Monthly Archives: April 2023

Kroc to Lock Ride


Kroc to Lock Ride on Sunday, May 21It’s time to get it in gear for the annual Kroc to Lock Ride on Sunday, May 21 from noon until 4 p.m.

The 10-mile ride starts at Kroc Augusta, proceeds up the Augusta Canal towpath to the headgates and then heads back to the Kroc green space for a post-ride picnic. The menu features grilled hot dogs, drinks and Pelican’s SnoBalls. Matt the Mod also will be on hand for a live DJ set.

The cost is $35, and 100% of the net proceeds will benefit the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and future biking projects.

The registration deadline is Monday, May 15; no onsite registration will be available. For more information, visit or

Squalls [Expanded Remastered Edition]

Listen To This

SQUALLSIt is no secret that Athens, Georgia has been, and remains, a cultural and creative hub of energy with a rich musical history. With alum like R.E.M., The B-52s and Widespread Panic, the Classic City inspires, births and propagates some of the finest sounds available anywhere.

During the height of the blossoming Athens-mania (early- to mid-1980s), a sound collective emerged from a group of wandering seasoned musicians who formed one of the most eclectic and innovative bands to date called Squalls.

With a palette of influences from The Beatles, Lovin’ Spoonful, Funkadelic, Talking Heads, Grateful Dead and doo wop music, Squalls had a mass appeal and immediately gained status and respect among the welcoming Athens scene.

In the decades that followed, many of their recordings became rare relics and finds at record stores. Until now. Athens-based Propellor Sound Recordings recently dusted and baked all of the original tracks for the first release in a newly remastered and expanded three-album reissue series. 

With unreleased demos and a follow-up single, this expanded version of the band’s 1984 self-released EP features their most well-known songs, “Elephant Radio” and “Na Nanana,” and captures the purest essence of the band with its many layers of lush instrumentation and pop jive — a true gem that is now available for a new generation of listeners.

– Chris Rucker

Winning Combination

Beyond the Peach State

Photos courtesy of the Ag + Art Tour

Experience the connection between agricultural and art with an award-amassing tour in South Carolina.

For some people, rural life is a throwback to a bygone era. For others, rural life should be cherished and nurtured as an integral part of the 21st century. For everyone, however, rural life is a must-have experience – especially when it’s combined with the arts.

On seven weekends in May and June, people can get a firsthand glimpse of farm life and art creation during the annual South Carolina Ag + Art Tour. Visitors will have the opportunity to see where their food comes from, watch artists in action, enjoy the talents of local musicians and learn about rural life.

“The tour has taken South Carolina by storm,” says Will Culler, the Ag + Art Tour director and a Clemson University senior extension agent. “It has been going on for 12 years, and the momentum has been building. A lot of people want to see what South Carolina agriculture and heritage is all about.”

As the largest free, self-guided farm and art tour in the nation, the event has attracted more than 45,000 people since it began in York County in 2012. Growing every year, the tour has expanded to 11 counties with the addition of Aiken and Sumter counties to 2023 schedule.

“Aiken County is a rich agricultural community,” says Walter Curry, the county’s Ag + Art Tour chairman. “Aiken County is known for horses, but Aiken County also has a rich art history. People here support the agricultural and arts communities.”

Culler says the majority of Ag + Art visitors are young families and seniors who bring their grandchildren. However, he says the tour attracts all generations.

“Agritourism in its essence is a great experience,” says Culler. “People are looking for authentic experiences. They love to take pictures and selfies of themselves doing the activities to post on social media.”

Something for Everyone

With 119 sites on the award-winning tour, visitors can explore agritourism farms, farmers’ markets, feed stores, agricultural museums, food trucks and produce stands in a range of diverse settings.

For instance, Chester County is halfway between Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina – two of the Southeast’s fastest growing cities, while Colleton County is the gateway to the Lowcountry.

Although it has agrarian roots, Richland County is home to more than 400,000 residents and serves as the Palmetto State’s legislative hub. Newberry County is the egg, dairy and timber capitol of South Carolina.

Sites on the tour include livestock, cut flower, produce, homesteading, sheep, goat, U-pick berry and peach farms; bison ranches; milling companies and wineries.

Participating artisans consist of painters, potters, weavers, quilters, woodworkers, metalworkers, acoustic musicians, bakers, value-added producers and more.

