‘Strong Medicine’ for Local Healthcare
Our partnership with Medical Residency Program
Our top-rated regional health system is a big reason behind our healthy local economy. That’s why we are investing in our community’s next generation of physicians.
Peach State is directly supporting the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) that started in 2019. We do this by funding every resident physician’s annual membership in the Downey Society, which brings philanthropic-minded physicians together to fund local medical initiatives.
Through our commitment, we hope to encourage these future young physicians to develop a connection with our hospital and community that will inspire them to remain here long after their training is over.
“Having a GME program here is such an incredible benefit for all of Northeast Georgia,” says Ron Quinn, our president and CEO. “As a community bank, we know our support will have a long-term, positive impact on our strong community and healthcare system.”
The GME program was designed to address a physician shortage across our region and state. NGMC is working to expand to more than 200 residents across five specialties – internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry – by 2024.
That will make NGMC one of the largest graduate medical education programs in Georgia. Resident physicians and fellows are an important part of the overall physician workforce because they expand capacity and coverage. They also produce scholarly activity and quality improvement projects that enhance reputation and recruitment efforts for the health system.
Dr. Clifton Hastings, who is a Peach State board member and former chief of medical staff at NGMC, said GME is addressing a decades-long shortage in Georgia of graduate medical education programs. This has led to many residency graduates training in other states.
“Recognizing this significant need, we are fortunate that the health system is committed to training more than 200 residents and fellows each year, providing a pipeline of excellent physicians for the future needs of our community,” said Dr. Hastings, a native of Gainesville who returned here after practicing for many years in North Carolina, where he received his medical education.
The GME program currently has 139 total residents. So far, there have been 19 graduates of internal medicine, five of whom have decided to make our community their home. They are:
- Dr. Alex M. Adams, Cardiovascular
Disease Fellowship at Northeast
Georgia Medical Center
- Dr. Ryan D. Berry, Primary Care Physician at the
- Dr. Aman “Amy” Kapoor, Hospitalist at Northeast
Georgia Physicians Group
- Dr. Riaz Mahmood, Chief Resident for Research at
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
- Dr. Tariq Y. Odeh, Chief Resident at Northeast Georgia
Gainesville and Hall County are blessed with a health system with more than 1,200 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. Few communities our size have this type of medical access available, and our local GME program will continue to build on this strength.
LOCAL WINDOW ON THE ECONOMY
Gainesville’s Gold Rush
Local Economy Expanding with Influx of Newcomers
As local legend goes, Benjamin Parks was deer hunting back in 1828 when he tripped over a rock in the woods near where Dahlonega is today. Ben’s eyes must have popped wide open at the sight of the huge gold nugget at his feet. Over the next several years, thousands of miners flocked to Northeast Georgia as part of the Dahlonega Gold Rush.
Nearly two centuries later, another gold rush is underway. This time, it’s in Gainesville-Hall County, and the gold is our local economy, a top-ranked healthcare network, temperate climate, and our lake and nearby mountains.
You don’t need an official census count to see what’s happening. Visit downtown Gainesville at night and you’ll notice the sidewalks are no longer rolled up. The streets are filled with diners, shoppers, partiers, tourists, and yes… downtown residents. It’s also a much more diverse crowd of all ages and cultures.
Gainesville is not alone. Like the area’s boomtowns that popped up in the 1800s, Braselton and cities across our region are experiencing similar growth and development.
While we can visibly see the crowds, the trend is supported by a recent economic report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. It reveals startling migration patterns of population waves leaving the Northeast and Midwest for Georgia and other southern states. California is experiencing the same exodus with many residents also moving to Georgia.
Much of the outmigration, particularly in large cities, is attributed to the pandemic, according to the report. Rising crime in urban areas is likely another reason. However, the biggest motivator appears to be our favorable economy in Georgia. A follow-up population wave, the report confirms, will be driven by “outmigration from higher-to-lower cost markets.”
One local example is the relocation of Fox Factory, a large manufacturer of bike parts, from California to our community. At Peach State Bank, we also have noticed an influx of new consumer accounts from New Yorkers and others from the North. In many instances, these newcomers are buying houses here with cash, reaping the windfalls of a comparatively more affordable housing market.
For our native population, the area’s growth and resulting higher home prices are creating some interesting scenarios. I have witnessed several local residents selling their homes at premium values and moving into rental properties to wait out the market. It’s a gamble that could pay off when home prices dip back down again – but not likely any time soon.
