Board of Directors

James Willis photo

James Willis
Chairman

Mr. James Willis was born in Thomasville, GA. He attended Valdosta State University where he received a M.B.A. and B.B.A. Mr. Willis has had a 40-year career with GA power. His current position is Waycross Area Manager. He provides leadership and direction for a 13-county area in Southeast Georgia. Mr. Willis is very involved in our community, serving as Past Chairman of the Waycross and Ware County Development Authority, President of the Childers YMCA of Waycross, Waycross Chamber of Commerce Past Board Member, South Georgia State College James Dye Foundation Board Member, Coastal Pines Technical College Foundation Board Member, Waycross Rotary Club , Satilla Water and Sewer Authority Board, Past Board Member Okefenokee Area Development Authority, Ware County High Touchdown Club, Leadership Waycross Alumni, Management Sponsor Citizens of GA Power, and member Osprey Society Okefenokee Swamp Park Foundation. He received the Community Service Award in 2002 from the Waycross Ware County Chamber of Commerce and the Community Service Award in 2012 from Childers YMCA.  Mr. Willis has a son Christopher and daughter-in-law Ashley and two grandsons Brayden and Hudson. He enjoys traveling, concerts, NASCAR and golf. He lends his leadership to the Waycross and Ware County Development Authority, where his skills, knowledge, and experience enhance the organization and help to create opportunities for the overall development of Ware County. Mr. Willis on the Development Authority, "I am honored to be appointed by the Ware County Commission to serve on the WWDA with an enthusiastic, diverse group of community leaders. Each board team member brings a unique set of talents and experiences to the table and are committed to improving the economic prosperity of Waycross and Ware County. I look forward to what this group can accomplish for the benefit of our community and our citizens."

Candice Moody-Rice photo

Candice Moody-Rice
Vice-Chairman

As a Ware County School System educator, Candice Moody Rice has insights into workforce development for our community. She has been actively involved in the agriculture industry through her family’s dairy farm, Moody Dairy, and Moody-Rice Cattle Company. She is currently managing partner of Three Dollar Farm, LLC, a landholding company that leases cropland land and pastureland. Through Moody-Rice Cattle Company, Candice is also a shareholder in American Bucking Bull Incorporated. A native of Waycross, Candice received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (ABJ) from the University of Georgia. She later received a Master of Science in Educational Media from Nova Southeastern University and an Education Specialist degree in Instructional Technology from Kennesaw State University. Candice is an active member of our community as she serves on the Hospice Satilla Board of Trustees as Vice President and is a sustainer in the Waycross Service League. She has one son, Cash, who works in the dairy industry. Candice is honored to be appointed by the Ware County Commission to serve on the WWDA Board of Directors with such a diverse, dynamic group of community leaders; she is excited and committed to working hard with the WWDA board to bring economic prosperity to our area on behalf of the citizens of Waycross and Ware County.

Mayor, Dr. Michael-Angelo James photo

Mayor, Dr. Michael-Angelo James
Board Member

Mayor of the City of Waycross, Michael- Angelo James, is a lifelong, born and raised resident of Waycross, Georgia. He attended Troy University, Emory University, Valdosta State University, and Truth Bible College and Seminary, Joint College of Bishops, Cleveland Ohio. Michael-Angelo is a Doctor of Christian Education, Specialist of Education, Master of Education – M. Ed.,  and also has a Bachelor of Science in Education. He is presently a professor of Sociology and Interpersonal Relations and Professional Development at the Coastal Pines Technical College and Graduate Professor of Pastoral Administration at the First Born Seminary and Training School. He is the author of three books and is involved in civic and philanthropic relations and many other local organizations. He has one son, Marshall Lee James, 7 grand kids, and 5 bulldogs. When asked what the WWDA means to Michael-Angelo James he said that the WWDA means progression, promotion, and partnership in every direction.

Thomas Wesley photo

Thomas Wesley
Board Member

Thomas Wesley is a man of few words but of much action. Thomas serves as the Dean of Technical and Industrial Systems at Coastal Pines Technical College in Waycross, GA, a position he attained in July 2019. Prior to this, he held roles as the Dean of General Education and Learning Support, as well as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs from May 2017 to July 2019. With a decade-long tenure as the lead instructor for the Electronics Technology and Railroad Technology programs at Coastal Pines Technical College, Thomas's career in education commenced in 2007.

A graduate of Okefenokee Technical College, Thomas brings a student-centered approach to his leadership. His innovative teaching style, passion for education, and rapport with students earned him the 2013 Rick Perkins Award (Teacher of the Year) for Okefenokee Technical College and the 2017 Rick Perkins Award for Coastal Pines.

Thomas's academic journey includes honors from OTC, a locomotive electrical systems certificate from Coastal Pines, an Associate’s degree in Electronics Technology from Waycross College, and a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (specialization in network administration) from American Intercontinental University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He furthered his education with a Master of Science in Information Technology from Walden University. Additionally, he completed the Leadership Waycross program in 2016 and recently finished the Senior Leadership program, both aimed at enhancing his advocacy and leadership skills within the community and the Technical College System of Georgia.

Over the years, Thomas has acquired numerous certifications, including international test administrator for the Electronics Technician Association (ETA) and various installer certifications. He gained hands-on experience as a Biomedical Instrumentation Technician at Coffee Regional Medical Center before transitioning to the rail industry (CSX) as an electrician. Thomas's service to his country as an Air Force Security Police officer further demonstrates his diverse skill set.