“Agriculture and tourism are two of our biggest industries, but agriculture was here before tourism,” Culler says. “Agritourism started taking off in the 1980s. We’re a small state that has a big agricultural lifestyle.”

For those who want to visit places close to home, Aiken County will open 14 sites to tourists. They include Aiken Center for the Arts; Aiken County Farmers Market; Aiken Horse Park; Bettis Academy; Boondock Farms; Center for African American History, Art & Culture; Dupont Planetarium; Eudora Farms; Herb n Berries U-Pick Blueberry Farm; Jenks Farmer’s Flower Farm; New Ellenton Farmers Market; Proveaux Plantation; Southerlee Farm and Trusty Farms.

“We targeted farm sites that are doing active tourism,” says Curry. “We also connected with farms that are in the business of promoting agriculture and art.”

The variety of sites on the Ag + Art Tour, whose accolades include recognition as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, extends across the state as well.

At Gypsy Wind Farms in Fairfield County, for instance, visitors can see Barbados Blackbelly sheep and Mangalitsa pigs. The farm also features a petting area, sawmill activities and walking trails. An onsite store is stocked with meats, soaps and other products from the farm.

The FARM 1780 in Lexington County is an eighth-generation family farm that features blueberries, muscadines, figs, blackberries, three acres of seasonal produce and livestock.

Goat Daddy’s Farm is an animal sanctuary and educational dairy farm in Kershaw County.

At Tatanka Bison Ranch in York County, 10 specially selected artisans will demonstrate their crafts. The ranch also will include food trucks, an authentic 26-foot teepee and Native American demonstrations.

“Rural life is South Carolina. Rural life is America,” Curry says. “About 80 percent of this state is rural.”

Making a Game Plan

With so much to see and do across the state, visitors should develop a game plan before they set out on the tour. For starters, maps and a list of participating sites are available at

When choosing sites to visit, however, people should be aware that they can’t see everything in one day. While some sites will open Saturday and Sunday, others will open only on Saturday.

Visitors can start at any site, and they should bring a cooler to transport the fresh fruits and veggies they pick up at the farms.

“People typically spend one to two hours at each farm,” Culler says. “It can take all day to go to four or five farms.”

Farmers will be on hand to give tours, answer questions and show what they do on a daily basis. In addition, each farm is encouraged to provide at least two demonstrations, guided tours or activities on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Activities include kid friendly hayrides and pony rides, and farmers and artisans will demonstrate their crafts. While admission to the sites is free, there may be a charge for food, beverages and some activities. The experience, however, is priceless.

“The purpose is to connect agriculture and art and make a contribution to the local rural and urban economy, focusing on agriculture,” says Curry. “I would like for tourists to come out and have fun and enjoy the connection between art and agriculture. I want them to get a sense of the deep contribution of agriculture in our state and foster an appreciation of agriculture and the arts in Aiken County and South Carolina.”

The tour will take place rain or shine, but sites may close if there is a threat of severe weather.

“Rural life is peace, nature, family. There are so many things that can describe it,” Curry says. “We need to support and preserve rural life. Everything we want – peace, family connections, agriculture, the arts – are ever-present in rural life. It’s a beautiful thing to be part of rural life.”

Eudora Farms SafariFor more information visit

2023 Ag + Art Tour Schedule:

• Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Sundays 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

May 6

Lexington County

May 13-14

Aiken County

Lancaster County

Sumter County

May 20-21

Colleton County

Newberry County

June 3-4

Kershaw County

June 10-11

Richland County

York County

June 17-18

Fairfield County

June 24-25

Chester County

By Morgan Davis

Well Played

In The Home
west lake home augusta georgia

Photography by Sally Kolar

This West Lake home is the perfect place to retreat with family or entertain a crowd.

For many people, house hunting in the midst of the pandemic could have been stressful. Not for Jill and Pittman Morris, however.

“It gave us an opportunity to focus on something besides the pandemic,” she says.

After looking at a two-story, red brick house in West Lake, the couple knew they had found

a place where they could weather the pandemic with their two children, Jack and Emma. Even better, they could enjoy their new home for many years to come.

In addition, Jill, who had lived in West Lake as a teenager, says the previous owners had done “massive renovations,” so there were few changes they needed to make when they moved into the home in August 2020.

