Brett Lavender

Chief Information Officer
Macon-Bibb County


Brett Lavender is Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Macon-Bibb County Government where he oversees the Information Technology department and provides technology and innovative leadership to Macon-Bibb County Government.

Brett is a U.S. Air Force Veteran with more than three decades 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.

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.

Brett believes that as IT Professionals we should work to be proficient in our skills and actions while continually aspiring to refine our leadership. He credits much of his success to 13 years of Georgia GMIS participation and to the GA-GMIS Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO) Program.



1st 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) & the nationally recognized Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO™) from Carl Vision Institute of the University of Georgia October 2019. He previously 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 6 grandchildren, singing with the Oxford College of Emory University Chorale, sport shooting & hopes to actually catch a fish one day.





2nd 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 2016. His background includes 34 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 used his technology operations experience to manage various departments, Communications, and Customer Service new smart meter technology.

His 21st, Century approach to technology has resulted in an exclusive article listed in ED TECH magazine. 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 completed a leadership program geared toward future local leaders. His additional achievement includes the LGCIO(Local Government Chief Information Officer) program, followed by second tier nationally recognized CGCIO(Certified Government Chief Information Officer). 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.



3rd Vice President

Jonathan Reich

City IT Manager
City of Gainesville



Jonathan Reich brings over 22 years of experience in the field of Information Technology and has a diverse background in both the public and private sectors, setting innovative technology standards and providing visionary leadership for numerous organizations. Jonathan manages a team of professionals committed to delivering a variety of services, including Public Safety applications and technology, Data Center & Infrastructure, Citywide Enterprise Applications, Strategic Planning, Open Data and much more. Under his leadership, the City of Gainesville has implemented a multi-jurisdictional high-speed fiber network and a hyper-converged SDN datacenter, along with updates to policies and procedures to better serve citizens and staff. Jonathan continues to collaborate with governments, nonprofits and other community stakeholders in an effort to bolster citizens’ quality of life through technology. Jonathan has been an active member of the Georgia chapter of GMIS International for the last five years and has completed his CGCIO certification via UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute. Jonathan is a long-time Georgia resident and lives in the North Georgia area outside of Atlanta with his family, and hopes to complete the training for his private pilot’s license someday.





Executive Director

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 24 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 has acquired the Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO™), Local Government Chief Information Officer (LGCIO), and Certificate of Local Government Management through the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.  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.






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 Vinson 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.


Tiffany Sargent


Program Coordinator

Tiffany Sargent

Carl Vinson Institute of Government
University of Georgia



As part of the program coordination team at the Institute of Government,  Tiffany’s responsibilities include event consultation, project management and logistics planning. Prior to joining the Institute of Government in May 2018, she coordinated and managed mandated training programs for judges and clerks throughout Georgia for over six years at the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education. 

International hospitality management master’s, University of South Carolina; B.B.A. in management, University of Georgia

Additional Info:
Areas of Expertise: venue selection, contract negotiation, program planning, event management