The downtown development in cities like Gainesville and Braselton is attracting young workers in healthcare and other professions. However, with starter home prices averaging above $350,000 (a $100,000 increase over last year), they are moving into apartments instead. The first phase of the Solis apartments in downtown Gainesville is already sold out with long lines of many more renters chomping at the bit for additional inventory to open in coming months.
In fact, the affordable housing market is so tight here that the population overflow is spilling into Banks, Habersham and other communities to our north. The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank also tracks home affordability in 23 Georgia cities, and Gainesville and nearby Jefferson lead the list of areas with the least affordability.
If some are finding it challenging to afford living here, it’s certainly not stopping them from visiting. Tourism here and across the rest of the country has rebounded sharply from the last two years of the pandemic. With our abundance of natural resources in Lake Lanier and recreational parks, in addition to area wineries, new restaurants and entertainment venues, we are officially a tourist destination.
It’s already difficult to book a hotel reservation here, and local officials point out that even with the Courtyard By Marriott opening in downtown Gainesville next year, we could still fill up three or more hotels.
The good news is our modern-day gold rush is likely to continue to insulate us from future economic woes elsewhere. Even if a national recession happens, there are simply too many open jobs and corporate expansions to fill that will keep our regional and statewide economy stable if not booming for the near future.
You might say there’s still plenty of gold in “them thar hills.”
Helping Gainesville’s Homeless and Impoverished
Good News at Noon, the inspiring legacy of two beloved community servants Gene and Margie Beckstein, has provided loving support to homeless men and women in our community for more than 35 years.
This hard-working nonprofit serves the “Severely Poor” (per capita income of less than $7,500/year), which is about 25 percent of Hall County residents.
“We are a life transformation program designed to move individuals out of homelessness and into self-sufficiency,” says Ken Gossage, Good News at Noon executive director.
Always evolving, Gossage says the program’s plans call for a housing complex to provide short-term support of its graduates moving out of local transitional shelters. And after many years on Davis Street in Gainesville’s midtown, Good News at Noon is set to move this fall into a brand-new facility at the corner of Pearl Nix Parkway and Dorsey Street.
“The board had been praying for a while about the need for expansion and God answered unmistakably,” Gossage says. “Our current neighbor, Koch Foods, asked us to meet with them back in the summer of 2019 about selling our current campus. Discussions continued on for a whole year before we were able to come to an agreement. Then, in November 2020, we closed on the sale of our current campus and purchase of land for our new campus within 24 hours.”
The new location will be 12,000 square feet – almost double the size of the current location, allowing Good News at Noon to better serve the community.
“The potential is there for significant transformation in our community in the lives of those most in need,” Gossage says. “It could also serve as a model for other communities facing the daunting challenge of increasing homelessness and poverty. Homelessness and poverty are a community-wide issue. These people are our neighbors, and it will take a community-wide effort to change.”
Gossage said Good News at Noon has been building a network of service partners for over a year with the goal of offering more comprehensive and individualized wrap-around services to the homeless.
“Our clients’ needs are deep and wide, so our model has always been to collaborate with those best equipped in their areas,” he says. “Through this network, we will be able to offer counseling, mental health services, recovery support, physical health support, job-training and education.”
Mike Underwood, Peach State Bank’s Senior Vice President, has served on the Good News at Noon board of directors for five years and currently is chairman.
“I had read the book, ‘Same Kind of Different As Me,’ and it sparked something in me,” Underwood says. “It was not long after that when I was asked to serve on the board. The book is a true story about a homeless guy by the name of Denver Moore who found out that everybody’s different – 'the same kind of different as me.’ We’re all just regular folks walkin’ down the road God set in front of us.”
Underwood goes on to say that “we all struggle; for some, it is just more visible.” He believes it’s important to help those who are struggling in our community. “Most of our folks staying at Good News at Noon are trying to rise above their situation.” Underwood says. “So, if we can help lift them out of their down season, then we have done what Jesus asked us to do: ‘Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”
Peach State Bank is honored to be involved with Good News at Noon as volunteers and its bank. We hope you, too, will support this organization to give a hand up to those in our community who need our help.
‘GOOD NEWS’ SERVICES
- Walk-in medical clinic
- Food pantry
- Two meals a day
- Identification documents
- Spiritual and relational encouragement
- Transitional shelters for single men and women
- Casework/referrals for other services.
It’s always good to clear our lives of digital clutter. In doing so, we strengthen our digital defense against cyberattacks.
Here are a few tips:
Delete. Uninstall apps you don’t use, both on your phones and your computers. Delete files you no longer need. Wipe and securely dispose of electronic media and hard copies. Everything we retain has a chance of being lost or stolen. Every item carries a liability and weighs us down.