“The house had a modern, but comfortable, feel that really appealed to us,” Jill says.

Pittman agrees. “We like the open floor plan and how it flows,” he says.

Meaningful Mementoes

The Morrises, who met while studying abroad, worked from home during the pandemic, and they have continued to do so when possible. Jill’s office features a desk that was a gift from her mother. In addition, two bookcases that line one wall came from the Sumter County courthouse, where Pittman’s grandfather served as district attorney.

“The bookcases were in my grandfather’s home when I was growing up,” says Pittman.

The office also includes a transom window above each of the two doors, a pocket door from the foyer, a pair of arched windows, a chair rail and wainscoting on the walls.

“It was supposed to be a formal living room, but we didn’t need it,” says Jill.

Instead, their living room is a homey space with built-in bookcases, four white columns, a TV above the fireplace with marble surround and a sunken floor.

“It reminds me of my grandmother’s house,” Jill says. “She had a sunken dining room.”

Furnishings include swivel chairs and a small writing desk in a corner. The desk, which came from Jill’s mother, has drawers on its sides and a flip-open top.

“My mom loved to collect unique-looking furniture,” says Jill.

A German Christmas pyramid on an end table is another small, but meaningful, piece in the living room. The pyramid features a train in honor of Pittman’s father, who was a train engineer for CSX, and it was a gift from Jill’s mother to her grandchildren.

“Every year my mother gets the kids something in memory of Pittman’s parents to remind them of their grandparents,” Jill says.

Jill’s fondness for birds is reflected in the décor throughout the house, and two blue and white paintings of birds on a living room wall started the avian theme. Her sister, Anne Luckey, has provided them with a number of paintings, including three Masters Tournament paintings in the foyer, as well.

“She does most of our artwork,” says Jill.

Elegant Entertaining

The white cabinets in the large kitchen give the space an open, airy feel, and Jill loves to spend time there.

The kitchen also features black leathered granite countertops on the perimeter cabinets, a marble granite countertop on the island, tile backsplash, farmhouse sink, stainless steel range hood, pot filler and glass-front cabinets with glass shelves.

With one of three fireplaces in the house – another feature that sold the Morrises on the home, the adjoining keeping room is a favorite gathering spot for the family as well.

“I have always wanted a keeping room. My friend had one growing up,” says Jill. “We watch a lot of movies in the keeping room. It’s just cozy. This whole section of the house is where we usually are.”

Large windows overlook the backyard pool so their parents can keep an eye on Jack and Emma when they’re outside.

The kitchen also connects to the dining room, a large space that can accommodate everyone with ease when the Morrises host holiday gatherings with Jill’s extended family.

Upholstered chairs surround the dining room table that Jill’s father’s wife gave the couple when they bought their first house, and Pittman’s mother found the chest in the dining room.

“It’s been awesome for entertaining,” says Jill. “I like the elegant look.”

When they entertain, that elegance seeps down to every last detail, including the napkin rings.

Jill’s mom found a set of special silver napkin rings on eBay and gave them to Jill and Pittman when they got married. Fittingly, the napkin rings have “P and J” engraved on them.

“I like to keep pieces that have some memory to them,” says Jill. “We can always find a spot for them.”

Napkin rings also are a tradition in the Morris family. Pittman’s grandmother had silver napkin rings engraved for all the members of their family with their names.

“When we got together, everybody had their place setting. When she downsized, she gave everybody their napkin ring,” he says.

The dining room also features deep blue walls above the chair rail, wainscoting, a bay window and transom windows above the pocket door from the foyer.

Feeling at Home

The home features red oak flooring downstairs, and one of the few changes the Morrises made to the house was to the floors. They installed a hardwood floor in the master bedroom and re-stained the rest of the flooring. In addition, they painted the shiplap cathedral ceiling and beams white.

“Everything was brown when we moved in,” says Jill. “We loved the room, but we wanted to lighten it up.”

The master bedroom also includes a ceiling fan, a bay window that overlooks the backyard, hammered aluminum wall sconces and built-ins on either side of the fireplace with a wood surround.

An upholstered storage bench sits at the foot of the bed, and a chaise lounge in front of the bay window holds a special place in Jill’s heart.

“That was the first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself,” she says.

