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BIZ ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE VOL. 22 / ISSUE 3 President & CEO, Editor Bárbara Rivera Holmes Chair Don Gray Chair-Elect Chandu Kuntawala Printing South Georgia Printing Ad Sales Mary Bickerstaff Marketing Agency MADlab Marketing
Biz (U.S.P.S. 886-680) is published by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, 225 W. Broad Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701. Subscription rate of $50 is included in membership investment. Periodicals postage paid at Albany, Georgia. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Business Magazine, 225 W. Broad Avenue, Albany, Georgia, 31701. For more information about this publication or advertising rates, call (229) 434-8700. This publication is produced by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without expressed written consent of the publisher is prohibited. All claims, materials and photos furnished or used are, to the publisher’s knowledge, true and correct. Hence liability cannot be assumed by the publisher for errors or by the publisher for errors or omissions. Advertisements and editorial information published in this publication are subject to the unrestricted right to edit of, and by, our editor/publisher. U.S. Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation. Date of Filing: 9/29/08
CON T E N T S
Albany State University (ASU) honored over 600 graduates, including 26 dual enrollment students, at the 2022 Spring Commencement Ceremony on May 7 at the Albany Civic Center. Christopher C.Womack, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, served asthe commencement speaker. Founded in 1903, Albany State University continues to provide leadership in academic excellence, social change and economic impact. ASU is a nationally top-ranked Historically Black College and University and serves an increasingly diverse student body and community by offering a uniquely comprehensive array of programs, from associate to graduate degrees. Photo courtesy of Reginald Christian.
Comments from the Chairman The Good Life City honors our military men and women.
A Message from the Chamber President Albany Area Chamber of Commerce: Advocates and Champions.
The Making of Young Marines A future generation of heroes.
Retiring Maj. Gen. Joseph Shrader Two generations of faithful service.
Smart Warehousing Modern technology for military warehouse solutions.
Georgia Joint Defense Commission Chamber, community leaders host statewide defense commission in Albany.
Partnering for Success Statewide Hub Chamber Council leverages state's largest chambers, communites, including Albany.
Gold Dome Leaders Get to know the Albany Area’s state delegation.
Molson Coors: Lonnie Taylor Cheers to 40 years!
Choosing Albany: Bridges Sinyard Back to hometown roots.
Education Update Recognizing the outstanding achievements of our local schools.
Chamber Highlights Celebrating the Albany Area Chamber and its members.
ON THE COVER: Each day, on every United States Marine Corps post throughout the world, Marines hoist morning colors. Morning and evening colors refer to the raising and lowering of the American flag. Morning colors is the traditional flag raising ceremony which occurs every morning at 8 a.m. as per regulations. The flag is lowered at sunset. This image is an digitally painted image of the Marine hoisting the flag at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
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COM M E N T S
FROM T HE 2 022 C HAIRM AN Those who served, and those who continue to serve, are executing an oath of service to uphold and protect our nation against all enemies foreign and domestic. We should never forget the importance of their commitment to our nation, the sacrifices endured by their families who support them, and most importantly, honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Honor can continue with you also as we strive to serve our community in the best ways possible for everyone – one day at a time, one step at time What an honor for our Albany Area Chamber and its Military Affairs Committee to have recently partnered with Albany Technical College to host the Georgia Joint Defense Commission during a two-day visit to downtown venues in Albany and tours and briefings aboard Marine Corps Logistics Command, headquartered here in Albany with Marine Corps Logistics Command. Albany-based Marine Corps Logistics Command is fully engaged in protecting our nation; partnerships with Albany educational institutions and businesses are key in maintaining and continuing to evolve this capability through work force development and apprenticeships. Thank you to all of the Marines, Sailors, National Guard Soldiers, and the civilian workforce aboard our military installation who exemplify the best in serving our nation and this community everyday! One of the best ways we can honor those who serve is to continue to bring your best to the table, working hard and loving hard in our community; supporting our military community at the Marine Corps Logistics Base and Marine Corps Logistics Command; and enabling youth leadership organizations such as the Albany Young Marines, a Chamber member. Albany can be alive if Albany is alive in you. We have a great community with limitless potential. Look folks, if we don’t take every opportunity to talk about what is good in the Good Life City then you can’t expect others to find it. Before you can win at anything you have to believe in yourself and then go to work. There’s work to do. Let’s live it, let’s be it and let’s promote it as part of the best of us while always working to make it better for everyone. Be part of the best of us as we lean in together with our state legislative delegation advocating for funding for Albany State University, Albany Technical College, and the Dougherty County School System. The Chamber’s 2022 legislative priorities also include resources mental health and rural health care; broadband expansion; work force development; infrastructure improvements; defense partnerships; and enhancing our natural resources. Thank you to all who supported the Chamber’s 112th annual meeting, hosted in April on the bricks at Thronateeska in downtown Albany. What an amazing evening that showcased some of Albany’s best. Congratulations 2022 Lifetime Service Award recipient Walter “Sonny” Deriso and 2021 Albany Under 40 Young (AU40) Professional of the Year Dr. Koosh Desai of the Medical College of Georgia – Southwest Georgia campus, and to all of the AU40 category honorees. Thank you also to our event sponsors, volunteers and to our Chamber team for a fantastic evening for all. I truly believe we’re moving toward a brighter future and big things together. I hope you enjoy this latest issue of Biz. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” – Muhammad Ali May God provide you strength and resiliency while comforting you and yours always. Be the best of us. One Team, One Fight for Albany. Semper Fidelis.
- DON GRAY
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M ES SAGE
F RO M T H E P R ES I DE NT & C EO Advocacy is an action, but as a word it is defined as public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. To champion is to support or defend a cause. At the Albany Area Chamber, we are both – advocates and champions. We advocate for the policies, projects and environment that protect and promote commerce and the community. We champion business, we champion our members, we champion Albany. We were created in 1912 precisely for these purposes. The founders of the Albany Area Chamber so believed in the power of a collective voice that they invested in the creation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Annually, we create an agenda that identifies our legislative priorities, and we advance these by creating awareness; through relationships with elected officials and partners; and by mobilizing you, our members, to act. Recent examples of the latter include successfully protecting Albany’s Metropolitan Statistical Area designation; COVID-related PPP funding that provided a lifeline for many businesses; and adoption of the transportation special purpose local option sales tax to improve commerce-enabling infrastructure in Dougherty County. The 2022 state legislative session wrapped recently. The Albany Area Chamber successfully championed funding to create the health professions simulation lab at Albany State University, which will help train the health care professionals our community and state so desperately need; and funding to expand the Albany Transportation Academy. The Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors supported HB 1064, the first military retirement income tax in Georgia history, which Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law on April 18. A slew of work force bills was also supported by the Albany Area Chamber along with the new Hub Chamber Council, a federation of the state’s largest non-Atlanta chambers. Our advocacy has also supported investments at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command, including the base’s net zero capabilities and the command’s additive manufacturing center of excellence. Most recently, we submitted appropriations requests of $101 million for two critical projects at the installation that support capabilities and facilitate readiness. The Albany Area Chamber is a non-partisan organization that works with its members, its partners and elected officials to advocate and champion for business and for Albany and the Albany Area. Further lend your voice by serving on a Chamber committee, just one benefit of membership. Together we lead. Together we win. Together, we are impact.
