Board of Directors 

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Rick Glueckert

President - joined 2015

Rick Glueckert is a retired senior executive, event planner and entrepreneur with experience in Healthcare, as well as a diversified background in corporate management, budget controls, and government regulation at the state and local levels. 

 

The last twenty years of working life concentrated on building a network of ice-skating rinks worldwide for seasonal family recreation.  He moved from the Atlanta, GA area to the northwest corner of Georgia in Blue Ridge, Ga in 2014 where he resides with his wife of 50 years, Cindy.   

 

He joined the Humane Society of Blue Ridge as President in 2016. During his tenure, he oversaw the building of the Adoption Center, the development of the Community Off-Leash Dog Park, the emergence of the Memorial Gardens, and the expansion of the Thrift Store.  

 

Rick and his wife are avid volunteers with service to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, the Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association, and the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association.

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Suzanne Ponton

Vice President & Interim Treasurer - joined 2017

Suzanne is originally from Ohio, but first came to Blue Ridge over the New Year’s weekend of 2006 and promptly fell in love with the North Georgia Mountains.  She went from enjoying a part-time cabin in Mineral Bluff to living permanently in a home on Lake Blue Ridge for the past six years.

Suzanne is the former owner/manager of North Georgia Storage and is currently active in community volunteering.  Her love for animals has been a lifelong passion and she cherishes sharing her home with two furry family members, Hobson and Duncan.  

 

In addition to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, she also serves on the board of the Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association and is a Fannin Chamber Ambassador.

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Chad Richardson

Treasurer - joined Nov 2020

Chad is a CPA who has worked in public accounting and corporate finance for over 30 years. He spent 22 years at Cox Enterprises, most notably as CFO of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After 5 years at Scientific Games, he is currently SVP of Financial Planning & Analysis at Fleetcor, the Fortune 500 global payments company.

Chad is retiring in December and moving with his wife, Susan, and a variety of dogs and cats, to Blue Ridge. He aspires to hike the entire Benton MacKaye Trail, write the next great American novel, continue his wine study, grow amazing vegetables and raise well behaved animals. And he looks forward to becoming more involved in the community, both socially and by finding ways to contribute and give back. 

Chad previously served as Treasurer of the Henry W Grady Healthcare Foundation, Chairman of the Media Financial Management Association, and member of the Team Selection Committee of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. He also holds an Advanced certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and hopes to continue thru their Diploma program.

Chad was born in Ohio but grew-up in Southwest Florida. Before moving to Atlanta, he attended the University of Florida where he earned a BS in Accounting.
 

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Kristie Young

Director - Secretary - joined 2021

My name is Kristie Young and I, along with my husband Jeff, own and operate Grumpy Old Men Brewing. Among other things, I handle the human resource side of GOM, payroll, bookkeeping and am responsible for envisioning most of the improvements that we have made to the building and brewery site since we purchased it in 2018.  

 

We had originally bought a ‘vacation’ cabin here but ultimately fell in love with Blue Ridge and made the decision to move here full-time in 2017. Upon making that decision - we sold our dental practice in Michigan and left our careers in dentistry behind.  I worked there as a Dental Hygienist, as well as the office manager, and handled all business aspects of the practice.  

 

We have six (human) kids who love to visit Blue Ridge.  (We continue to ‘work on them’  but have not been able to convince them to move here yet.) We also have Five grandkids - with a 6th due next year. I love animals and currently have three canine kids; two very fit and active Australian Shepherds that walk me up and down the mountains every day and a Cocker Spaniel who is a little less energetic and whose favorite pastime is sleeping.  I’d probably have a farm full of goats and chickens if we had the room and Jeff would let me. I have taken in cats and dogs in need and have been instrumental in helping them find new homes with friends and/or GOM patrons and feel that this is a talent that could extend to the cats and dogs of the HSBR.

 

Recently, I’ve taken up pottery and find that its been a very rewarding hobby. In my day-to-day life, I strive to be kind and generous to everyone and help those in need whenever I can.

