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BIZ ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE VOL. 22 / ISSUE 1 President & CEO, Editor Bárbara Rivera Holmes Chair Don Gray Chair-Elect Chandu Kuntawala Printing South Georgia Printing Photography Todd Stone 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 is 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 06 Comments from the Chairman Leaning forward to serve in 2022. 07 A Message from the Chamber President Purpose-driven strategy driving the Chamber into second year of #ImpactABY2023. 08 Succession Planning Preparing the path for the future of your organization.

More than 2,400 community members were present for "Wonder," a Christmas concert presented by Sherwood Baptist Church. The event, which spanned two consecutive nights in December, included a full choir and orchestra with ensembles and soloists, a live nativity, arts and crafts, plus a photo booth for families to enjoy.


Leadership Albany Class of 2021: Strong leadership and fierce commitment to community.


Albany Under 40 Awards Celebrating and recognizing excellence, innovation, and commitment.


Choosing Albany: Chief Cedric Scott Up to the challenge.

20 Education Update Spotlight on the outstanding achievements of local educational institutions. 25 Chamber Highlights Celebrating the Chamber and its members.

ON THE COVER: 2022 chair of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, ... Gray, who serves as the director of facilities maintenance for the city of Albany, believes Albany is strongest through positive engagement and hard work.

30 2021 Year in Review The accomplishments of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. 44 Passing the Gavel Don Gray, 2022 chairman of the board.

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FROM T HE 2 022 C HAIRM AN "Start where you are, use what you have." - Arthur Ashe This is one of my favorite quotes from the late tennis star Arthur Ashe. For me this speaks to the potential that exists right here in Albany. Like many communities across our great nation, we have challenges. I like to believe that these challenges are potential opportunities to succeed and display our canvas as the Good Life City, where we can continue to nurture enabling a foundation to strengthen our community through positive engagement and plain hard work. Starting where we are now, we are in a good position for small business and economic growth, and the team we have in place is truly the best of us. I am humbled and excited about our upcoming year. It has been a pleasure working with Perry Revell, 2020 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber and 2021 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Foundation, and Matt Reed, 2021 chairman of the Chamber and 2022 chairman of the Chamber Foundation, over the past two years as we worked with the board to develop #ImpactABY2023, our strategic plan, and then began implementing it under Reed's leadership. This work executed with dogged determination from our president & CEO, Barbara Rivera Holmes, and her staff; and all of our Chamber division chairs, together a truly talented four-star accredited group that has ... this past year; together, we have risen to new challenges. We have risen to challenges and I look forward to implementing our much awaited new tiered benefits model that will give our members more choice, value and control, and engaging in our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work that will be led by the talented Jeretha Peters, of Wells Fargo, who will takeh elm of the the Chamber's new DE&I division. These are examples of using what we have right here in our own back yard to lean forward in serving our community and the businesses that make Albany a great place to live, work and play. May God continue to bestow grace, mercy, and blessings on us all – I look forward to serving beside you in 2022. Be the best of us. One Team, One Fight for Albany.


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F RO M T H E P R ES I DE NT & C EO The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1910 with purpose: to represent the unified interests of its member businesses in order to create an environment for business success and community success. Throughout our history, what we do and how we do it has changed, but the reason we exist has not. Purpose was at the core of the development of the Chamber’s 2021-23 strategic plan, #ImpactABY2023. It was at the core of identifying priorities; at the core of strategy development; and at the core of aligning resources and creating a supportive infrastructure to carry out the work. Purpose has been our lens. In this first year of implementation, the purpose-driven strategy has guided the priorities and investments of the organization, yielding accomplishments across the program of work. Through 2021, the community, nation and world has continued to battle a global pandemic that has impacted life and business. Nonetheless, through 2021, the Albany Area Chamber lived out its purpose, accomplished it goals and archived organizational improvements. Work remains – as it should. We know will continue to align, adapt and innovate in order to continue fulfilling our purpose. We will continue assessing and fine tuning; learning and growing. We will continue to change the how to achieve the why. As we enter our 112th year, we look ahead to continuing to carry out a new purpose-driven strategy designed to impact. In this issue, we share with you the accomplishments in our five divisional areas as well as our organizational improvements; our legislative priorities, which represent funding requests and policy positions that impact our members, our community and the economic competitiveness of Albany and the Albany Area; and we introduce our 2022 Board of Directors – an outstanding group of leaders committed to you, to the Chamber and to the community – and our staff. This year may throw us another curve ball, but with the support of our members, the leadership of our board, the execution of our staff and #ImpactABY2023 as our guide, we’ll meet it head on. -BÁRBARA RIVERA HOLMES




Almost as soon as Luke Flatt joined AB&T Bank in 2009 as president and CEO, talks began about what the succession plan would be for him and that position. Now, as Flatt remains chairman of the board) and Perry Revell and Matt Rushton step into their new roles as CEO and as president, respectively, everyone, including shareholders and directors, can feel confident that the transition will be a smooth one.

Planning is important

so that you’ve got a path for the future,” said Flatt. “You’ve got an awareness of what the future potentially looks like, and so succession planning is no different. You assess the needs of the organization and what the organization’s expectations are long term and then you try to identify candidates who have the character traits and the ability that are necessary to take the organization where you want it to go. If you’re not doing that, then you’re really putting the organization at risk.”


“Logistically, it wasn’t easy, but we had a plan in place,”

Mack Bryson, the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany, understands the importance of succession planning. Just over a year ago, Marvin Laster, the CEO of the club since 2016, began talking to Bryson about stepping down from his position. But Bryson and Laster worked together, with Laster agreeing to give the board a year to find his successor and stay on once his successor was hired to train and mentor the new CEO.

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said Bryson. Through the course of their search for a new CEO, Bryson and the board brought on Tim Wofford, who had experience working with a larger Boys & Girls Club in Alabama. Wofford is working with Laster, with plans for Laster to officially hand over the reins. “Because of Tim’s background with the club already, I fully expect him to fall right into that role and pick up right where Marvin left off because ... we can not have a drop off (in working with donors),” said Bryson.


Eric Hooper, a tax attorney who works with clients on succession planning, sees the full gamut of what succession planning can look like for a business owner. “For most people, if they own their own business, their biggest asset is the business itself,” said Hooper. For my perspective, the idea of how we transfer that business and what ERIC HOOPER the transfer looks like is critical. MOORE, CLARKE, DUVALL What I have found is there’s a AND RODGERS lot of different things you have to consider. Every situation is unique. There is no situation that is exactly the same as the other.

“In a family-owned business, the considerations are even more important

because sometimes you have children or other family members who are involved in the business and then you have other children who are not. There’s always this tension of what’s fair and what’s equal and most people realize quickly that fair and equal aren’t always the same thing.” Hooper said he always sits down with each of his clients to have an open and honest conversation with them and learn about what their goals and intentions are for the business. From there, he

works on the logistics, like what the structure of the sale is going to look like and what kinds of tax consequences there may be for all those involved. And while Hooper works with clients to develop a plan, he said it’s important to have one that’s flexible. “You have some instances where you have a plan in place and you know we’re going to transition this business over time,” he said. “Then someone dies unexpectedly or someone becomes disabled unexpectedly or there’s a change in circumstances due to other unforeseen instances like a divorce, or someone wants to get out of the business or get into the business that we didn’t expect. That affects the succession plan as well. Sometimes you have to take those things into consideration, so it (the plan) evolves.”