-BÁRBARA RIVERA HOLMES
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Thirteen-year-old Amia Moore, a rising eighth grader at Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School in Albany, wants to make the world a better place. She is happy to have found a path to that goal through her recent involvement with the Albany Young Marines, a youth program which focuses on leadership, community service, self-discipline and a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
“I JOINED THE YOUNG MARINES LAST YEAR, AND IT HAS INSPIRED ME TO WANT TO DO MORE FOR MY COMMUNITY AND MY COUNTRY,” MOORE SAID. “I BELIEVE THAT THE LEADERSHIP, DISCIPLINE AND TEAMWORK I LEARNED IN THE YOUNG MARINES HAS HELPED ME BUILD MYSELF UP, WHICH MEANS THAT I CAN BUILD OTHERS UP, TOO. THIS HELPS THE COMMUNITY AND JUST MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.” Leadership, discipline and teamwork are, in fact, the core values of the Young Marines, a program for boys and girls ages 8 to 18. Started by several former U.S. Marines in Connecticut in 1959, today the highly respected youth organization has grown to more than 238 units. The focus, though, has remained the same: to strengthen the lives of America’s youth and to develop future leaders. In our community, the Albany Young Marines, under the leadership of Eric Crump with assistance from his wife Adriana, is experiencing a resurgence. With just four participants at the beginning of 2021, the local unit has grown to about 30 active
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members and is on track to hit 40 recruits by year’s end. "The Young Marines program is based on the Marine Corps values of honor, courage and commitment,” Crump explained. “Of course, discipline is important. It's a program anybody can excel in as long as they apply themselves." The program offers leadership development and other life skills through training that mirrors the values of the Marine Corps. New recruits undergo 26 hours of orientation training, concentrating on history, customs and courtesies, close order drill, physical fitness and military rank structure. After graduating from Young Marine Recruit Training, members have the opportunity to earn rank, wear the Young Marine uniform and work toward ribbon awards for achievement in areas such as leadership, community service, swimming, academic excellence, first aid and drug resistance education. The group meets twice a month on Sundays at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport for several hours of training and drills. Community volunteers make the program possible. In fact, the Crumps are both volunteers who got involved so that their sons could benefit from the program. In addition to the Crumps, other parent volunteers and members of the Single Marine Program at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany (MCLB) participate in training activities. Dan Gillan, CEO of the Albany Area YMCA and chair of the
With more than 30 active members this year, the Young Marines meet twice a month on Sundays at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport for several hours of training and drills.
Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, sees a mutual benefit in the relationship between MCLB and the Young Marines. “The purpose of the Military Affairs Committee is to promote a relationship of support between MCLB and the community, and this program is a great example of that," said Gillan, a former commander of Marine Depot Maintenance Command at Albanybased Marine Corps Logistics Command. "Volunteering with the Young Marines gives some of the U.S. Marines stationed here the opportunity to get out and serve the community by being role models. They help the kids learn how to stand at attention, how to salute and some of the other basics of being a Marine. They also work on ways to help the kids develop who they are, from physical fitness goals, like running, push-ups or crunches, to serving as color guards for different community events.”
LAST YEAR, THE YOUNG MARINES COMPLETED MORE THAN 425 HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE AND ARE STRIVING FOR 1,000 HOURS IN 2022. “It is important for us that the Young Marines impact the community by giving back,” Crump said. “Some of the past projects included assisting with greeting and registration at the Chamber’s Salty Sandbagger Golf Tournament, cleaning up the YMCA Sports Park and helping with food drives. We’ve also been able to work with groups like Strive 2 Thrive, the Albany Humane Society and local veterans. It’s been great to work with the Chamber because they’ve been able to help us get the word out and connect us with some of those opportunities.” The Young Marine participants enjoy the community involvement. Moore cited an outreach ministry of Life Church as a particular favorite of hers. “I especially liked helping to organize the Foster Closet,” she said. “We matched outfits of donated clothes that were then made available to children in foster care.” Another Young Marine, 17-year-old homeschooled student Isaiah Smith, also enjoys the opportunity to give back to the community. “I like meeting people,” he said. “One activity that I especially enjoyed was helping The Salvation Army to put together food boxes for the elderly. I like being able to be a part of a group that’s doing good work.”
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Crump also noted the special connection between the Marine Corps League, a service organization of Marine Corps veterans, and his unit of Young Marines. “This cross-generational link gives the youth participants a way to learn from and honor the veterans, while also giving the older generation a way to celebrate and support our youth,” said Crump. Crump strives to make the program accessible for anyone who wants to participate. The only membership requirement is that the youth must be in good standing at school. A uniform and supplies run about $250 for each participant, but the Crumps make sure that money is never a problem. “If a family wants their child to do this program,” said Crump, “we figure out a way for them to join and to take care of the expenses. If they want to give their child a chance to improve themselves and have more opportunities in the future, I don’t want money to be an issue.”
WHILE SOME YOUNG MARINE PARTICIPANTS GO ON TO JOIN THE MILITARY AFTER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION THAT IS NOT THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE PROGRAM.
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“One thing I like about this program is that they are not necessarily grooming these kids to be U. S. Marines,” said Gillan. “What the program does is instill patriotism and good character values. They are building future leaders. Whether these young men and women become Marines or not, they will be leaders in their communities. My co-chair, Don Gray, and I are both strong proponents of the Albany Young Marines because we see the value of what they are doing, and that is why we are very vocal about supporting their efforts though the Military Affairs Committee.” The participants are also aware of the impact that the Young Marines organization has had on their lives. “It’s a great program, whether you’re interested in the Marines or just for fun,” said Smith, who is considering a career in either the military or agriculture. “There’s a lot to learn, and you’re surrounded by good people who want to help you succeed.” Future world-changer Moore, who wants to pursue interests in journalism and nursing in college and one day join the U.S. Air Force, agrees. “When you show teamwork, everyone feels included. That’s what I love about the Young Marines," she said. "Everyone has a chance to be a hero. You don’t have to be in the military. You just have to want to make a difference.”
CHANGING OF THE MAJ. GEN. JOSEPH SHRADER RETIRES AFTER 41 YEARS OF SERVICE
WHEN MAJ. GEN. JOSEPH SHRADER’S PARENTS LEFT THE MARINE BASE IN ALBANY IN 1963 HEADED BACK HOME TO WEST VIRGINIA WITH SHRADER AND HIS OLDER BROTHER IN TOW, THEY HAD NO IDEA THAT THEIR SON WOULD ONE DAY MAKE HIS WAY BACK TO ALBANYBASED HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS COMMAND. But more than five decades later, that is exactly what happened. Shrader has no real childhood memories of Albany; he was just a one when his parents left. Still, he says, it's been "special" to end his 40-plus year career in the U.S. Marines in the same city in which he was born. It was pretty special, too, when four years ago Shrader's mother witnessed him take command. “She was able to make the trip,” said Shrader. “To have her here, it was like a trip down memory lane. I had no memory of it, but it was special to me to have her here and to hear her stories. They lived in a little cinder block garage apartment off of Jackson Street, and I think the biggest thing that I remember my mother talking about was when they were here, they didn’t have air conditioning, and she used to take my brother and I to the Sears & Roebuck building. There was a Sears & Roebuck building downtown and during the daytime she would take us over there because it was the only place that she could go that had air conditioning. For me that’s a significant thing.”
