Executive Director

Ashley Gowen

[email protected]

Ashley Gowen was recently named the Executive Director of the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority for the City of Folkston and Charlton County. “I am excited to assume the role of Executive Director,” Gowen stated. “I look forward to representing my community and citizens by promoting and encouraging strong economic growth through industry, local businesses, and tourism. Not only are these concepts my goals, they are my passion.”

“As chamber director, my efforts will be centered around building a trusting relationship with our local businesses as we rise to the next level, by focusing on our tourism opportunities. Folkston and Charlton County will become a tourist destination.”

“Through the joint efforts of the Chamber and Charlton citizens, we will highlight our informative Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge, our unique Folkston Funnel, and our charming hometown Main Street Shops. We will share our hidden gems such as horseback riding beneath 300-year- old live oak trees, spotting an alligator while touring the mysterious Okefenokee Swamp, or dancing the night away at one of our top-notch wedding venues.”

Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Diversified Agriculture and her associate degree in Agricultural Business from Abraham Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. She has attained her certification as a yoga instructor. Her prior work experience includes serving as hospitality consultant with Newell Lodge & Resort and as extension 4-H agent with the University of Georgia Extension. Gowen currently serves as a board member with the Southeast Georgia Joint Development Authority and is a member of the Georgia FFA Alumni Association.

Recently married, Ashley and her husband Hunter Gowen, both Charlton County natives make their home in Folkston along with son, Logan Mesa.

We enjoy being together whether it’s the many long days at the barn showing livestock or riding horses down a country dirt road. We love the water, so when we’re not working, we enjoy boating down the St Mary’s River. We are proud of our community and the opportunities afforded us. We could not imagine being anywhere else.”

Gowen is confident that 2019 will be a year filled with opportunities for growth for local businesses and the community.

Executive Assistant

Lynn Crews

[email protected]

Lynn Crews born in Green Bay Wisconsin, raised on a dairy farm. Served in the Army and now lives in Folkston, Georgia. Employed as a University of Georgia County Extension Agent from 1984 – 1994 in Charlton County. Taught 2011-2014 in eighth grade social studies classroom, 1996-2011 was CEO of the Charlton County Family Connection, Inc. and as a Pre-K Family Resource Coordinator with the Charlton County Board of Education. Education and degrees BS Georgia Southern, MPA Valdosta, EdS from NSU.

Special interests: Walking, yoga, reading, volunteer work, church, youth, the beach, travel, crafts, water sports, kayaking, Zumba, Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge volunteer and Friend, work and my family. Presently Executive Director for the Okefenokee Chamber of Commerce in Folkston, Georgia.