties. Donning the United Way Campaign Chair badge is not a task to be entered into lightly. When we look down the list of our past campaign chairs, two words come to mind: integrity and passion for improving lives.

Meet J.T. Finley, 2015 Campaign Chair. We asked J.T. why he believes so strongly in United Way. He, not missing a beat, responded, “I have seen the impact that many United Way organizations have on the kids in our community. Nothing can replace that. All kids deserve a fair chance.”

Youth development is near to J.T.’s heart as he has served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a United Way partner agency, since 2001, and was a Big – an adult mentor - from 2001 to 2014. His Little, Logan McDermott, graduated from Southeast High School in 2014.

A member of Dalton First United Methodist Church, he serves as an usher, Children’s Council member, and he and his wife teach Children’s Church.  He served as chairman of the stewardship committee for 2014.

When not out helping the community, J.T. enjoys reading and studying about World War II. One of his favorite quotes is from Major Dick Winters, who always told his men before patrols, “Hang Tough!”

J.T. was born and raised in Dalton, Georgia and graduated from Dalton High School where he played football, basketball, and ran track all four years. J.T. attended Pellissippi State College before returning home to work his family business, Maryville Jewelers, where he has passionately served for the past 17 years.

J.T. and his high school sweetheart, Alison, celebrated 10 years of marriage in July 2015. She is an Instructional Coach for Whitfield COunty Schools. The Finleys have a five year old son named Miles who J.T. says ‘is a pistol’.

Please join us in patting J.T. on the back as we begin another year of synergizing donors, advocates, and volunteers to improve education, basic needs, and health in our very special community.




Landon Hair
Meet Landon Hair! Landon serves on the 2017 Campaign Cabinet and is one of the Co-Chairs for of the Young Leaders Society Steering Committee. He has made numerous CEO calls for the 2015 United Way campaign and successfully helped plan the Kickoff Block Party & CEO Trike Race at Dalton Green. Landon exemplifies what it means to LIVE UNITED -- a giver, advocate, and volunteer! Landon is the General Manager at Marketing Alliance Group.







Josh Killion
Meet Young Leader, Josh Killion – a former U.S. Marine Corps and active community game changer. Josh has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Operations Management from Dalton State College and a MBA from Kennesaw State University. Josh is currently the Strategic Planning Manager at Shaw Industries where he has worked for 21 years.

Josh’s dedication to advancing the common good in our community is evident. Josh has served on the Board of Directors at Cross Plains Community Partner, a United Way agency, for the past six years – two of those as Board Chair and he has also taken on numerous roles at United Way. Josh served on the Young Leaders Society Steering Committee and has previously served on the Community Investment Panel.

As a donor, advocate, and volunteer – Josh encompasses what it means to LIVE UNITED.





Bob Ringer
Bob Ringer, Innovation Leader at Shaw Industries, has stepped up to lead United Way of Northwest Georgia as Chairman of the Board for 2015. Ringer previously served as Campaign Chair in 2013, raising $3.5 million.  He has lived in Dalton and worked for Shaw Industries for 25 years. A native of South Carolina and a graduate from The University of South Carolina, Bob and his wife Jo have a son and a beautiful granddaughter. In 1977, Bob began working with his company's United Way campaign in South Carolina.

Bob Ringer moved to Dalton in 1990 and began seeking out how he could become involved in our local United Way. He saw United Way as an opportunity to get to know his new community better and to meet more people.

In the mid-'90s, he began serving on a Community Investment Panel and saw the need first hand for more resources to maximize the impact. Bob has seen some of our United Way agencies grow from humble beginnings into flourishing agencies serving more individuals and families each year. He began working as a campaign volunteer in 2008. He has been an instrumental part of our campaign team for the past seven years.

Bob states that his guiding principles are to be a giver - not a taker and to leave each situation and day better than when he encountered it. Over the past 20 years we have seen Bob live out these principles in his work with United Way and the community.

Dottie Boring
This Mississippi native and Mississippi State University graduate has called Dalton home for 43 years. Dottie earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at MSU before landing a job at Dalton Junior College. She taught accounting for 10 years before she met her late husband, Ken Boring.

