GMIS Leadership


Benjamin Brengman, President

Information Technology Director
City of Garden City

100 Central Avenue
Garden City, GA 31405
Office: 912-963-2773
Cell: 912-856-7380



Benjamin Brengman is an Army Veteran with 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field. He attended Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis, MN and after getting out of the Army in 1999, Benjamin worked as a Desktop Analyst and then a Network Administrator for Welsh Companies in Minnesota.  In 2001 Benjamin took a job as an Information Technology Manager for Ambient Consulting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While at Ambient Consulting he worked as a consultant for several large companies including Wells Fargo, Target, Best Buy and NCS Pearson.

In 2007, Benjamin moved to Savannah, GA to get away from the cold winters of Minnesota and has been a resident since ever since. During the move Benjamin continued to do consulting for Savannah businesses and in 2009, he was hired as the Information Technology Director for the City of Garden City where he continues to work.

Benjamin completed his ITLP which was renamed LGCIO in 2014. Benjamin has been on the Georgia GMIS board for the past six years serving as president from 2016-17 and then again currently until spring of 2019. 

Larry J Hobbs, 1st Vice President

GIS Manager
Columbia County Board of Commissioners

630 Ronald Reagan Dr
Evans, GA 30809



Larry Hobbs is the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Manager for Columbia County Board of Commissioners.  He has over 23 years of experience in various technology fields within the public sector.  His background includes ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), Application Development, Database Administration, and Project Management.

Larry started his career with an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming.  He acquired his Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO) and is working on completing his Certified Government Chief Information Officer™ (CGCIO™) in 2019.  He is also certified in ITIL® v3 Foundation.  He is actively working on his GISP (Geographic Information Systems Professional).

Larry has been a member of GA GMIS (Georgia Government Management Information Sciences) since 1998 and is currently the 1st Vice President.  He is also an Adjunct Professor teaching students programming fundamentals and business ethics.  He believes in giving back to the community and the fields of technology.  He serves as a Student Advisory Committee member for Augusta Technical College, focusing on improved outreach to the next generation of professionals. 

Larry is an Army Veteran.  He believes in a balanced life.  If he is not working to improve his agencies business needs, he is out in the woods hunting or fishing.  Larry and his wife Christina are very proud of their three boys and their service in the US Army.

Brett Lavender, 2nd Vice President

Chief Information Officer
Macon-Bibb County

200 Cherry St., Ste 401
Macon, GA 31201



Lavender is a U.S. Air Force Veteran with 38 years of experience in the field of information technology. Prior to joining Macon-Bibb County Government, Brett served as Director of Information Technology for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. He has extensive experience in building and leading public sector technology teams. Brett is a continuous improvement champion.

Mr. Lavender holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Mercer University - Stetson School of Business and Economics.  He is a Certified Public Manager® (CPM®), a Certified Government Chief Information Officer™ (CGCIO™) and has completed the Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO) program through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. He has both ITIL® v3 Foundation and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) Certifications. Brett is currently pursuing his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB) certification.

Brett currently volunteers as:

  • 2nd Vice President, Georgia - Government Management Information Sciences (GA-GMIS) Board of Directors
  • Member - Accreditation Committee, GMIS International
  • Editorial Review Board Member, Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce
  • Member - School of Information Technology Advisory Board, Middle Georgia State University

Steve Sikes, 3rd Vice President

Director of Technology Services
City of McDonough

136 Keys Ferry Street
McDonough, GA 30253



With over 30 years of experience in private sector, non-profit and government Information Technology, Steve began his career designing industrial control systems for companies like M&M Mars, Lever Brothers, Conagra Foods and Dixie Crystals Sugar.  Steve is the Director of Technology Services for the City of McDonough, Georgia where he was tasked to create the City’s first Technology Services department.   During his tenure, he has transformed the City from little more than a consumer grade network forward to an Enterprise system, using best in class technology.  He has a proven track record in translating business needs into technology infrastructure that will support the company’s business objectives and to successfully manage all phases of IT projects from needs analysis and requirements definition to vendor selection, implementation, and training.

