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BIZ ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE VOL. 20 / ISSUE 6 President & CEO, Editor Bårbara Rivera Holmes Chair Perry Revell Chair-Elect Matt Reed 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 2020 was a challenge, but our outcomes are certain, and partnerships are strong. 07 A Message from the Chamber President Moving into 2021 with clear purpose and unity. 08 Innovation and Technology Local tech firms look forward to the new year.

We need a little Christmas, right this very minute! And have it, we shall. Holiday traditions continue at the Chehaw Festival of Lights, where participants can enjoy a drive through the lights, sip hot cocoa, and roast marshmallows by the socially distanced fire pits. Lights are set to run on December 4-6, 11-13, 18-24, 26-27 from 6-9 p.m. Cost is $8 per car for members of any Artesian Alliance organization and $10 per car for nonmembers. For more information, please visit Chehaw.org.

ON THE COVER: The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced Bishop Clean Care as its 2020 Small Business of the Year and Open Arms as its 2020 Nonprofit of the Year. Read more on page 28.


Work from Home Tips Five steps for success.


Local Industry Expanding Expanding business adds new jobs and millions in capital investment.

16 Albany-Dougherty EDC Names New President Jana Wadkins Dyke to take helm. 18

Healthcare Professions Local strides to build workforce.

25 Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cuttings Celebrating Biz in the Good Life City 28 2020 Small Business & Nonprofit of the Year Celebrating organizations that add value to our community.

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FROM T HE 2 020 C HAI RM AN Grateful. Despite challenges 2020 wrought, I'm grateful. Grateful to serve as Chairman of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. The year differed from our projection, which we all can say the same, but our Chamber work is meaningful, our outcomes certain and our partnerships strong. I'm grateful to serve alongside you, to serve with our prolific Chamber staff led by Barbara and our engaged, committed Board.

In October Jake Reese, Government Affairs Division Chair, Barbara and I sent a letter to Albany Mayor Bo Dorough and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Christopher Cohilas regarding crime in our community. Success of the Albany area depends on the safety of every citizen. The business community believes in actionable solutions, in partnership and in collaboration. When the private sector engages on issues, progress often can be advanced. We intend to collaborate, to seek actionable community solutions with our law enforcement, government and judicial partners.

In January I told the annual meeting attendees we’d produce a marketable strategic plan to guide our future focus. “Collaboratively we’re putting forth a tailored, community focused strategic vision crafted by our Board in partnership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Many of you provided thoughtful insight to guide the process.” The committee has been hard at work, pandemic be damned, to put forth a strategic vision for our future. I’m pleased to report we’ll finalize this document in December, so Matt Reed, 2021 Chairman, Barbara, Staff and Board can harness the strategic future that’s ours for the taking. Serving as Chair is an honor, and a far more rewarding experience than I anticipated. That’s because of you. Because of our collective strength, because of the power of our unity, we are, and remain #StrongerTogetherABY. - PERRY REVELL



F RO M T H E P R ES I DE NT & C EO Like for most around the nation and the world, we’re closing out 2020 not as we had envisioned. But I can say that the Albany Area Chamber will cross into 2021 with our purpose clearer and more valuable than ever, and our belief in the power of unity and partnerships even stronger. Every day, we take on the hard stuff so our members can focus on running their businesses. From lobbying Congress for small business protections and multiple rounds of emergency funds to working with state leadership in support of legislation and investments in local health care and education and business incentives − we’ve advocated for it and we’ve brought home the resources. Public safety, access to reliable Internet and upskilling our work force − we're in it. And while we‘re fighting hard for resources and for progress, we’re not missing the chances to celebrate the good that happens every day. Read about our 2020 Small Business of the Year and 2020 Nonprofit of the Year on page 28. The future is not clearer but our focus is. The Chamber’s new strategic plan, led by our Chairman Perry Revell and whose details have been firmed up amid the pandemic, is aggressive and targeted. It’s designed to bring possibilities to life. It's designed with strength, agility, vision and focus. It’s designed so we can better serve our members and continue taking on the hard stuff. We will be unveiling this strategy in the weeks to come. We believe in business. We believe in Albany and the Albany Area. We believe in better. And we exist to deliver on these. We exist to support you − our members, our community. To build, together, a community in which businesses want to invest and people want to live. We are nurturers, we are believers, we are providers, we are future-focused builders. We do this for you and with you. We are grateful for your continued investment in the Albany Area Chamber. For your trust. And for the honor of being your champion. The forthcoming year promises us more unknowns and no doubt twists and turns. My promise to you: Together, we've got this.