Ken was a generous long-time giver and supporter of United Way and passed his passion on to his wife. It was through Ken's giving that Dottie became involved with United Way. She has hosted Women's Leadership Council events, advocates for the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, and now serves on United Way's Board. When asked how she Lives United, she replied, "United Way allows all to give to and volunteer in our community by providing resources to help those in need."

In her free time, Dottie loves spending time with her 2-year old granddaughter, shopping, and reading!




Denise Wood
Ms. Denise Wood is an amazing lady who wears many hats. Did you know that she is the first woman ever elected to the Dalton City Council? In addition to her career as the VP of Environmental Services at Mohawk Industries' Corporate Environmental Services Department, she serves in leadership roles for many regional and statewide organizations, including the Solid Waste Authority, Technology Committee, and Airport Authority. Last, and most certainly not least, Denise is a member of United Way's Women's Leadership Council and Corporate Volunteer Council, and she is one of United Way's newest Board Members!

Wood chose to serve at United Way because she believes that we all have a responsibility to give back to the communities in which we live. She is committed to advancing the education, basic needs, and health outcomes in Northwest Georgia.

Woodcha know the FACTS:
Wood graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor's Degree in chemistry. She is the widow of Terry Q. Wood, proud mother of Matt, Heather, Heidi, Eric, and Amie, and the doting "Bubbie" to her precious granddaughter, Olivia.  She has four brothers and one sister, and they all ended up as scientists or engineers. She loves to travel, play tennis, walk (fast), and float on a swimming noodle at the lake.


Brenda Knowles

"I chose to volunteer with United Way because United Way has the greatest and broadest impact in our community. United Way of Northwest Georgia has a strong leadership.  Every member of the staff and every member of the Board, as well as all the committee members and volunteers are passionate about serving in our community and committed to making a positive impact through LIVE UNITED,"  Knowles remarked about her involvement with United Way.


Knowles went on to share how she was connected with United Way, "I have lived in Dalton (this time) for 6 years.  Early in my time in Dalton, Chester Chaffin presented the opportunity to become involved at the Board level.  Once I saw the commitment and the process through which funds are raised and especially how they are allocated within the community, I knew it was a place where I could serve as well make a contribution."


Brenda Knowles is the Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for the commercial division of Shaw Industries. Since joining Shaw in 1984, she has held leadership positions in sales, custom product design, and marketing fields. As a current member of the Shaw Commercial leadership team, Brenda provides strategic leadership for all marketing, communications, and product development efforts for Shaw Contract Group, Patcraft, and Shaw Commercial Hard Surface. Shaw products have garnered multiple design and sustainability awards, including twelve consecutive years of prestigious Best of NeoCon Awards.

Under Brenda's leadership, Shaw launched the Shaw Green Edge, the company's corporate sustainability business platform, which includes a commitment to the development of innovative products. She championed the introduction of EcoWorx Performance Broadloom, a fully recyclable carpet backing that is Cradle to Cradle Certified, one of Shaw's 10 certified products. Brenda also sits on the company's Growth and Sustainability Council.


Early in Brenda's career, she represented Shaw in the Washington D.C. and Cincinnati markets, and served as sales leader of the Chicago area. She also established and led Shaw's custom design department. Since 1999, Brenda has been involved with Shaw's commercial marketing efforts as Vice President of Marketing for Shaw Contract Group and as Vice President of Market Development before moving to her current position in 2006.

Brenda graduated from West Georgia College. She has participated as a board member in local chapters of the International Interior Design Association and has been active at the national level as well. She resides in Dalton, Georgia with her 10-year old daughter, Ava.  Brenda has always been active in the local communities where she has lived.  She has previously served on boards, supported local events, and acted as a Wish Granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  She is very passionate about international adoption.  Since moving back to Dalton in 2007,  Brenda became very passionate about the work United Way is doing in our community and served as Board Chair of the United Way of Northwest Georgia in 2014.

Bob Chandler
What is the first rule of fundraising? Make the ask.  Alexis de Tocqueville Society & Citizen of the Week, Chairman Bob Chandler did just that. In 2014, Bob called on his friends and peers and invited them to join the Tocqueville Society, which historically, boasts around 70 members who collectively invest over $800,000 in United Way annually. 