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ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
SHRADER’S FATHER WAS STATIONED AT THE BASE IN ALBANY AS A SUPPLY MARINE, AND SHRADER SAID THE CONNECTION TO HIS FATHER HAS BEEN SPECIAL AS WELL. “It has been pretty special to come back and take command of an organization that my father was assigned to through his entire time in the Marine Corps,” said Shrader. “I’ve got pictures of him when he was here and I can relate to locations in the picture. I've driven around here and seen some of them on base.” Marine Corps Logistics Command provides globally responsive ground equipment inventory control and integrated operationallevel logistics capabilities in order to maximize Marine Corps material readiness and sustainment. Before serving as the command's commanding general, Shrader worked in artillery and acquisition procurement. Now at the end of a 41-year career in the Marine Corps, Shrader said the Marine Corps has changed and evolved since he joined the force right out of high school. “I came in 1981 and that was kind of at the beginning of the all-volunteer force. We're starting to realize that because of the advancements in technology and systems that we use, we have to compete with the private sector for that talent, and it’s causing us to rethink how we do talent management and how we recruit, train and retain people, where back when I first came in, that was not the case. You go into the Marine Corps to be a Marine and learn to hump a pack and suck it up and like it. There’s still some of that, some of the fundamental basics are still there, but the all-volunteer force has evolved over time and changed the character — not the nature — of the Marine Corps.” In his four years as commanding general, Shrader said he’s also been able to see the way LOGCOM has evolved. “The greatest advancement I think since I’ve been here, is really watching this organization evolve into what it is now just over the
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last four years. When I got here four years ago, the organization was at a point where it was having to kind of reset itself and reestablish what I will call 'standard blocking and tackling' when it comes to operational level logistics tasks. Just watching them grow over the four years, the basic blocking and tackling is everyday standard business. “They were kind of crawling then, and now, in a lot of areas, we’re sprinting. It’s been a pleasure watching this organization
and this team grow over the last four years into what it is today. I really think it’s a world-class organization. They’ve achieved some things that no other organization within the Marine Corps has been able to do.” And as Shrader explained, logistics plays a key role in how the Marines operate overall. “Our commandant, Gen. Berger, when he came almost three years ago, set a very challenging, very visionary course for the Marine Corps called Force Design 2030,” said Shrader. “He’s really changing a lot of fundamental things in the Marine Corps in how we fight. He has said that logistics is the pacing item for how we intend to fight into the future. Well, that’s us. We play a huge role in that, and so what that means to this organization in the future is extending and figuring out how to take the capability that we provide to the fleet Marine force forward and how to extend operation to reach that, to provide the fleet Marine force more freedom of movement within any AOR (Area of Responsibility) that they are engaged. “For us it means we really have to figure out how we want to modernize ourselves to do that to extend that operational reach to facilitate the Marines forward. I think Albany has a very bright future. The commandant has recognized how important logistics is to the overall
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
mission of the Marine Corps and by doing so, Logistics Command, I believe, has a very bright future. The mission that we perform, he recognizes how important it is in the Marine Corps overall mission of accomplishment.” As Shrader prepares to leave Albany and the installation, he said one of the things that he will remember the most about Albany is the city’s COVID-19 response. “I hate to say, but a large majority of my time (here) is defined by what we’ve dealt with COVID, over the two plus years,” said Shrader. “We were kind of the epicenter of COVID, Albany was, to be honest with you. I know for the Marine Corps, we certainly were. “We did lose a couple members of the command to COVID, but the organization did not miss a beat. They continued to accomplish the mission while also protecting the workforce. This organization’s proved that they can do that in a great way. Great people, great experience defined by a very trying once-in-a-century pandemic.” But it is the people of Albany that Shrader said he will remember the most. “Every place you go is about the people when you leave,” said Shrader. “I’ve made some good connections, some good friends here. Just the people and how they care about each other down here.
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I THINK IT’S JUST GREAT PEOPLE, A GREAT PARTNERSHIP, MORE SO THAN ANY OTHER PLACE I’VE BEEN IN IN THE MARINE CORPS.”
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U.S . MARINE CORPS PHOTOS BY RODNEY D. BEARMAN
SM ART WAREHOUSING
AT ALBANY'S MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS COMMAND
ith the rapid pace of technological innovation today, every business tries to stay on the "cutting edge" when it comes to latest-generation capability. Being retired military — and now civilian Marines — Hugh Robinson and Stewart Snoddy at Marine Force Storage Command, organized under Marine Corps Logistics Command aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. "We like to be on the bleeding edge," Snoddy said as he and Robinson discussed their charge in a vital area of Marine Corps readiness: Warehousing. Robinson is the director of logistics for Marine Force Storage Command, which puts him in command of dozens of locations across the nation. Snoddy is the storage command's facilities manager. To put the warehousing duties overseen by Robinson on the larger scale and Snoddy into perspective, consider some staggering statistics: The facilities overseen by Robinson and the various staffs at sites across the country amount to a quarter of all Marine Corps inventory. And that adds up to more than $5 billion worth of the Marine Corps group equipment, like rolling stock, generators, artillery pieces, Humvees. "It all falls under us; our mission is to record and store equipment, to know what we've got, where it is and in what condition," Robinson said. "It all starts with accountability." And that, as Snoddy says, keeps Marine Force Storage Command on the "bleeding edge."
Marine Force Storage Command’s director, Hugh G. Robinson (S4), and its facilities manager, Steward B. Snoddy, are part of a diverse team of Marines, civilian Marines and contractors that are modernizing the command’s warehousing operations.
"It is our aim, our goal," he said, "to make sure we are using the latest technology to enhance the warehousing capabilities of the equipment in all of our locations." Marine Force Storage Command obviously has achieved that goal. The team was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct a three-year, $85 million project that will be the standard of modernization for all of the nation's military installations. "We started work on the project in October," Robinson said. "The point is to utilize the latest in technology, such as robotics, to modernize warehousing throughout the DOD. For instance, we're working on robotics systems that allow for inventory to be conducted at night. The robots can run around the facilities and do the job efficiently. "We're also, as we bring in the new technology, looking at — before this fiscal year is over — the use of drone technology indoors to conduct inventory." As the director of Storage Command, Robinson is charged with making sure all Marine facilities are kept up to date as new standards are incorporated into the warehousing system. "I stay in contact, including visiting the facilities," he said. "I just got back from an inspection in California." Robinson, Snoddy and others in Storage Command also took in a recent showcase of the latest technology in the business world. "We're looking for the benchmarks in the industry," Snoddy said.
