Over the years, Bert Brantley (ABJ ‘97, MPA ‘05) has held a number of leadership roles in the state of Georgia. Bert is currently the President and CEO of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, where he and his team are responsible for bolstering the economic and social capital of the entire Savannah region. Some of his daily duties include meeting with business leaders and elected officials, giving speeches to civic groups, and troubleshooting critical issues faced by Savannah locals and visitors. Bert has served the state in other various capacities, as well, including as the Director of Communications for the Office of Governor Sonny Perdue, the Chief Operating Officer for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and later as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Governor Brian Kemp. 

While an undergraduate student at UGA, Bert pursued a major in journalism from Grady College and a minor in political science. While Bert began working full-time as a newspaper reporter upon his graduation in 1997, he felt that, in the long run, he wanted to venture more into the world of public administration, following in the footsteps of both of his parents. After earning his Masters degree in Public Administration from UGA in May of 2005, Bert immediately began a new position in June of 2005 at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. From there, Bert has taken on increasingly more senior roles in state government, and credits his success to the efficacy and strength of the MPA program here at UGA.

For Bert, the Alumni Board allows him to contribute to the wonderful experience that students have at UGA, and he hopes to “develop new relationships and help our university continue to move forward.” Bert, with a seasoned career and a keen understanding of employer expectations, is a valuable mentor for current students and graduates.

His ultimate advice to students is to develop soft skills like having a strong work ethic, showing up on time, and being conscientious of the people around you. Bert highlights that while most students are studious and disciplined in their studies, it is your ability to relate to others that will set you apart in the work-force. In all, Bert advises students that “ultimately, you have to be very intentional about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and working towards the goals that you have both professionally and personally.”