Meet the Team
Gary W. Black served as the 16th Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Georgia from 2011-2023. Prior to serving as an elected Constitutional Officer, Black led the Georgia Agribusiness Council and managed young farmer leadership development activities for the Georgia Farm Bureau. Commissioner Black crafted and implemented disaster relief efforts for Georgia farm families in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, one of our nation’s most devastating weather events. He led the development of the nationally recognized Georgia Grown brand opening opportunities for small business dreamers, expanding trade across the globe, and building bridges with culinary and school nutrition professionals. Black’s business experience includes forming and managing AgriTrust of Georgia, a workers’ compensation insurance company for the agribusiness industry, and Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Development Authority, a $180 million agricultural lending institution. He and his wife, Lydia, raise commercial and registered SimAngus cattle on their family farm in Commerce, Georgia, and actively serve in various ministries of Maysville Baptist Church.
Katie Rials has spent over 15 years in the corporate arena, working with Fortune 500 companies and small, privately held organizations. With a B.S. in Human Resources from Florida State University and an M.B.A. from Georgia State University, Mrs. Rials has enjoyed a successful career path in Human Resources with a focus on Human Capital Strategy, Organizational & Leadership Development, Training and Performance Management as well as Employee Relations and Corporate Communications
Scott Rials has a background that combines extensive campaign success for over 25 years and has earned a solid reputation for developing, leading, and executing proven, winning strategies. Beginning his career as Field Director with Newt Gingrich’s Congressional campaign, Scott served as Newt’s campaign manager in the 1998 election cycle. He then held leadership roles in the GA GOP and managed various campaigns in GA including Governor Sonny Perdue. Scott has served as a General Consultant to a multitude of clients from the courthouse to the state house, as well as U.S. Congress, Presidential candidates, and Super PACs. He has developed a solid network of professional relationships supporting multiple local, statewide, regional, and national interests. Katie and Scott are parents to three young children and live in Cumming, GA.
FEAST Global leads in agri-food promotion and trade advisory, passionately committed to driving success in the ever-evolving culinary landscape. Led by the dynamic duo, Marianna and Andy Chapman, FEAST Global brings a unique blend of expertise in agriculture, culinary arts, and business development.
With an impressive track record of accomplishments, FEAST Global has collaborated with esteemed organizations like the Southern United States Trade Association, Georgia Pecan Growers Association, Texas Department of Agriculture, Virginia Department of Agriculture, U.S. Sorghum Checkoff, National Veal Promotion, Cranberry Marketing Committee, and more.
Our unwavering focus is on delivering growth opportunities both domestically and internationally. We offer in-market representation in Mexico, Latin America, India, and the Philippines, along with global culinary and trade sales and promotional strategies. From market-based strategy to inbound and outbound missions, culinary outreach & seminars, menu promotions, sampling programs, trade shows, trade lead development, trade services, market access, and beyond – FEAST Global is committed to empowering our clients to achieve global expansion and growth.
With more than 41 years in leadership positions in rural economic development and nearly 88 years of combined board experience in leadership roles, Bette brings a wealth of expertise and leverages an extensive network of public, private, and nonprofit sector resources. She can assist your rural business or community project obtain properly structured financing to purchase or grow your business or enhance your community. From mentoring start-up companies to assisting rural businesses and communities gain access to USDA Rural Development loan and grant programs, Bette brings a unique perspective.
Bette is the former Deputy Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development. Under her leadership, the Rural Development team delivered loans and grants totaling more than $40 billion/year. Prior to USDA, Bette was with the Farm Credit System for more than 35 years managing a lending team and leading business development and external affairs. She currently serves as the Senior Advisor of the Generation Food Rural Partners Fund, a recently launched $125 million target fund through Bid Idea Ventures. This fund collaborates with universities across the U.S. to commercialize leading intellectual property in innovations in food protein and agriculture.
Bette has a B.S. degree and MBA from Virginia Tech.
For over 20 years, T.J. has gained managerial and leadership experience in industrial, office, and non-profit settings. He uses his knowledge and expertise to guide clients through best practices, opportunities, risk management, and operations. T.J. received his BSA from the University of Georgia in Poultry Science, with a minor in Agribusiness, and his MBA from Brenau University. T.J. is passionate about collaboration, service, and community and hopes to share his experiences with others! T.J.’s practice focuses on the following portfolio of services: Strategic Planning, Human Resources, Hiring Services, Teambuilding, Operations & Efficiencies, Insurance, Business Analytics, and Workplace Safety. Soon, T.J. will offer training sessions as a certified counselor through “The Working Genius.”
Supply Chain Transformation (People, Process, Systems)
Systems Solutions & Integration (ERP, MRP, WMS, TMS, Etc.)
Analytics & Business Intelligence
With over 15 years of strategic planning, supply chain transformation, analytics, and systems experience, Jay identifies and implements innovative solutions that deliver value to his clients by ensuring alignment of people, processes, and systems. In doing so, Jay cultivates positive, strategic cultures with an emphasis on tenets such as Better Everyday, Solutions Over Problems, Take Action; Don’t Delay, and Lead with Integrity. Jay’s record of success spans across retail, wholesale, & e-commerce for company’s ranging from $100M to over $10B in revenue.
Jay studied Economics at The University of Georgia (BS) and Auburn University (MS); lives in Roswell, GA with his wife, Elizabeth, and his three children, Tuttle (14), Maggie (12), & Jacob (8); and is a member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.
Supply Chain Leadership
Category & Product Management
Strategic Vendor Management
With 10+ years of Supply Chain and business transformation leadership, Eric Blanton has a proven track record of delivering long term value across multiple industries and businesses of all shapes and sizes and across many facets of operational planning including Supply Chain, Category & Product Management, Strategic Vendor Management, & Sales Operations. Eric has served industries such as Building Materials, Furniture, Home Décor, Electronics, and Textiles within organizations varying size that include Fortune 20, Private Equity, and Small Business. Companies include The Home Depot, Amazon, Paramount Global Surfaces (P.E. owned), Ubique Group (P.E. owned), Accent Décor (Family Owned).
Eric attended Purdue University (BA) and lives in Marietta, GA with his wife of 16 years, Kerissa.