When they were house hunting during the pandemic, the couple also wanted to find a place with amenities that they could enjoy without having to leave home.

For instance, the upstairs movie room, where they like to watch films and ball games, can provide hours of entertainment. Pittman installed the speakers in the wall and hung the projectors, and they hung their son’s Marvel comic pictures on one wall.

“Jack is a big Marvel fan, but he didn’t want the pictures in his bedroom anymore,” says Pittman. “He still likes them, though.”

Three electric guitars and an acoustic guitar line the floor beneath the comic pictures. Pittman used to play the guitar, and he rebuilt one and painted it red as a pandemic project.

A sliding glass door leads from the movie room to a balcony, which includes a ceiling fan, tongue-and-groove ceiling and mini fridge for drinks.

Outdoor Oasis

The back porch beneath the balcony also has a tongue-and-groove ceiling, along with a brick floor, wicker furniture with blue cushions, ceiling fan, palm trees and three white columns.

Arched windows top the doors to the porch.

Two hanging chaise lounge chairs with a canopy provide seating around the swimming pool, which also features a hot tub with a spillway.

The outdoor kitchen, aka “Pittman’s Pub,” includes a Big Green Egg, granite countertops, two mini fridges – one for adult beverages and one for children’s drinks – dishwasher, smoker, gas grill, cast iron grill and pizza oven.

The tongue-and-groove ceiling and travertine tile floor extends to the connecting covered eating area, which is accented by a stacked stone wood-burning fireplace, TV and white columns atop stacked stone bases.

With all of these amenities and a stream behind their property that provides another place for the Morris children to play, the family has no intention of going anywhere.

“I hope to be here forever,” says Jill. “This is my dream house.”

By Betsy Gilliland

Lemon Crinkle Cookies


lemon crinkle cookies

  • 1 (15-ounce) package lemon cake mix with pudding
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, Cool Whip, lightly beaten egg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir until completely combined (it will be sticky). Place powdered sugar in a separate bowl. Scoop a spoonful of dough and drop into powdered sugar. Roll to thoroughly coat and place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat. Bake 10-12 minutes or until tops have cracked and they are golden brown along bottom. Remove and let cool on cookie sheet at least 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen.

Dr. Nadine Pulling – Amazing Lash Studio

Women In Business

How did you choose Amazing Lash Studio as a career?
I have been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years and enjoy the challenge of building professional teams and mentoring them to success. The Amazing Lash Studio franchise embodies success through mentoring their franchisee, and my career has been built on success in business via the mentorship model. I wanted to be part of a brand that helps mentor women in business though lashing.

What are your goals for the future of your business?
First is to provide our audience with the best guest experience possible. Second is to educate our guests on the benefits of belonging to a membership-based beauty brand.

Amazing Lash Studio is part of the WellBiz Brand that has several health and beauty brands. For example, later this year Elements Massage will be coming to Evans, and our members will be able to use their memberships with both brands. In 2024, the Drybar arm of Wellbiz Brand is coming. These are exciting times since our membership will be used across all the Wellbiz brands — our guests will be able to get lashes, massages and blowouts with a single membership.

What advice would you give women entrepreneurs who are trying to start a successful business?
• Create a business plan, but be flexible

• Find a mentor

• Prepare to make sacrifices

• Be persistent and trust yourself

• Execute and start your business

• Think long term 

• Ditch perfectionism while striving for perfection in services delivery

• Remain focused and patient while following a clear hiring strategy — your success comes from the team your build

• Stay true to who you are in business and provide your services with integrity


444 N Belair Rd, Evans, GA 30809
(706) 696-8807

Amazing Lashes Augusta

Arielle Page – Arie’s Confectionaries Artisan Cheesecake

Women In Business

Pastry chef Arielle Page has a passion for creating delicious desserts. Growing up, she spent countless hours in the kitchen with her great-grandmother, a renowned pastry chef, learning the art of baking. She went on to graduate from Georgia Southern University and then Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

After working in the pastry arts for nearly 10 years, Arielle is continuing her great-grandmother’s legacy at her own bakery, Arie’s Confectionaries, in Evans.

I knew from the time I was little that I wanted to be a pastry chef,” she says. “Besides baking with my great-grandmother, I grew up watching the Food Network. Back then, they would show pastry competitions, and it intrigued me that this could be a career.”

