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Josh Rogers | President + Chief Executive Officer

josh@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 102

  • Board of Directors management
  • Leadership and planning
  • Major grants and gifts

Josh Rogers is a leader who builds community by speaking plainly, taking responsibility, and acting with conviction.  Rogers helps describe and illustrate the vision for the future that is already shared by optimistic citizens and works to align resources and people to turn that vision into a reality we can enjoy now.  His best skill is using market economics to meet philanthropic needs.  

After working for the City of Macon, Rogers was named Executive Director of Historic Macon Foundation before turning 30.  He ascended to his current role leading the nonprofit NewTown Macon in 2014, where he works to revitalize downtown Macon and expand the river trail system.  Rogers formed Central Georgia’s first and only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), launched downtown’s first self-taxing district (BID), built the world’s largest pop-up bike lane network, founded the Magnolia Soap Box Derby and initiated Macon’s Intercity Conference.  During his tenure, he has increased storefront occupancy from 56% to 82%, added 360 loft housing units, doubled property values, and driven over $350 million of public and private investment into downtown Macon while also increasing NewTown’s net assets by over 170%.   Most importantly, no Maconites were left behind, as more women and people of color own and operate buildings and businesses in downtown Macon today than ten years ago.

Downtown Macon’s success has been recognized by Frommer’s 2023 “Best Places to Visit” to the New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2023,” among many others, but Josh, his wife Meaghan, and his kids Jack and Ellie know it as the best place to call home.


Erin Keller | Chief of Staff + Vice President for Development

erin@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 107 

  • Donations and pledges to give
  • Grants
  • Fundraising
  • BID management

Erin calls LaPlace, Louisiana home and is a proud alumna of Mercer University, where she was a key player in the women’s basketball team. Following her graduation, Erin pursued a Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership from Valdosta State University. She graduated from Leadership Macon in 2015, holds a "Certificate of Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials" from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, actively contributes to the Workforce Development Board, and is a valued member of the Downtown Macon Rotary Club. In her downtime, Erin relishes moments with friends, stays active, dives into books, and fervently supports the Mercer Bears!

Her journey to NewTown began at her alma mater. For three years, she stood as an admissions counselor and later embraced the role of Coordinator of Alumni Programs.

Within NewTown, Erin fuels the engine of change. Her portfolio encompasses capital campaigns, annual fundraising, grant management, nurturing donor relationships, and guiding special programs.


James Fritze | Chief Financial Officer

james@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 104

  • Financial statements
  • Risk management
  • Accounting and audit
  • Human resources

James Fritze is an experienced financial and business leader who uses his creative flair to craft deals and solve problems that further NewTown’s mission of Investing time, resources, and money in local people and businesses to revitalize Downtown Macon.

James, a CPA with a B.B.A and M.B.A from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia,  has over 25 years of experience and has succeeded in various industries like healthcare, business services, and construction materials. In 2018, James joined the NewTown team as its Chief Financial Officer. As the result of James’ leadership, NewTown has doubled its size from $18m to $36m in assets, closed over 40 loans with local entrepreneurs and developers, sourced $30m in loan capital, and strengthened its overall financial structure so that NewTown is in a position to facilitate Macon revitalization for the next several decades.

Outside of NewTown, you can find James and his wife Denise, a fourth-generation Macon resident, exploring the outdoors, listening to live music, and supporting the Georgia Bulldogs with their two grown children, son-in-law, and grandson.


Lauren Marshall | Vice President of Community Development

lauren@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 121

  • Analyzing loan applications

  • Maintaining and improving our online application process

  • Facilitating loan closings. 

Lauren has been committed to the Macon community since she moved here in 2015. 

Before coming to NewTown Macon, Lauren held the position of Director of Communications and Marketing at Mercer University School of Law. There, she managed branding, enrollment marketing, design, social media, and the website. At Historic Macon Foundation(HMF), she was the Director of Neighborhood Revitalization and Loan Fund Manager. She oversaw programs like low-interest facade and energy efficiency loans, started the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, and supported Beall's Hill revitalization.

Lauren earned her degrees from the University of Georgia in Advertising and History. She also earned an M.A. in Conservation Studies of Historic Buildings from the University of York in England. She's a certified Historic Real Estate Finance Professional from the National Development Council. In her free time, she's a calligrapher and runs The Post Letters, her small business since 2019.

Outside of work, Lauren is on the Macon-Bibb County Design Review Board, a Hay House board member, a UGA Mentor, and a 2018 Leadership Macon graduate. She and her husband, Mac, love downtown, enjoying the live music scene and local restaurants


Emily Hopkins | Vice President of External Affairs + Main Street Manager

emily@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 116

  • Main Street Macon management and accreditation 
  • Public relations
  • Communications and marketing strategy 
  • DMCA staff liaison 
  • Events (including Macon’s Intercity Tour, First Friday, Tour of Progress, and the Macon Christmas Light Extravaganza)

Emily Hopkins is a community builder, driven by a deep belief in the power of place. From growing up in a small South Carolina town to attending grad school in Upstate New York, and every town and city in between, she has been fascinated with what attracts us to the places we choose to call home. Throughout her career, she has applied that idea by envisioning and planning signature events that highlight Macon’s special and singular assets and building communication strategies that tell the stories of organizations and people who are improving the quality of life in Macon-Bibb County. 

