The Bent Tree Foundation Board of Directors is composed of nine members. All Board members are homeowners in the local community and are volunteers who receive no monetary compensation for their time and efforts. Each Board member assists with our various fundraising efforts and participates in the creation and planning of the numerous Foundation events.
Chairman: Jesse Hunter
Jesse is a native Georgian, who was raised on a farm in the southern region of the state. After high school, he attended Georgia State University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 1967, Master’s degree in 1972, and a Specialist’s degree in 1975. During a thirty-year career in the Clayton County Public Schools, Jesse was a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and central office director. An integral aspect of his vocation was involvement in civic affairs of the community.
Upon moving to the Jasper area in 1998, Jesse has continued his involvement in civic activities in the area. He is married to Debbie, who is also a retired educator. Jesse has been a member of the Foundation Board of Directors since July 2011.
Vice Chairman & Treasurer: Colin Thompson
Colin was a senior executive and has significant sales, sales management and executive experience. He worked for Honeywell Information Systems, Digital Equipment Corporation and Compaq Computer Corporation (now HP). He was also the Chief Information Officer for a large national restaurant chain.
Before retiring in 2002, he was the Vice President and General Manager for Compaq’s Outsourcing Management Services, North American Operations. Born and raised in London, England, Colin immigrated to the United States as a young man.
He attended East London University, Northeastern University in Boston, as well as Executive Development at Harvard University’s Business School. He is a United States Air Force veteran and lives in Bent Tree, Jasper, Georgia with his wife, Sheila. He has been Treasurer of the Bent Tree Foundation since it’s creation in 2009.
Secretary: Nancy E. Davis
Nancy moved to Atlanta from Chicago in 1973 when she married her late husband Monte. Nancy and Monte bought property in Bent Tree in the mid-70s, bought a vacation home in the early 90s, and moved to Bent Tree full time in 2000. Nancy has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and a master’s degree in Communications from Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Nancy worked as an Administrative Assistant to one of the directors of Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois before moving to Georgia. For 15 years she was a Research Associate at Georgia Tech Research Institute, where she was a technical writer and editor and managed a communications group in the Environmental Health and Safety Division. She was also on the Executive Board of the Atlanta League of Women Voters.
Since retiring, Nancy has been active in various volunteer activities, including serving on the Bent Tree Board of Directors; the Board of Directors of the Pickens County Community Resource Association (PCCRA) as secretary (currently); the Board of the North Georgia/Big Canoe Friendship Force Chapter, including as president; and the Friends of the Pickens Library (currently). She worked on the Bent Tree echo for 14 years, as editor, co-editor, and Board liaison. She currently volunteers as a cashier at the Community Thrift Store and has done so almost since the Thrift Store opened. She also volunteers one afternoon a week at the Bent Tree Animal Shelter. Nancy was elected to the Board of the Bent Tree Foundation in 2015.
Director: Debbie Davis
Debbie was a dental hygiene educator with over 25 years of teaching experience. She retired as the Dental Hygiene Department Chair at Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody, GA in 2012. During her teaching career she maintained dental hygiene licensure in GA, FL and NC with clinical and office management experience in general, periodontal, endodontic, and orthodontic practices. Her educational background included an A.S. degree in Dental Hygiene from Palm Beach Community College, B.S. Degree in Dental Auxiliary Teacher Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, and a MEd. in Administration and Supervision from the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
Debbie maintained professional membership in several organizations, and in 2010 was asked to serve as the educational representative for the Georgia Oral Health Coalition to seek solutions to Georgia’s oral health access to care issues. While at Georgia Perimeter College, Debbie worked with the Office of Institutional Development to raise $2.5 million in private funds to build and equip a new dental hygiene clinical facility.
Debbie is married to Jeff Westbrook, a Civil Waste Water engineer formerly with Hydrostructures in Columbia, SC. They moved to Bent Tree permanently in July, 2011. Debbie was asked to serve on the Bent Tree Foundation in September 2011 and currently serves as the Bent Tree Foundation Scholarships/Grants Coordinator.
Director: Tom Carlson
With a B. S. in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska and a commission in the U. S. Army, Tom Carlson was a Personnel Officer at Fort Knox. There he met Sandy who was teaching in the dependent schools.
Tom and Sandy moved to Atlanta in 1969 and escaped to Bent Tree in 1997. Tom also has a Master’s Degree in Insurance from Georgia State University. His business career was in casualty insurance underwriting for large corporate clients, first with Liberty Mutual. While at Liberty Mutual he had a secondary duty of college recruiting for Home Office underwriting. Also while there Tom was President of Southeastern Underwriters Association in Atlanta, an educational and social group for professional underwriters. At retirement, Tom was VP of one of Hartford Insurance Group’s specialty insurance subsidiaries.