Alex Willson, the chief operating officer for Sunnyland Farms, a business that was started by his grandparents, understands the importance of being prepared for unforeseen circumstances such as those described by attorney Hooper. Willson himself didn’t expect to join the family business, but in 2015, after college and living ALEX WILLSON CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER away for 10 years, Willson and his family moved back to the SUNNYLAND FARMS Albany area to do just that. Now, Willson stressed the importance of having systems and processes in place that make succession planning and transition easier if something unexpected does happen. “For anyone in any role, whether it’s part of the family and the ownership, any upper level management, a key manager, or even a worker, everybody is critical to what we do, so (we make) sure that we have processes and things documented,” said Willson. “I always use the example of 'If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, can someone come in and do my job immediately?' That’s how we look at it and that applies both for management, family transfer of responsibility, all the way down to someone packing one of our gift boxes. If that person just doesn’t come to work tomorrow for whatever reason, let’s make sure it’s replicable.” And although Willson, whose father, Larry, is the company's

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president and CEO, is a success story of a family owned business continuing through yet another generation, Hooper has seen the reverse side of that coin with clients. “The worst case scenario you have is sometimes you have a business where one generation doesn’t sell, they die owning the business, and the subsequent generation has no desire to participate in it,” said Hooper. “Usually their competitors recognize that and at that point what we’re really looking at is a fire sale and usually at a steep discount. That’s one of the things you want to avoid.” And while Hooper stressed the importance of having a plan in place for the sake of the business owner, he also stressed the importance of continuity for the client or customer. “I also think, to be frank with you, you have an obligation to have a good plan in place and that obligation runs to your customers, patients, or clients,” said Hooper. “To me, one of the worst things I see, and I do see this from time to time with professionals, is you have a professional who practices whatever his profession is up until the point he decides to retire. When you retire, where does that leave your clients or your patients or your customers if you just close shop and go? Frankly, I don’t think that’s very fair to a lot of them. I think you have an obligation, certainly not a legal one, but maybe a moral one to make certain that they are taken care of after you are no longer in practice.” Hooper said anyone wanting or needing to work on their own succession plan should sit down and have a conversation with a few key people. “I think it’s important to have a team of people who work with you on this,” he said. “From my perspective, when I say a team, the people I typically include in the team are your accountant or whoever your tax professional is, your attorney and typically you want an attorney that has expertise in this area of practice, … and then if you have a financial planner or someone who helps you plan personally your goals, it’s important to have them come into the meeting, too. The reason I say that is that each one of those people have an oversight over different aspects of your business life and so they have different insight and different values that they bring to the table.” And again, Hooper stressed that a succession plan is often something that evolves and changes over time.

“It’s not something you just set and forget it,” said Hooper. “It’s something you put in place, but I think you regularly review it and you tweak it to be certain that whatever the plan is, it reflects truly what your goals are.”






Long-time community advocate and leader Cynthia George received the Ed Freeman Award

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were on full display as Leadership Albany bestowed its highest honor, the Ed Freeman Award, to long-time community advocate and leader Cynthia George, at commencement ceremony for the Leadership Albany Class of 2020. Named after Leadership Albany’s founding board chair, who served in that capacity until his death in 1986, the Ed Freeman Award allows the board of directors to recognize the civic commitments of past program participants whose passion, dedication and unwavering commitment to community service embody the spirit of Leadership Albany and the values and ideals Mr. Freeman held dear. “The Freeman Award is incredibly important to our organization as it honors those alumni leaders who have not only helped shape the Leadership Albany program over the years, but who have dedicated their lives to serving and improving this community,” said Leadership Albany's 2021 board chair Mary Beth Hobby, of MADLab Marketing. “Cynthia George is unequivocally one of those people. Her willingness to serve and her deep love for this community are unmatched. I’m so proud we were able to recognize her in this special way.” George, the CEO of Horizons Community Solutions (formerly the South Georgia Cancer Coalition), George has more than 25 years in healthcare leadership experience in marketing and development, having joined the staff of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hopital following her time with WALB News Channel 10, where she hosted the noon show “Town and Country.” Prior to taking her role at Horizons in early 2018, George served as the Interim chief advancement officer at Darton State College, a role she maintained with Albany State University following the consolidation of the two institutions. George is a past chair of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors and has served in numerous leadership roles with mulitple civic organizations across Southwest Georgia. Her most personally rewarding role, however, is that of cofounder of Strive2Thrive, an anti-poverty organization that works

Albany Area Chamber Chair Matt Reed, left, and Leadership Albany Chair Mary Beth Hobby, right, present the 2021 Ed Freeman .... to George, center, who is accompanied by her family. George is CEO of Horizons Community Solutions, a past chair of the Albany Area Chamber and current chair of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.

to help Dougherty County residents pull themselves out of poverty and prepare for a better future through training, education and mentor support. A Leesburg native, George graduated from Georgia Southwestern University with a degree in public relations. She was the first woman elected to the County Commission of Lee County Commission, where she served two terms from 1992 to 2000. In 2018, she was recognized by Lee County High School as one of seven distinguished alumni. Following the presentation of the Ed Freeman Award, George served as the graduation ceremony’s keynote speaker, sharing words of wisdom and challenging the new leadership graduates to find their passion and take action. In addition to recognizing the graduates of what has been dubbed “The Longest Class Ever,” due it being temporarily postponed as the community navigated the recent Covid 19 pandemic, the LA Board also recognized the service of outgoing board members, welcomed new members and formally installed Synovus’ Daniel Stone as 2022 Board Chair. Leadership Albany’s new class year will begin in January when the organization welcomes the Class of 2022. Leadership Albany is an affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber.

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The Albany Area of Commerce recognized the finalists and announced the category winners of the 2021 Albany Under 40 Awards, a program that celebrated the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals in a variety of business sectors, each representing a component of the area’s diversified talent pool and economy.

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“THE ALBANY AREA IS HOME TO YOUNG leaders who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through their innovation and through their commitment to building a stronger region,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “We’re honored to recognize these diverse, outstanding professionals and proud they’ve chosen to live, work and invest in the Albany area.”

Albany Area Chamber President & CEO Barbara Rivera Holmes, left, and Albany Area Chamber Chair Matt Reed, right, recognized the program's 2021 finalists and category winners during the December 2 awards reception at Pretoria Fields Brewery in downtown Albany. Top left: Youth & Education Finalist Shakela Peak, Terrell County Board of Education Top right: Civics, Defense, Government & Public Affairs Finalist Syntorria C. Fedd, Georgia Department of Human Services Bottom left: Marketing category finalist Corey Holman of Grace Life Marketing, left, and marketing category winner Kori Phillips Foy of WALB News Channel 10. Bottom right: From left, nonprofit category finalists Annie Moreschi Vanoteghem of the Albany Museum of Art and Deborah Holman of Educate the Nations; and nonprofit category winner Don R. Johnson of The Challenger League.

