Deputy commissioner at Economic Development to head Department of Community Affairs
Gov. Nathan Deal today announced numerous appointments to positions of leadership in state government.
Gretchen Corbin will become the commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs, leaving her position as deputy commissioner at the Department of Economic Development. Corbin will replace Commissioner Mike Beatty on Aug. 1. Beatty is leaving to serve as president and chief executive officer of Great Promise Partnership, Inc., a nonprofit offering a unique workforce development opportunity for Georgia.
Deal also appointed Braxton Cotton to serve as the executive director of the newly created Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry. This new program is the next step of the Governor’s criminal justice reform initiatives, and will also support collaboration on reforms passed during the last two legislative sessions. The office will work to ensure that those who leave our prison system have the support and skill sets needed to become productive members of society, reducing the recidivism rate of offenders and lessening the financial burden currently placed upon our state. The office will be administratively attached to the Georgia Department of Corrections, but will report directly to the Governor’s Office. Jacqueline Bunn will replace Cotton as the executive director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
The governor has tapped Blake Ashbee to serve as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. In his capacity as executive director, Ashbee will oversee workforce investment activities and spearhead our state’s skilled trade initiative — Go Build Georgia.
Corbin has served as deputy commissioner for Global Commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development since January 2011. She has worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development since 1998, serving in many capacities, including Division Director for International Operations and Director of Project Managers for Existing Industry & Recruitment. She is involved in a number of professional and civic organizations, serving as Leadership Georgia’s Vice President and as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow. Corbin graduated from Clemson University and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. She and her husband, David, have two children and reside in Rome.
Beatty was appointed to serve as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by Gov. Sonny Perdue in June 2003 and reappointed by Deal in January 2011. As DCA commissioner, Beatty helped launch a number of community-building programs, including Team Georgia, Building Opportunity on Main Street, Great Promise Partnership, Opportunity Zones, and Georgia Dream Homeownership. Prior to this, Beatty worked as an educator, businessman, and member of the Georgia General Assembly. Beatty earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Judy, have one child and three grandchildren. They reside in Jefferson.
Cotton was appointed to executive director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council by Deal in June 2012. He previously served in the Georgia State Patrol for five years. Cotton also worked as deputy sheriff and as a detective in the Baldwin County Sherriff’s Department in Milledgeville, where he won the 2004 Officer of the Year Award. During his time in the U.S. Army, he was awarded with the Army Achievement Medal. He received an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia Military College, a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University (Fort McPherson) and is currently studying to obtain his master’s in Public Policy. He and his wife, Danielle, have two children. They reside in Atlanta.
Bunn most recently served as the deputy director of Legal Services for the Georgia Department of Public Safety. She has been licensed to practice law in Georgia since 1987 and in New Jersey since 1989. While in private practice in New Jersey, she handled insurance defense cases in the areas of medical malpractice, director's and officer's liability in nonprofit corporations, and automobile negligence. Upon returning to Georgia, she worked in the civil rights section of the Georgia Attorney General's Office for almost 10 years. She is a member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, and currently serves as president. Bunn earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a law degree from the University of Georgia.
In April 2013, Ashbee was appointed by Deal as Interim Executive Director to the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, where he previously served as the general counsel. Prior to joining Workforce Development, he served Governor Deal as Deputy Chief Operating Officer. Ashbee began his career in Washington, D.C. working for several members of Congress and later as a political appointee in the administration of President George W. Bush. Ashbee holds a law degree, a master’s of Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree, all from the University of Alabama. He and his wife, Carrie, reside in Atlanta, attend Northside Church and are expecting their first child this summer.