Tom currently volunteers at Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center in Jasper where he evaluates patients’ eligibility for services. Previous volunteer positions included President of the local conference of the international St. Vincent de Paul Society, which assists local residents with financial emergencies. Prior to leaving Atlanta Tom volunteered in Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences, a drug and alcohol rehab organization, and was named Volunteer of the Year.
Tom has long admired all the work of the Bent Tree Foundation, especially the support for education in Pickens County. During Sandy’s 30 year education career and during his various volunteer experiences, Tom developed a keen appreciation of the importance of education in guiding and developing young people. Tom joined the Foundation Board in July 2015.
Director: Len Levy
Len grew up in Miami Beach, Fl., receiving a BS degree in Business Administration from Florida State University, where he attended college on a football scholarship. He entered the life insurance business as an agent with Northwestern Mutual, prior to college graduation. He has been in the financial service industry ever since.
Len was with Pacific Life for 20 years, as Managing Partner of the company’s Tampa, Fla. Financial Services office, and later as Vice President in the Newport Beach, Ca. home office. From 1978 to 1993 as President of his own company, Southeast Planning Group, he managed offices in Tampa, New Orleans and Atlanta, with additional subsidiaries in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.
He retired from management in 1993 and continues as a broker for his own clients, mostly in the southeastern United States. Len has received numerous awards over the years recognizing his professional achievements and civic activities. He resides in Jasper, GA and has been a member of the Foundation Board of Directors since its creation in 2009.
Director: Jack Short
In 1982, Jack changed careers when he started his first sales career with Royston Corporation. For the next twenty years, he traveled across the nation as VP of Sales for Royston, then Gilbarco Veeder-Root, a Danaher Company.
Two years after 9/11, Jack opened his first retail package store in Jasper and opened a second store later that year. After almost 15 years, Jack sold his stores to two brothers-in-law. He served as Chairman of the Board for Pickens County Chamber of Commerce in 2007. In 2013, Jack served as the President of the Jasper Rotary Club. Jack serves on several boards, and he is active in numerous charity causes. He joined the Foundation Board in July 2011.
Director: Martha Brown Stephens
After graduating from the University of Georgia, she headed to Washington, DC. While there, she worked for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which is the bureau of the Department of the Treasury that charters and supervises national banks. She remained with the OCC for 36 years. She obtained her Master’s Degree from George Washington University. Widowed at the age of 34, Marty was dedicated to her career. As a Deputy Comptroller of the Currency, she provided executive leadership over a variety of programs and managed a staff of 120 employees and an operating budget of over $40 million—OCC’s largest budget assigned to a program manager. She also was responsible for the stewardship of over $90 million in real estate and capital assets. Marty was selected by the Department of the Treasury to be one of a select few on the President’s Commission for Executive Exchange. She represented the White House in several European Countries and in private industry at Florida Power and Light for one year.
After retiring, Marty returned to Georgia to be with her family. She has two brothers and a sister that live in Georgia with their families. She is devoted to her five nieces and nephews and four great nephews and one great niece. Marty lives in Bent Tree and is involved in many community activities. She joined the Foundation Board in 2017.
Director: Steve Lawrence
Steve grew up on a farm in a rural agricultural community near Dothan, Alabama. Upon graduating high school, he joined the US Navy to study electronics. After his tour of duty ended, he went to work at Georgia Tech in the Physics Department as an electronic technician.
Steve moved his new family to Jasper, Georgia in 1970 to begin a career in Finance and used that experience well when he went to work in the Pickens County Commissioners Office for four years. In 1980, Steve began working in the insulation industry, and in 1986 that would resulted in opening his own business in Jasper. He sold his company in 2010 and then started an internet marketing company which he sold in 2015. Always the entrepreneur, he now has an ownership interest in Georgia Gutters.
Steve is a charter member of the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as a board member of the North Georgia Area Planning and Development Center and as President and board member of the North Georgia Community Action Agency. Additionally, he has served with The Burnt Mountain Center, the Pickens Industrial Development Board and is presently on the Pickens County Beer and Wine Board. He is now the Webmaster and Public Image Chair for the Rotary Club of Jasper. In Bent Tree, Steve has served as member and Chair of the HFF Committee and as a member of Golf and Greens.
Steve and Kay have lived in Bent Tree since 2003. They love and share four children and four grandchildren. Steve joined the Foundation Board in 2017.