Interview by Abernathy Cochran interns and Gainesville High School students: Donangelo Marshall and Grady Vardeman
Meet Tressa Friend! Teresa is the marketing and communications specialist for The Law Office of Russell C. Petersen. She is a people person and loves to make new friends. Previously, she was a franchise coordinator for the worldwide Holiday Inn System; she has seven children and 13 grandchildren.
We want to thank Teresa for spending time with us recently and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I found a knack for making and keeping friends, which was very important. I started as an administrative assistant and it wasn’t long before my boss Russ pulled me in his office because the people here would come in and ask me about my family, I always knew if they had a baby born or a new grandson. I kept up with all of that and it was impressive to them. I became friends and am still friends with quite a few Realtors and get quite a few invites to open houses and that’s fun for me, that’s not work. It brought me to the point where Russ said that I had one heck of marketing skill and–here I am.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Hall County?
A: “I’ve lived in Hall County for a year, I lived in Dahlonega before that for 17 years but I’m originally from Roswell. I’ve been doing marketing most of the eight years I’ve been here.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “There’s a lot of good ones, but I would have to say the one that Russ and I both like together and that have worked with in the past to do functions and venues which would be Recess. I like the seafood there and I’m a big ahi tuna fan. So, I could eat that every day if you let me.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “That’s easy for me. I was born in Okinawa, Japan. I’m a navy brat, and my dad was a secret service warrant officer. I was five when I moved from there, and I would want to visit there because we had a nanny and I’ve tried to find her and I haven’t been able to. She took care of me until I was five and we went through a couple of typhoons and they hid me in the rice fields that were near the barracks that we stayed. I would really love to go back there. My mother told me I spoke fluent Japanese. We then moved from Japan to Germany and my mother told me that when I got angry it would come out in German and Japanese at the same time.”
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
A: “I went to the movies with my dad as a child, I don’t know why this stuck out, but the movie was ‘Patton.’ I need to go back and see it. All I know is that I loved it and being with my dad since he was in the navy… it was cool.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Never underestimate yourself. I personally like to pace myself because if I don’t it’s overwhelming and that’s basically what I would tell a group of people.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Actually I have a good girlfriend named Jean, she and I would like to go to Dublin. A fun little joke we do together acts like we’re Irish, so that would be a dream come true to us.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I love all kinds of music, but I’d really like to see Diana Ross, David Bowie, and Jennifer Lopez.”
Q: What current or local business makes you most nostalgic about Hall County?
A: “I’d just have to say Green Street, the architectural design they have with all the homes is really special and not a lot of places have that. I love the fact that it feels like such a large community, but everyone seems to gather during special celebrations and holidays and it makes it that more hometown feeling. I really just like everything it offers. I personally haven’t really felt the need to leave Gainesville because you can find almost anything right here.”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Hall County would you have lunch?
A: “I would say Judge John Breakfield he is an attorney here in Hall County and I would love to pick his brain, he’s just a very community involved person, I’ve always wanted to go to Luna’s.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “The history, the parks, the train, the concerts and the parks and something I think is special is our community supports it’s veterans like you don’t see in other places.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “I see myself here, I see us growing and excited to double what we’ve already succeeded at and I would like to see Russ succeed and retire with a bang.”
Q: (Even for friends or family) , what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I’m in the Nationals Who’s Who Book of Baton Twirling, I did it all growing up. I had over 800 trophies but they are with my mother. I like arts and crafts. In high school, I was a cheerleader, but we were recognized for Alabama for being one of the best squads so we went and cheered in Tuscaloosa for the University of Alabama and from that point I got nominated to the Alabama High School Athletic Association.”
Q: What three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Comfortable, family, safety.”
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: “A housekeeper because of my seven children and 13 grandchildren who visit me often, and because of my schedule with work.”