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
"We want to know what kind of tools are out there and how we can utilize them to make our operations more efficient." Robinson said the quest to bring in the latest technology is not an attempt to reduce the manpower utilized at the various bases across the country. Quite the contrary, he said the (primarily civilian) work force is under-resourced as it is. "What we do with automation is take the monotonous tasks and recreate the keystrokes so that these tedious tasks are automated," he said. "Through a lot of reconciliation and data cleanups, there are tasks now that take mere seconds that in the past took days." And, as with all DOD facilities and their assignments, security remains a high priority with Storage Command. "In the 5G world, you trust the architecture that's built into the systems," Robinson said. "The system does not allow unauthorized access." Added Snoddy: "In Logcom and in Storage Command, we've gone through the processes and looked at the areas we need to enhance. We always make sure the work force is appropriately trained." Just as MCLB Albany leads DOD in energy security by becoming the first installation to achieve net-zero energy status, Robinson, Snoddy and Marine Force Storage Command plan to pave the way with warehousing capability.
"We always want to lead the charge," Robinson said. "As we bring this new technology into our operations, our military installations stand to reap the benefits."
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Stewart B. Snoddy, facilities manager at Albany’s Marine Force Storage Command, demonstrates new technologies in warehouse modernization through the use of one of the command’s autonomous robots.
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
HOSTED BY THE ALBANY AREA CHAMBER AND ITS Military Affairs Committee, in partnership with Albany Technical College, the Georgia Joint Defense Commission met with Albany community leaders across a two-day visit which included events at downtown Albany’s Pretoria Fields Brewery and The Flint, in advance of its quarterly commission meeting aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. In addition to building camaraderie with local leadership, the visit allowed the governor-appointed commission to experience, first-hand, the support and advocacy provided by the community to MCLB Albany and tenant Marine Corps Logistics Command, and to learn about the “#MadeInAlbanyGA” innovation that’s leading the United States Marine Corps and our nation’s overall defense strategy.
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During the meeting, the group discussed topics including Marine Force Design 2030, which charges the modernization of the organic industrial base; work force and local apprenticeships; 5G capabilities aboard MCLB Albany; additive manufacturing, on-demand 3D printing and smart warehousing at Marine Corps Logistics Command; and net zero energy security, which MCLB Albany was first in the Department of Defense to achieve. The Georgia Joint Defense Commission is comprised of legislators, military instillation and community representatives, and designed to advise Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on areas of policy that strengthen Georgia’s defense communities and enhance Georgia as a military-friendly state. Albany and Southwest Georgia is represented on the commission by Justin Strickland, member of the Albany Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and director of economic development for OmniTrax.
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T NEW HUB COUNCIL AMPLIFIES VOICES CHRIS CLARK PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE GEORGIA CHAMBER
DAVID BRADLEY PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE ATHENS AREA CHAMBER & INAUGURAL CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL
JERA LD MITCHELL CEO OF THE GREATER COLUMBUS CHAMBER
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HE 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WAS DIFFERENT IN MANY WAYS. ONE SUCH WAY IS THROUGH THE ACTION AND ADVOCACY OF THE NEW HUN CHAMBER COUNCIL, A COLLABORATIVE OF THE LEADING CHAMBERS IN GEORGIA’S NON-ATLANTA METROS THAT IS AIMED AT CREATING A MORE COORDINATED EFFORT TO SOLVE UNIQUE ISSUES AND CONCERNS IN AREAS OUTSIDE OF METRO ATLANTA. THE GROUP, OF WHICH THE ALBANY AREA CHAMBER IS A FOUNDING MEMBER, IS ORGANIZED UNDER THE GEORIGA CHAMBER. Barbara Rivera Holmes, President and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, recognizes that each chamber involved plays an important role in supporting Georgia's position as the No. 1 state in which to do business. “We are proud to partner with our colleague chambers across the state, excited about what we can achieve together, and look forward to a successful session in 2023, leveraging what we’ve already accomplished together and what we will be able to do moving forward,” she said. The Hub Chamber Council is comprised of the leading chambers in Albany, Athens, Augusta, Brunswick-Golden Isles, Columbus, Dalton, Macon, Warner Robins, Rome, Savannah and Valdosta. “This new council will help coordinate federal, state, and local policy in these dynamic and growing economic centers. Our hope is that by galvanizing these communities together in one direction it will produce outcomes greater than if their efforts were individualized,” said Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber.
The program will provide a platform for Georgia’s non-Atlanta metro chambers to coordinate, identify common needs, and develop strategy and policy recommendations. This will lead to opportunities to enhance the influence of these chambers in Atlanta and in Washington, D.C., while supporting the longterm economic prosperity and mobility of the vital business hubs. The Hub's focus is on work force housing, winning the war for talent, building infrastructure of the future, and providing for the fiscal security of the regions. David Bradley, President and CEO of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce who was named as the inaugural chair of the council said, “I look forward to all this council will be able to achieve towards a better understanding of how these communities, like ours in Athens, can have their needs met through a coordinated state-wide effort. The Georgia Chamber is uniquely positioned to host this newly formed Hub Chamber Council which will have lasting impact for our Georgia metro communities.” rom their first meeting, the council has identified several important
BARBARA RIV ERA HOLMES PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE ALBANY AREA CHAMBER
projects, including a collective support of the advancement of legislation to exempt a portion of military retiree pay from state taxes. “This effort will help keep these talented men and women in our communities after their distinguished military careers and strengthens our workforce during the critical workforce shortage we are facing,” said Jerald Mitchell, CEO of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
“The Hub Chamber Council is a collaborative endeavor that allows major Georgia chambers outside of the Atlanta Metro to jointly cooperate on common priorities. The Columbus Chamber is excited to work with this group to continue to drive value for our communities,” Mitchell said. This isn’t the first time the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has collaborated with other chamber colleagues. Chambers across the state continually leverage each other and communicate to share a united message regarding the importance of their work within their communities and the state. One such example is the American Rural Prosperity Summit, an initiative of the Georgia Chamber. “We were able to come together, and with a united voice bring a new focus and heightened awareness to rural Georgia. Whether we are talking about vegetation, healthcare, access, infrastructure, broadband, agriculture, or innovation, when we come together on key issues and there is alignment in our priorities, we can accelerate and have a larger impact,” said Holmes about the summit.
The council is made up of the largest chambers in the state outside of Metro Atlanta. They have come together to form a statewide policy group that leverages the power of each organization and its membership to create an even stronger collective voice. “The beauty of this partnership is that our communities in many cases align on certain priorities such as workforce, affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure, and freight logistic," Holmes said. "There is a lot of unity in advocacy and economic development priorities.
With this council, we will come together with a united voice to create a stronger force throughout the state.”
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
GET TO KNOW YOUR
2022 STATE DELEGATION GERALD GREENE (R) CUTHBERT House District 151 · First elected in 1983 ·Retired Educator State Properties Committee, Chairman House Appropriations Committee House Economic Development and Tourism Committee Public Safety and Homeland Security committee House Retirement Committee House Rules Committee Special Rules Committee BIZ: This is your 39th year in the legislature (second-longest of all members of the General Assembly). What has stood out about this session? GREENE: One of the big things is that we got redistricting out of the way for the counties and the school boards throughout all of the district. That process can be like herding cats at times, but our folks all worked together. We're working on some important things this year that will have a big impact on our region. Jobs are always an important issue, and that's why it's been important for our delegation to work to approve items needed at Albany State University and Albany Technical College. One of the priority areas is nursing, and both of those schools are training nurses. I feel fortunate that we have an organization like the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce — which is a very strong chamber — to keep the important issues in the community on our radar.
