April’s Spotlight in Business: The Federal Firm

me in colorJoseph Blake Evans has served as the managing partner of The Federal Firm’s Dalton office, located at 710 S. Thornton Ave., Suite A, since it opened in the fall of 2013.  Mr. Evans has practiced general litigation since 2003 and specializes in commercial and business disputes, personal injury and death cases, general negligence, and probate and estate matters.

The founder and Senior Partner of The Federal Firm is the Honorable R. Keegan Federal, Jr., a former Superior Court Judge who was elected in 1976, at the age of 33, and served eight years in the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit.  After leaving the bench in 1984, he represented the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspapers and WSB-TV in First Amendment cases, and then opened his own trial practice firm in 1987.

“When we learned that Joseph Blake Evans might be available, we immediately pursued him and convinced him to partner with us in opening the Dalton office,” said Judge Federal. “I’ve known Joseph for over 15 years, and he’s absolutely one of the finest lawyers in the area. He was tutored by perhaps the best lawyer in Dalton, Warren N. Coppedge, Jr., and we think that by combining forces, we will be able to provide significant back-up and support to Joseph and he will then be even more able to assist the people and businesses of northwest Georgia with their legal issues.”

Mr. Evans, a native of Calhoun, Georgia, earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees (Latin and Classical Culture) magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.  After college, Joseph returned home and taught Latin, British Literature and Mathematics at Calhoun High School before returning to Athens to study law.  Joseph practiced in Dalton for ten years with Mr. Coppedge before opening the Dalton office of The Federal Firm.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Evans is an active member of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Chamber’s Legislative Action Committee.  He is also an organizer and the master of ceremonies of the Annual Georgia String Band Festival, held the last weekend of April at the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun.

“My family has been in this area since the Cherokee Land Lottery, so involvement in the community – both professionally and personally – is vitally important to me,” said Mr. Evans.  “With my knowledge of Northwest Georgia, my training in the legal system, and my experience in the legal and business communities, I think I am well positioned to help you and your business with your legal needs.”


April Green Story: Georgia Power

Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, is committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average. The company maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that iGeorgia PMS-300ncludes nuclear, advanced coal and natural gas, renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind, as well as a variety of energy efficiency programs.

Identifying better ways to generate electricity, minimize environmental impact and deliver the most energy value for customers drives Georgia Power. The company is constantly challenging itself to preserve Georgia’s natural resources and meet the need for reliable and affordable power for customers when and where they need it.

Georgia Power’s renewable development team is working quickly to expand renewable generation, including solar, wind and biomass. With only 11 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity under contract to customers in 2013, Georgia Power programs resulted in some 200 MW one year later. The company expects to have more than 900 megawatts by the end of 2016. Georgia Power, working with the Georgia Public Service Commission and the solar industry, has created the largest voluntary renewable portfolio in the nation. The company is leading the way in supporting cost-effective solar generation for its customers.FAC00290

As part of its solar energy program, including Large-Scale Solar and the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative, the company anticipates more than 500 new solar projects will be brought online in coming years to significantly increase capacity.

In addition, Georgia Power’s first wholesale solar generation project – constructed, owned and operated by the company – is expanding through installation of additional generation facilities at the Dalton solar plant. Upon completion of the expansion, the project is expected to be nearly 10 times the size of the existing one.

Another way that Georgia Power is adding sustainable generation is through wind energy. Georgia Power has a contract for 250 MW of wind energy – or enough electricity to power more than 50,000 homes – from two wind farms in southwest Oklahoma beginning in 2016.

Georgia Power is also excited about what the growing electric vehicle market offers our customers. As electric vehicle (EV) technology continues to advance, the cars are becoming more practical and reliable, as well as more affordable.

An estimated five to 10 percent of new cars on the road in Georgia in the next 10 years will be fueled in whole, or in part, by electricity. Georgia is already an EV-friendly state; the Atlanta market ranks second for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles nationwide.


Working Together for Progress

“Where do you see your community in the future?”

Whitfield County Commissioner Chairman, Mike Babb

Whitfield County Commissioner Chairman, Mike Babb

Whitfield County:

The future will be affected by the recently passed SPLOST.

The public will have an updated 911 Dispatch Center using the latest in digital communications equipment.  The public safety employees will have better contact with their base of operations and with each other.  These improvements will connect Whitfield public safety with the Chattanooga metro area.  Employees will deliver safety services with more reliability by the purchase of modern safety equipment and vehicles.  Northwestern Whitfield will have better response times due to a new fire station.

The public will travel on safer roads due to paving and repair of our county road system.

