Gary P. Stokan – President & CEO
Gary P. Stokan is President and CEO of Peach Bowl, Inc., a position he has held since 1998. As President and CEO of Peach Bowl, Inc., which has generated $754.9 million for the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia since 1998, Stokan has positioned the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as one of the best bowl games and organizations in the nation, and earned the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl a position as a New Year’s 6 bowl game in the new College Football Playoff along with the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Cotton Bowls. The Bowl has enjoyed a string of 17 out of 18 years of sellouts, earning the second-longest sellout record in the Bowl business, and is college football’s most charitable bowl game – having given $17.6 since 2002 which garnered the Atlanta Small Business Philanthropic Award. Most recently, Peach Bowl Inc. was named a Top 10 Small Business in Atlanta by Business Leader Media. With 37 years of corporate sports management experience at Adidas, Converse, and owning and operating two sports marketing companies, Stokan has created major events that bring exposure and economic impact to Atlanta by creating the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is the leader in opening weekend games, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge golf tournament, which annually provides more than $600,000 for scholarship and charity to its participating universities and coaches charity’s; and the Atlanta Sports Awards that recognizes and celebrates success in Atlanta sports and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl College Corner. Stokan lead Team Atlanta, the group of partners who worked to assemble the bid to bring the College Football Playoffs to the city. Most recently, Peach Bowl, Inc.’s addition of the management of the Dodd Trophy, college football’s preeminent national coach of the year, is due to Stokan’s leadership. Additionally, Stokan’s vision and leadership efforts resulted in the relocation of the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta and the creation of Atlanta Hall Management, Inc., which with Stokan serving as President and CEO, signed a 30-year licensing agreement with the National Football Foundation for Atlanta to build and operate the new College Football Hall of Fame. The architectural design of the Hall was also completed during Stokan’s tenure as President and CEO. For his efforts, in 2011 Atlanta Hall Management was recognized as winner of the Best in Real Estate Award – Land Category by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. From 2005-2010, Stokan also served as president of the Atlanta Tipoff Club, owner of the Naismith Awards. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is presented annually to the men’s and women’s college coach and basketball players of the year. As president of the Atlanta Sports Council from 1998-2009, Stokan led Atlanta’s efforts to brand the city as the “Sports Capital of the World”, drawing a range of world-caliber sporting events to metro Atlanta. Named the 2002, 2004 & 2006 Sports Commission of the Year, the Atlanta Sports Council successfully bid for and hosted the Super Bowl XXXIV, the 2009 and 2012 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, 2002, 2007 and 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four, 2003 Women’s Final Four, 2008 NHL All-Star Game, 2000 MLB All-Star Game, 2003 NBA All-Star Game, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Championships, the U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Championships and Wrestlemania 27. Stokan’s leadership tenure at the Atlanta Sports Council created an economic impact of over $2 billion and $75 million in direct government tax revenues for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Stokan, ranked as one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans and a top 50 leader in Atlanta hospitality, is a nationally recognized speaker and serves on the Board of the Children’s Healthcare Sports, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Dodd Trophy. He has been recognized by Sports Events Magazine as one of the top 25 key innovators and influencers in the sports community. Stokan has been honored with the Boy Scouts of America’s Bobby Jones Award, the American Diabetes Association Father of the Year Award and received the highest honor bestowed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon, ‘The Highest Effort,’ award for a lifetime of career achievement. A former basketball student-athlete and Jon Speaks Award winner for team leadership, assistant basketball coach and business management graduate of North Carolina State University, Gary has been married to his high school sweetheart, Tia, for 37 years. Together, they have two daughters, Christie and husband John and Michele and husband Dave.
David Epps – Chief Operating Officer and Vice President, Marketing
In his 22nd year with the Bowl, David is responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the organization, the marketing, branding, licensing and promotional efforts, as well as managing key relationships. He also leads the direction of merchandising and advertising campaigns. A graduate of Furman University and the University of Georgia, David lives in Marietta with his wife, Kim, their 16-year-old son, Grayson, and 14 year-old daughter, Maggie.
Chris Hughes – Chief Financial Officer
Chris joined the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl team in August 2012 and is responsible for managing the finance, human resources and IT functions. He is a CPA and prior to joining the Bowl organization he spent 12 years at Barry Real Estate Companies, an Atlanta based commercial real estate developer as their CFO. Chris is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, and lives in Johns Creek with his wife Lisa and their three teenage children.
Derek Martin – Vice President, Events
In his 18th year with the Bowl, Derek manages the event department and game day operations and serves as the main liaison for the participating teams. He also serves as tournament director for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge. Derek lives in Smyrna with his wife, Meredith, their son, Ben, and daughter, Ava.
Matt Garvey – Vice President, Communications
A 24-year veteran of the sports communications industry, Matt is in his 17th year directing the communications and media relations efforts of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. During that time, Garvey has helped grow the Bowl’s brand within the college football landscape and helped elevate its status as one of the premier bowls in the nation. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Matt lives in Kennesaw with his wife Heather, daughter Elaine, and son Owen.
Benji Hollis – Vice President, Sales
In his 12th year with the Bowl, Benji oversees the Bowl’s sales efforts and is personally responsible for all tasks related to corporate partnerships and sponsorship. He also manages the Board of Advisors program, which brings Atlanta business leaders together in support of the Bowl. A graduate of N.C. State University, Benji lives in Buford with his wife, LeeAnna and daughters Anna Charles and Everlee.
Anton Dawson – Director, Events
Anton has been with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl since 2003. A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Anton manages hotel operations, volunteers, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade presented by Lions Clubs International, and events. Anton served as the ticketing intern for the Bowl in 1999.
Mike Gilbert – Director of Ticketing
Mike oversees all day-to-day ticket sales and operations as well as the processing and fulfillment of all ticket and parking orders. He was the Ticketing and Sales intern for the 2008 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and has worked for Ticketmaster/Live Nation, the Atlanta Braves and Clemson University. A graduate of Clemson University in 2005 and Georgia State University in 2008, Mike now resides in Vinings with his German Shepard, Cindy.
Dillon Faulkner – Communications Manager
Dillon joined the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl team in July 2016 and supports the day-to-day public relations and media operations responsibilities, along with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl’s philanthropic platforms and charitable and scholarship giving initiatives. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Dillon previously worked for Edelman, an international communications marketing firm, where he served as the day-to-day lead on the Peach Bowl, Inc. account. During his time at Edelman, he also worked with a number of other large clients such as the Atlanta Hawks, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., and Papa John’s International, Inc.’s sports partnerships with the NFL and MLB, among others.
Cecil Akrong – Accounting Supervisor
Cecil joined the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl team in November 2016 and is responsible for assisting the CFO in managing the finance, human resources and IT functions. Since graduating from Kennesaw State in 2013, Cecil has worked in logistics and most recently worked as an accounting supervisor for a real estate brokerage company as well as a law firm. Cecil lives in Marietta with his wife Danielle.
Patti Young – Executive Assistant
Back for her 47th bowl game, Patti is the executive assistant to President and CEO Gary Stokan. Patti is invaluable, contributing office management, event support and partner relations as well as interacting with volunteers. An Atlanta native, she was inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame in November 2012 for her commitment to the city. Patti has two daughters, Patrice and Brooke, and lives in Smyrna. In her spare time, Patti visits Charlotte, where she enjoys spoiling her grandson, Banks.