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INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY For companies facing the unprecedented challenge of conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic, necessity has been the mother of innovation. Leaders in internet technology firms in the Albany Area say no one has a crystal ball capable of peering into 2021 and—hopefully—a post-COVID world, but an increasing reliance on technological solutions will be critical to businesses’ success. “As Americans, we’re having to adapt to this new way of doing business,” observed Kyle Boyd, CEO and owner of Crown Networking Consultants. “We don’t have all the kinks worked out, but I think we’re carving a path forward in this new era.” That path has led to home for many workers, who found themselves unable to go to their offices after the shutdown in March. Remote working has been described as a paradigm shift for American business. “The one thing we learned is that we can continue,” said Tammy McCrary, president and CEO of Comnet Technical Solutions (CTSI). “That’s a great thing about our country. We have been blessed and we can survive.” A sharply different view of how work is done has evolved in just a few months.



“I think the mentality of the workforce is changing,” Boyd said. “Over the past 60 years, you went to work and you went home. That’s definitely changing. “It’s going to make technology push ahead a lot faster. As far as videoconferencing and the way we communicate and conduct business, it’s forever changed.” McCrary noted many businesses have seen financial benefits from shifting work from the office to employees’ homes. “A lot of people are saying, ‘This is saving us money. We’re not having to pay for air conditioning and office space.’" “In 2021, I see more people working from home," McCrary said. "I think you’re going to see more virtual training, more virtual meetings.” Albany Area IT leaders say that working from home, virtual meetings and interaction, and an increasingly prominent role for technology will continue to trend upward. It helps that laptops, web cameras and other needed hardware that became scarce in the spring and summer when record demand collided with production interruptions is normalizing, though there are still some backorders. Businesses with good technology plans, training and strong IT support have managed the COVID pandemic better than others during this transformational period.

including balancing work and family life, and learning COVID-era etiquette for participation in virtual business meetings. Still, it’s premature to write the obituary of offices. “I think we’ll see a shift back to the office,” said Rob Collins, founder and CEO of Neos Technologies. “Then, organizations will have to deal with any types of morale or culture issues. It’s hard to drive a company culture when every individual is in their home. “But I also think there always will be that flexibility that next time this happens, they’ll be able to deploy back to home.” Carpenter noted that “a lot of people learned about Zoom, remote phones and all these other remote things because they had to do it. Now that they’ve used it, they’re saying, ‘This is kind of nice.’ But I think the human interaction factor will always be there.”

Tammy McCrary, president and CEO of Comnet Technical Solutions, notes that businesses are seeing financial benefits from having employees work from home. Jay Carpenter, partner and business development director of Invision Technologies, said businesses “see the reliance on technology now.” “The last five years, have you been able to work remotely? Most of our clients have,” Carpenter said. “But to be able to work as efficiently at the same speed with the data you’re pushing with the applications you’re running, I think this (COVID) has jumped us a couple of years forward, if not more. It hit the fast-forward button, no doubt.”

