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Savannah, Ga. – June 29, 2015 – The Board of Directors of the Georgia Ports Authority today re-elected James A. Walters of Gainesville to serve as chairman.

Appointed to the GPA board by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in 2012, Walters just completed his first one-year term as chairman, having previously served as vice chairman.


“At a time of unprecedented growth and the start of construction for the deepening project, Jim’s continued, steady leadership sends a strong message to those who choose Georgia as their gateway to global commerce,” said Governor Deal. “Business leaders can be comfortable with Jim’s background in economic development, coupled with a strong vision for the future of Georgia’s ports.”



Continuing in the role of vice chairman will be James L. “Jimmy” Allgood, while A.J. “Joe” Hopkins III will also maintain his post as secretary/treasurer.



“I am honored by the board’s vote of confidence,” Walters said. “I am also excited by the opportunities before us as this body prepares our port facilities to handle the new demands of an evolving logistics industry.”


Walters noted the Port of Savannah’s unmatched ability to handle cargo influxes related to diversions of freight from the West Coast, and the megaships now favored by shipping lines for their increased efficiency.


“The Savannah model, of a large, single-operator container terminal supported by an array of near-port distribution centers, direct interstate access and on-terminal rail has proven to be the right model to meet today’s container trade demands,” Walters said. “Beyond containerized goods, GPA’s diversified terminals, focused on bulk, breakbulk and automotive cargo, provide the right solutions to serve all segments of the logistics industry.”



Chairman James A. Walters. Walters is the president of Walters Management Co., a financial services company which operates in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. He is a former director of First National Bank of Gainesville and its holding company, First National Bancorp. After the sale of First National to Regions Bank, Walters continued to serve as an advisory board member of Regions Bank of Gainesville. He currently serves as chairman of the board of Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia, a Gainesville, Ga.-based bank he helped found. Walters sits on the boards of Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation, James A. Walters YMCA, Elachee Nature Center, and the Texas Consumer Finance Association, and is a past president and current director of the Georgia Industrial Loan Association.  He is secretary to the Board of Trustees of Brenau University and is on the President’s Advisory Committee of Gainesville State College. Walters attended North Carolina State University. He and his wife, Peggy, have two daughters, five granddaughters, and one great grandson. They reside in Gainesville.

Vice Chairman James L. “Jimmy” Allgood. Allgood is chairman of the Board of Allgood Pest Solutions, a company he started in 1974. He was chairman of the Structural Pest Control Commission for 20 years and is past president of the Georgia Pest Control Association. He has served as chairman of the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority, the Dublin Rotary Club, and the First United Methodist Church board. Allgood earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, was a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 1993, and was president of Leadership Georgia in 1996. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children and two grandchildren. They reside in Dublin.


Secretary/Treasurer A.J. “Joe” Hopkins. Hopkins serves as director of Hopkins-Gowen Oil Company,  president of Toledo Manufacturing Company, director of Southeastern Bank, and as a partner in Gowen Timber Company. He earned a law degree from Mercer University before going into private practice from 1977-1988. He is a former president of the Georgia Forestry Association, and current president of the Forest Landowners Association. Hopkins has served as a member of the Joint Georgia House and Senate Future of Forest Study Committee; as a member of the Coastal Georgia Comprehensive Development Plan; and the First Congressional District Representative to the state Department of Community Affairs Board.  He currently serves on the Suwanee-Satilla Regional Water Council.



Find print-quality images of port operations here. Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 369,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $20.4 billion in income, $84.1 billion in revenue and $2.3 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 8 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 11 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in CY2014.

For additional information, please contact GPA’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications Robert Morris at (912) 964-3855. Visit the GPA web site at