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The 2021 Albany Under 40 category winners, selected from among the category finalists, are: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, CULINARY ARTS, EVENTS, TOURISM & HOSPITALITY Kirstin Collins, American Peanut Shellers Association CIVICS, DEFENSE, GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC AFFAIRS Ronnie Alvin Pettiford, Jr., City of Albany FINANCIAL & INSURANCE SERVICES Allison Daniels, Marcus, Inman & Daniels Wealth Advisors

Health care category finalist Dr. Martin Clark of Longleaf Dental, left, and health care category winner Cindreka Marshall, of The L.E.G.A.C.Y. Case Management.

INNOVATION & START UPS Maria Carr, Body Perfection Studio JOURNALISM, MARKETING & PUBLIC RELATIONS Kori Phillips Foy, WALB News Channel 10 MANUFACTURING, SERVICE INDUSTRIES, ENERGY & ARCHITECTURE Brandon Senn, Mosquito Source MEDICINE & HEALTHCARE Cindreka Marshall, The LEGACY Case Management NONPROFIT SERVICES Don R. Johnson, The Challenger League YOUTH & EDUCATION: Dr. Koosh Desai, Medical College of Georgia Southwest Georgia campus

Financial services category finalists Mark Johnson, left, and Laurie Senn, both of Colony Bank.

The 2021 Albany Under 40 program is sponsored by Albany Air Conditioning & Heating; Colony Bank; Southern AG Carriers; and Hughey & Newman. The 2021 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber 112th annual meeting on April 21.




IN CEDRIC SCOTT’S TIME IN ALBANY, HE HAS SEEN THE DEVASTATION OF HURRICANE MICHAEL AND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC; he's had an up close and personal .. as the chief of the Albany Fire Department and the director of the Dougherty County Emergency Management Agency. “We’ve had some major issues and incidents that have happened since I’ve been here,” said Scott. “I’ve never experienced anything like what we have gone through (with the pandemic), and it challenged me, our department, and our community. It required every skill set that I think I’ve learned to be brought into play to help us deal with (it).” Scott said one of the most important things he learned through that experience was how crucial relationship building is. “We were hit very early by COVID-19, so when people were figuring it out we were going through it at the time,” said Scott. “We were one of the first communities that dealt with this hard hit pandemic that no one really knew what it was. I began to work with my team, and we worked together with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital to work with public health, our partners at GEMA (the Georgia Emergency Management Agency) and Homeland Security. We were able to work with all those various entities including city and county government to really come together in a way that allowed us to secure necessary resources.” An up close look at all this devastation and the stress of having to help coordinate the response to it might be something that sends other people running in the opposite direction. But not Scott. Instead, Scott has been impressed by the resiliency of the community. “We are very resilient,” he said. “We are a community that you can knock us down but we’re going to get back up. We’ve got people who say 'we’re just not going to give up,' and just to be part of that, it’s very humbling. It’s very humbling for people to believe in me in a way that says we’re going to trust you with these very critical



pieces of our community: Our fire protection, our emergency management, and our 911 center.” Scott said this resiliency is not something he thinks people can see from the outside. “I think you actually have to live here like I do,” said Scott. “I live here in the city of Albany. I don’t think you can see it outside. You have to actually be on the ground here, I think to really understand the toughness of this community.” But Scott hasn’t always called Albany home. He is originally from Macon where he started his career as a firefighter and later worked as a paramedic, riding in the back of an ambulance. Over the years, he received more associate degrees in areas such as fire service administration and paramedic technology." Scott went on to Mercer University for a Bachelor's in business administration and then to Wesleyan College for his MBA before taking a job in Suffolk, Va., where he worked for five years. Scott still had a love for Georgia while he worked in Virginia. “I have a great love for Georgia, having been that close to Albany all those years,” said Scott. “I always thought that if the opportunity ever came open to become chief in Albany, I would certainly try to apply. It was a very exciting time for me to be able to come here and be chief. Albany has always been, in my mind, a great place to be, and the stories I’ve heard about Albany and Dougherty County over the years from colleagues just kind of increased that excitement. It’s what brought me to be here, and I’m very glad that I’ve had the opportunity to be here.” While the job brought Scott to Albany in 2018, there's been many contributing factors to why he's still here.

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“The position itself is one that allows me to use the skills that I’ve developed over the years, and it allows me to use them in a way that I really feel like my work here with this great team that I have, that we’re really able to make a real difference,” said Scott. “One of the driving things that’s kept me here is the team. It’s the team that I’m surrounded by both within the fire department and city and county leadership. Their support has just been unbelievable. It's very exciting to talk about and see and make plans for the future. “From a personal standpoint, I enjoy the restaurants here in Albany. I like going downtown. I’m a big downtown fan. A lot of people that know me know that. I frequently have lunch in East Albany, I have lunch downtown, dinner downtown frequently, and I like shopping out in Northwest Albany. Things are so convenient there and then if my wife and I want to go somewhere, we just simply go out to the Albany airport and get on a plane and go anywhere. The convenience of being here, from a personal standpoint, and the people … (have) made it just a very pleasant place to live and work and be able to be very proud of being the fire chief of the city of Albany and serving all the citizens of Dougherty County.” And while Scott has had a front seat to the disasters the community has faced over the past few years, he remains excited about the future. “I believe that as we continue to rebound and come back from a lot of things like the pandemic, tornadoes, hurricanes and all that, I want to see us strengthen,” he said. “(I want us to) be stronger from an economic standpoint that allows people to get in the workforce and have good jobs right here in Albany, which I believe is very possible. “I want to see (an) Albany and Dougherty County where people who may not have any hope right now, they may not have any hope today, but tomorrow their hopes and dreams are realized and they can realize them right here in the city of Albany," he said. "Whatever their dreams and aspirations are, I want to see Albany be the driver of bringing that to a reality for everybody in our community that wants to succeed. I don’t want to see them have to do that in another city or another state. I want Albany to flourish in a way so that everyone has a chance to have a bite at this and everyone can see a positive future and achieve their highest dreams and aspirations. That’s where I am when I look at the city of Albany and Dougherty County. I’m excited about this city and this county and the future of it.”



E D UCATION U P D AT E ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY Albany State University, together with Phoebe Putney Health Systems, launched a new innovative partnership in March 2021 designed to spur interest in healthcare careers among high school students across the region and significantly expand ASU’s nursing and emergency medical technician (EMT) programs to accommodate additional students. Phoebe invested $750,000 in this initiative – one of the latest in a series of investments Phoebe has made with regional educational partner institutions to address the critical nursing need. “Healthcare organizations across the country are facing a critical workforce

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shortage, particularly in nursing,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Health System president & CEO. “With national demand at peak levels, it’s difficult for any hospital to attract medical professionals like nurses and EMTs. Therefore, we are partnering with ASU to help grow fresh talent right here in Southwest Georgia.” The partnership will target teenage students across the region, delivering education and the opportunity to inspire students to consider careers in healthcare.