After serving as Historic Macon Foundation’s Special Events and Marketing Coordinator, she assumed the role of Macon’s Main Street Manager. Since 2017, Emily has led Macon’s Main Street program, including its transition from Macon-Bibb County to NewTown Macon. Under Emily’s direction, Georgia Main Street named Macon a Georgia Exceptional Main Street (GEMS) in 2023 and Main Street America recognized NewTown as a 2024 Semi-Finalist for the Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA). Annually, Emily spearheads 25 events that collectively attract 1 million visitors downtown to experience Macon’s magic firsthand and mobilizes Maconites to promote their chosen home through the Downtown Macon Hype Team. 

Emily is a fierce advocate for Macon, representing her beloved city as a board member of the Georgia Downtown Association and Visit Macon. When not visiting and supporting downtown’s 400+ locally owned and operated businesses, she enjoys sitting in her backyard in the historic North Highlands neighborhood with her fiancé Michael, and their adopted alley cat, Slink.


Mike Ford | Trails Director

mike@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 112

  • Project management for new and existing trail connections 
  • Staff support for Ocmulgee Heritage Trail Committee

Mike Ford is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and is a CPA. For much of his early and mid-career, Mike held leadership roles in the medical industry.. From October 1993 to September 1994, he worked as Vice President of Marketing for Meditrust Corp. and later served as Vice President of Development of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation from September 1994 to September 1997. Mike served as the Chairman of the Board of In-Home Health, Inc. from February 2000 to December 2000. 

After being recruited by NewTown Macon founder, Juanita Jordan, to volunteer with the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, Mike was hired as NewTown’s Chief Financial Officer and later served as NewTown’s President and CEO for 11 years. Mike has been President of the Ocmulgee Land Trust since July 2011. 

In his spare time, Mike enjoys golfing, reading, and snow skiing. 

Mike regularly dines at Oliver’s Corner Bistro with his wife, Nancy, and their friends and enjoys walking the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail for pleasure and for work.


Ricardo Cordew | Business Consultant

ricardo@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 108 

  • First point of contact for loan clients 
  • Business coaching and strategy 
  • Group trainings (including Developers’ Academy, Entrepreneurs’ Academy, and Downtown Diversity Initiative)
Ricardo Cordew brings over 16 years of extensive experience in sales and consulting to his role as a seasoned community business consultant. Renowned for his networking abilities, Ricardo specializes in developing and delivering content aimed at providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with accessible business education and guidance on securing capital for their ventures.
At NewTown Macon, Ricardo offers personalized coaching services to both potential and current loan applicants. Additionally, he coordinates support programs tailored for Macon-Bibb's small business and real estate development communities. Since joining the NewTown team, Ricardo has successfully provided one-on-one coaching to more than 975 entrepreneurs. His efforts have significantly contributed to 82% of small business loan recipients being people of color and 55% being women.
Originally hailing from Fayetteville, North Carolina, Ricardo is an alumnus of High Point University, holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Currently pursuing his MBA at Mercer University, Ricardo is deeply committed to fostering the growth and success of businesses and entrepreneurs in the Macon community.
Proudly representing his roots, Ricardo is a first-generation Afro-Latino from Panama. He takes pride in his role as a husband to Shanoya and a father to Elena. 

Anna Richards | Director of Lending

anna@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 120

  • Analyzing loan applications

  • Maintaining and improving our online application process

  • Facilitating loan closings. 

Anna Richards has been a Maconite since 2013 and is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in arts and culture, strategic project management, and lending expertise. Currently serving as Lending Manager at NewTown Macon, Anna brings over a decade of experience serving the Macon community.

Prior to NewTown Macon, Richards served as the Program Assistant at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, helping to manage the implementation of grant initiatives vital to Macon's economic development, downtown revitalization, and public space enhancements. Her dedication to Macon extends beyond professional roles, serving on the board of Bragg Jam, Steering Committee Member for the Macon Cultural Master Plan, and founder of the Macon Artists Group, a vibrant platform connecting local artists and cultivating creative opportunities within the Macon community.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Fine and Studio Arts from Wesleyan College and an Associate of Arts from Georgia Military College, Richards blends her creative sensibilities with business acumen. Richards' hold certifications including the ABA Certificate in Business and Commercial Lending from the American Bankers Association and is a graduate of NewTown Macon's Developer's Academy. In addition to her professional certifications, she received her Registered Yoga Teacher 200 Hour certification from Yoga Alliance in 2014. Recognized for her artistic talent and community contributions, Richards has received honors such as the William P. Simmons Art Scholarship from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia and the Downtown Ambassador Award, reflecting her commitment to driving Macon's cultural and economic vibrancy.