More opportunity for family recreation and better health through improved recreational facilities.

Whitfield County will have great public safety services, a good road infrastructure, and family oriented recreation facilities all at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer.

Mayor, City of Dalton, Dennis Mock

Mayor, City of Dalton
Dennis Mock


“College town”…Those two words pretty much sum up my vision for Dalton.

We are being invaded and infused with bright, innovative and hopeful young people.

It’s our responsibilitWhitfield County Commissioner Chairman, Mike Babby as leaders to help this growing entity find the best fit possible into our community.  The goal is to preserve the many great assets and treasures that are distinctly Dalton while integrating a dynamic, young and energetic economic engine that will continue to move Dalton forward. BEEP BEEP!

Mayor, Cohutta, Ron Shinnick

Mayor, City of Cohutta, Ron Shinnick


Cohutta is the smallest municipality of the four municipalities in our County with a total area of 2.5 miles and a population of about 670 people. Located in the very northwest corner of our County, Cohutta is close to almost anywhere you might want to be. Close to Chattanooga, Cleveland and Dalton, yet is still a thriving and vibrate rural community. Even though these numbers seem small in comparison to the rest of Whitfield County, you’ll still find a wonderful spirit of community and family. Each year Cohutta has a number of community events including bike rides, the street dance, 4th of July Fireworks and Celebration, the Chicken-Q, just to name a few, that bring the community together.
The vision and the opportunity I have as Mayor is to continue to lay the framework that will foster this same spirit of service and cooperation that has served this area so well for over a century. I plan to do this by continuing to enhance our Recreational facilities including our ballfields, tennis courts, walking tract and by improving the biking and walking opportunities on our main streets and roads. We need to open lines of communication with all our business owners to determine how we can all work together to find opportunities for growth. We need to attract key businesses to our Town that will both enhance and improve the quality of life for the families and individuals in our community.

Mayor, Kenny Gowin

Mayor, City of Tunnel Hill, Kenny Gowin

Tunnel Hill:

Much of what was Tunnel Hill’s long term vision has become our short term vision.  For years, we’ve pursued Depot renovation and wastewater expansion.  With the help of Dalton Utilities, Whitfield County, and the Whitfield
County Board of Education we were able to obtain wastewater services a few years ago.  Now, that voters have approved the recent SPLOST, we’re going to expand those services.  Also, that same SPLOST is providing funding to renovate our Depot.  One of Whitfield County’s Road Projects is the straightening of Highway 201.  This, too, has been a project we’ve sought for many years.  The straightening will move a state highway from a residential neighborhood, move goods and services through Tunnel Hill and Whitfield County much more efficiently and safely, and provide a new economic corridor.  In short, the 2015 SPLOST could very well be a defining vote in our small city’s rich history.

We still have other projects we’ll be pursuing.  Sidewalks has been on our list for a long time and we’ll continue to pursue more wastewater expansion.  Lastly, we started a conversation with the Tunnel Hill Woman’s Club last year that has led us to start working on a possible Veteran’s Park where the old Post Office stood on Highway 41.  We’re going to be working as quickly as possible to make that happen sooner than later.

Mayor, City of Varnell, Anthony Hulsey

Mayor, City of Varnell, Anthony Hulsey


In the future I see the Varnell community as a place where people would want to move to and raise a family as well as a thriving municipality with growth.  Varnell is a small community with a full time police department that operates 24/7 365 days a year.  Our goal is to do the best we can to keep the citizens and visitors of Varnell safe.  As we move toward the future, I want the community to become more involved and the city to offer more family oriented activities, such as movie nights, etc..  I would also like to see more businesses and restaurants come to the community so that there is more to offer close to home.  I see people coming together and interacting with each other more when there is thing for people to do close to home.  It is my strong belief that we cannot grow or have a thriving future without the cooperation of the community members and its businesses, as well as the cooperation and efforts of the elected officials in the Varnell community.

April Diplomat of the Month: Vanessa Cole!

DSC04855How did you get started with Coffee News?

– I started Coffee News in 2008 after researching franchise opportunities.  I wanted to start my own business.  It has been a blessing to me and I am very fortunate to now own my own business.

What skills have you learned about running your own business?

– LOTS!  From the daily operations of running my business to being involved in the community, every aspect has been a learning experience.

What’s your favorite part of being a business owner?

– Being able to help companies grow their business through our affordable advertising.

How has the Chamber helped with your success?

– The Chamber has opened so many doors that I would have been able to open on my own.  The Chamber offers networking events to get you in front of the right people. I have thoroughly enjoyed my relationship with the Chamber and highly recommend that others get involved.