SHERWOOD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY Three years ago, Sherwood Christian Academy started digital filmmaking as a branch of its creative arts program. With a stateof-the-art Mac lab and a modest film studio, SCA students curate weekly news broadcasts, short indie films and campus life videos. Students incorporate classmates and faculty members into their videos which allows the whole school to be involved. They operate through their own YouTube channel called the "Sherwood Showstoppers." In November, film students took a field trip to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). They viewed their film studios, watched SCAD student film sitcoms, interacted with foley sound


effects and their high-definition LED wall. This visit inspired creativity within students and gave them a glimpse into what it would be like to pursue film on a collegiate level. SCA Technology Director and Film Teacher Vicki Davis said of the students, “These kids don’t just make films. They make me marvel at the love, companionship, and laughter that happens when a school is dedicated to partnering with parents to foster an environment where students can create and pursue their dreams.” SCA said it's thrilled to be able to offer this incredible program to its students to inspire the next generation of influencers.






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4C ACADEMY The Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy (4C Academy) has been selected as the 2021 College and Career Academy of the Year. The announcement was made at the Lt. Governor’s Annual Business and Education Summit, where the 4C Academy was recognized for its strong community partnerships, its growing internship program, and its innovative project-based learning initiatives. The 4C Academy was selected by the Lt. Governor’s office from a group of four very deserving finalists, according to Mark Peevy, assistant commission of the Technical College System of Georgia, said 4C was selected by the Office of the Lieautenant Governor from among four very deserving finalists. Accepting the award on behalf of the 4C Academy was CEO Chris Hatcher; Principal Angie Gardner; and Dougherty County

School System Superintendent Ken Dyer. “This award is a testament to the strong partnerships and teamwork that we have in our community,” Hatcher said. “We are so fortunate to have a dedicated board of directors and a committed group of instructors who are focused on developing talent and preparing students for success.” “It has been exciting to see the evolution of the 4C Academy as we continue to push for innovation and relevancy in education," said Dyer. "It is our goal to provide multiple options for our high school students to learn and grow, and 4C is making a tremendous impact by preparing students, connecting them with our local business community, and exposing them to opportunities right here in Albany. We are certainly proud of 4C and look forward to continued success.”

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ALBANY TECHNICAL COLLEGE Albany Technical College is actively recruiting for the Nurse Aide Accelerated Technical Certificate of Credit Program. A student can complete these classes, nine credit hours, in only seven weeks. This is an approved training program through the state of Georgia, and graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Nurse Aide Assessment exam to become Certified Nurse Assistants. Nurse aides provide hands-on care and perform routine tasks and activities of daily living under the supervision of nursing and medical staff. Additionally, this profession is a gateway into many other allied health professions. Albany Technical College also assists in job placement, and these jobs are in very high demand right now, making good money.



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A FT E R H O U RS DECEMBER 7 AT FLINT EQUIPMENT CO. A fun time was had by everyone who attended the Albany Area Chamber's December 7 Business After Hours, sponsored by Fleming & Riles and Flint Equipment Co. Guests enjoyed delicious food catered by Stewbos, music by JAI Entertainment and photobooth by Snap Click Pics. Zondria Wilson of Snap Click Pics won a battery-operated edger; Cicily Florence of Yard Candi Pops won a batteryoperated blower; and Jonathan Gibson of Georgia Farm Bureau won the $100 Chamber cash give-a-way.

Cicily Florence of Yard Candi Pops won a battery-operated blower.

Jonathan Gibson of Georgia Farm Bureau won the $100 Chamber cash give-away.

Zondria Wilson of Snap Click Pics won a battery-operated edger.



Albany Area Chamber members gathered December 14 for the final Morning Mix & Mingle of the year, presented by Doublegate Country Club. Those who participated enjoyed a delicious breakfast, networking, learning more about the Chamber and plugging in to Albany's robust business community. Harry Day, director of partnerships for the Flint River Entertainment Complex, served as the program's emcee.

Chris Rapley, RAPCO Media, Alinda Paris, WSWG – TV and Terry Brown, WSWG – TV

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Harry Day, Flint River Entertainment Complex and Bob Campbell, Albany State University

Tosha Dean, Linda Johnson, and AJ Parker all of NAMI Albany



A high school diploma of GED is required for admission, except when noted in red. Minimum ACCUPLACER Next-Generation Writing, Reading, and Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra and Statistics scores are also required. DIPLOMA PROGRAMS Writing: Reading Comprehension: Arithmetic: Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra & Statistics: Accounting Air Conditioning Tech. Automotive Collision Repair Tech. Automotive Technology Barbering Building and Facilities Maintenance Business Healthcare Technology Business Technology Business Logistics Management Business Management Computer Information Systems • Computer Support Specialist • Computer Programming • Cybersecurity • Networking Specialist Cosmetology Criminal Justice Culinary Arts Dental Assisting Tech. Design and Media Production Tech. Diesel Equipment Technology Early Childhood Care and Education Electrical Construction Technology Electronics Fundamentals Electronics Technology EMS Professions Engineering Graphics Technology Environmental Horticulture Firefighter/EMSP Fire Science Technology Green Building Technology Health Information Coding Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Industrial Electrical Technology Information Technology Professional Marketing Management Mechatronics Medical Assisting NCCER Carpentry Technology NCCER Masonry Technology NCCER Plumbing/Pipefitting Technology Paramedicine (Paramedic) Pharmacy Technology Practical Nursing Precision Manufacturing Professional Firefighter Professional Fire Officer Residential Energy Efficiency Sustainable Renewable & Alternative Energy Welding and Joining Technology

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236, 232, Alg. 237 236,224,229,237 Alg. 237 236, 232, 235

236, 232, 235 236, 232, 235 236, 232, 235

ASSOCIATE OF APPLIED SCIENCE DEGREE PROGRAMS Writing: 249 Reading Comprehension: 236 Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra & Statistics: 245 Accounting Advanced Medical Imaging TESTING HAS Business Technology Business Healthcare Technology BEEN WAIVED Business Management Business Logistics Management FOR EVERYTHING Civil Engineering Technology EXCEPT MEDICAL Computer Information Systems • Computer Support Specialist AND ENGINEERING • Computer Programming • Cybersecurity DEGREES THROUGH • Networking Specialist THE SUMMER 2022 Criminal Justice Culinary Arts Cyber Crime Investigation Design and Media Production Tech. E-Commerce Early Childhood Care and Education Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Electronics Technology Engineering Graphics Technology Environmental Horticulture Fire & EMS Fire Science Technology Health Information Technology Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Information Technology Professional Interdisciplinary Studies Marketing Management Mechatronics Technology Medical Assisting Nursing Operations Management Paramedicine (Paramedic) Technology Pharmacy Technology Precision Manufacturing Radiologic Technology Surgical Technology Technical Studies


Programs in red do not require a high school or GED credential for admissions, but do require the credential to graduate. Please visit for updates. Admissions information is subject to change. Additional admissions criteria may apply. A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia. An Equal Opportunity Institution.