Today, Arielle specializes in baking mini cheesecakes, from classic flavors like vanilla bean and triple chocolate to seasonal favorites like pumpkin and peppermint. And customers can’t get enough.

“My favorite part about being a business owner is getting to interact with people from our own community as well as other states — hearing how my cheesecake brought together their family or how they look forward to sharing it with friends and family,” she says. “Delicious cheesecake is what it’s all about!”

Arielle also is quick to credit community support for her success.

“My biggest challenge was finding the startup capital to get going,” she says. “My drive was there, and my plans were in place, but I needed the cash to get the ball rolling. With encouragement from people in the community, I started a GoFundMe in the beginning, which gave me support. Now, after being open eight months, we’ve already outgrown our space. I’m looking to expand to a second location and possibly add a food truck in the future as well.”

1202 Town Park LANE
Suite 106
Evans, Georgia

Custom Cheesecakes

Jaimie Putnam – Meybohm Realtor & Vice President

Women In Business

Raised in Augusta, Jaime loves our town and the people who live here. With nearly 10 years of experience as a full-time real estate professional, she knows the value of friendly, honest service and has a proven track record of success.

“A seasoned Realtor once told me that the best agents continue to learn,” Jaime says. “In my many years in real estate, I have found that to be true. Whether it is staying on top of social media, taking continuing education classes or keeping up with housing trends, every day is full of new information. I think it’s very important to stay current and constantly be able to pivot.”

Along with the ever-changing market, one big difference Jaime has seen over the last few years is the rapid pace that technology has changed the way buyers and sellers conduct business.

“I’ve had to think outside of the box when putting offers together,” she says. “Your investment is important both financially and emotionally, and I use creative strategies to ensure my client’s offer appeals to the other side.”

Jaime has been recognized as a Top 25 Realtor consecutively in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and was recently named Cyber City’s Best for 2022.

In her spare time, she is active in the Augusta Sailing Club and serves as vice president of Augusta Community Sailing, a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with Augusta Sailing Club. “I’ve even been known to write an offer or two from my laptop while sitting on a boat in the middle of the lake,” Jaime says with a laugh.

7025 Evans Town Center Blvd Ste. 311 | Evans, GA
Cell (706) 284-4401 | Office (706) 863-8218



Donna Gibbs – Casual Furniture of Augusta

Women In Business

 There’s a reason Casual Furniture of Augusta repeatedly is named Best Outdoor Furniture in the CSRA: owner Donna Gibbs sells high-end, quality outdoor furniture that lasts a lifetime, no matter what the weather throws at it.

“Our furniture and accessories are attractive, durable and perfect for the Southern lifestyle and weather,” Donna says. “Our customers love our collections as much as we do.”

Donna has 39 years of experience in the outdoor furniture business, and Irene Taylor, who also works at the company, has been in the business seven years. They take pride in helping their customers make the best choices that will fit their style and outdoor living spaces.

“Customers come in, and by the time they leave they feel more like family,” Donna says. “We love making them happy.”

If you’re dreaming of the perfect decor to add to your outdoor living spaces, visit Casual Furniture’s 6,000-square-foot showroom. You will want to bring some home as soon as you see it. “We sell off the floor or you can customize your own design by choosing your frame colors and fabrics,” says Donna. “We also offer replacement cushions to order for any furniture you may have. We look forward to seeing you soon!”

Brands Include: • Breezesta – Recycled Plastic • Classic Rattan • Ebel • Gensun • Hanamint
• Castelle • Ratana • Polywood • Seaside • Lloyd Flanders • Lane Venture • Treasure Garden
• Accessories
3725 Washington Rd
Augusta, GA 30907

Augusta's BEST Outdoor Furniture

Jade Knight – Clean Eatz

Women In Business

What made you choose this career?
I chose this career because I’ve always had a passion for helping others. My first job was working in a sandwich shop, and I really loved the connections that I made with my customers. When I learned of Clean Eatz, I was in the middle of my fitness journey of trying to get back into shape after having my second daughter. I knew Clean Eatz would help me achieve my goals, but I also wanted to help others achieve theirs.