“This group of very generous philanthropists represents over 20% of our overall campaign goal each year. In 2014 Bob issued the 10% challenge to encourage existing members to grow their support by 10% or more. When the 2014 campaign was still underway, 14 members had accepted the challenge. United Way is fortunate to have Bob’s leadership in this role. Bob is a caring and compassionate individual who truly cares about our community and wants to make a difference,” shared United Way President Amanda Burt.

Want to be a Game Changer? It’s not too late to join. Chandler challenges you to be a philanthropic leader and volunteer champion to create lasting changes in our community.

Check out what Bob has to say about United Way, “I was born and raised in Dalton, Georgia and a lifelong resident. I know from living here my entire life what the impact and importance United Way has on our community. The United Way Board and volunteers are a true cross section of our community, and are in an ideal position to get the best perspective on what needs to be done, and how the funds that are raised need to be distributed. I believe a strong United Way is essential to funding the services that are vital to our community, and its residents well-being.”

Bob Chandler knows United Way's impact on education, basic needs, and health is crucial in ensuring that our communities’ needs are met . In 2014, your gift made an astounding difference and helped thousands:
·         560 children received quality childcare
·         20,633 people received food, clothing, furniture, medicine, and financial help
·         80,515 hot meals were delivered to the elderly and disabled

After graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and an MBA, Chandler began working for the family company, Patcraft Mills Inc. While at Patcraft, Chandler became President until 1990 when he sold the family company to Queen Carpet Corporation which later joined Shaw Industries.  Chandler currently serves as Vice President of Commercial Sales for Shaw Industries.

An active community volunteer, Chandler has served as Chairman of the Hamilton Medical Center Board, Vice Chairman of Hamilton Healthcare System Board, Board Member at United Way Board, and current Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society. Chandler and his wife Susan are active members of ChristChurch Presbyterian.

Tim Ausmus
For two weeks in August 2014, Tim Ausmus took a break from his day job as Director of Global Sourcing at Shaw Industries. Fourteen days away from the office for many people often means a beach vacation, a trip to the amusement park or some much needed “R&R” on the seat of a couch. Not for Ausmus. “I, and six other people from my church visited Oradea, Romania, to help with construction work in a seminary, and conducted vacation Bible school in a small village just outside Oradea,” Ausmus said, while still in Eastern Europe. For the Chatsworth native, it was nothing new. Ausmus, in recent years, has ventured to Nicaragua for missionary work; he’s been to the Dominican Republic; and at home, nearly every day has become a day in which he gives back to the local community. In addition to humanitarian efforts with Christian life groups, Ausmus has worked closely with the United Way during a professional career that spans more than 30 years.

During the most recent decade, the relationship has grown, and he has become Chair of the United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) — it is a group that organizes and manages corporate partnerships with the United Way. “When I first began to go out into the community to see what was actually happening in these agencies, I began to have a new appreciation for the work that United Way and the member agencies do. I also began to have a greater appreciation for the need in the community,” Ausmus said. “From that appreciation, I began to serve on fund distribution panels for the United Way. This is when a group of community leaders get together and evaluate the needs of each United Way funded agency and distribute the campaign funds back the agencies. It involves visiting agencies, evaluating funding applications, all in an effort to insure that these agencies and the United Way are being good stewards of funding provided by the community.” In other words: “For the United Way, I assist in determining how the funds that people sacrificially give will be divided out to the partner agencies,” he said. “And, I help in mobilizing the community in volunteer activities.” In his role with the CVC, Ausmus has led the group to national distinction (it has been awarded the Points of Light award and the Fast Start Award) for how successfully it operates. According to Andrea Mansfield, director of community engagement for the United Way of Northwest Georgia, “We have a mission at United Way — ‘Give, Advocate, Volunteer: Live United.’ Tim really embodies all three of those things,” she said. “Tim not only volunteers himself, but really advocates about volunteerism and giving back.  He has spoken on behalf of United Way and encouraged various companies’ employees to begin serving as well.”