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

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA CREMATION & FUNERAL SERVICES 1129 W. BROAD AVE., ALBANY OCTOBER 18 The Albany Area Chamber was on hand to members were on hand to participate in the ribbon cutting celebration for Southwest Georgia Cremation & Funeral Services. Natalie Molden, LFDE is a Certified Cremationist. She and her team are available to thoughtfully help you and your family make choices for your celebration of life services. To learn more visit



The Albany Area Chamber held a ribbon cutting celebration for the all-new convenience store and gas station in Lee County. This new store will quickly become a go-to place for filling up the tank, grabbing a snack or even a meal. RaceWay's full-service kitchen is cooking up breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Check them out and see what convenience, quality and great service looks like.

Community leaders and the Albany Area Chamber assisted the Albany Housing Authority with a ribbon cutting ceremony for its Oaks Intown and celebrated the successful rehabilitation of four public housing communities. Partnering organizations transformed outdated public housing into high-quality, affordable housing in downtown Albany for individuals, families and seniors. Residents have access to on-site amenities including a community room, playground, on-site management, 24/7 emergency maintenance and professionally landscaped grounds.

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The Albany Area Chamber helped cut the ribbon for IK Medical Diagnostic Services which was started by Femi Barrett, a nurse swabbing for samples and educating longterm care facilities on ways to manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It was during that time she noticed the strain placed on domestic laboratories. A vision was born to create a lab that was accessible to clients with various disparities within the community. They provide convenient, timely and quality medical laboratory services in their traditional lab and their mobile testing sites. Call them at (229) 405-1748.

3D Creations celebrated its grand opening with an Albany Area Chamber ribbon cutting. 3D Creations provides yard greetings for every occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries, graduation celebrations and more. If you can imagine it, they have a sign for it. 3D Creations also produces large banners and customized T-shirts. Call (229) 454-5077 for more information.

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MATT REED 2021 Chairman

WHAT A YEAR WE HAVE HAD AT YOUR CHAMBER. Our staff and board worked tirelessly throughout the year to advocate and engage with you and on your behalf at the local, state and federal levels. While the pandemic didn't allow us to do everything we would have liked in person, we achieved so much - some not as visible as in years past but no less impactful. We continued the implementation of our strategic plan, culminating in multiple years work to get us closer to being the future focused chamber that our community needs. We are blessed in this community with great leaders - we as a community have been tested the past few years like none other, and we have persevered. Our story and resiliency serving this community and each other is one of great pride. No matter what is thrown at us, we always come out better and more resilient. I am proud of our organization and the progress we have made in spite of challenges, and in the same aspect, our Chamber is a direct reflection of our community. I know that will continue under Chairman Don Gray’s leadership as we excel into 2022. Serving this community and leading the Chamber in 2021 has been an honor. I appreciate each of you for your support, and looking forward to continuing to serve alongside each of you for years to come.

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STAFF Bárbara Rivera Holmes President & CEO

Mary Bickerstaff Director of Membership

Reedi Mabrey Director of Communications and Investor Experience

Rhonda Gentry Administrative Coordinator




2021 ANNUAL REPORT #ImpactABY2023 is the Albany Area Chamber's purpose-drive and future-focused strategic plan.

WHO WE ARE • We are conveners, connectors and collaborators • We are advocates and believers • We are nurturers and providers • We are activators and accelerators • We future-focused builders • We are impact



• Do what’s right • Be boundlessly curious • Have fun • Believe in better • Be of service • Learn by doing • Progress over perfection • Invite others to the table • Best team, ever • Champion the mission • Process creates outcomes • Offense vs. Defense • Empower and entrust • Design the path

• Advance increased opportunities for people • Impact and strengthen the education-to-work force pipeline and cultivate the leadership pipeline • Be an effective voice for business • Engage the military and business community, and support Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany • Support and connect small businesses and entrepreneurs to advance their growth and success • Ensure the AACC is the best association it can be for its members

PLAN STRUCTURE There are three pillars that comprise the plan: 1. Lenses 2. Divisions 3. Organizational Excellence

LENSES DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION An inclusive and diverse perspective should be given to every aspect of our operations.

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We’re stronger together and recognize that the Albany Area Chamber can lead efforts to facilitate member-tomember and member-tocommunity connections, and lead collaboration among peer organizations and communities that better positions the Albany Area and Southwest Georgia.

Economic development improves the economic well-being of a community. The Albany Area Chamber supports new and established businesses with the resources and services needed to propel growth.


Be an effective voice for business. Led by Vice Chair for Government Affairs Jake Reese (LRA Constructors) Staff liaison to committee: Bárbara Rivera Holmes

ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Successfully secured nearly $16 million in state funding for 2021 legislative priority projects: - $7.6 million for construction of the regional health professions simulation lab at Albany State University. - $8 million for the Diesel Equipment & Auto Collision Demonstration Center at Albany Technical College. - $964,000 to continue supporting Math Corps at 4C. • Advocated for $111 million for mission- and command-critical capital projects at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. • Successfully opposed declassification of Albany’s metro status by informing public and officials of negative implications; engaging with local, state and federal leaders to also oppose change; engaging with area chambers of commerce and chambers in other impacted metros; and activated the membership via the Chamber’s political action network. • Hosted “Albany City Commission Candidate 101” series with WALB News Channel 10. • Hosted state delegation meeting to review and engage in GAC meetings. • Provided members and the community with candidate information. • Promoted opportunities for service on boards and elected bodies. • Encouraged voter participation through social media engagement and information to members. • Worked with Georgia Chamber to develop “Hub Chamber Council” public policy group for Georgia’s largest metros outside of Atlanta to order to coordinate on strategy and policies and influence government decisions. • Provided membership with information on state and federal issues. • Shared Georgia Chamber and U.S. Chamber resources with members. • Published annual legislative priorities agenda for 2021 session and 2022 session. • Informed U.S. Chamber on issues of importance to Albany and the Albany Area. • Hosted community leadership meeting with U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, introducing him to community leaders, community assets and community challenges, and presenting opportunities for support and advocacy. • Participated in community meeting with U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. • Developed relationships with staff of new Congressional leadership, and facilitated community visits and connections. • Delivered Thanksgiving appreciation gifts to all members of the Georgia General Assembly, the Albany Area Congressional Delegation, the Albany City Commission, Dougherty County Commission and Dougherty County Board of Education. • Began development of Chamber Political Leadership Institute to create pipeline of candidates for board appointments and elected office.


