Chris Jones appointed GEFA deputy director
ATLANTA – Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Executive Director Kevin Clark announced today that Chris Jones has been appointed deputy director at GEFA. Jones will provide strategic leadership and operational oversight to GEFA’s Energy Resources, Water Resources, and Information Technology Divisions. He will continue to assist with GEFA’s external affairs by serving as a liaison to local, state and federal officials, the General Assembly, and agency stakeholders.
Steven F. Smith is succeeding Jones as GEFA’s chief financial officer (CFO). Smith will lead the Fiscal Services Division, which directs the agency’s finance and accounting operations; manages loan underwriting, servicing and financial analysis; and provides budgetary and administrative support for GEFA’s programs and initiatives.
“Chris’s leadership as GEFA’s chief financial officer has successfully contributed to our mission to conserve and improve the state’s energy, land and water resources. We look forward to his contributions to the agency as deputy director,” said Clark. “We’re also pleased to have Steven as our new CFO. GEFA and the customers we serve will benefit greatly from his knowledge and expertise in finance and accounting.”
Jones joined GEFA four years ago as CFO. Previously, he served as deputy division director of the Physical and Economic Development Division for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. In this role, Jones developed and presented policy and budget recommendations to the governor and executive leadership. He also provided quality control reviews and direction to all division staff on developing agency budget recommendations and financial analysis for 35 agencies within the Physical and Economic Development Division. Jones began his career in state government in 1995, with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) as a design engineer before transitioning to leadership roles at the agency. While at GDOT, he served as assistant office head of infrastructure for the IT division, assistant office head for the office of financial management, and division director for financial and policy compliance, where he managed the budget services, internal audits and external audits offices.
Jones serves on an educational design team organized by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, which is developing capital improvement planning curriculum for the county commissioner and county official educational series. He is an advisory board member for the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University. Jones is one of six reviewers in the state for the Government Finance Officers Association’s Popular Annual Financial Reporting Program, which recognizes state and local governments for their annual reports.
Jones earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology from Southern College of Technology (now the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University) in Marietta, Ga., and a master’s degree in business administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University. He also holds a Certified Government Financial Manager® (CGFM®) designation. Jones and his wife, Wendy, reside in Gwinnett County with their two children.
Prior to joining GEFA, Smith served as east regional president for Community and Southern Bank, where he was responsible for leading 14 offices and 86 team members throughout the East. Before his role at Community and Southern Bank, he was president and chief operating officer at Verity Bank, which he opened as founding president and helped raise $21.7 million in capital. He also served as senior vice president and executive vice president at Mountain State Bank, city executive at Branch Banking and Trust, and held senior roles at Century South Bank. Smith started his career in finance at Southland Bank as assistant vice president.
In 2014, Smith served as chairman of the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce, where he’s been a board member since 2011. He led the Leadership Barrow Committee as chairperson, where he led the revitalization of the program in 2013. Smith volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America as Cub Scout leader and assistant scoutmaster. He is a member of Winder First United Methodist Church, where he has held a number of leadership positions, and is a board member for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Smith also participates in the Winder Rotary Club, where he’s been a member since 2003.
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University. He and his wife, Kimberly, reside in Winder, Ga., with their two children.