Meet Our Team
Owner & CEO
Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA
Likes: The fall, hiking, college football, southern culture, flag football, woodworking and agriculture
Biggest Influence on Your Life: My grandpa, Virlyn ‘V.F.’ Chitwood. He just has an aura about him; a quiet and humble leader, always sharing knowledge, wisdom, and stories, and he’s such a great teacher.
Derek is the mastermind behind the dream of Peach State Pride! Growing up picking peaches at his family’s peach orchard, Derek has a passion for agriculture, history, and everything Georgia-related. As a creative mind and vivid dreamer, Derek is enjoying the challenges and rewards of being a young entrepreneur.
Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA
Party Trick: I can do the worm
What Inspired Me to Do What I Do: I got kind of tricked into it by marrying Derek (just kidding!). I have a passion for business and everything that goes into it. Peach State Pride is the best of both worlds: I get to work with amazing people, experience the challenges and successes of a thriving business first hand, and still give back to the state and community. It’s great.
Guilty Pleasure: Nightly chocolate chip cookies
Kari heads up marketing and operational initiatives and does a little bit of everything. Kari also has a large hand in sister company Empire South‘s retail endeavors: Empire South Athens, Empire South Watkinsville, Empire South Kids, and V.F. Chitwood’s.
Account Manager & Assistant Women’s Buyer
The University of Georgia in Athens, GA
Favorite Book: The Bible, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch - highly recommended for all of you recent college grads!
Favorite Actor: Denzel Washington, who doesn't love a good Denzel movie?
Jaicee has been with us since her time at UGA, and we’ve loved every minute of having her at Peach State Pride! She has a contagious energy and joy that keeps us all on our toes, and she’s always ready for a new way to grow Peach State Pride and the companies we partner with! She is the go-to person for our 100+ retail partners, and she also helps our women’s buying team at Empire South.
Warehouse & Product Development Manager
Truett-McConnell in Cleveland, GA
Who I’d Love to Meet: I’d love to meet Chipper Jones, because he was my idol as a youngster who loved baseball and the Braves.
Random Fact About Me: I have the sweetest and cutest dog on the planet, a yellow lab named Sadie!
Favorite Show: Friday Night Lights #TexasForever (but really, Georgia forever #PeachStatePride)
Who Has Been The Biggest Influence on Your Life: My Dad, he has taught me all the things in life a dad shares with his son: how to bait a hook, throw a baseball, drive a stick shift, and so many more skills. Not only that, but he taught me the most important life lessons such as what it means to work hard, to never give up, how to give and earn respect, having pride in your family name and hometown, and essentially what it means to be a man.
Retail Operations Manager & Product Development
Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA
Likes: Anything outdoors, all the way from hugging the trees to rippin’ lips, hunting wildlife and wrangling gators
Book that Moved Me: Love Does by Bob Goff
Favorite Show: Breaking Bad
Party Trick: My sweet dance moves
Derrick joined our team in early 2014 and works on the retail and wholesale side of the business. Derrick brings style and meticulous taste to the team; just ask his mother Wendy, she’ll tell you about the young boy who cried when his socks didn’t line up and shirt wouldn’t tuck in!
Business Office Manager
Susie is the glue that holds everything together at Peach State Pride! She is the ‘Mom’ of the group, and makes sure all of our i's are dotted and our t's are crossed. From taxes and payroll, to HR and corporate structure, Susie ensures that the business runs smoothly, and that we don’t have too much fun all the time (just kidding, we still do). We are so thankful for all you do, Susie!