Bill Fulger | Construction Manager

bill@newtownmacon.com|478-722-9909, x 115

  • Construction Administration 
  • Tenant repairs and maintenance 
  • Landscaping and public space

Bill Fulger boasts four decades of hands-on expertise in the construction industry, making him a seasoned and capable professional. His journey spans 40 years in various trades, each contributing to his rich knowledge base.

Bill's career path led him to the Polk County Florida school system, where he served as a maintenance mechanic for an impressive 24 years. In 2008, he embarked on a new chapter in Georgia, joining Bibb County Facilities Management. With the county's consolidation, Bill assumed the role of supervisor for the Parks and Beautification Department, focusing on downtown Macon and Amerson River Park. His presence became a fixture in downtown Macon, a testament to his dedication.

In 2018, Bill brought his wealth of experience to NewTown, enhancing the team with his unwavering commitment to customer service and loyalty. Known for his laid-back demeanor, Bill approaches every project with dedication and a steadfast attitude.

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George Thomas, Jr. | Office + Leasing Manager

george@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 101

  • General inquiries
  • Loft and office leasing
  • Commercial real estate location services
  • Tenant inquires and payments

George is a Macon native and Westside High School graduate, where he was a football standout. He achieved his bachelor’s degree from Savannah State University and went on to receive his master’s from Valdosta State University. George is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and was awarded Superior Service Man of the year in 2013. Prior to NewTown, George worked with Mental Health at River Edge Behavioral Health, moving his way up through the ranks until becoming Housing Specialist, where he was responsible for coordinating the moves of over 250 tenants in the 200 plus properties owned or sub-leased by River Edge throughout the Middle Georgia area.

In his free time, George enjoys being active and exploring nature, traveling, relaxing with his family, watching sports, and rooting for his Carolina Panthers and South Carolina Gamecocks. He and his wife Martia are both from Macon and have three beautiful kids together.

At NewTown, George is responsible for leasing the lofts and coworking space, managing the office and commercial space, and general inquires.

George enjoys ordering the Juilette Burger from Ocmulgee Brewpub for lunch and trying cocktails and craft beer from downtown’s 54 bars and restaurants.


Hailie Poppell | Digital Content Manager

hailie@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 119

  • Marketing 
  • Website, digital communications, and social media

Meet Hailie, an unwavering Macon advocate with a knack for igniting passion for our vibrant city online. At NewTown, Hailie is the Digital Content Manager, orchestrating our digital narrative—strategizing, curating, designing, and propelling our online presence. Under her guidance, NewTown's six social platforms have flourished, growing by over 6,000% and resonating with over two million individuals. She also spearheaded the creation of the Downtown Macon Hype Hounds—a crew of local dog influencers.

Outside of NewTown, Hailie's commitment extends to Macon's community. Her active roles on the boards of Bike Walk Macon and Macon Periods Easier echo her dedication to fostering inclusivity within our city. On the weekend, you will probably find her strolling the trails of Amerson River Park or savoring espresso martinis.

Originally Hailie is from Savannah, Georgia, but she moved to Macon to attend Mercer University. Following her graduation in 2021, she found her heart anchored here, turning Macon into more than a city—it's her cherished home.


Mark Thompson | Photographer + Special Events Assistant

mark@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 112

  • Photography
  • Event assistance
  • Special projects

Mark is a Macon native who has lived in Macon but all but 8 years of his life. After attending Georgia Southern for two years, Mark completed his photography degree at North Georgia Technical and Vocational School in Clarkesville, Georgia. In his free time, Mark likes to travel, camp, kayak, go to antique stores, collect local art, and assist in local art projects. Mark helped create the first graffiti wall installed by the 567 Center for Renewal and supports the continuation of the program. Additionally, Mark has assisted with two street mural projects.

At NewTown, Mark is responsible for around town photography and assists with event setup and overall logistics. 

Mark’s favorite beer, the Midnight Rider, can only be found at Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen, where you can find him with his friend, Newt. Mark enjoys kayaking at Amerson River Park.


Annette Anderson | Finance Assistant

annette@newtownmacon.com | 478-722-9909, x 112

  • Accounts Payable

Born and raised in the Washington DC area, but has lived in Macon for nearly 40 years. Since moving to Macon, Annette has been involved in her community with various organizations: Historic Macon, Junior League of Macon, Alex 2 PTA, The Hay House, Theatre Macon, and the Vineville Neighborhood Association, among others.

Annette holds a BS in Clothing & Textiles from VA Tech and a MA in German Literature from GA State University. Jobs in retail buying, visual merchandising, German language education, and theatre management ultimately led her to her present employment at NewTown Macon.

A strong supporter of downtown and historic preservation (3 historic residential and one historic office rehabilitations under her belt) and her work at NewTown Macon is the ideal combination of supporting the vision of the organization and her personal desire to live in a “city that is booming and real.”

When her two grown children, Maxine and Niko, come home to visit, Annette and her husband Lars, enjoy sharing the ever-growing and vibrant downtown scene in Macon with them and their spouses.

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