CONYERS -- Conyers resident Dean Alford has been named to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
Alford was sworn in on Monday by Gov. Nathan Deal. On Tuesday, he attended his first meeting on the Board of Regents, which voted in favor of merging eight colleges into four, bringing the number of colleges in the system from 35 to 31.
"That was a very important, strategic move," Alford said on Thursday.
Alford served five terms as a member of the state House of Representatives and has served as a member of the State Board of Education of Georgia. In 2006, Alford was appointed to the Board of the Technical College System of Georgia, where he served as chairman until last year.
"I believe that I am the first person in the history of Georgia to serve on all three education boards, which I think gives me a unique perspective," Alford said. "It's a real honor to have the opportunity to serve on the state school board, the Board of Technical Colleges and now the Board of Regents."
The Board of Regents is composed of 18 members, five of whom are appointed from the state at-large, and one from each of the 13 congressional districts. The board elects a chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer of the University System.
"We manage the budget and work with the presidents of the various universities and support what they need to provide world-class secondary education," Alford said.
Alford said that his goal while serving his seven-year term on the Board of Regents is to improve efficiency and effectiveness for the universities in Georgia.
"The reality is that Georgia has an educational enterprise that engulfs more than half the state's budget," Alford said. "Some challenges in the past have been that many of the education systems worked in silos and have not worked easily with each other. Gov. Deal and other educational leaders want to help create seamless education for the students of Georgia."
For instance, he said, it should be easier for students to transfer within the university system college credits earned while they were in high school.
"Students while in high school should have the ability to take post-secondary classes, and we need to develop strong articulation agreements so they can move throughout the system," Alford said. "We need to make it easier for students in high school to take post-secondary classes. We have seen that those who do are more successful than those who don't."
Alford and his wife, Debbie, live in Conyers and have five children and two grandchildren. Alford is president and chief executive officer of Allied Energy Services where he is currently responsible for more than $5 billion of energy projects in Central and North America. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.