Chris Riley, Chief of Staff
Riley has worked for Gov. Deal for more than 24 years. He first worked for Deal in the then-state senator's 1992 campaign for Congress and spent the next 17 years working for Deal’s House office, serving most of that time as chief of staff. In 2009, Riley left the congressional office to run Deal’s campaign for governor. A Gainesville native, Riley graduated from North Hall High School and Georgia Southern University. He and his wife, Bambi, have two sons and live in Gainesville.
David Werner, Executive Counsel
Werner serves as Gov. Deal's Executive Counsel. A graduate of the University of Georgia and Emory University School of Law, Werner was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Deal's Chief Operating Officer. He also served as deputy chief of staff of legislative and external affairs, deputy executive counsel and as the policy advisor on Public Safety. He also held staff positions in both the state House and state Senate. Werner served as the co-chairman of the Governor's Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform and as co-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia. He is currently a member of the Georgia Ports Authority and the Federalist Society. He and his wife, Suzanne, have one daughter. They reside in Atlanta and are members of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.
Katie Childers, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
After graduating from Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia, Childers earned her master’s in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. In 2011, Childers joined the Governor’s Office after working as an intern for Governor Sonny Perdue and in the insurance industry as a business development manager. She has served as Deal’s health policy advisor and policy director. Currently, Childers works as the deputy chief of staff for policy. In her current role, she is responsible for overseeing the team of advisors who develop and advocate for Deal's policy agenda to legislators, the executive branch, and other stakeholders. Childers was named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 in 2016. She and her husband, Will, have one son and are members of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. They reside in Atlanta.
Julia Ayers, Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and External Affairs
An experienced member of Gov. Deal’s legislative affairs team, Ayers returns to the office after a stint as the head of government relations for the Technical College System of Georgia. She served for most of Deal’s first term as the governor’s liaison to the state House members, after working for Deal for Governor, 2009-2010. Ayers has a bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss. She and her husband, Andy, live in Kennesaw.
Teresa MacCartney, Chief Financial Officer, Director of the Office of Planning and Budget
MacCartney was appointed as chief financial officer and director of the Office of Planning and Budget by Gov. Deal in October 2012. MacCartney began her career in the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget in 2001. She left in 2003 to become the senior policy adviser for budget and government affairs at the Georgia Student Finance Commission. MacCartney returned to OPB in 2005 as director of the education division and was promoted to deputy director in 2010. While at OPB, she was the state leader for the Federal Stabilization and Education Jobs programs and provided oversight for the divisions of technology and administration. She served as the deputy superintendent for Race to the Top implementation, providing oversight and management of Georgia's Race to the Top application. MacCartney earned a bachelor's degree in Science and a master's degree in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University. She and her husband, Andrew, have two children. They live in Marietta.
Jen Talaber Ryan, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications
Talaber oversees the governor’s communications department. She has worked as Deal’s deputy communications director since Gov. Deal began his second term. She began work in his first term as a communications specialist, then spent two years as a communications director in Georgia’s U.S. House delegation before returning to Georgia as the spokesperson for Deal’s re-election campaign. Talaber graduated from the University of Florida. She and her husband, Shawn, are parishioners at Christ the King Catholic Church and reside in Atlanta.
Carrie Ashbee, Deputy Chief of Staff of Executive Office Operations
A native of Marietta, Ashbee began her career in Washington, DC, serving with then-Congressman Deal in various positions, including executive assistant and scheduler. She also worked as a pharmaceutical representative covering central Alabama with WraSer Pharmaceuticals before returning to Georgia to join Gov. Deal as his executive assistant. Ashbee graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She is a regular volunteer for several community non-profits in the Atlanta area. Carrie and her husband, Blake, have one daughter and live in Atlanta.