A critical concern for businesses will continue to be cybersecurity. “One of the biggest concerns for us as well as our clients when all this started was security, making sure that people understood the challenges they would see and have,” McCrary said. “It’s been a really huge focus for us as well as our clients to make sure the technology they’re using is secure. There’s so much malice out there trying to steal information.” Businesses generally have done a good job of securing their on-location networks, Collins said. Dark web and questionable websites are blocked by business network security. "A security problem," he said, "can stem from

That has created benefits, such as more a more flexible schedule for the employee whose “office” has become the kitchen table, a “commute” of just a few steps from the family room. Challenges, however, also have arisen,

Jay Carpenter, partner and business development director of Invision Technologies, thinks that COVID-19 has hit the fast forward button on technology. ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


something as seemingly innocuous as a child playing a video game like 'Fortnite' and downloading a program—one that turns out to be malicious." “Take your corporate device home with you and you’re on your Internet and you don’t have those (security measures) in place,” Collins said. “Organizations are moving to implement tools and technologies that will follow that laptop so that network is just as secure from the home as it was from the office.” A major concern in Southwest Georgia is access to fast, reliable Internet service. Albany has a strong fiber infrastructure, but not all rural communities do.

Kyle Boyd, CEO & owner of Crown Networking, says the mentality of the workforce is changing.

“The biggest thing we saw was just the hunger for bandwidth. ‘I need to increase this. It’s too slow,’” Carpenter said. “I relate bandwidth and networks to the plumbing in your house. People suddenly weren’t using little spigots in the kitchen. They were installing fire hydrants because they needed that bandwidth.” “I know the governor’s got committees and initiatives they’re working on,” McCrary said. “I think in 2021, you’re going to see a lot more focus on making sure we’ve got secure, high-speed Internet to all the areas in rural Georgia. That needs to be a priority.” As disruptive as COVID has been to them, businesses have been fortunate that technology is advanced enough so that coping is possible. “Our technology let us fare a lot better than if this had happened even five years ago,” Boyd said. “That would have been a royal mess.”







WORK FROM HOME TIPS CREATE YOUR SPACE Sure, working from the couch in your pajamas may seem like a utopia, but it will soon lead to disorganization and chaos. Search your home and determine the workspace that works for you. Make sure it is well-lit with access to electrical outlets and close to internet access. Add a desk, chair, and the office supplies – and you’re done!




Working from home has its perks, but those perks can quickly turn into distractions. Before you begin the workday, take the time to make sure your kitchen is clean, beds made, and laundry put away. This will help ensure household tasks do not call your attention away from work.

Sitting and snacking – these are the two biggest saboteurs to your health while working from home. Stock your kitchen with brainboosting, healthy snacks. Make sure you take frequent breaks from your workspace to stand and stretch. A 15-minute walk outside for sunshine and fresh air is sure to boost your mood and creativity.

KEEP A SCHEDULE With the line between home and work life more blurred than ever, it’s tempting to weave the two throughout an entire day, but that will soon lead to burn out on both fronts. Set your work schedule – and stick to it!

BE POSITIVE Working from home can be a challenge. Check-in regularly with your work team to maintain connectedness and keep the momentum moving forward. Be honest about your challenges, and allow others to help.



Local Industry Expanding New Jobs in Albany Dougherty County The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, together with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, on October 21, announced the expansion of Outdoor Network in Albany, creating nearly $22 million in capital investment and 92 new jobs for the community.

and expansion of the company’s existing call center and distribution headquarters in Albany-Dougherty County, as well as the location of an advanced manufacturing operation producing 125-200 HP diesel outboard engines for OXE Diesel.

The growth stems from the consolidation

“Outdoor Network’s continual growth in Georgia is a testament to our pro-business environment, robust logistics network, and highly skilled workforce – all of which help support the state’s manufacturing and distribution industries,” said Governor Kemp. “Our world-class economic development team remains dedicated to creating jobs for hardworking Georgians in rural Georgia, and we look forward to seeing the opportunities this creates in Albany and throughout the region.”