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Diane Basco

Director & Grant Writer - joined 2020

Diane spent 25+ years in strategic sales and sales leadership roles advising the Fortune 500 companies on how to leverage technology to solve complex business issues and deliver results that make a difference.  Her specialties were revenue growth, cost reduction, public speaking, leading complex matrix organizations, and strategic planning.  In addition, she also owned and operated a private Montessori school for 13 of those years.  

 

She has a Business Administration undergrad degree and an MBA (both from Kennesaw State University).  She retired in 2016 and she and her husband moved up to Blue Ridge, GA to live.  They have twin adult daughters and 3 dogs and 1 cat.

 

Initially, she became involved with the Humane Society of Blue Ridge doing volunteer work on their fundraising events.  She was asked if she would consider doing contract work to write grants for them and started doing that mid-2019.  Recently, she received her certificate for the Certified Professional Fundraising Executive from Boston University. 

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Tracy Allen

Director & Thrift Store Liazon - joined 2014

Tracy Allen and her husband, Phillip Daw, moved to MineralBluff, GA in September 2010. They are HUGE animal lovers & proud foster ‘failures’ and lovingly share their lives with 7 dogs, 6 cats, 2 goats, and 30 chickens.

 

Tracy has retired but was a Physician Assistant. In 2011, she started volunteering in the sorting room of the Humane Society of Blue Ridge Thrift Shop. She joined the HSBR board in 2014 and has ‘never looked back’; great cause, amazing organization and fabulous/motivated people- whom all love animals. What’s not to love??

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Brian Higgins

Director - joined 2020

Brian grew up in the North Ga mountains and has always had a passion for his community and animals. He has been married for 17 years and has one son.

 

He shares their home with their 11yr old long-haired Dachshund "Pretzel" and their 5 yr old Maltese\Shih Tzu "Oreo". He currently works for Ace Hardware of Blue Ridge, where he has been employed for the last 17 years.

 

When not at work, he enjoys woodturning, biking, and being in the outdoors.

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Wendy Miller

Director - re-joined Feb 2020 (member from 2011 - 2016)

Wendy grew up in Connecticut but has lived in the Atlanta/Ellijay area for 25 years.  She, her husband, and dog Kendall live between Atlanta and Ellijay and they all enjoy the mountains as much as possible.  All her animals in her life have been rescues.

Wendy joined the board of directors of HSBR in 2011 and served until 2016.  She took a break and has come back in 2020 and focuses on Marketing.  She has been in business for herself for over 14 years with expertise in graphic design, e-mail marketing, and web design. 

When not working, Wendy and her husband love to hike, cook, travel, and spend time with friends and family (her in-law's just moved to the cabin next door from MA!).

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Susan K. Richardson - CPA

Director - joined November 2020

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Susan attended Auburn University graduating with a BS in Accounting.  It is at Auburn that she met her life-long friend and Blue Ridge Human Society board member, Tracy Allen.  


Susan began her career in public accounting at a local Atlanta CPA firm where she spent 4 years as an auditor for large real estate and development firms.  Moving into the corporate world, Susan spent 27 years in various accounting roles in the commercial real estate investment sector.  The majority of those years were spent with AXA Financial and Morgan Stanley.  Retiring in early 2018, Susan ended her corporate career as VP responsible for portfolio accounting and global investment accounting systems.  


Currently, Susan is the primary caregiver for her Mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  She is looking forward to moving to Blue Ridge in early 2021 and beginning the next phase in her life with her husband (Chad), Mother, three dogs, and three cats.  Susan has a future goal of returning to culinary arts school to become a Pastry Chef.


Susan is no stranger to philanthropic service.  She was involved in the St. Louis Arts Festival (among the top 10 largest art festivals in the U.S.) as co-chair of the Volunteer Committee for two years. She served three years on a committee responsible for the Annual Boots and Blue Jeans Fund Raiser for the Henry W. Grady Foundation.  Susan was responsible for establishing the annual Morgan Stanley Halloween Party at Hughes Spalding Hospital (10 years running).