Founded in 2003, the Georgia CIO Leadership Association (GCLA) is the professional organization for Georgia's information technology leaders. Its membership is comprised exclusively of chief information officers or individuals in equivalent positions at companies and organizations throughout the state. The GCLA is a non-profit, non-commercial organization led by an Advisory Board of Georgia CIOs, including:


Jay Ferro, CIO
American Cancer Society

As CIO, Jay Ferro leads the American Cancer Society’s nationwide Information Technology system in delivering effective and impactful technology support to its mission in creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Prior to joining the Society’s national headquarters, Ferro served as senior vice president and CIO of AdCare Health Systems, a recognized innovator in senior living and health care facility management. Prior to AdCare, Ferro was vice president and CIO for Chartis Aerospace (formerly AIG Aviation), a leading global aerospace insurer, where he implemented numerous improvements and managed significant organizational change in a turbulent market environment. In an earlier role with the AIG Personal Lines subsidiary, Ferro served as Chief Financial Officer for operations and systems and led multiple global IT finance and governance standards initiatives. In 2007, Ferro founded the nonprofit group “Priscilla’s Promise” in honor of his late wife who passed away from cervical cancer. Priscilla’s Promise raises funds for cervical cancer education and research.

Vice Chairperson

Karen Renner, VP & CIO

Karen Renner was appointed Vice President and CIO of Novelis, Inc. in October 2010. As head of Novelis’ IT organization and member of the company’s Global Operating Committee, Karen is responsible for the development and execution of the company’s global information technology and business information strategy.

Karen began her career with Lockheed Martin in engineering. While at Lockheed, she attended Georgia State University where she received a MBA in Finance and after three years in Atlanta, she moved to Nashville, TN as an industrial Engineer with Northern Telecom. In Nashville, Karen transferred to Emerson Electric for three years as Operations Manager in the temperature controls division. She also worked as a part-time instructor in Financial Accounting at Cumberland University. Karen joined General Electric in 1992 in the GE Capital division. She held a variety of positions in engineering, call center management, technology, operations, e-business, IT and Six Sigma. In 1999, she was appointed quality leader TMS and in 2000, CIO for IT Solutions Products division. Karen joined GE Energy in October 2001 in Atlanta, GA to lead Acquisition Integration. In September 2005, she became the CIO GE Security in Bradenton, FL.

Throughout her career, Karen has been active with various IT-related and women-in-technology groups and has served in IT advisory roles for non-profit organizations, including the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Karen is also the 2013 Georgia CIO of the Year Award winner in the Global category.

Membership Chair

John Trainor, CIO
Aaron's, Inc.

John Trainor is Chief Information Officer of Aaron's, Inc., an Atlanta-based specialty retailer that leases furniture, electronics, and appliances. Since 1999, he has helped Aaron's grow from 450 stores to over 1800 with over $2B in revenue. Prior to joining Aaron's, he worked in technology roles at the Southern Company and the United States Senate. He has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

As the technology leader at Aaron’s, John’s primary focus is on business engagement and alignment. He expects his organization to place the most emphasis on individuals and interactions. He positions his organization to be able to be responsive to changing business needs and growth.

Programs Chair

Joe Surber, SVP & CIO
AGL Resources

Joe Surber is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for AGL Resources (NYSE:GAS). As Chief Information Officer since 2008, he is responsible for the ongoing enhancement of the company's technology platform in alignment with business goals. His role extends to leadership of the company's enterprise portfolio of real estate and facilities. Recognized as a strategic thinker with the ability to bridge business and technology, Joe counsels AGL Resources business leaders and technical teams on how to design and deliver solutions that maximize value for the company.

Joe has been an integral part of the company's Information Technology department since 2004. Previously, he served the company as Managing Director responsible for all applications, networking, telecommunications and data center operations supporting AGL Resources and its gas distribution companies, retail operations and wholesale services. Joe began his career at IBM and BankSouth before serving as a partner in technology consulting.

Awards Chair

Carrie Wheeler 

As Cbeyond’s former Chief Information Officer and Chief Operations Officer, Carrie Wheeler was responsible for overall Corporate Capital Investment Portfolio and Prioritization, Cbeyond’s Program Management Office, IT Strategy and Application Development. Her scope of support included Online Customer Support Systems and Value Added Applications, Sales and Marketing Systems, Customer Relationship Management, Operational Support / Care Systems, Corporate Systems, Billing and Billing Operations. In this role, Carrie was responsible for the development and support of new product development, 100% of customer electronic transactions, the complete sales to cash process (revenue stream) and all internal support systems including Financial Management and Reporting as well as HR.

Carrie joined Cbeyond in 2009 to lead Cbeyond's Information Technology Strategy and Planning teams. Prior to joining Cbeyond, Carrie held several IT leadership positions at AT&T, BellSouth, MCI Communications and Accenture.

Carrie complements her diverse set of skills by giving back to the community where she lives and works. Carrie currently serves on the board of the Technology Association of Georgia’s Education Collaborative and the Georgia Ballet and is an active supporter of Girls Inc. and Girls Get IT. In addition, Carrie is a member of Women in Technology (WIT), Atlanta Telecommunications Professionals and Cbeyond's Women's Network. In 2011, she won WIT’s Woman of the Year Award and in 2013 she became the Georgia CIO of the Year® Awards winner in the Enterprise category.

Social Media Chair

Bryson Koehler, EVP & CIO
The Weather Company

Bryson is a senior business & technology executive with established entrepreneurial abilities whom excels at creating positive change through relentless relationship building. Creative problem solver who focuses on achieving business goals through the innovative use of technology and directing diverse groups of business and technical minds towards a balance of short and long term objectives. Hands-on innovator through a grounded, visionary approach to product management with significant accomplishments in partnerships, vendor relationship management, unique alliances and complex deal assembly.

Focused on building a strong, energetic, passionate, no-nonsense team culture, built on the celebration of success and the transparent discussion of failure. Strategic leadership experience in delivering stretching business goals through the product definition, software design and development and ongoing operations of a visionary and robust technical architectural strategy.



Robert Bennett
FHLB of Atlanta

Becky Blalock
Southern Company

Anil Cheriyan

Lee Crump
CIO & Group
Rollins, Inc.

Ashish Gupta
GE Energy Management

Sandy Hofmann


Jean Holley
Group SVP & CIO
Brambles Ltd.

Michael Long
GA Dept. of Revenue

Edwin Marcial
Former CTO
kevinmcdearis 3
Kevin McDearis
Former CIO
Manhattan Associates

Dr. Ephraim McLean
Georgia State Univ.

Michael Noel

Janet Sherlock

Alan Stukalsky

Bill VanCuren
NCR Corporation


Frank Bell

Kelly Harris
Membership & Marketing Manager

Lisa LaRoque
Executive Director

Cameron Tapley
CIO Awards Program Manager
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