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Regent Tom Bradbury impressed with  Opportunities at ABAC during visit


Regent Tom Bradbury speaks with ABAC students and faculty during his recent visit to the campus. TIFTON, Georgia – Regent Tom Bradbury has an established record as a successful businessman in Georgia. So, it should be no surprise that he used a professional analogy when describing his impression of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College during his recent visit.

“I compare the students to customers,” he said. “And just like in business, we want those students to recommend ABAC to others when they leave here. From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot to recommend.”

Bradbury spent several hours on the ABAC campus Tuesday, including a meeting with President Tracy Brundage and members of her cabinet. Bradbury was appointed to the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents in January 2022 by Gov. Brian Kemp. He serves the 11th District, which covers the northwest portion of Atlanta.

During his visit, Bradbury also met with faculty and students in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources before a second meeting with students, staff, and faculty from the schools of Nursing, Arts and Sciences, and the Stafford School of Business.

Students shared the impact ABAC’s academic programs have had in their lives. Senior Sam Wells discussed how the hands-on learning as an Environmental Horticulture major prepared him for an internship in North Carolina. Senior Lizzy Parks talked about her internships and how they helped her make important connections in the industry as an Agricultural Communication major. Ethan Flick, a senior majoring in Natural Resource Management, recounted his summer session field trips to the Alapaha River, Sapelo Island, and North Carolina and how they prepared him for life after graduation.

“We always appreciate when a member of the Board of Regents takes time to visit our campus to see first-hand how we are finding innovative ways to educate our students and prepare them for success,” Brundage said. “With his impressive record of leadership in business, he offers a keen insight into what our students need to know to be work-ready. We enjoy every opportunity to showcase all the great work that is being done by our faculty, staff, and students.”

Dr. Mark Kistler, the Dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, took Bradbury on a tour that included the new Agricultural Technology Management building which recently began construction, the school’s Beef Unit, and academic agricultural classrooms.

“We discussed the outdoor learning labs like the turfgrass teaching green, the Forest Lakes Golf Club, the horse stables, the nature study area, the Langdale Forest, the W.G. Woodruff Farm and our other sites,” Kistler said. “I believe he was very impressed by our degree programs, the opportunities for our students to obtain hands-on experiences, industry networking opportunities, internship experiences, and job placement.”

Bradbury earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a Major in Personnel Management from the University of Georgia and the Terry College of Business. The consummate people person, his leadership style was one of the key reasons for the success of Colony Homes of Atlanta, which he founded in 1975. He built and ran the company until 2003, when he sold it to KB Home. He continued as a consultant with KB Home for two more years before launching Smith Douglas Homes in 2008.

He also founded Sodmasters Turf Farm in 2014, with a main farm located in Montrose, Ga. and a satellite location in Bennettsville, S.C. Bradbury also created an integrated operating homebuilding system called SMART Builder Solutions. With a penchant for innovation and efficient operations, he came away impressed with the leadership plan he experienced at ABAC.

“I think it’s refreshing that ABAC has a strategic plan in place and it’s very apparent that the leadership here is listening to its students and has its finger on the pulse of what they are looking for,” Bradbury said.

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