Tuition Assistance Available 229.435.1301Option #1



GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS CONTINUED • Cultivated business people participation in public service: - Began development of a nonpartisan political leadership program to prepare and strengthen the next generation of elected leaders before they formally choose to run for office. - Promoted opportunities for service on boards and elected bodies. - Began development of grassroots advocacy program. • Influenced local, state and federal government decisions: - Worked with Georgia Chamber of Commerce to influence state legislation. - Worked with U.S. Chamber of Commerce to influence federal legislation. - Updated local, state and federal elected leaders on business needs. • Built on successful Chamber programs that advance the Chamber’s advocacy efforts: - Hosted Albany-Dougherty Day in Atlanta; delivered gifts to key positions and all chairs of committees. - Hosted Washington, DC, Fly In in the nation’s capitol; met with all members Albany Area Congressional Delegation and U.S. Marine Corps leadership.

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Actively engage the Albany Area military and business community to ensure symbiotic and strategic relationships and support. Dedicated to the long-term viability and sustainability of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Led by Vice Chair for Military Affairs Dan Gillan Co-Chair: Don Gray (city of Albany) Staff liaison: Bárbara Rivera Holmes

ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Increased awareness of needs relative to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany: - Advocated with Albany Area Congressional Delegation for $111 million in mission- and command-critical investments at the installation. - Coordinated with AACC Government Affairs Committee to address legislative needs related to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command, including broadband expansion, work force development and capital investments. - Included U.S. Department of Defense speakers and programming during Chamber‘s Washington, DC Fly In. - Engaged with Georgia Joint Defense Commission to host meeting first quarter 2022. • Strengthened position as a resource for Albany Area military families and veterans: - Began design of Adopt-A-Marine program, in coordination with commanding officer at MCLBA. - Coordinated with Government Affairs Committee to address needs, policies or programs that impact military families and veterans. - Connected with military personnel support organizations such as Marine Corps League, VFW and American Legion to reinforce partnerships and enhance support for men and women in uniform. • Promoted economic, operational and community impact of installation. • Supported the Albany Young Marines program. • Developed MAC member plaques and implemented recognition program to add value to committee membership, promote members and increase prestige of participation. • Grew committee membership and participation. • Increased committee member participation in planning events including the Salty Sandbagger Golf Tournament. • Participated in programming to commemorate Memorial Day, Patriot’s Day and Veteran’s Day. • Continued tradition of strong and sustained partnership and relationship between Chamber, Marine Corps Logistics Base and the community: - Built on committee events that strengthen relationships and increase awareness, such as the Salty Sandbagger Golf Tournament, committee membership meetings and programs, and other social opportunities, and programs such as Veteran’s Day recognitions. - Hosted traditional year-end MAC Holiday Social.



BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & INVESTOR ENGAGEMENT Support and connect businesses and entrepreneurs to advance their growth and success. Led by Vice Chair for Small Business Development & Investor Engagement Brianna Wilson (Southern Point Staffing) Co-Chaired by Taylor Jenkins (Flint Community Bank) Staff liaison: Mary Bickerstaff

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ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Shared stories of members’ innovation and success through various methods and platforms. • Hosted 32 ribbon cuttings celebrating member businesses grand openings, expansions and anniversaries. Hosted three groundbreakings. • Recognized 48 members with our “Star Business of the Week” designation. • Facilitated numerous member connections programs including Business After Hours and the Morning Mix & Mingle. • Developed initial guide for business and entrepreneurs that includes resources such as Chamber benefits and programs; member partners for business resources; and partners including


the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center in Albany, the city of Albany’s MicroBusiness Enterprise Center, Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Albany Community Together Inc. • Branded awards program as “Albany Area Chamber Business Awards” and added new “Uniquely Albany” award. Developed banner flags and awards seal to increase recognition and prestige of award. • Expanded committee by six membersand diversified makeup of committee to reflect greater diversity in areas of business sector, business size, gender and ethnicity. • Updated Business After Hours branding and value proposition to increase participation, grow a diverse audience of potential and existing members and provide unique opportunities for socialization and networking. • Invited Chamber members to participate in traditional “Welcome Wagons” presentation for new residents of Phoebe Family Medicine Residency Program. • Connected businesses with the resources, services and network needed to propel growth. - Connected small businesses to resources from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and other agencies. - Evaluating “Lunch and Learn” frequency, speakers and topics to ensure providing value to members.

Maximize investor value, drive revenue and increase engagement with existing and potential members. Led by Subcommittee Co-Chairs Chloe Hinton (Albany Museum of Art) and Mercedes Aldridge (Farmers Insurance)

ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Streamlined member investment levels: - Initiated benefits and investment structure overhaul to enhance member experience, add value and provide members with more control over their benefits. Engaged industry-leading consultant to facilitate process and developed members-only Tiered Benefits Task Force to assess benefits and develop the new model. Approved by Board of Directors in December 2021 with implementation for first quarter 2022. • Welcomed 52 new Chamber members (as of September 30, 2021). • Redesigned the Chamber Ambassador program, defined expectations and developed formal guidelines for their interactions with members. • Updated membership benefits to reflect

today’s business needs and return on investment expectations: - Ongoing assessment of relevance, utilization and unique value of member benefits. - Developed “Chamber Advantage” member benefits collateral for new members and existing members. • Closed year with membership renewal rate of 88 percent, which is above industry average. • Updated quarterly Chamber 101 member event and rebranded as “Morning Mix & Mingle” to align with Chamber brand and advance its purpose. Used event to help members understand cost savings through Albany Area Chamber business and insurance programs; Georgia Chamber SMART Plan (health insurance), Drugs Don’t Work, and UGA Small Business Development Center. Hosted four events.



TALENT, EDUCATION & LEADERSHIP Impact and strengthen the education-to-workforce pipeline and cultivate the leadership pipeline. Led by Vice Chair Chandu Kuntawala Staff liaison: Bárbara Rivera Holmes

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TALENT & EDUCATION • Initiated business and education quarterly partners roundtable to expand relationships with K-12 schools, and technical education and higher-education institutions. • Strengthened talent pipeline to supports needs of the Albany Area employers: - Facilitated connection between business industry and educational partners as a means of building the right talent pipeline. - Engaged regional health care employers and educators of medical professionals to identify barriers to pipeline expansion, student success, and new degree offerings. Deeper assessment and expanded audience for 2022. • Explored opportunities to connect educators directly with business and industry through programs such as teacher externships to foster greater understanding of the needs of industry – developed program in partnership with 4C (paused due to pandemic): - In collaboration with Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, identified and supported policies and programs that advance regional talent development. • Partnered to develop Southwest Georgia Regional Job Fair to connect employers and job seekers, and promote job availability throughout the region. • Participated in Marine Corps Education Summit to support

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needs and expectations. Installation and school-age children of service members. Worked in partnership with Military Affairs Committee. • Committee members participated in Albany Technical College’s GOAL program by serving on the selections committee and participating in recognition presentation. • Recognized the community’s STAR students and teachers through social media highlights and profile in the Chamber’s Biz magazine.

LEADERSHIP • Cultivated leadership pipeline to support Albany and the Albany Area: - Built on affiliate relationship between Albany Area Chamber and Leadership Albany through joint programming such as Leadercast; “fireside chat” with Leadership Albany; and support of organization. - Continued to cultivate the next generation of community leaders through affiliate relationship and support of Leadership Albany. • Identified, recognized, connected and engaged young leaders: - Built on Chamber’s Albany Under 40 program to recognize the area’s outstanding diverse talent pool and engage individuals in community work. - Hosted 2021 Albany Under 40 awards reception in December 2021, recognizing young professionals.




