Synovus Reestablishes Walton County Advisory Board, Appoints Nine Members

MONROE, Ga., March 29, 2022 — Synovus today announced the reestablishment of the Walton County Advisory Board and the appointment of nine members.

Synovus’ market-anchored local advisory boards are comprised of emerging or established leaders who represent diverse perspectives, demographics, segments, and interests in Synovus' communities. The boards provide council and promote partnerships that enable Synovus to strengthen its local markets while furthering the financial and economic health of individuals, businesses, communities, and other stakeholders. The Walton County Advisory Board appointees are Lisa Anderson, Kelly Bowling, Dr. Terry Chongulia, Jeremy Dupree, Ben E. Garrett, Dr. Chris Ibikunle, Wesley Sisk, Bruce Verge, and Tom G. Walker Jr.

“Synovus is fortunate to gain the involvement of these nine widely respected leaders who share a deep commitment to the Walton County community” said Meredith Malcom, Synovus market president for Walton County. “Synovus has proudly served the local community for 130 years, and we look forward to benefiting from these accomplished professionals' expertise as Synovus works to enable our clients and communities to reach their full potential.”

Anderson is a native of Walton County and grew up in Monroe. She holds a bachelor's degree in management from Georgia College, is a licensed real estate broker, and owns four businesses in Monroe's downtown district. She serves on the Monroe Downtown Development Authority, and she and her family reside in Monroe.

Bowling is the president and CEO of Robertson Optical Laboratories, Inc. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds a degree in computer science. Bowling began her career at Robertson Optical Laboratories in 1988. She assumed the role of vice president in 1993, and has served as the company's president and CEO since 2015.

Dr. Chongulia, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, is the co-owner of a private practice in Monroe and a member of the Piedmont Clinic. She attended the University of Chicago for both undergraduate and medical school, and she has been a resident of Walton County since 2003. Chongulia plays violin in the Athens Symphony and serves on the church council at Nativity Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Ga. Dupree, a lifelong resident of Walton County, is the principal partner at CORE Commercial Real Estate, Inc. He is a member of the Bethlehem Church 316 Campus and the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. He is also an SEC, ACC, and Sun Belt (NCAA Division I) Conference baseball umpire and involved with the Georgia High School Association, Fergus Lodge #135, local York Rite of Freemasonry organizations, and the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for Valley of Atlanta.

Garrett, who began his career in banking in 1979, now serves as executive director of the Walton County Health Care Foundation. After moving to Monroe in 1990, he joined the National Bank of Walton County, owned by Synovus, and was named the local bank's president and CEO in 1997. He retired from Synovus in 2017. He is co-chair of the Walton County YMCA Capital Campaign Committee, a member of the United Way of Walton County Campaign Team, and a member of First Baptist Church of Monroe.

Dr. Ibikunle is the CEO of IBI Healthcare Institute and its subsidiaries, including Georgia Surgicare and Surgicare Gwinnett. Ibikunle, who completed his residency at Cleveland Clinic Foundation, is also a professor of surgery at Augusta University and specializes in all aspects of general and bariatric surgery. He is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, a medical/operations officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and a CrossFit trainer. He resides in Grayson, Ga. with his wife and family.

Sisk is the managing partner of Brown Oil Distributors, LLC, a multi-branded fuel and lubricant wholesaler. He attended the University of West Georgia, where he graduated with honors and a degree in business management. He is a lifelong resident of Walton County and resides in downtown Monroe with his wife and two daughters.

Verge is co-owner of IMMEC, Inc., an industrial and mechanical maintenance company that also provides industrial construction, fabrication, millwright, and electrical services in Georgia and the Southeast. Verge is an avid real estate investor, and he provides professional advisement on community projects managed by organizations such as the Walton County YMCA and local schools.

Walker is the director of sales for Cherokee Brick in Macon. A lifelong resident of Walton County, he is a member of First Baptist Church of Monroe and previously served on the boards of directors of the Monroe Golf & Country Club, the Boys and Girls Club of Walton County, the National Bank of Walton County (NBWC), and Athens First Bank & Trust. Tom's mother, Mary Walker, was President & CEO of NBWC from 1974 to 1986. Both NBWC and Athens First Bank & Trust were acquired by Synovus in the early 1990s.

For more information about the Walton County Advisory Board appointees, including their headshots, click here.

Synovus Bank, a Georgia-chartered, FDIC-insured bank, provides commercial and retail banking and a full suite of specialized products and services, including private banking, treasury management, wealth management, mortgage services, premium finance, asset-based lending, structured lending, and international banking through 272 branches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Synovus is a Great Place to Work-Certified Company and is on the web at, and on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.