Reduce your attack surface. Removing unused software reduces your exposure. Review any online accounts you have such as retail, social media or news. If you are not using them anymore, close them.
Diligently review your bank records. Pull out your phone and scroll your bank accounts for any suspicious activity. You can also identify any unused services that you could cancel to save money. Add Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) to increase safety. It’s a beneficial feature that prompts you for a single-use code when you login. App-based is best.
Retire old passwords. Any password you use for more than one service should be changed. Use a unique password for every site. Make your passwords long, using a phrase instead of a word. Use a password manager to create and remember strong passwords for you.
Try it, you’ll like it!
Our ITMs Make Banking More Convenient
It may take getting used to, but you’ll love the convenience of our high-tech Interactive Teller Machines (ITM) once you try it in our drive-through area.
Our ITMs connect you with one of our Call Center professionals – live on screen and from the comfort of your car. Simply “Touch Screen to Speak with a Teller” to get started. A customer service rep will appear on screen to address any questions or transactions related to your account. Don’t worry about messing up. Our friendly tellers are always happy to guide you through this new technology.
The ITM’s teller-assisted mode is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The ITMs are always available 24 hours a day for debit card transactions.
The ITM allows customers to conduct the same bank business as if you walked inside. That includes deposits, withdrawals, fund transfers and obtaining account balances. The live video screen at our main office as well as at our Braselton branch is connected directly to our Call Center in Gainesville.
FAMILY FESTIVALS and Family Fun
- Georgia Mountain Fair, Hiawassee – Aug. 19-27
- Atlanta Dragon Boat Festival, Gainesville – Sept. 10
- Jarrard Burch Foundation Concert, Gainesville – Sept. 10
- Fall Garden Expo, Chicopee Ag Center, Sept. 23-24
- Big Red Apple Festival, Cornelia – Sept. 24
- Agri-Fest Country Market, Cleveland – Sept. 24
- Mule Camp Market, Gainesville – Oct. 7-9
- Hoschton Fall Festival, Oct. 7-9 (parade Oct. 8)
- Gold Rush Days, Dahlonega – Oct. 15-16
- Braselton Antique & Artisan Festival, Braselton – Oct. 21
- Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show, Dawsonville – Oct. 21-23
- Buford Corn Maze – Opens Sept. 3rd, Labor Day weekend
Another Great Turnout For Annual BLT Luncheon and Peach Bake
Over 900 people enjoyed tasty BLT sandwiches, sampled peach desserts and enjoyed a vintage car display at the BLT Luncheon in honor of Gainesville business legend Jack McKibbon. It was held Aug. 3 at our Washington Street headquarters.
Our Peach Bake winners were Caroline Randolph (pictured), Other Category Winner; Natalie Perry, Peach Cake Winner; David Clough, Peach Pie Winner; Clare Gaddy, Honorable Mention. Thanks to our judges: Fire Chief Brandon Ellis, Police Chief Jay Parrish and Mayor Sam Couvillon.
Andy Stewart, Chief Risk Officer
Andy Stewart, who has been with the bank since 2006, serves as our Chief Risk Officer.
He monitors our entire loan portfolio, manages our credit analysts, and oversees aspects of regulatory compliance.
“I really enjoy my co-workers and the relationships that I have developed with them,” he says. “I also am proud of how we help our customers fulfill their financial objectives.”
Andy is not the only member of his family working with us. His daughter, Elizabeth, is interning this summer in our finance/accounting department.
“I told her to absorb as much knowledge as possible because that department is full of really smart people,” Andy says.
Andy is married to the former Ellen Benson, a Columbus, Ga., native. They have two daughters. Elizabeth, 19, is entering her second year at the University of Georgia, and Emily, 15, will be a sophomore at Gainesville High School.
A member of the Board of Education for Gainesville City Schools, Andy decided to run for the elected office because he had such a great experience when he went through the school system. He wanted to play a part in seeing that his daughters have the same experience.
“Academic rigor and a diverse student population are two of the strengths of our city school system, and there is a multitude of extracurricular activities in which our students can get involved,” he says.
Andy says he feels lucky to have grown up in Gainesville. All his best childhood memories are from the times he spent with his friends. Those friends are still close today and get together with weekly golf outings.
“I am a world-class hacker, but I just enjoy the time outdoors and cutting up with my buddies,” he says.
What’s on Andy’s bucket list? “I want to travel out West – particularly to the Rocky Mountain states.”
325 Washington St SW | Gainesville, GA 30501 | Phone: (770) 536-1100 | Fax: (770) 536-2525