WINFRED DUKES (D) ALBANY House District 154 · First elected in 1997 · Businessman Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Economic Development and Tourism Committee State Planning and Community Affairs Committee House Appropriations Committee Creative Arts and Entertainment Committee BIZ: Our delegation meets with several groups (including the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce) before each session to talk about priorities. How big a part does that play when you get to Atlanta? DUKES: It's very important. Like the Chamber had three (funding) priority issues ($1.3 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment for the regional health professions simulation lab at Albany State University; $8.5 million for construction of the Diesel Equipment & Auto Collision Demonstration Center at Albany Technical College; $892,000 to expand Pre-K program in Dougherty County by 221 students) and we've achieved two of the three (the first two). And you can believe that we're working on the other. We've also had some budgeting victories concerning the HOPE Scholarship (90% funding for qualifying technical college students and students at five research universities), and we're working to approve the Right to Farm Bill to protect our farmers. (Dukes' tenure in House District 154 ended with the 2022 session.)
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FREDDIE POWELL SIMS (D) DAWSON Senate District 12 · First elected in 2009 · Retired Educator Interstate Cooperation Committee, Vice Chair Education and Youth Committee, Secretary Administrative Affairs Committee Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Appropriations Committee Natural Resources and the Environment Committee BIZ: You are a retired educator and you've made it clear over the years that education remains a priority. What are some of the educational issues that were on your radar during the session that just ended? SIMS: We appear to be on track to bringing home some key budget items for Southwest Georgia, including priorities requested by Albany State University and Albany Technical College. We're also doing things to address the nursing shortage at Phoebe (Putney Memorial Hospital) and other health care facilities in the region. That's where ASU, Albany Tech, Georgia Southwestern, Andrew College and other post-secondary institutions working with Phoebe is going to pay dividends. I am concerned, though, that we're spending a lot of time debating things like Critical Race Theory — which most people don't understand and are not really concerned about — while teachers in the district tell me they have kids who can't add 8 + 2. And these are kids who are already dealing with two years of lost learning because of COVID. That's why those of us from Southwest Georgia have to work hard to make sure our needs are heard and addressed.
Guiding you home 229-436-8811 601 N. Slappey Blvd. Albany, GA 31701
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
MIKE CHEOKAS (R) AMERICUS House District 138 · First elected in 2005 · Businessman Small Business Development Committee, Chairman Appropriations Committee Code Revision Committee Creative Arts and Entertainment Committee Education Committee Health and Human Services Committee Special Rules Committee BIZ: The needs of Southwest Georgia are common, from Americus all the way down to the shared Georgia/Alabama/Florida lines. How important is it that our communities — and our representatives in the state government — work together on our common issues? CHEOKAS: I was there when the Albany Area Chamber led Albany-Dougherty Day at the Capitol, and I believe Albany is a dynamic community. We definitely are connected, through health care with Phoebe in Albany and Phoebe Sumter in Americus, and through higher education with Albany State and Albany Tech and Georgia Southwestern. All those institutions are working to address our region's — and the entire nation's — nursing shortage. There's also the commonality of the military institutions at Fort Benning in Columbus and Marine Corps Logistics BaseAlbany. One of the good things we've got going on this year is that we have lots of money — from federal COVID relief funds to increased (state) tax revenue — for education. That's a nice problem to have. It was difficult to deal with COVID at first because we didn't really know a lot about it and we didn't have a vaccine at the time. But I think we've handled the closing and re-opening well; we protected our citizens and our businesses. I do want to take this opportunity to brag a bit: Thomas Carden, who is the adjutant general for the Georgia National Guard — and is an Americus boy — came up with such an excellent program in scrubbing nursing homes during the worst of the COVID pandemic that he was asked to replicate the program for the whole nation. Another reason we live in the greatest state in the nation.
CAMIA JACKSON (D) ALBANY House District 153 · First elected in 2018 · Communications Contractor Defense and Veterans Affairs House Economic & Tourism Committee Special Rules Committee State Planning & Community Affairs Committee BIZ: Now that you will relinquish your seat at the end of your current term with your new marriage and plans to move to Atlanta, what are some of the things you'll remember about your time serving in the General Assembly? And will you consider running again in the future? JACKSON: We did some really good things during my two terms in the House, but one thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the way people were used as pawns by some in leadership positions. Some really good legislation that would have helped a lot of people was tabled, while several bills were basically passed to help people get re-elected. I also think redistricting was done unfairly, no matter how (elected officials) try to spin it. In a democracy, people should have the right to choose who represents them, not politicians. I think we had some wins that are going to put the people who really want to help their constituents moving forward, and I was really proud of the mental health legislation. I've long been a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) volunteer, so this was welcome legislation for the state. This whole experience has been very exciting and very rewarding for me. I want to be in position to help some important legislation come to life in the future; I think I'll be able to do that.
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BILL YEARTA (R) SYLVESTER House District 152 · First elected in 2019 · Businessman Banks and Banking Committee, Vice Chairman Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee Economic Development and Tourism Committee Intragovernmental Coordination Committee Small Business development Committee BIZ: What have been some of the key issues that you've focused on during this legislative session? YEARTA: I think supporting Albany State and our technical colleges in the region has been an important issue for Southwest Georgia, one of the primary reasons being those are the schools that are training our nurses. That's vital when a health care institution like Phoebe can't get enough nurses to fill its needs. The more nurses we train at our institutions, the more we'll be able to keep here near home. We're still working on a lot of issues that will impact our region: Constitutional Carry (for handguns), the Right to Farm Bill; delivering broadband capability to as much of the rural parts of the state as possible; and fully funding K-12 education, especially when it comes to giving more students in our part of the state an opportunity to get into the Head Start programs. Not doing so puts them at such a disadvantage. We're also looking at some tax bills that will benefit Georgia citizens.
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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o t s r e e Ch
YEARS OF SERVICE
T WAS ON FEBRUARY 22, 1982, THAT A YOUNG CLERK TYPIST NAMED LONNIE TAYLOR STARTED HER CAREER IN THE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT OF THE THEN-MILLER BREWING CO. PLANT IN ALBANY. No one, including Taylor herself, dreamed that, not only would she still be working at the plant some 40 years later, but that she would have risen to become the senior administrative assistant to the plant manager and brewery vice president. Who says that impossible dreams don't always come true? "I never dreamed this would happen to me," said Taylor, who recently celebrated her four decades at the Albany brewery that now is owned by MolsonCoors. "I started out as an employee of Miller Brewing Company, which was owned by Philip Morris. The company name changed several times over the years, but the one thing I can say about the company, with all the name and people changes, is that one thing did not change: Being the best company to work for.
"Each company and management at the brewery had the same goal: making the Albany brewery one of the best places to work. Forty years later, we are living that goal." From her humble beginnings as clerk typist in accounting, Taylor steadily worked her way up the ladder at MolsonCoors. She advanced to salary/benefits clerk in plant personnel; became the secretary to the plant human resources/technical services manager; advanced to senior administrative assistant to the human resources manager, and now is senior administrative assistant to the plant manager and brewery vice president. Taylor has been witness to innumerable changes — technological
and in personnel — over her 40 years at the MolsonCoors brewery. She said changes in corporate and plant systems have been among the most significant over the years, but there are some things that have not changed.
