STAFF AND BOARD

Ryan Johnson
Executive Director
Ryan Johnson has worked in the field of disability and community inclusion for more than 10 years. His previous work at Georgia State University's Center for Leadership in Disability afforded him the opportunity to work alongside diverse families from across the state of Georgia helping them to access their local communities through natural supports.

Johnson is also an accomplished photographer who has spent more than five years telling the stories of individuals with disabilities and their families with his images. A collection of his work is currently touring the Georgia Library System.

Ryan and his wife Megan live in Bostwick, GA with their dog Jack.


Deborah Carter
Associate Director
Deborah Carter earned both her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Georgia, with concentrations in Community Empowerment and Program Development. She earned her Graduate Certificate in Management and Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations at UGA as well.

Before joining the Georgia Microboards Association Carter worked with Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb, initiating and supporting freely-given relationships between people with and without disabilities. She firmly believes that the answer to "what" is "who" and helps the GMA "put people behind people who need people."
Randy Pilkenton
President
Randy is a native of Michigan but he and his wife Kathy moved to Atlanta over 20 years ago, and live in Brookhaven with their two daughters and son. Randy has over 25 years experience in executive leadership and management consulting positions developing, selling and marketing innovative products and services in many industry sectors including financial technology, ecommerce, automotive services, airline, retail, and consumer products.

Randy has held leadership roles with several noted firms including McKinsey & Co., and CheckFree. He is currently a Director with a cloud software company. Randy has been actively engaged in serving the needs of the Atlanta community throughout his time in Atlanta, including:​​​​
​- member of the advisory board at the Bobby Dodd Institute
- mentor and coach to Endevvr, an educational and entrepreneurship program for teens
- helper in the early stages of the Hands On Atlanta Discovery Program which provides tutoring services to elementary schools in south Atlanta
- friendship and advocacy with, along with building a circle of support around, a single mother with a developmental disability
- active and a leader in the mission programs of Dunwoody United Methodist Church
Billy Upchurch
Treasurer
Billy Upchurch is an Atlanta native who now resides in Buckhead, Atlanta with his wife Stephanie. Billy is also a Georgia Tech graduate who now practices construction claims consulting full-time.

Billy brings his experience as an entrepreneur and businessman to the Georgia Microboards Association to maximize the returns on its efforts & resources in enriching the lives of all those it aims to help.
Hannah Minks
Secretary
Hannah Minks is a 2015 graduate of Truett-McConnell University. She was born with Cerebral Palsy and loved the opportunity to spread her wings and gain more independence during her time in college.  

Hannah sees serving on the GMA board as an opportunity to continue her path towards an independent life, and an opportunity that will allow her to be a small part of other people’s journeys.

She looks forward to using her English degree while connecting with other people with disabilities who want to realize their full potential.  Her hope is to be a living demonstration of the ability to work your way around your challenges and continue towards your goals. 
James Butler
Board of Directors
A licensed land surveyor and retired naval reservist, James Butler works part-time with the Lamar County School District as the Parent Mentor. He works collaboratively through his non-profit with other agencies that focus on youth development and serving people with disabilities in his community.

In addition to his professional background as a surveyor, he earned a BS in Psychology and is in the initial process of fulfilling an internship requirement for the completion of an MS in Professional Counseling. His desire is to promote interaction between all people in communities, particularly those living at the margins of a community.

A graduate of Partners in Policy Making, Mr. Butler is a trainer and former Regional Coordinator for Parent to Parent of Georgia, a Cultural Competency Trainer for the Georgia Department of Education, Division of Special Education and related services, and the Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State University.
Chris Hunnicutt
Board of Directors
Over the last twenty six years, Chris Hunnicutt has been focused on supporting and advocating on behalf of folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Since 1997 he has been professionally pursuing these ends.  ​​​​​

Initially he worked in quality assurance, quality improvement and participant safety. Later he focused upon leading edge residential services offering participants personal choice and community assimilation while providing appropriate, needed, supports.  Most recently, he worked to promote, educate and implement the strategies of customized employment. The Microboard is the logical next step for individuals and families desiring assurances for their family member’s personal choices and care throughout their life seasons. These entities focus on building and formalizing asset based community development.

Chris lives in Decatur with Marty, his wife of 43 years. In addition to Christopher, his family includes a daughter, son in law and four grandchildren who live in Ottawa, Canada.
Sally Carter
Board of Directors

Nancy Vera
Advisor and Board Member at Large
Nancy Vara is a parent, a well-known advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities, a frequent guest speaker at conferences and transition fairs throughout the state, and the former Executive Director of the Georgia Microboards Association.
  
Nancy became involved with the Georgia Microboards Association after her son Carmine transitioned out of the school system. Carmine and Friends was the first Microboard to incorporate in the state of Georgia.  A strong supporter of Participant-Directed Waiver Services, Nancy’s leadership, assistance, and hands-on support has helped improve the lives of people of all ages. Nancy was the first to coin a phrase which would become the motto of the Association, “We put people, behind people, who need people.”