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Headquartered in Albany, Outdoor Network has emerged as an international powerhouse dealer and distributor of marine and powersports equipment and parts, supplying renowned brands including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, Can-Am, Mercury, Sea Doo, Evinrude and OXE Marine Diesel Outboards. Of the 92 new jobs, 52 will be created at the distribution and call center to be

consolidated and expanded at 1601 South Slappey Boulevard - formerly the original site of MacGregor Golf, which has sat privately owned, but vacant, for more than 20 years. The new manufacturing operation of OXE diesel outboard motors will generate an additional 40 manufacturing jobs. Outdoor Network first located to Albany-Dougherty County in 2012 with its distribution center and has since created over 230 jobs and generated over $4 million in sales tax revenue for Dougherty County and the state of Georgia. "Congratulations to Chamber member Outdoor Network on its decision to expand operations in Albany, taking full advantage of the community’s skilled work force, transportation infrastructure and competitive business costs, and its reputation as a manufacturing, call center and distribution hub," said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber.

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erhaps at no time in recent history has the need for qualified healthcare workers been more starkly apparent than during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. The health safety crisis dominated headlines and shone a spotlight on the critical and growing need for health care professionals in a variety of fields. Across Albany and Southwest Georgia, practitioners and educators are making the investment to grow and strengthen the health worker pipeline with state-of-the-art education and training to ensure that southwest Georgia’s medical care options are among the best in the region.

Planning and construction of the new Phoebe Simulation and Innovation Center, designed to be a hub for a one-ofa-kind Nursing Simulation and Training Education Program (NSTEP) Phoebe developed to support new graduate nurses, welcomed its first group of nurses for training in June. The $5.3 million, 22,000-square-foot center employs the latest technology in high-fidelity medical mannequins. It contains multiple training rooms – including an operating/trauma room, a traditional hospital room, an intensive care unit room, and a labor and delivery suite which contains a neonatal intensive care unit – all set up to emulate the actual facilities in which Phoebe staff work.


We are able to do everything from allowing a novice nurse to practice inserting a peripheral intravenous line to simulating a difficult premature birth for an entire labor and delivery and NICU team,” said the center’s manager, Larecia Gill, PHD, RN.



“By allowing our staff to train using simulation, they are in a ‘safe’ environment that will help improve their clinical competency and confidence in delivering safe, quality healthcare which will improve patient safety and reduce healthcare costs.”

Although planning and construction for the center began well before the COVID-19 outbreak, its advantages have become even more strongly evident since. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic limited clinical rotations for spring and summer nursing graduates, and they were unable to get all the hands-on training they need. Our new center is ideal for cultivating that supplemental learning,” said Phoebe Assistant Vice President of Nursing Education Tracy Suber, Ed.D., RN. Individual training scenarios focus on numerous aspects of care, including lessons learned while caring for COVID-19 patients. Trainees are asked to think critically and act quickly during sessions that are recorded. An important part of the training is the debriefing, where expert educators review the recorded scenario to reinforce what may have gone right or wrong to prevent errors in the future. “This center is an incredible investment in patient safety and workforce development. Staff throughout our health system will utilize the center year-round for realistic training that will enhance the quality of care we are able to provide,” said Suber. “It will also be a great benefit for our employees and will help us recruit and retain outstanding workers.”




ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY Albany State University (ASU) will soon have a simulation center of its own. The school has been appropriated $800,000 in design funds from the Georgia General Assembly to begin planning for the construction of a new 20,000-square-foot advanced Simulation Center for Nursing and Allied Health. With one-third of ASU’s degrees conferred in nursing and allied health disciplines, the proposed simulation center will both support existing enrollment and allow growth for the university’s health professions programs. The simulation center will include space for simulation labs with low, medium and high-fidelity manikins, control rooms, and observation spaces, as well as related hospital simulation spaces and work areas. The Simulation Center is a part of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Strategic Plan 2024. One of USG’s goals is to increase the number of graduates in health professions. The center is also part of ASU’s 2020-2025 strategic plan, which includes the goal of engaging regional health career partners to determine prevalent health challenges of Southwest Georgia and implementing best practices that strengthen programs and services to address the learning needs of students. The center will support the nursing program expansion at Albany State and provide opportunities for collaboration with other USG schools, the Technical College System of Georgia and private nursing and allied health programs. While addressing the challenge of clinical student placements in acute care settings, USG will also enhance the state’s nursing pipeline through the center at Albany State.

