Governor Appoints Four for Friday; Evans Out at SRTA

Governor Nathan Deal has named four appointments today, two of which will require board approval.  Most noteworthy is the appointment of Chris Tomlinson to head the State Road and Tollway Authority.  Tomlinson will replace Gena Evans who headed the agency during the period of the introduction of Georgia’s HOT lanes.  She also previously headed the state DOT.

Other appointments include Mary Ann Todd to head the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, Tracy A Ireland as interim President of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, and Diana Pope as a Director for the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.

The Governor’s full press release with background on these appointees follows:

March 8, 2013

Gov. Nathan Deal today appointed two individuals and nominated two for leadership roles within state government.

Martha Ann Todd, director, Governor’s Office of Student Achievement
Prior to joining GOSA, Todd was the associate superintendent of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness at the Georgia Department of Education. She has more than 30 years of experience in education, in both public and private schools, serving kindergarten through 12th grade. Her teaching experiences range from instructing a kindergarten class to teaching high school algebra as well as everything in between. Todd has also served in a wide range of leadership roles throughout her career at the school, district and state levels. She holds a bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Emory University, a master’s in Educational Leadership from Columbus State University, and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Georgia College & State University. Todd lives in Greenville with her husband, Robert Lee Todd IV. She is the mother of two grown children and has two grandchildren.
Tracy A. Ireland, interim president, Georgia Student Finance Commission
With more than 19 years of higher education finance experience, Ireland has broad and progressive knowledge of the student finance industry. His experience includes finance and operations, marketing, budgeting, strategic planning and general management. Ireland joined GSFC in 2001 and has served in a variety of leadership roles in the areas of operations, postsecondary school outreach, legislative affairs and media relations. Prior to joining GSFC, Ireland worked for College Foundation, Inc., a private, nonprofit student loan provider in Raleigh, where he held a variety of positions including director of North Carolina’s National College Savings Program, Call Center Manager and Electronic Services Coordinator. Ireland is currently a member the Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the National Council of Higher Education Resources. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and lives in Cumming with his wife, Judy, and their two sons. Tracy and his family attend Brown’s Bridge Community Church and are actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America.
Christopher Tomlinson, nominee for director, State Road and Tollway Authority (Appointment pending board approval)
Tomlinson currently serves as the deputy executive director and general counsel for the State Road and Tollway Authority. He also serves as SRTA’s primary liaison for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s P3 program. Prior to joining SRTA, Tomlinson served as general counsel for GDOT, where he was responsible for the Office of Legal Services, GDOT’s legislative unit, and the Office of Human Resources, including GDOT’s investigative unit. He has also served as director of legal services or as general counsel for several other state entities, including the Georgia Technology Authority, the Georgia Building Authority, the State Properties Commission and the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission, where he also served as the deputy director for the construction division. In addition to his agency management experience, he has extensive experience in public procurement, contract and employment law. Tomlinson is a graduate of Morehouse College and obtained his law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law. He lives in Loganville with his wife, Lillian, and their two kids.
Diana Pope, nominee for director, Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (Appointment pending board approval)
Pope began her state career in 1994 with the Georgia Department of Audits, served two years with the Office of Fiscal and Treasury Services and joined GSFIC in 1998. Upon the retirement of the former director Weyman Smith in 2006, Diana served as interim director of the Financing and Investment Division. In 2008, she resigned her position as director to pursue more time with family and other personal commitments, but continued to work with GSFIC on a special projects basis, which included the state’s Debt Management Plan, assisting with the development of GSFIC’s web-based eBonds system, performing internal bond compliance reviews, and most recently, working on the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 project. She received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting  from the University of Hawaii and received her CPA in 1995. Pope would succeed Susan Ridley, who has been named Associate Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.


  1. Jackster says:

    I would have thought as a part of the Bio, their experience with Gov. Deal would have been mentiond.

    Starting in 1997, Jane Pewterschmidt volunteered for Deal’s congressional race. Since then, she has served in various positions in the Georgia State Bureaucracy, culminating with their most promotion from being groomed by Gov. Deal’s organization.

    Or something like that.

  2. Will Durant says:

    Given the timing of some of the Governor’s numbers as of late I’m not so sure Gena Evans’ departure is entirely voluntary. She became a pariah in Gwinnett after the HOT lane roll out fiasco and pretty much turtled up leaving the Governor to get some on him as well. She even cancelled an appearance in front of the Hall County Chamber of Commerce 3 months after the roll out.

    This is also bigger than much of the public realizes as Sonny had pretty much configured SRTA to be GDOT’s bank. SRTA oversees a lot more money than the meager tolls. Tolls I might add, that on the I-85 HOT lanes are still not paying their SRTA administration costs.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Good points, though Evans likely didn’t “turtle up” voluntarily as much as she was halted by Deal from making further public appearances during the HOT Lanes startup fiasco so as to avoid making the public even angrier.

  3. ethics says:

    Gena has ruined every agency she’s been at (GSFIC, DOT, SRTA). Her GA 400 and HOT lane debacles could very well cost Nathan re-election. Maybe she can sell some of those salacious govt e-mails to Larry Flint.

    Good riddance again!

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