Steve holds various certifications including CompTia A+/Net+, Office of Homeland Security, Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO) & will complete the nationally recognized Certified Government Chief Information Officer™ (CGCIO™) from Carl Vision Institute of the University of Georgia October 2019.   He has served as Information Technology Manager for both a regional construction firm and Goodwill of North Georgia.    Steve enjoys spending time with his wife of 41 years Linda at their lake home, spoiling his 4 grandchildren, singing with the Oxford College of Emory University Chorale, sport shooting & hopes to actually catch a fish one day.

Aaron Kostyu, Executive Director

Director of Information Technology
Lowndes County Board of Commissioners

Office #130
327 North Ashley Street
Valdosta, GA 31601

Clark Rainer, Secretary Treasurer

Director of Technology Systems

Georgia Secretary of State
2 MLK Jr. Dr. SE #802 West
Atlanta, GA 30334



IT Executive with over 20 years of experience in leading IT operations for public and private organizations. LGCIO from University of Georgia - Carl Vinson Institute for Government, BBA in General Business Administration from Georgia College and State University, and Associate of Arts from Oxford College of Emory University.

Author – How to Build an IT Department from Chaos to Continual System Improvement, © 2018.

In recent years, Clark has been a change agent building or rebuilding IT Departments for City, County, and State Governments and serving in the roles of IT Director and CIO. Clark has served as project manager for multiple enterprise level IT projects, business analyst conducting many business process reviews and improvement plans, strategic planning, budget planning and maintenance, staff development and management, and many technical certification specialties.

Over the past twelve years, he has served on the Board of GA GMIS (president in 2010), and currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer.

Currently serving his eighth consecutive term as GMIS International Director www.gmis.org, Clark has worked closely with International partners in the formalization of LOLA (Linked Organization of Local Authorities – www.lola-ict.org ), which was formalized in 2013 and includes executives representing Australia, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. Clark also as served on the board of GA GMIS for over ten years.

Clark is the past President of “HTTP” (Henry Telecommunications and Technology Partnership), and was awarded the GMIS Outstanding Professional Award (previously MISAPA) in 2001.

Outside of work, Clark enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, fishing, horseback riding, and menagerie of animals on his “hobby farm” out in the country.

For more information visit Clark’s Linked In page at: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/clark-rainer/15/a96/38

Karen B. Knight, Corporate Sponsorships

Communications Coordinator
City Of Douglasville

P.O. Box 219
Douglasville, GA 30133-0219
w) 678-449-3088


Michael Hourihan

Carl Vinson Institute of Government
University of Georgia

18 Capitol Square, Room 116 LOB
Atlanta, GA 30334
Office: 404-463-6803
Email: hourihan@uga.edu



Michael spent more than 40 years in various management roles in the public and private sectors and was president of Complete Solutions LLC, a leadership and organizational development company.

With UGA for 17 years, he provides education, learning and developmental training to Georgia state agencies, counties, cities and school boards. He also facilitates meetings and retreats for staff and elected government officials and serves as a business coach and mediator for several organizations.

In addition to his work in Georgia, he provides training, facilitation, and consulting nationally and internationally. 

He has a PHR designation from the Society for Human Resource Management and is registered as a Mediator/Alternative Dispute Resolution facilitator in Georgia. Mike is POST certified (Peace Officer Standards and Training), is an Instructor for the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council (GFSTC), and is certified in numerous psycho-metric assessments.

Precious Cooper, Event Manager

Carl Vinson Institute of Government
University of Georgia

201 N Milledge Ave.
Athens, GA 30602
Office: 706-542-0402



Precious Cooper is the primary manager responsible for meeting all contractual, administrative, financial, and logistics requirements for multiple complex outreach and educational training programs. She delivers assigned programs to a range of state and local government agencies and public service professional associations, including Georgia GMIS, Georgia Local Government Personnel Association, Superior Court Clerks certificate program, Georgia Association of Tax Officials, and Newly Elected Tax Commissioners. In this position, Precious also provides event coordination to the Georgia Clerks Education Institute. Most programs lead to a certificate or certification through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government or are programs required as continuing education hours for state agencies or local constitutional officers. Precious has authority for contract development and negotiation; design and development of the master event plan and implementation schedule; program development, evaluation and reporting; client relationships and communication; event budget and program account management, conference and event coordination and management; IT development and application; staffing plans; and, management of administrative and participant records systems.