Robins Regional Chamber Member News



In late February, Sara Lynn Slagle got an offer she did not want to refuse.

A modeling agency offered the Middle Georgia State University student, a professional model since she was a junior at Macon’s First Presbyterian Day School, a chance to work in Los Angeles for two or three months – maybe longer. She could build her portfolio (her “book,” as they refer to it in the modeling industry) and potentially make some serious money.

But Slagle, 21, is enrolled at MGA this semester as she works toward a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. Dropping out was not an option. “I definitely want to finish my degree,” she said.

Because Slagle is taking all of her courses online, she saw no reason why she could not make the move and still work on her degree. Even if she ends up staying in California longer, MGA’s advising center stands ready to help her keep going.

“A few years ago it might have been a lot harder,” said Sandy Little-Herring, an MGA transfer specialist advisor who has worked with Slagle. “But more degree options at Middle Georgia State are available entirely online now. Pursuing a degree online is not necessarily for everyone, especially undergraduates, but it can be a game changer for students with the right attitude and self-discipline. They can literally move anywhere for a job and not miss a beat.”

It’s a relief to Slagle, who moves to Los Angeles in a few days to work with the Meraki modeling agency.

Faced with a choice between the move and staying put to finish her degree, Slagle said she would have picked school. “I’m glad I didn’t have to make that choice,” she said.

Slagle, the daughter of Dan and Georgia Slagle of Macon, got her first modeling job at age 16 after a professional agency already working with one of her friends scouted her. In the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, Slagle worked modeling jobs in London, accompanied for part of the time by her mother. She continued to model clothing and jewelry for commercial websites while finishing high school and beginning college.

Eventually signed by Ursula Wiedmann Models in Atlanta, Slagle first enrolled at Valdosta State University but admits her heart wasn’t in it. She dropped out after a semester to travel for a while, then enrolled at Middle Georgia State when she learned about the interdisciplinary studies degree. Taking most of her courses online – including core courses offered through the University System of Georgia’s eCore initiative – gives her the flexibility she needs to work on a degree and continue to model.

MGA’s Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to design their own programs of study and pursue an education built on their unique interests, backgrounds, and career goals. In addition to core requirements, students complete at least 15 hours of coursework in a single disciplinary concentration.

Slagle chose marketing as her concentration because she felt she could apply it to her current career if she continues to get opportunities. But while she has already experienced a good bit of success, Slagle is the first to admit that modeling is a tough, competitive business. She wants to be prepared to move in another direction if necessary.

“It’s a degree that gives me options,” Slagle said. “Taking courses online has helped me developed good time-management skills. I think I’m prepared to make this move for this kind of opportunity. My parents are so supportive, but I’m not sure they would be if they didn’t think I would keep working on my degree.”

One of her first moves, made before she even arrives in Los Angeles, is a good sign. Slagle arranged to room with another fashion model who already lives there, a woman she met while working in London. Her roomie is proof of what’s possible for Slagle.

“She’s a full-time model and a full-time student,” Slagle said. “She’s working on her master’s degree at UCLA.”



Georgia Power announced, in collaboration with Georgia Tech, it will build a new 1.4 MW microgrid in Tech Square at Spring and 5th streets in Metro Atlanta. Microgrids are self-contained power systems co-located with the facilities they serve that include generation resources, storage systems and energy management systems.

The Tech Square Microgrid, which was approved by the Georgia Public Service Commission and will begin operating this fall, will be used to evaluate how a microgrid can effectively integrate into and operate as part of the overall electrical grid. Additionally, it will serve as a living laboratory for Georgia Tech professors and students who will use the asset to gather data on controllers, cybersecurity devices and energy economics.

“The Tech Square Microgrid project will give us a better understanding of the resiliency, sustainability and cost of microgrids to help develop emerging energy solutions to better serve our customers now and in the future,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO for Georgia Power. “Working with Georgia Tech gives us an opportunity to drive innovation by collaborating with one of the nation’s leading research institutions while students and faculty get a firsthand learning experience on an operating power system.”

The microgrid will provide Georgia Power with insight on how smart energy management systems, such as the one being installed at the CODA data center that is currently under construction, can interact with the grid to achieve optimal utilization of energy. In addition, it will also provide teaching and learning opportunities for Georgia Tech professors and students.

Georgia Tech and Georgia Power have partnered together on a number of important initiatives over the years, and we are very excited about our latest collaborative effort, the new microgrid in Tech Square,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “In addition to actually delivering power, it will also serve as a ‘research microgrid,’ allowing Georgia Power, Southern Company, Georgia Tech and other partners to study the microgrid performance and conduct controlled experiments to develop and test new and innovative energy solutions for the future.”

The installation will include fuel cells, battery storage, diesel generators and a natural gas generator, but it is adaptive to new and additional distributed energy resources. It is designed to also accommodate microturbines, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers in the future. All components will be placed on a platform and obscured from view with seven-foot-high fencing and gate access along Williams Street in Atlanta.


Macon, GA – March 12, 2019: M&R Marketing recently received a prestigious W³ Silver Award for Website Design and Development for the creation of Pecan Nation’s website (


Sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, the W³ is a major web competition that recognizes digital excellence in websites, web marketing, video, mobile sites/apps, and other social content. It’s the first major web competition for all sizes of agencies and content creators, from small firms to Fortune 500 companies.


“We wanted to make this site exciting and engaging,” said Heather Waldron, M&R’s art director and the primary designer on the project. “The client came to us with the goal of helping people understand why pecans are healthy. The final design combines vintage-style illustrations with vibrant colors and a modern layout to give the site a unique feel,” she continued. “We wanted to make the site easy to use and understand.”


“I’m really proud of the hard work our team put into this project,” said M&R co-founder Matthew Michael. “We’re so thankful for the award, but even more thankful for the opportunity to work with great clients like Pecan Nation and Genuine Georgia. We thoroughly enjoyed working closely with their team to create a website they could be proud of.”


Pecan Nation is a Genuine Georgia company that grows, prepares, and sells premium Georgia pecans. Their premium pecans can be found in major grocery chains across multiple Southeastern states.


For more information, please contact Matthew Michael at 478-621-4491 or



Carlyle Place, Navicent Health – central Georgia’s first and only Life Plan Community – is pleased to announce the launch and expansion of an innovative program for Georgia’s seniors. TrustWell is a program that provides the peace of mind and financial security that accompanies having a plan for future healthcare needs to seniors who prefer to remain living in their own homes.

TrustWell is a membership program for senior adults that coordinates and pays for a package of services, providing support as they age in their own homes. It is designed for independent and active seniors who want financial and healthcare security. TrustWell members will ultimately have access to facility-based resources under their membership agreement, should their needs exceed services that can be provided in their home.

“There are many seniors who would benefit from the programs offered on a senior living campus, but who never want to move from their current homes. This homebased program not only provides continuing care services, but allows the associated costs of healthcare to be predictable and as a result, more affordable,” said Tom Rockenbach, Chief Administrative Officer for Carlyle Place, Navicent Health.

The TrustWell program has been operating under the name, Carlyle Place at Home, since 2016. The name change is in response to the success of the program and plans for expansion throughout the state.

“As we introduce TrustWell into new markets throughout Georgia, we’ll be partnering with Senior Living Communities in those regions,” said Rockenbach. “The new name will grow with the expansion and reflect the whole idea of what the program offers.”




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