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Grady County has a new Archway Professional working on behalf of the local partnership with University of Georgia.
Whitney Brannen joined Archway this month, and will be working here full time. As Archway Professional, Brannen will work as a liaison between the community and the university as she works to connect higher education resources to locally identified issues and priorities.
Brannen comes to Grady County from the Georgia Peanut Commission where she worked four years in communications, event planning, logistics and retail operations. She has also worked for the City of Bainbridge as an events coordinator.
Brannen’s Archway office in Cairo is located in Cairo City Hall. She succeeds Betsy McGriff who resigned in 2018 to take a job as economic development director at the Development Authority of Dawson County. Sharon Liggett, operations coordinator with Archway and the original professional here, has overseen Archway’s continued progress in Grady County in the absence of a full-time professional.
Archway Partnership work here is overseen by a local executive committee made up mostly of funding partners. The funding partners for the Grady County Archway Partnership include the City of Cairo, City of Whigham, Grady County, Grady County Schools, Grady EMC, Archbold Medical Center/ Grady General Hospital, Southern Regional Technical College, Cairo-Grady Chamber of Commerce, Grady County Joint Development Authority, Koyo Bearings, and UGA’s Office of Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.
A native of Florida, Brannen was raised in Bonifay near the Alabama border. She graduated from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 2015 with a degree in agricultural communications, and in December will graduate from the University of Tennessee with her Master’s in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.
Brannen’s background includes serving as the Georgia staffer with the National CommonGround organization recruiting women leaders in agriculture to become industry advocates. She was also a member of the American Ag. Editors Association, National Agri-Marketing Association, Georgia Grown Trail 41 and Plantation Trace regional tourism organization, all to help promote rural Georgia. During her time in Tifton, Brannen also dedicated herself to community involvement by volunteering with both an outreach program, Peanut Butter & Jesus, whose mission was to provide underprivileged children with a meal, and served on a court appointed Citizen Review Panel to review foster care and adoption cases.
Brannen says she is a conflicted fan of SEC football and she currently lives in Thomasville with her husband, Chris Brannen, and two dogs. Chris Brannen has another connection to Grady County; he is the son of Felecia and Tony Brannen and the grandson of Donnie Davis, all of Cairo. Whitney Brannen is the daughter of Ramona and Billy Yarbrough of Bonifay, Florida. She loves the outdoors and going fishing, preferably on the Flint River.