What is the most rewarding thing about your career?
The personal and professional freedom, including the chance to manage work-life balance. Before owning Clean Eatz, I was never able to balance work and being a fulltime mom. Being my own boss has given me the opportunity to be present for my children more, which is very important to me.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Securing funding after COVID-19 hit. Nobody wanted to take the chance on a new and upcoming business. I went through 10 banks before getting final approval. I stayed persistent and never gave up. I am so glad I kept pushing because it has been so rewarding watching my business grow over the last 2 years. What does being a woman business owner mean to you? To me, it is empowering. I want to be a role model for other women who may want to pursue their dreams and start their own businesses one day.

What advice do you have for women looking to become an entrepreneur?
Build a winning team. It’s crucial for success because you’re only as good as the team you have behind you, and you can’t do it all by yourself.

Dine-in · Takeout · Delivery
Mon-Fri 11AM – 7PM | SAT-SUN 11AM – 3PM

630 Crane Creek Dr. Ste 504
Augusta, GA
(706) 364-8100
Visit us at:

Clean Healthy Food Augusta

Augusta Plastic Surgery

Women In Business

Natalie Capitosti, Lauren Meister & Lauren Harbin

The Aesthetics team at Augusta Plastic Surgery – Natalie Capitosti, Lauren Meister, and Lauren Harbin – are consummate professionals who are dedicated to their craft. With the help of their skills and expertise, the practice was voted Best Anti-Aging Aesthetics by Columbia County Magazine Readers.

“We are so honored to win Best Anti-Aging Aesthetics,” says Natalie, a Registered Nurse Injector who has been with the practice since 2014. “This award signifies to us that we have built trusting relationships with our patients. Our goal is always to deliver beautiful, natural-looking results.” Natalie, who lives in Appling with her family, specializes in cosmetic injectables, restorative procedures, and laser treatments. She believes in educating her patients and listening to their needs to customize treatments that restore their confidence.

Plastic Surgeons Christopher Ewart and Michael Tarakji lead the team at Augusta Plastic Surgery. They are committed to producing positive outcomes for their patients with individualized care. “Dr. Ewart and Dr. Tarakji are both great mentors,” says Lauren Meister. “They have been supportive of me furthering my education and they promote a positive work environment. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given here. I really love my job and my coworkers at APS.” Meister has been with Augusta Plastic Surgery since 2019. She is trained in all things Aesthetics including injectables, HydraFacial, SkinPen, Chemical Peels, and Laser Hair Removal.

Lauren Harbin is a Registered Nurse that specializes in Aesthetics and focuses on cosmetic injections, noninvasive treatments, and preventative skincare treatments. The Augusta native, is passionate about providing a fun, relaxing experience for her patients. “We are excited for the future at Augusta Plastic Surgery,” she says. “We will continue to provide customized treatments and exceptional service to new and existing patients. The future is bright as we work to expand our footprint in the Anti-Aging Aesthetics world.”

569 Furys Ferry Road | Martinez, GA

See us at

Botox Girls Fillers Augusta

Dr. Ericka Wade + Dr. Tiffany Grant + Dr. Ashley Wheatley – Greenbrier Veterinary Services

Women In Business

Greenbrier Veterinary Services is a full-service small animal clinic dedicated to treating family pets in Evans and the surrounding CSRA area. Our goal is to nurture the animal-human bond in our community through preventative medicine, client education, and open communication. The doctors and staff focus on pet wellness through a full range of vaccination and diagnostic testing services, on-site laboratory and digital imaging, dentistry, laser therapy, and an onsite pharmacy complete with prescription diets and maintenance healthcare products.

1715 General Wood Pkwy | Evans, GA 30809

Augusta Veterenary Services

Traci Duffie CEO – AO Multispecialty Clinic

Women In Business

TRACI DUFFIE As a native of Augusta, Traci is passionate about providing quality healthcare to the CSRA. She started her career working for Medicare where she received intense training in all medical specialties. Her next career step was oncology because of her desire to help create the most stress-free environment for cancer patients. f-lelping lead the organization’s fight against cancer for over 25 years, Traci was the visionary in the planning and design of Augusta Oncology becoming AO Multispecialty Clinic. AO Multispecialty Clinic consists of 30 providers, 220 employees and 4 sites of service.

Traci is passionate about helping all patients have access to quality healthcare. AO Multispecialty helped over 1000 patients in 2022 with foundation assistance who otherwise could not have afforded treatment for their diagnosis.