Ensure the AACC is the best association it can be for its staff and members.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Earned Georgia Certified Chamber recognition from the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. • Initiated Albany Area Chamber Foundation strategic planning with board and consultant to extend impact beyond the business community’s normal reach. • Overhauled annual meeting, creating unique experience and relevant program, and hosting most successful event to date. • Initiated annual strategic plan review and board development workshop to ensure ongoing successful implementation of strategic plan and ongoing strategy development. • Staff engaged in professional development opportunities through local programming, Webinars, and trade association programs. • Reduced inventory tax liability through first phase of excess inventory purge at 225 West Broad Avenue. • Entertained prospects interested in 225 West Broad Avenue. • At 225 West Broad, completed first floor reorganization,began basement reorganization, installed updated fire monitoring system, and began assessment of interior improvements opportunities to enhance staff and member experience and utilization, and make property more attractive to investors. • Began review of bylaws and operations manuals. • Outsourced accounting, bookkeeping and payroll services, which required overhaul of processes and procedures. Began use of online banking for increased efficiencies and cost reduction. • Began back-office work to update Chamber member lists and information; to identify what information is captured and could be captured; and identify how information can be better used to

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tell member story and Chamber story. • Provided Chamber gift bags for officials, member requests, visitors and prospects throughout year. • Organized for process capture and improvement. • Increased visibility, relevancy, demand and sophistication of Chamber publications: - Expanded distribution and placement of Quality of Life magazine and Biz magazine. - Developed bundled benefits and savings for advertisers - Expanded promotion of advertisers. - Cultivated new advertisers in Quality of Life and in Biz. - Produced six issues of award-winning Biz. - Developed strategy and collateral to promote Biz articles on social media. - Developed new “Choosing Albany” series in Biz, which has received much interaction on social media. - Began production for 2022 Quality of Life magazine. • Developed new brand for Quality of Life magazine for 2022 launch. • Increased utilization, engagement and reach of digital assets: - Users to increased 120 percent. Pageviews increased 126 percent. - Traffic to Chamber’s online “Job Search” page increased 338

percent through expanded promotion of function, increased listings of available jobs and new “Find a Job Friday” social media series to promote Chamber member jobs. - Visits to Chamber Member Directory increased 12 percent, to 11,599. - Increased efficiencies and frequency of Facebook postings, which resulted in 20 percent increase in post reach. - Grew FB account likes by 6 percent since January 2021 and 12 percent since January 2020. - Increased efficiencies and frequency of Instagram postings, which resulted in growth in account reach. - Developed Chamber presence on LinkedIn. • Increased use of technology and digital programs to streamline operations; explored strategies and programs to become more paperless. • Assessed the staffing needs of the organization. Outsourced appropriate functions. Developed two staff positions and onboarded new employees. • Expanded opportunities for storytelling that advance the Chamber’s mission, strategy and brand, and that improves the image of Albany and the Albany Area. • Expanded outreach and output to position the Chamber as a thought leader, a voice of reason and a business, member and community advocate. • Continued to be active participant of Albany-Dougherty COVID-19 Task Force, representing the business community. Partnered with Chamber members to host vaccine events.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION An inclusive and diverse perspective should be given to every aspect of our operations. Led by Working Group Chair Jeretha Peters Staff liaison: Bárbara Rivera Holmes • Created DE&I Working Group comprised of diverse members of the Chamber • Connected with subject matter experts to understand the landscape and begin identifying areas of engagement • Developed “discovery” strategy for assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strategies • Conducted research to build business case • Developed DE&I strategy, adopted by the Board of Directors in December 2021. Implementation to begin 2022.



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Download the Phoebe app today. 42 VOL. 22 | ISSUE 1

LEGISLATIVE POLICIES The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, believing that the Albany Area is vital to the economic wellbeing of Southwest Georgia and empowered with protecting and enhancing its economic competitiveness and advocating for a strong quality of life, promotes outcomes on the following issues: FUNDING PRIORITIES • $1.3 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment for the regional health professions simulation lab at Albany State University, which will create increased opportunities for health professions students and better equip them to enter this high-demand field.

INTERNET & BROADBAND • Expand broadband capacity in rural and underserved areas through public-private investment and incentives. Access to and reliable Internet impact education, health care, national defense and commerce.

• $8.5 million for construction of the Diesel Equipment & Auto Collision Demonstration Center at Albany Technical College, which will reduce the transportation worker shortage by allowing additional space and program enhancements for diesel technology, automotive collision, automotive technology, and commercial truck driving. The funding request includes renovation of automotive technology labs dedicated to electric vehicle repair.

BUSINESS CLIMATE & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT • Support initiatives that target crime and that enhance public safety, which is critical for economic development • Expand the Rural Quality Job Tax Credit to all Tier 1-lowest 40 communities • Maintain Georgia as a right-to-work state • Support state partnerships that promote regionalism and enhance quality of life, tourism, wellness, and economic development • Support programs and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses and expand access to resources • Maintain current tax incentives, which have proven to assist companies in investing and expanding their footprint in Georgia • Maintain the state film tax credit, which supports Georgia’s $9.5 billion film industry • Oppose policies that would have a discriminatory effect on Georgia’s ability to grow the economy and maintain a reputation as a leader for global commerce

• $892,000 to expand Pre-K program in Dougherty County by 221 students, nearly doubling the number of Pre-K eligible children who could participate in this fundamental program shown to have as a significant, positive impact on student educational achievement. PRO-BUSINESS PRIORITIES AND POSITIONS RURAL HEALTH CARE • Support initiatives that expand the health professions pipeline, including appropriate licensure reform to grow Georgia’s health care work force and increased investments in programs that support Georgia’s high-demand health care industry • Support appropriate reimbursement rates for telemedicine services to increase access to care for all patients • Support efforts that address mental and behavioral health gaps in rural communities • Support initiatives and investments that expand access to care and strengthen our regional health care delivery system, such as through the expansion of telemedicine • Support efforts to enhance Georgia’s trauma care network EDUCATION, TALENT & WORK FORCE • Maintain Albany State University as a component of the University System of Georgia • Support policies that improve college persistence and completion rates to provide and employable and adaptable workforce • Invest in methods that improve third-grade math and literacy outcomes

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE • Support investments to expand and modernize transportation infrastructure, including freight • Support partnerships and investments in infrastructure improvements ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION • Support the investments and the development of programs and policies that facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in rural communities MILITARY & DEFENSE • Support policies, investments and partnerships that strengthen Georgia’s military installations and their communities, as well as service members and their families NATURAL RESOURCES • Preserve & enhance access to high-quality, affordable water supplies for businesses and communities in the Albany Area and Southwest Georgia





