Meet Lauren Pugh! Lauren is the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Lanier Technical College. She is married and loves to cook. She said she loves Hall County because everyone jumps in to help each other.
“It’s one of those things that you laugh at, and say I’m going to get out of here and see this big beautiful world, and you end up right where you started,” she said.
We want to thank Lauren for recently sitting down with our Realtor Ricky Lewallen and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Question: What inspired or led you to your current career?
Answer: “Education has always been a huge part of my life, and of my family’s life. As the daughter of an educator, I’ve always been surrounded by education. My mom actually went back to college when I was in first grade. We often served as the guinea pigs for the students who were involved in the education system. From a very early age, I was mindful of the power of education, in addition to seeing first hand its impact and what it did for our family.”
Q: What is your objective at Lanier Tech?
A: “Essentially, I organize all of our fundraising efforts and I serve as executive director of our foundation, which is all of our external funding, as well as our community outreach. I take all opportunities to showcase Lanier Tech, and celebrate the great things that happen to our students. We work very closely with our community to allow people to know what we do here.”
Q: How long have you worked here at Hall County?
A: “I started working here as a student at North Hall. I worked in a variety of different areas here, one of which being my first job, which was Whelchel and Dunlap. After that I left college, I was incredibly fortunate to be hired by then Congressman Nathan Deal in Washington D.C. I’ve been back in Hall County since leaving the technical college system for about a year and a half.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant here in Hall County?
A: “Well, we have a ton.I would definitely have to say At the Tracks, which, at this point, has been our home away from home. I tell a lot of people, when we were little, Saturday nights were always spent with my grandmother in Lula. We always visited Benny’s Pizza, and you felt like you were at home. I think once they left, At the Tracks really stepped up to give us that feel.”
Q: Who do think is the most interesting person you’ve met in Hall County?
A: “I have had the incredible blessing of meeting quite a few. It is definitely a challenging question for me, after working with Governor Nathan Deal. He and First Lady Sandra Deal have been an incredible role models. But I will have to say Denise Deal and Chris Riley are very influential in my life.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Why?
A: “Funny enough, my husband and I were just talking about this the other day, of different stuff we want to do. We’ve done nothing but work, and we have no kids, so Italy is a big bucket list trip for us. I was a history major in college, and the Spanish Steps, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum are all things we all want to see before we die. We take for granted how young most of our historical sights are here in the U.S., in comparison to Europe.”
Q: What would you say would be your favorite movie? Or the first movie you saw in the theater?
A: “My niece is just now coming to the age where she can enjoy movies, and actually wanting to sit and watch different things, and I think ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been one of my favorites for a long time because it provides such a great message of seeing people for who they are, rather than simply seeing their physical appearance.”
Q: If you could give advice to a crowd of people, what would your advice be?
A: “I have to steal from my mother. She always said, ‘Bloom where you’re planted.’ I think, more often than not, we don’t listen to that piece of our brain that suggests we make the most of our situation. You never really know what kind of impact you’re going to have on somebody else’s life.”
Q: What’s something on your bucket list?
A: “I honestly think my bucket list is being able to go back to the farm, and to end where I started.There’s something to be said for being in the middle of nowhere without a care in the world beyond watching the sunset.”
Q: What music do you listen to? Three favorite bands?
A: “I am an avid music follower, with the exception the more recent stuff. I appreciate it a lot. Dolly Parton is someone I would love to see in concert. Van Morrison is one of Matt and I’s favorite. Fleetwood Mac, I would even say the Temptations.”
Q: If you could name a business that makes you the most nostalgic in Hall County, what would it be?
A: “I think I mentioned it earlier, Benny’s Pizza for me is basically where I grew up. Most of the time we would get take-out, so we could go back to my grandmother’s house and watch the Braves game. We always made sure the Braves game was on for Saturday night.”
Q: What is something unique about Hall County that you love?
A: “Because I’ve had the opportunity to travel the state with the previous First Lady (Sandra Deal), on the campaign trail, I’ve seen so many different corners and pieces of Georgia. One thing that sticks out about Hall County is the eagerness to jump in and help everybody around them. That probably wasn’t necessarily a blessing as a teenager, because everybody knew my comings and going, though I would say from everything I’ve seen, everybody just jumps in to take care of everybody else. It’s one of those things that you laugh at, and say I’m going to get out of here and see this big beautiful world, and you end up right where you started.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
A: “We’ve been very, very fortunate in our professional life. I have had some incredible opportunities, but I’m glad to be home, with familiar streets and having commuted 60 miles one way every day, to now being about 8 miles from home, it has definitely given me a whole new lease on life. So I’ll say in 5 to 10 years, I don’t see us being anywhere but Hall County. As I said, the bucket list if something we’re trying to achieve, but we aspire to be land owners. Agriculture has been so immersed into who I am, with my parents having a farm, that having that work-life balance is some we aspire to achieve. I do see continued growth at Lanier Tech in my future. Having been a part of building the first new campus in the history of technical education, it has been a labor of love. We are so we’re incredibly proud of it, and I’m very fortunate to have worked alongside Dr. Ray Perren. Hopefully, he’s helping prepare me for some additional opportunities. Being back in Hall County, I hope to introduce our youth to educational opportunities moving forward.”
Q: What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
A: “I’m a huge tomboy. Well, if you’re close to me you probably know that, but I would say my colleagues have no idea. I was an athlete in college where I played basketball at Piedmont College. It was a great opportunity to teach discipline. It was a struggle though, going into the professional world.”
Q: What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word Home?
A: “I think it’s cliche, but home is where the heart is. There’s no place like home. If you’ve ever left here, and came back, it takes on a whole new meaning. Saying “home is where the heart is,” I think you never know how much you want in invest in the people around you until you’ve left and come back.”
Q: If you were cast in a major motion picture, and had your choice of anyone to be your costar, who would you choose?
A: “Kevin Costner, it would have to be.”
Q: If you had a full time staff member, paid for, who would you choose, a chef, a housekeeper, a driver, a physical fitness trainer, or a nanny?
A: “Mine’s definitely a housekeeper. I love to cook, but I hate laundry. You can ask my husband. We cook dinner together every night. I meal plan on the weekends, and he is a big grilling fanatic.”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.