An inspirational quote Traci lives by “when you do small things right, big things happen.” Traci has spent the last 25 years identifying and developing processes to provide world class healthcare in a community setting.

AO Multispecialty Clinic’s five-year plan is to build a comprehensive cancer center within the CSRA. This center would provide cancer patients with one location for all services related to their treatment.

In her spare time Traci loves spending time with her friends, family, and children. She also enjoys boxing, traveling, biking, and reading.


Augusta Oncology: A Division of AO Multispecialty Clinic
3696 Wheeler Rd, Augusta, GA 30909
(706) 736-1830

1303 D’Antignac St # 1000, Augusta, GA 30901
(706) 821-2944

Augusta Oncology Traci Duffie

Universal Plumbing

Women In Business

With backgrounds from educator to 911 dispatcher, the five women on the 25-member Universal Plumbing staff bring special skills to the business that Larry Jones founded in 1985. However, Shalanda Morris, the business manager and former educator who joined the company in 2018, says listening is key to customer service.

“Any time someone calls our office, it’s probably not a good day for them because something has happened,” she says. “They’re nervous about how much the repairs are going to cost and about who’s going to come into their home.”

She believes the women on the staff offer customers a reassuring presence.

“We understand how to build trust with our customers and be empathetic,” Shalanda says. “We support them and put them at ease before our plumber ever gets to their home. We want them to know they called the right place, and we’ll be with them throughout the entire process.”

Universal Plumbing, which has flat-rate pricing and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, specializes in residential repairs. In addition, the company offers commercial and installation services.

A self-described “problem solver,” Shalanda also worked with local schools to develop a Drainee Trainee Program to recruit the next generation of tradesmen and plumbers. Through the program, the company lets students shadow plumbers and hires them for summer or fulltime jobs.

Shalanda is joined on staff by Jasmine, who works in human resources; Stephanie, a customer service representative and former 911 dispatcher; and Frances, who handles paperwork. The entire staff also looks up to Claudia, who joined her brother’s family business in 1986.

“I call her the motherboard,” Shalanda says. “Everyone goes to her for help with everything from pricing to customer service.”

Shalanda also attributes the company’s success to the community it has built inside and outside the office.

“We’re a stronger company because of the women we have here,” she says.

2415 Milledgeville Rd, Augusta, GA 30904

Plumbing Augusta

Donatella Armstrong Key – Realtor and Vice President

Women In Business

Past experience may have laid the foundation for Donatella Armstrong Key’s real estate career, but she is fully present for her clients in every transaction.

Originally from Northern Italy, Donatella owned a home improvement store before she moved to the United States in the late 1990s. Since 2001, however, she has helped her real estate clients sell their houses or find the home of their dreams.

Although she is an expert in resale homes, land development, commercial real estate, and the local market, her specialty is new home construction. “I like starting from scratch and help someone build and live in their dream home,” Donatella says. “It’s not just what you can envision. It’s also bringing that vision to life. Ilike to look at a piece of land and seeing what it could be.”

Dedicated to her clients, Donatella brings honesty, professionalism, and tireless commitment to every relationship. She also relies on a team of five or six people to make sure every transaction goes smoothly.

Donatella is a top producer. She has been awarded the #1 Listing and/or Selling agent for Southeastern Residential 2019-2022. In addition, she has received the Million Dollar Circle Award and Sales Manager awards.

Donatella is serving as a local director for the RGA Realtor of Greater Augusta. She is a member of the National, Georgia Association of Realtors, South Carolina Association of Realtors and the Augusta and Aiken Boards of Realtors. In addition, she is a member of the Augusta and Aiken builders associations, HBAG, NAHB, and NAHB-PWB council. She serves actively on committees, and she was the 2018-2021 Chair of the Sales and Marketing Council for the Builders Association of Augusta.

“Give back to people and help each other is my philosophy. I supported and helped create programs to mentor middle school kids, feed the hungry, and protect neglected animals. I also helped start the blessing boxes in the local area and created a free pedicure day for the elderly,” Donatella says. “It’s very important to serve and give back to our local communities and businesses. We can do this by being actively involved in community projects and business development initiatives.”

Donatella is an associate with Southeastern Residential LLC.

Direct: (706) 627-4815

Realtor Vice President Augusta