Thomas's dedication to education extends beyond the classroom. He seized the opportunity to become an electronics instructor at his alma mater, leveraging his expertise to mentor future professionals. Under his guidance, several students achieved national recognition in electronics technology competitions. Notable among his achievements is the acquisition of a full operational SD40 locomotive donation, valued over $500,000, which serves as a training lab for the railroad technology program at Coastal Pines Technical College.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Thomas prioritizes family and community engagement. He is a devoted husband and father of five, actively involved in community initiatives such as recreational football coaching and membership in organizations like the 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia. Additionally, Thomas manages a small electronics repair business and rental property, demonstrating his entrepreneurial spirit.

Despite his busy schedule, Thomas remains committed to balancing his professional endeavors with quality time for family, friends, and community involvement.

Dan Good photo

Dan Good
Board Member

Daniel Good was born on March 13th, 1970, in Statesboro, Georgia. He attended Statesboro High School and graduated in 1988. He went on to attend Mercer University, where he graduated with a BBA in Finance in 1992, and later earned an MBA from Georgia Southern University in 2001.

After graduating from Mercer University in 1992, Daniel worked for a rural telephone and cellular phone company called Public Service Telephone Co. in Reynolds, Georgia, from 1992 to 1994. This was an exciting opportunity for him, as cellular phones were just emerging as a form of communication in the United States.

In June 1994, Daniel married his college sweetheart, Wendy Brantley from Ware County, Georgia, and they moved to Waycross. Wendy is the daughter of Curtis and Peggy Brantley; Curtis Brantley was a former Chairman of the Ware County Commission. Daniel began working at Atlantic Coast Bank in Waycross (now Ameris Bank) as a management trainee from 1994 to 1996.

In 1996, Daniel had the opportunity to change employers and joined Southeast Georgia Farm Credit in Blackshear, Georgia. Over time, Southeast Georgia Farm Credit merged and became a larger Farm Credit association named AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA, which it remains today. Throughout his Farm Credit career, Daniel has worked with local farmers, agribusinesses, and individuals seeking to enjoy the benefits of living and working in rural Georgia. His roles at AgSouth Farm Credit have included loan officer and credit analyst, and he has been involved in management as a Regional Vice-President. In addition to his roles in credit administration and management, Daniel also holds a property and casualty insurance license for AgSouth Farm Credit. In 2013, he graduated from the University of Georgia Banking School.

Daniel has been very active in the Ware County community since moving there in 1994. His community involvement includes:

  • Waycross Jaycees (1994-2001)
  • Leadership Waycross (1996)
  • Waycross/Ware County Development Authority (2006-2008 and 2023-current)
  • Waycross/Ware County Chamber of Commerce Board Member (2005-2009)
  • Waycross Exchange Club (2012-2018)
  • Seven Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council (2016-2020)
  • Waycross Middle School Athletic Booster Club (2013-2018)
  • City of Waycross Board of Zoning and Appeals appointed member (2015-2019)
  • Ware County TD Club (2016-current)
  • Waycross First United Church Troop 304 Scoutmaster (2014-current)
  • Satilla River Soil Water Conservation District Ware County elected supervisor (2012-current)
  • Satilla Hospice Board member (2022-current)

Daniel's wife, Wendy, works at RESA in Waycross as an educational consultant. She previously served as the Principal of Memorial Drive Elementary School within the Ware County school system. Wendy is currently a board member and officer of the Okefenokee Swamp Park. Daniel and Wendy have two children, Brantley (22) and Kate (20). Brantley is a first-year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia, and Kate is a junior at the University of Georgia. Both graduated from Ware County High School.

Stephen L. Burse Sr.
Board Member

Stephen Burse, a Waycross, Georgia native, graduated from Waycross High School and went on to serve our country in the U.S. Marine Corps. Mr. Burse has spent over 30 years working in various financial fields, including investment consultation, insurance, and various product advisements. As part of this experience, he has served as a Senior Regional Leader for PFS Investments Inc.  Mr. Burse now plays a pivotal role on the committee of the Waycross-Ware County Development Authority, offering financial insight, and investment advice to the authority. 

Rusty Hall
Board Member

Rusty Hall, originally from Atmore, Alabama, relocated to Georgia in 2000. He has been happily married to his wife, Traci, for over 25 years, and together they have five children – four boys and one girl.

Rusty is a proud alumnus of Auburn University, where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and a minor in Business. His professional journey includes a stint at the YMCA of Houston County in Warner Robins, GA, where he served as the Executive Director from 2000 to 2005.

Then from 2005 to 2013, Rusty held the position of District Vice-President at The Family Y of Augusta, GA. 

Since 2014, he has been the CEO of the YMCA of Waycross. Rusty is recognized for his leadership abilities and holds an Organizational Leader Certification from Y-USA.

In addition to his professional achievements, Rusty is an alum of Leadership Waycross, going through the program in 2015 as well as being an active member of the Rotary Club and being set to serve as its President for the 2024-2025 term.

Christopher Kovacs
Board Member

Chris Kovacs was born in Charlotte, NC, and raised in Gainesville, Florida. He attended the University of North Florida, earning a BS in Political Science with a Minor in History. Chris began his career as an ER Registrar at a hospital in Palm Coast, Florida, where he discovered his passion for healthcare. This led him to pursue a Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Florida.

After graduating, Chris was selected for an Executive Residency with HCA Healthcare, where he has worked for six years. In 2022, he was honored to become the Chief Operating Officer at Memorial Satilla Health, an affiliate of HCA Healthcare.

Chris believes a community hospital is the heartbeat of any town, driving his dedication to caring for local and surrounding citizens. He is honored to join the WWDA Board of Directors, whose goals of growing Waycross and Ware County align perfectly with his commitment to growing and enhancing services at Memorial Satilla Health. Chris believes Ware County is a wonderful place to live and work and is excited to see the community prosper.

Chris and his wife, Asia, live in Waycross with their three young children. He enjoys spending time with his family and cheering on the Florida Gators and, of course, the Ware County Gators!