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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.


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.


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.


Emily Hopkins | Director of Place + Main Street Macon Manager

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

  • Main Street Macon management and accreditation 
  • Public relations
  • Strategic communications and strategy
  • DMCA staff liaison 
  • Events (including First Friday, The Market, Tour of Progress, and the Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza)

Emily Hopkins hails from Pendleton, SC, a small town nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Emily graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor's in history with an emphasis in public history and attended the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Upstate New York where she completed her master's in museum studies. Looking for warmer weather, Emily moved to Macon to serve as Historic Macon Foundation's Special Events and Marketing Coordinator and continued to pursue her passion for preservation and community development by serving as the Manager of Main Street Macon before joining NewTown Macon. 

In her free time, Emily enjoys attending events in downtown Macon, traveling, and cheering on the Clemson Tigers. Additionally, Emily serves as a board member of the Macon Film Festival, the Georgia Downtown Association, the Macon-Bibb Arbor Conservation Board, and is a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary Club. 

At NewTown, Emily oversees Macon's Main Street program, downtown placemaking initiatives, and NewTown's strategic communication efforts including public relations, branding, and messaging. 

Hands down, Emily’s favorite menu item downtown is the Sausage Ball and Chain from Lazy Susan Tapas Bar. She thinks one of Macon’s best-kept secrets is the Macon Film Guild’s Second Sunday film screenings.


Bill Fulger | Construction + Leasing Manager

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

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

Bill was born in Lansing, Michigan and moved to Lakeland, Floria at age 13. At age 16, he began working in construction as a laborer during the summers and weekends. Upon graduating high school, Bill began working in construction full time. Bill joined the maintenance department of the Polk County School Board in Florida where he served for 22 years while simultaneously operating a home repair business.

In 2008, Bill and his wife, Gail, relocated to Georgia to be closer to their grandchildren. Bill began working with Bibb County and served as the grounds supervisor of the Parks and Beautification Department after consolidation. After serving at the County for 10 years, Bill retired and joined NewTown Macon as the Construction Manager. In his spare time, Bill likes to spend time with his wife enjoying concerts and spending time with their friends and grandchildren. 

Bill’s favorite downtown dish is the grouper plate from Kudzu Seafood Company. On rare days off, Bill enjoys floating down the Ocmulgee River. 


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

Originally from the Washington DC area, Annette received her undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech with a BS in Clothing & Textiles and a minor in Business. Raised as a bilingual German speaker, she also earned her MA in German Literature from GA State University. 

After a move to Macon in 1985 as a young newlywed, she pursued a career with Belk-Matthews as a management trainee and then moved into the role of group shoe buyer for all Belk-Matthews stores in the middle GA area. In subsequent years, Annette taught German as an adjunct instructor at Wesleyan College, and enjoyed part time work as a merchandiser with the Destination Maternity Corporation. 

Raising two children followed, and a wide range of community involvement. A longtime resident of Intown Macon and the Vineville Historic District, Annette was active with Historic Macon, Alex 2 PTA, Bibb County Supporters for the Gifted, Hay House, Theatre Macon, and the Junior League of Macon.

After the nest was officially empty in 2013, she returned to full time work as a sales Manager at Macy’s. Several years later she assumed the role of Theatre Macon business manager, and now enjoys a part time position at NewTown Macon as the Finance Assistant.

In her free time Annette enjoys as much travel as possible, especially to NYC to visit her daughter Maxine and to Kansas City where her son Niko lives. She is an avid snow skier and lover of horses, riding as often as her schedule allows. In the past, she was very involved with community theatre in Macon, both on and off the stage.

Her most favorite things to do Downtown are (among many others!) sitting outside at Just Tap’d for a beer and enjoying fine dining at Dovetail.


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.


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 five social platforms have flourished, growing by a minimum of 40% each, 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.

Lauren Staff Headshot

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


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 is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and is an alumnus of High Point University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in marketing. Ricardo joins the NewTown Macon staff with over 12 years of sales and consulting expertise. 

Ricardo is the proud father of a creative teen daughter. Both a newlywed and new to Macon, Ricardo and his family enjoy exploring their new home and are looking forward to all the adventures Macon has to offer.  

At NewTown, Ricardo is responsible for one-on-one coaching services to potential and current loan applicants.  He also coordinates NewTown’s support programs serving Macon-Bibb’s small business and real estate development communities. 

Ricardo thinks the apple scones at Z Beans are amazing with a caramel latte. He and his wife love going to the Douglass Theatre for live jazz and plays.


Jolie Rowland | Director of Lending

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

  • Analyzing loan applications

  • Maintaining and improving our online application process

  • Facilitating loan closings. 

Jolie Rowland serves as NewTown Loans’ Director of Lending, where she is responsible for analyzing loan applications, maintaining and improving our online application process, and facilitating loan closings. 

Jolie lived in Dublin, Georgia until she moved to Macon to attend Mercer University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration with majors in Finance and Spanish. Jolie has worked for NewTown Macon in several different roles since 2018, giving her the opportunity to help create and become a co-founder of NewTown Loans, Middle Georgia’s first CDFI. 

In her free time, Jolie enjoys acrylic painting, attending events in downtown Macon, volunteering, and visiting her family in Dublin. Jolie lives downtown and loves the community it has given her. You’ll find her shopping at 7th Street Salvage and Travis Jean Emporium or hanging out at some of her favorite restaurants: Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen, La Bella Morelia, and Oliver’s Corner Bistro. 

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