For Ausmus, volunteer work is all about making a positive difference in at least one person’s life. “I enjoy it because it allows me to become directly involved in the lives of the individuals who need help. Giving money is a great thing to do and I try to do as much as I can financially, but when a person gives of their time, their energy and their emotions, their giving goes to a new level,” he said. “And, thinking of a person’s story makes me keenly aware that we are all just one lost job, one bad diagnosis from the doctor, one car accident, one wayward child or one addiction away from needing help ourselves. I can only hope and pray that, should I ever need the assistance that the United Way gives, that there will be people who are willing to give of themselves to help me in a time of need.” Every individual person owes the community in which they live a debt, Ausmus believes. “A debt for the schooling, the community values, and the stability that they have had in their lives,” he said. “These things help make us what we are. To repay this debt, we should give, both financially and of our time and energy. When we give of ourselves, there is no greater gift that we possess.” --Jeff Harrison, The Daily Citizen News

Jamie Welborn
Before becoming a bona fide Georgian, Jamie made his start in Levittown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor's in Textile Management & Marketing, and earned his Master's from the Institute of Textile Technology.

Post grad, Jamie ventured into the world of carpet and textile- making his start at Milliken & Company before joining Mohawk Industries in 2007 as Director of Manufacturing. He is currently VP of Product Development for Residential Carpet at Mohawk.

He is very excited to serve on United Way's board and is honored to be a game changer in his community. Jamie is helping to run the Mohawk United Way campaign and serves on a United Way Community Investment panel making sure your investment is put to the highest use in the community.

Jamie and his wife, Jackie, reside in North Georgia and have four wonderful children.


Joe Yarbrough
"I believe that the United Way has demonstrated not only good accountability and good stewardship of our community's charitable dollars, but also has shown the compassion and oversight to make sure those non-profits who have the most need and do the most good are financially supported."

"United Way has strong leadership. As a board member, I have seen the active participation in United Way across our community from young leaders and up, who are making sure that the organization's accomplishments and legacy across past decades are continued into the future. It is important that we see the influx of 'young blood' so to speak, so that United Way remains poised to ensure a good life for our neighbors and friends." - Joe Yarbrough

Joe Yarbrough joined United Way of Northwest Georgia's Board of Directors in 2013. Joe is served as the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Chair in 2013, leading the effort to grow the Society's resources and members. Julian Saul, Founding Chairman of United Way of Northwest Georgia's Tocqueville Society, chartered the Society in 1996 with 23 members. The Tocqueville Society was created to deepen individual understanding of, commitment to, and support for United Way's work in education, basic needs, and health in our community.

The Tocqueville Society recognizes philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our community's most serious issues. Membership in the Tocqueville Society is granted to individuals who contribute at least $10,000.00 annually to United Way. The Tocqueville Society currently has over 75 members who contribute $800,000 of the annual United Way of Northwest Georgia campaign.

A Georgia native, Joe Yarbrough was born in Rome, and has resided in Dalton since 1972.  Joe and his wife of 29 years, Nanette, have five adult children and eight grandchildren. An active member of Grove Level Baptist Church, Joe currently serves as Chairman of the Long-Range Planning Committee, on the Watchman Prayer Ministry, as an Adult Sunday School Leader, and as an Usher.
He is a graduate of Auburn University (1970) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has since completed numerous Leadership Development and skill improvement programs.  After six years in various positions with Coronet Industries, Joe joined Aladdin Mills in June, 1978 as Director of Manufacturing. Aladdin Mills was merged into Mohawk Industries in 1994. In 1995, he was named Vice President of Manufacturing for Mohawk and in 2004 Joe became Executive Vice President of Operations and later was named Senior Vice President, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering.  Joe was named President of The Carpet and Rug Institute in 2014.

Joe's favorite quote is from the Auburn Creed, "I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work. . . . I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by 'doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.' "  -George Petrie (1945)


Pat Sain
Pat Sain, United Way Community Investment Chair, recently shared why he is committed to United Way:
"I work with other volunteers to make sure that United Way NWGA continues to be a great steward of the money that the hardworking people of our community generously donate. We do this with a dedicated, diligent, and conscientious group of volunteers who make sure that we are using the donations as efficiently as possible."

When asked how he got involved with United Way, Sain replied: "Well, United Way chose me. I was asked to serve and so I said yes. I had not spent much time volunteering previously.  It has been a great experience for me. I have learned about great agencies, filled with people that are equipped and passionate about meeting the needs of people in our community." Today, I choose to serve at United Way because it allows me to serve our community in a small but effective way.