Larry Hobbs

GIS Manager
Columbia County Board of Commissioners


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 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.





1st Vice President

Brett Lavender

Chief Information Officer
Macon-Bibb County


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:

  • 1st 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


2nd Vice President

Steve Sikes

Director, Technology Services
City of McDonough


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.





3rd Vice President

Michael Hicks

Chief Information Officer
City of College Park



Mr. Hicks is the Chief Information Officer at City of College Park since November 7th 2016 .  His background includes 33 years of progressive technology experience.

Mr. Hicks has spent 30 years in Higher Education as a Technician, Manager, Director, and Chief Information Officer.

Since joining the College Park team, He has used the technology platform to manage various departments including Customer Service new smart meter technology.

His 21st-Century approach to technology has resulted in an exclusive article listed in ED TECH magazine early addition. He is currently the chair of College Park Strategic Planning committee. His innovative approach also includes Enterprise Resource Planning, Smart City initiatives, and establishing a Technology Action Committee for citizen engagement. He is on track to complete the Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO) followed by second tier to become a Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO™). As the City of College Park move further in to the 21st Century he is preparing technology for the 22nd Century. He obtained a Master Degree from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor Degree from St.  Leo University.




Executive Director

Benjamin Brengman

Director of Information Technology
City of Garden City



Brengman is an Army Veteran with 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field. After getting out of the Army in 1999 Benjamin worked as a desktop analyst and a 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 such as 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 then. During the move Benjamin continued to do consulting for Savannah businesses and in 2009 he was hired as a Information Technology Director for the City of Garden City and continues to work for them.
Benjamin has completed his ITLP which has been renamed LGCIO in 2014. He went to Hennepin Technical College in Minneapolis, Mn.

Benjamin has been on the Georgia GMIS board for the past six years serving as president in 2016-17 and again  until spring of 2019.






Clark Rainer

Director of Technology Systems
Georgia Secretary of State



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, copyright © 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. www.gagmis.org

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





Director of Corporate Sponsorships

Karen Knight

Communications Coordinator
City Of Douglasville



Karen Knight is the Communications Coordinator for the City of Douglasville and has over 25 years of technology experience. She has obtained her Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO) certificate & will complete the nationally recognized Certified Government Chief Information Officer™ (CGCIO™) in 2019, both from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.

Mrs. Knight has been a member the GA GMIS Board of Directors since 2007 as the Director of Corporation Sponsorship. She serves as a member of the GMIS International Conference Planning Committee. Karen is the recipient of the GMIS International Hershel Strickland Award twice (2013 and 2017) and the GA GMIS Spirit of Georgia GMIS award in 2017.

Karen is also Secretary of GA MTUG (Motorola Trunked Users Group).

Outside of work, Karen is a big Star Wars fan, enjoys NASCAR, F1 and local dirt track racing, and showing their classic 1957 Ford with her husband, Ricky.





Public Service Assistant; Governmental Training, Education, And Development

Michael Hourihan

Carl Vincent Institute of Government
University of Georgia



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.



Senior Event Coordinator

Olivia Myers

Carl Vincent Institute of Government
University of Georgia


Olivia is responsible for the coordination of customizable retreats and facilitated planning sessions, as well as school programs. Olivia joined the Institute of Government in 2019 after serving the Terry College of Business since 2016. Olivia is a graduate of the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences and has completed the Certificate of Diversity and Inclusion through UGA’s Training and Development Program.

B.S., fashion merchandising, UGA