"After 40 years, you must know that I am biased," she said. "But I know that the Albany brewery produces the best-tasting beer in the world. "I can also say that all the plant managers that have had the pleasure of being assigned to the brewery have always been all about the community. They have believed in supporting the community, serving on different agency boards, partnering with the community and agencies in community sponsorships." Taylor admits that she, too, takes pride in the plant's civic involvement. "It’s a sense of pride to see 'MolsonCoors - Albany Brewery' listed on programs that we have partnered with and events we've helped sponsor to help the community and the agencies thrive," she said. With 40 years under their belt, many employees start thinking about pulling the plug, about putting together an exit strategy. Not Lonnie Taylor. "I plan to continue working at the plant," she said. "Molson Coors-Albany Brewery is the best place to start a career or continue a career. "I would encourage (anyone thinking of a career with the brewery) to be on their ‘A’ game, because they will be joining a team of workers that believes in brewing, packaging and shipping the best product in the world."
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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AFTER GROWING UP IN ALBANY, BRIDGES SINYARD SPENT NEARLY A
Choosing Albany BRIDGES SINYARD
decade away, first at college at the University of Georgia and then in Washington, D.C., working for then U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Moultrie. Sinyard never planned to start his career in politics, but as he said, “everything lined up just right.” He did an internship with Chambliss the summer before he graduated, and as he was getting ready to graduate, thinking he would go on to work for a brokerage firm, he got a call from Chambliss’s chief of staff. “The money in government is not very good, but as far as the experience itself, D.C. was a fun town,” said Sinyard. “I (thought) ‘Why not?’. “I moved up there, and I (thought) I’ll do this for a couple years and leverage those contacts into whatever I go on to next. Long story short, I ended up being there for about five and a half years and met my wife up there.” It was meeting his now wife and thinking about the idea of raising a family that ultimately led Sinyard right back to his hometown. “We had been together for about two years, and I had a pretty good feeling I was going to marry her,” said Sinyard. “I was like 'I’m not going to raise kids up here. A) It’s expensive and B) The traffic is terrible.' For four of the years I was up there, I lived three and a half miles from my office, and it took anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each way to get to work. “I had been talking to (my dad) for a while and I (said) ultimately where I want to raise my kids and have my roots is in Albany, so I moved back. Then my wife and I got engaged, and she stayed up there another year.” While Sinyard was ready to move back to Albany, his wife, who grew up in New Orleans, was not eager to move. “She came to Albany kicking and screaming,” said Sinyard. “She had no interest. She grew up in New Orleans, went to school at Louisianna State University and lived in D.C. Reluctantly, she moved to Albany, and she has absolutely loved it. Now we’ve got two little girls. It’s the best decision I ever made. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
But even Sinyard himself had a big transition to make when he moved back to Albany and started working in the family business at Adam’s Exterminators. “I grew up in the business, so I knew what I was getting into,” said Sinyard. “But going from putting on a suit everyday and meeting with some of the most powerful people in the country on a regular basis to moving here where I kill bugs … that was a big transition. It’s a whole different ballgame.”
WHILE SINYARD KNOWS THAT ALBANY, LIKE ALL COMMUNITIES, IS NOT PERFECT, THE GOOD LIFE IS STILL TO BE HAD. “There’s definitely things in a bigger city, restaurants, concerts that come there that you kind of miss," Sinyard said, "but at the same time, the cost of living is a lot less. You get that sense of community, but if you want to go do some of the things in a bigger city, we’re three hours from Atlanta, three hours from Jacksonville and we’re three hours from the beach. We go down there a good bit. We go up to Lake Blackshear all the time (and) go over to Lake Eufala from time to time. Growing up I always did a lot of hunting and fishing, and all of that’s very convenient around here. I just enjoy living in Albany and the people down here.” And to Sinyard, being involved and serving your community is a great way to make sure future generations feel the same way. “It’s almost an obligation that you should be involved if you want to see your community continue to do well and move forward in a direction (where) you would want your kids to come
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back and live here when they get older,” said Sinyard, who chairs the Albany Area Chamber's Government Affairs Committee. “You’ve got to be involved in making sure that it remains a good place to live.” After moving back to Albany with the idea that it would be better to raise a family than Washington, Sinyard, now with two young daughters, said that raising a family here truly is “great.”
“I CAN’T THINK OF ANYWHERE ELSE I’D WANT MY KIDS TO GROW UP,” SAID SINYARD. “And they get exposed to all kinds of different stuff. The oldest one, she got into deer hunting last year, which was a shocker for me. She digs it, and that’s a cool thing. But you just can’t compare the two. The quality of life is so much better in South Georgia than it is in any big city.” Sinyard isn’t the only young person who has gone away for a while only to come back to his hometown. He isn’t even the only person in his family who has done this. “I’ve got two other brothers and the odds of all three of us going off to Georgia and eventually ending up back in Albany is a rarity, but we all came back for the same reasons,” said Sinyard. “We love where we grew up, and this is where family is."
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
E D UCATION U P D AT E 4C ACADEMY THE HEALTH INFORMATICS PATHWAY AT THE COMMODORE CONYERS COLLEGE AND CAREER ACADEMY (4C ACADEMY) HAS ACHIEVED A 100 PERCENT PASS RATE ON THE END OF PATHWAY ASSESSMENT (EOPA) FOR THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR. The EOPA is a national, industry-developed assessment that evaluates the knowledge, skill, and understanding gained by students throughout the pathway course work. The assessments also provide pathway completers the opportunity to earn certificates recognized throughout the state and nation while still in high school. Taught by Jill Dervan, MBA, RHIA, CCS, completers of the health informatics pathway achieved a 100 percent pass rate with an overall average that exceeded both the state and national averages again. These students have the opportunity to return to 4C for work-based learning (WBL) where they are eligible to intern with U-Save-It Pharmacy. This allows 4C students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to real-world experiences. Dervan said that achieving better outcomes requires changing the way you teach. “I believe keeping students motivated and building confidence is key,” she said. Dervan is hopeful that her future students will continue this positive trend. She continues, “My students have set the bar really high. Of course, my main objective is that our 4C health informatics students are well prepared as they pursue their future studies and enter the workforce, but having a 100 percent pass rate is a tangible evaluation of the 4C program that our entire community can be proud of.”
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ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY AND MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO OFFER CERTIFICATES IN CYBERSECURITY AND LOGISTICS ON BASE FOR MILITARY-AFFILIATED STUDENTS Albany State University (ASU) and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB) Albany announced an education partnership agreement in April. The agreement formally recognizes that ASU and MCLB Albany are active partners committed to expanding educational opportunities in cybersecurity and logistics for militaryaffiliated students. The educational services will be available to active-duty personnel, reservists, eligible retired military personnel, Department of Defense employees, civilians, and their adult family members. “Offering courses on the base will create a significant impact on access to higher education for our military service members and their families,” said ASU President Marion Ross Fedrick. “This will present opportunities to progress in their current roles, or in transition to a civilian role.” Col. Michael J. Fitzgerald, commanding officer, MCLB's commanding officer, said “Nelson Mandela penned the famous quote, education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. We are excited to partner with Albany State University to enhance the knowledge, skills and critical thinking capabilities required in their chosen field of study in cybersecurity and logistics.” In summer 2021, ASU began waiving all institutional fees for students who are currently serving in the military. Currently serving students have the activity fee, athletic fee, technology fee, institutional fee, and transportation fee waived; reducing their cost of tuition. The Office of Military and Adult Education will provide streamlined resources for individuals at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. They will be able to apply to ASU for free, have assistance to enroll in the correct program, and be able to connect with other on-campus resources that support academic success that will lead to graduation. MCLB Albany will also provide tuition assistance.
ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN UCLA SUMMER PROGRAM
Two of Albany State University's (ASU) honor students have been selected to participate in the Evolutionary Medicine Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The two-month program is set to begin in June. Talyia Griffin, a senior biology major, and Bevin Glanton, a senior forensic science major, will conduct research with UCLA professors. The program is allinclusive and will provide a stipend for each participant. “I am really looking forward to investigating the mechanisms behind bacterial resistance with antibiotics. Of course, as a person uses antibiotics, bacteria has the potential to become resistant, but I would like to have a deeper understanding of how that process occurs and if there are other factors that can contribute to antibiotic resistance,” said Griffin. As a result of their participation, both students will receive a full-ride scholarship for the Master’s and Ph.D. programs at UCLA, or any of the nine University of California institutions and a yearly stipend.
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
DEERFIELD-WINDSOR GIGA KNIGHTS WIN STATE ROBOTICS COMPETITION The Deerfield-Windsor Robotics Team, the Giga Knights, are state champions in Georgia FIRST Robotics. Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. FIRST Robotics Competition is the ultimate Sport for the Mind. Highschool student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited time and resources, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. The Giga Knights credit their success to the support of students at the 4C Academy. After winning the state competition, the team competed in Houston, Texas, at the World’s Championship.
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ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
C H A MB ER HIGHLIGHTS ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
1 1 2 t h a n n u a l m eet i n g APRIL 21, 2022 THE ALBANY AREA CHAMBER HOSTED ITS 112TH annual meeting on the Bricks at Thronateeska in downtown Albany. The event is one of the most important of the year for the Albany Area Chamber and celebrates accomplishments, shares how the Chamber will continue to move businesses forward throughout the year ahead, and shines the light on the Chamber’s most engaged leaders and those who have worked to make a positive impact on Albany and the Albany Area. The 2022 event, presented by Colony Bank and Procter & Gamble, included the transfer of the chairman’s gavel; the announcement of the 2021 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year; and honored the Chamber’s 2022 Lifetime Service Award recipient. Matt Reed, 2021 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors, and owner of Georgia CEO and The UPS Stores at 2021 N. Slappey Blvd. and 2800 Old Dawson Road in Albany, formally presented City of Albany facilities director and retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Don Gray as the organization’s 2022 chairman. As is precedent, Reed assumes a new role as chair of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. Chandu Kuntawala, program manager at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, assumes the role of chair-elect, and will take reigns in 2023. “The annual meeting of the Albany Area Chamber represents the culmination of work completed throughout the last year, and the beginning of a new era of leadership and advocacy,” said Gray. “I have always taken pride in serving the Albany community; and now, through the chairmanship of the Albany Area Chamber, I will have the opportunity to maximize that passion for service, working side-by-side with other passionate business and nonprofit leaders to advance our community’s most renowned advocacy organization.” The Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year was announced as Dr. Koosh Desai, originally nominated for the awards in the “Youth & Education” category, for his work with the Medical College of Georgia’s Albany-based Southwest Campus. Sonny Deriso, 1990 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber, was honored with the Chamber’s prestigious Lifetime Service Award. The 112th annual meeting is further sponsored by the Artesian Alliance; the City of Albany; Turner Job Corps; Flint AG; Molson Coors; Draffin and Tucker; Georgia Power; Jim Boyd Construction; Marcus, Inman and Daniels; Mars Wrigley; Mitchell EMC; Southern Point Staffing; WebstaurantStore; Georgia CEO; the UPS Store and Albany Area Primary Healthcare.
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Albany Under 40 Yo u n g P r o f e s s i o n a l o f t h e Y e a r DR. KOOSH DESAI,
CURRICULUM DIRECTOR, MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA SOUTHWEST CAMPUS
A 2016 graduate of the Albany-based Medical College of Georgia’s Southwest Campus, Dr. Desai was recruited back to the community in 2019 by MCG Campus Dean Dr. Doug Patten to design and run a longitudinal curriculum program here in Albany — a unique model of medical education which involves linking students to a primary care clinic "home base," and teaching longitudinal care. The program has grown incrementally each year, to a current capacity of eight students, all of which live and learn in Albany. Dr. Desai also launched a colon cancer prevention program in 2018 to increase screening in rural and underserved areas throughout Georgia, partnering with community clinics to provide education and process improvements to ultimately get more patients screened. To date, they have screened more than 5,000 patients. Leveraging this experience, Dr. Desai helped bring a $3.9 million statewide CDC grant to help fund colon cancer screening, with Albany as a regional base. In addition to his role at MCG, Dr. Desai is also an inpatient specialist at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
2 0 22 li fet i m e s erv i c e awa r d SONNY DERISO
FORMERLY OF DIVINE, WILKIN, DERISO, RAULERSON & FIELDS Sonny Deriso, 1990 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber, is honored as this year’s recipient of the Chamber’s prestigious Lifetime Service Award. Deriso practiced law with Albany’s Divine, Wilkin, Deriso, Raulerson & Fields from 1972-1991 before assuming the role of president and CEO of Security Bank and Trust Co. of Albany, a role he held from 1991-1997, and subsequently served as the bank’s chairman until 2006. Deriso is a staunch community advocate, having served on a vast variety of local and state boards, and has stood alongside the Chamber in its mission to foster and further the economic prosperity of the Albany Area. Deriso was most recently chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, a partner of the Albany Area Chamber and Georgia’s leading statewide business advocate.
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
A FT E R H O U RS
Business After Hours is a casual networking event, hosted each month by a member business. For information on the rest of this year’s event series, and to learn how you can be a sponsor, give us a call at (229)434-8700.
APRIL 19 | HOSTED BY MARCUS, INMAN & DANILES + UPLAND WEALTH ADVISORS
MAY 24 HOSTED BY METROPOWER
Marcus, Inman & Daniels and Upland Wealth Advisors jointly hosted the April 19 Business Afterhours at their shared office space at 613 Point North Blvd. The event drew a lively crowd of current and prospective clients and friends, with several walking away as lucky winners of the monthly prize giveaway. Janet Puckett from Albany State University was the grand prize winner of the Chamber’s $100 cash drawing; Jennifer Green with TC Transcontinental won a Yeti cooler and gift assortment from Marcus, Inman & Daniels and Upland Wealth Advisors; and Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler walked away with a hat donated by Craft Axe Throwing.