Don Gray was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He has more than 30 years of worldwide experience in facilities management; fleet operations; strategic planning; and program management. Don served 26 years in the United States Marine Corps as both and enlisted Marine and Commissioned Officer where he filled various roles in Infantry, Fleet Management, Maintenance Management, Supply Chain Management, Recruiting, and Facilities Management to include grounds maintenance, disaster preparedness, construction management, facilities maintenance engineering, safety and risk management, and installation energy conservation. Don moved to Albany to serve Marine Corps Logistics Command, where he was deputy director of the Maintenance Management Center and supervised personnel developing, coordinating, and overseeing the execution of depot level maintenance policy, procedures, plans, and programs and the contracting of major construction projects. After retiring from active duty military service at Marine Corps Logistics Command, Don served as the Program Manager for Albany, GA operations for national defense contractor KBRwyle (formerly known as Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc.) where he supervised facilities management, contracts, planning, performance, schedule, integrity and compliance, employee relations, budget management, expense reporting, and safety and risk management for several multi-million dollar projects at various locations across the United States and overseas before assuming his current position as the director of facilities management

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Photo courtesy of Rosemary West Photography and grounds for the city of Albany. A firm believer in supporting community through service, Don is very active in the local community. As a member of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Don serves on the Finance Committee, Economic Mobility Committee, Government Affairs Committee, Small Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee, Talent and Education Committee, and also serves as the Co-Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee. Additionally, Don serves on the Board of Directors of the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy and the Board of Directors of AB&T. Don also enjoys contributing as a deacon of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Albany, where he's the lead mentor for the Boys 2 Men youth ministry program. Don holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Prairie View A&M University; a Master of Science degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College; and a certificate in project management from the University of Houston and numerous other certifications. Don and his wife of 30 years, Robin, have daugther, Alesha, and a son, Jackie, both of whom are graduates of Sherwood Christian Academy. Alesha graduated from Hampton University and George Washington University and is currently working in Washington DC. Jackie is a senior at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Don and Robin enjoy traveling, cooking, and watching movies along with various other hobbies as well as spoiling their dogs, Jade and Kobe.





City of Albany

Georgia CEO




Draffin & Tucker

Business, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Division Chair Southern Point Staffing

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Division Chair Wells Fargo




Government Affairs Division Chair Adams Exterminators

Military Affairs Division Chair Albany Area YMCA

Talent, Education & Leadership Division Chair Sherwood Christian Academy







Phoebe Putney Health System

Mars Wrigley Confectionary



Horizons Community Solutions

SASCO Chemical Group


SCOT MORRISEY The Albany Herald

PowerSports Plus

CALEB CLUGSTON WebstaurantStore



United Way of Southwest Georgia

WILLIAM MYLES Albany Housing Authority


Eagle Cleaners

Albany Air Conditioning & Heating



Bottoms Up/Indusa Investments

Procter & Gamble


Edward Jones

Albany Museum of Art

THELMA JOHNSON Albany Community Together

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KEMBLE TEAGUE SMITH WILSON Gardner Willis Plaire & Wilson




OCTOBER REN EWA LS A-1 Wrecker Ser v ice A. West Enter prise Addision Proper ties Albany Area Primary Health Care Albany Civ il Rights In stit ute Alf red N. Corriere Board and Bru sh Creative St udio Bob Adams Checkers Chehaw Clean Star t Cu stom Interiors Deerf ield-Wind sor Dialysis Clinic Dog wood Trail s Apar t ments Eagle Cleaners Englewood Health Care, Inc. The Exchange Club Fair of Southwest GA F & W Forestry Ser v ices Family Literacy Connection Farris Screen Printing & Embroidery Finnicum Motor Company First United Methodi st Church Four Star Freightliner Georg ia Depar t ment of Labor Greene Finance Company Hall, Booth, Smith, PC HTS Con struction I Hear t Radio J&B Irrigation John Ross Jewelers K DL & A ssociates King Claw Albany KingsMark Private Financial Adv isors Limbcare Prosthetics and Or thotics of GA Locos Grill & Pub M&G Metal Contractors Mark's Melon Patch Mazur and Hock man Mediacom Bu siness Mike's Country Store Pool Brothers Cabinets + F looring + Lighting Prat t Indu stries - Target Container Ross, Handelman, Nestale & Goff Shut ters Plu s South Georg ia Fur nit ure, Mat tress & Appliance Southwest Georg ia Patholog y A ssociates Technolog y One The Cookie Shoppe The Mended Hear ts Inc. National Headq uar ters & Resource Center TheraTrue Todd Stone Photography

MEMBERS United Distributors Vital Smiles Georg ia P.C. Wetherald A ssociates Plastering & Acou stics Wy nf ield Park Health & Rehabilitation Center

EB Health Care System Albany | 229-886-9160

NOV EM BER REN EWA LS Albany Area Ar ts Council Albany Convention and Vi sitors Bureau Albany Dougher t y Economic Development Commi ssion Albany Fish Company Albany Herald Publi shing Company Albany Nut & Bolt Company Angelini Pharma Ann's Garden Center A SA Healthcare Solution s A shley's Bu siness Solution s Aw nings Plu s. Barber Petroleum Eq uipment Company Chem Nut Crow n Net working Con sultants D&D Wood Preser v ing Dougher t y Count y Board of Education Dougher t y Count y Dept. of Family & Children Ser v ices Dougher t y Count y Health Depar t ment ECO Concepts Evergreen A ssi sted Liv ing & Cent ury Pines Senior Liv ing F lint Communit y Bank GA Federal-State In spection Ser v ices Integra Bu siness Alter natives Ivey's Outdoor and Farm Supply J. Dennis Hester, CPA Jim Hinton Oil Company J L A Inter national Dr. John W. Culbreth Judy Randle Kiwanis Club of Albany - Dougher t y Count y LifeLink Foundation LMC-Ag Mar tin Private Wealth Group Mathews Funeral Home Matrix Depar t ment Michael Fowler Mitchell Electric Membership Cor poration Newk s Eatery P.J.'s Decorative Fabrics Pot ter Motor Company Railway Freight R HC Sasco Chemical Group The F lint Albany, Georg ia U SAV E IT Pharmacy - Nor thwest Uni First Cor poration

Help At Home 231 West Lamar St. | Americus 229-928-3673 |

James Strother and Company 1501 West 3rd Ave. | Albany 229-405-8880

Yard Candi Pops 175 Pine Summit Leesburg | 478-238-3266 SWGA Sickle Cell Awareness 230 S. Jackson St. | Albany 3D Creations 2401 Dawson Rd. | Albany 229-454-5077 US 19 Drag way 1304 Williamsburg Rd. Albany Alpha-Lit SOW EGA 907 Tallahassee Road Albany | 229-584-0713 Boots on the Ground – Homeless and Outreach Resource 1306 West Broad Ave. | Albany 229-499-2892

NOT A MEMBER? Explore the benefits of what joining the Chamber can offer to your business. Visit us online at or call 229-434-8700. Questions? Email us about member benefits at







Shu Bee ~ Macon, GA