May Business After Hours was hosted onsite by MetroPower, which is celebrating 75 years of service to the Southeastern United States and nearly 40 years in Albany. MetroPower CEO Danny Gibson was on hand for the event and noted the Albany Area Chamber as the collective voice of area businesses, and lauded the organization for growing member businesses and ultimately helping to sustain the Albany community, which Gibson recognized as a “crown jewel of Georgia.” Stormy weather did not deter the membership from gathering in fellowship and building new connections. Denise Difranco with Stoneridge Country Club was the raffle prize winner of a waterproof portable speaker, donated by MetroPower; and Amanda Nichols from Albany State University was the winner of the Chamber’s monthly $100 cash drawing.
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MORNING MIX & MINGLE ON JUNE 14
was a hit, with lots of new faces in the room. Attendants included both current and future members who learned more about the benefits of Chamber membership, and how to leverage partnership with the Chamber in order to meet business objectives and influence change in the community. Morning Mix & Mingle is a networking breakfast held quarterly at Doublegate Country Club. Join us for the next one on September 13.
Here matters. Here is where we are committed to building personal relationships, meeting individual needs and supporting the communities we serve. We’re here for each other. 1-888-SYNOVUS synovus.com
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ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
FEBRUARY 24 EVENT CENTER AT DOUGHERTY COUNTY NORTHWEST LIBRARY | 2507 DAWSON ROAD The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon on the new event center at the Dougherty County Northwest Library. The 5,000 square-foot, wifi-enabled, multifunctional space features a large catering kitchen, and can be set up with tables, chairs, desks or left open for hands-on or interactive activities. Contact email@example.com to book.
MARCH 2 WEBB PROPERTIES 2409 WESTGATE DRIVE, ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber was proud to host a ribbon cutting in honor of Webb Properties which recently relocated to 2409 Westgate Drive in Albany. Webb Properties specializes as a commercial, industrial and land real estate brokerage. They've distinguished themselves through offering fullservice support by providing their clients with consulting services backed by their 45 years in the commercial real estate industry.
MARCH 4 US 19 DRAGWAY 1304 WILLIAMSBURG ROAD, ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber proudly hosted a ribbon cutting in honor of US 19 Dragway, recently under new ownership. The dragway has been a well-known landmark in South Georgia for more than 50 years and is a member track of the National Hot Road Association. The racing facility sits on more than 19 acres, has an enclosed lounge/concession stand, a stage with lights and speakers, and soon will host concerts, wrestling matches and recreational activities such as go-karts and video games.
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We'd love to celebrate your business with an Albany Area Chamber ribbon cutting, one of the many benefits of Chamber membership. For details and to schedule, call Mary Bickerstaff at (229) 434-8700 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARCH 16 INTERVENTION PAIN INSTITUTE 3200 GILLIONVILLE RD., ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber helped cut the ribbon on the new Interventional Pain Institute which will serve to address and treat chronic pain through non-surgical procedures such as steroid, PHP and stem cell injections, as well as a variety of other treatment and therapy options to meet specific needs.
MARCH 17 POTTER MOTOR COMPANY WEST 2815 GILLIONVILLE RD., ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber celebrated Potter Motor Company with a Ribbon Cutting in honor of their new West Albany location. Potter Motor Company has been serving Albany and Southwest Georgia for more than 60 years through lawn and garden equipment sales and servicing. The expansion into West Albany will provide for a larger footprint for the company, and better ability to serve its customers throughout all corners of the community.
MARCH 24 FEEDING THE VALLEY FOOD BANK 1706 LEDO RD., ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber was proud to cut the ribbon with Feeding the Valley Food Bank which it has supported since its original location in the community. The partnership across many organizations led to the grand opening of the new 35,000 square foot facility which will increase the organization's capacity to serve Southwest Georgia. The new warehouse will hold as much as 3 million pounds of food product, supporting the food bank's mission to serve more than 3,000 families per month.
ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
MARCH 29 CORNERSTONE COFFEE + CO. 100 PINE AVENUE, ALBANY There was lots of excitement as the Albany Area Chamber cut the ribbon on Cornerstone Coffee + Co. in downtown Albany. The coffee shop recently opened on the corner of Pine Avenue and Front Street by Stanley and Anastasia Franklin, who fell in love with Albany on a visit and moved to the city with a vision of small business ownership and downtown revitalization.
APRIL 6 ALBANY AUTO GLASS 404 ROOSEVELT AVENUE, ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber hosted a ribbon cutting celebration with Albany Auto Glass, which has been serving Southwest Georgia in auto glass replacement, repair and service for more than 40 years, and has recently expanded into becoming a full-service glass shop, providing glass for windows, showers and more. In addition to traditional auto and home glass services, they have the distinction of being the only location in Southwest Georgia to support calibrated auto glass.
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APRIL 8 7EVEN BAR & GRILLE 104 N. WASHINGTON STREET, ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber helped 7even Bar & Grille celebrate its one year anniversary with a ribbon cutting. 7even is located in downtown Albany on 104 N. Washington St., and serves delicious sandwiches, wings and snacks (we can testify to that!) for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday. Add this one to your list of must-do's in downtown Albany.
APRIL 14 HOME OUTLET 2527 DAWSON ROAD, ALBANY The Albany Area Chamber helped celebrate the grand opening of Home Outlet with a ribbon cutting. Home Outlet is located at 2527 Dawson Road and is the complete building supply store for all your home improvement supplies.
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2303 Dawson Rd. Albany, GA 31707 mjcpa.com • 800.277.0040
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MEMBERS Unite Us 5230 Calvary Circle | Valdosta 229-270-5256 gerog ia.uniteus.com Piggly Wiggly – Food For Less 1032 W. Gordon Ave. | Albany 229-302-4222 Shiver Outdoor & Archery 1461 US Hwy. 19 S. | Leesburg 229-800-6972
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Upland Wealth Advisors 613 Pointe North Blvd., Ste. A Albany | 229-800-4820 Uplandwa.com
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AirMedCare Network / AirEvac lifeteam 1215 S. Martin Luther King Blvd. Americus | 229-526-8489 Amcnrep.com/laine-lee
Bruce Capps 1218 W. 3rd Ave. | Albany charlesbcapps@g mail.com
Kyle Nichols, CPA 2545 Lafayette Plaza Drive, Ste. A Albany | 229-344-9854 Knicholscpa.com
Craft Axe Throwing 2302 N. Slappey Blvd. | Albany 229-300-3069 | Craftaxethrowing. com
Small Tow n Girls Play Big 2509 Wexford Drive | Albany 618-751-4041 Smalltow ng irlsplaybig.com
Relative Media and Marketing 2111 Hanover St. | Albany 229-886-7507 Relativemediaandmarketing.com
Southwest Georg ia Farm Credit, ACA 937 Forrester Drive SE | Dawson Swgafarmcredit.com
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The Deriso Agency, Country Financial 1902 Dawson Road | Albany 229-485-1306 Countryf inancial.com/rachael.deriso 7Even Bar and Grille 104 N. Washing ton St. | Albany 229-573-7043 Home Outlet 2527 Dawson Road | Albany 229-715-7280 | Homeoutlet.com Safeg uard Espy Branding Co. 2401 Dawson Road | Albany 229-883-7327 | Gosafeg uard.com Fishoey Lures P.O. Box 1194 | Leesburg 4BigBass.com
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Fuzzy’s Taco Shop 101 Tower Place Lane Leesburg, GA 31763