Plans for a new 20,000-squarefoot advanced Simulation Center for Nursing and Allied Health are underway at ASU.

ASU can effectively alleviate the shortage of qualified nurses in Georgia,” said Dr. Sarah Brinson, Dean of the Darton College of Health Professions.

"This center will play a key role in improving patient care and outcomes, which is proven to be measurably enhanced by simulation training.”




ALBANY TECHNICAL COLLEGE At Albany Technical College (ATC), strides are also being made to train medical workers for the area. “As a technical college, meeting the needs of our local and regional workforces is constantly in the forefront of our minds,” said Lisa Stephens, Dean of Healthcare/Business Technology. “We know, for example, that there is a real need for not only nurses but for all allied health professionals.” According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, Employment in nursing is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the babyboom population ages, the overall need for healthcare services is expected to increase. More nurses will be needed in residential care facilities and in-home health environments to care for older patients. To help meet that need, Albany Technical College is in the process of expanding the Associate of Science Nursing Program, which has traditionally been offered on nights and weekends, to a day program as well. This program at ATC is already a successful one, with spring graduates all achieving a 100% pass rate on their standardized tests. The NCLEX exam, also known as the National Council Licensure Examination, is a standardized test that every

ATC spring graduates all achieved a 100% pass rate on their standardized tests.

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state regulatory board uses to determine if a candidate is ready to become licensed as an entry-level nurse. In addition, ATC’s Practical Nursing Program, which was ranked sixth out of 21 in the state for 2020 by PracticalNursing.org, is in the process of becoming accredited. For the award, nursing programs were assessed on several factors that represent how well a program supports students towards licensure and beyond. PracticalNursing.org analyzed past and present first time NCLEX-PN “pass-rates” weighted by year. The pass rates are looked at as one of the best measures to determine a nursing program’s student preparedness.

To be selected as number six in the top 10 PN nursing programs in the state of Georgia is truly an honor,” said Teresa Darity, Chair/Instructor Practical Nursing at Albany Tech.

“We attribute this distinction to a devoted nursing faculty and staff, who are focused on ensuring student success. The credit also goes to our committed and hard-working students that we proudly assist in entering the local workforce.”

In March, Albany Technical College and Albany State University signed a formal agreement as active educational partners in providing educational opportunities for currently enrolled and potential students of both institutions. ATC students with A.S. and A.A.S. degrees will be able to transfer to 11 ASU bachelor programs including nursing, healthcare management, biology and chemistry with a biology concentration. Sarah Brinson, dean of the Darton College of Health Professions at Albany State, said she's "excited to use to use this partnership to increase our nursing workforce.”


"This agreement creates a pathway for students to earn a bachelor's degree when they complete A.S. or A.A.S. degrees at Albany Technical College," said Anthony O. Parker, president of Albany Technical College. "This will allow students to continue in their professional career while living here in Albany and surrounding areas of Southwest Georgia." With this partnership, both institutions will better serve the educational growth of students and the economic development of the community.



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Investors Management Company celebrated the ribbon cutting of their 2611 Gillionville Road | Albany property, The Woodlands Apartments. This is the 229-800-9101 first Georgia apartment www.woodlandsalbany.com community to be built to EarthCraft Platinum Certification requirements providing maximum energyefficient and resourceefficient living environments. Their community center features a computer lab with high-speed internet access, a wellness center, a barbeque area and covered pavilion and a playground for children.

Albany Urgent Care is open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm and Friday from 8 am to 2 pm to see walk-in patients with non-emergent healthcare conditions. Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care offers senior and home care service for Alzheimer and dementia patients. They offer companion care, hospice care, respite care, after surgery or an accident care. They even offer in-home childcare and pet care.


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True Vinyl offers films in every color for garment decoration. Whether you are an experienced DIY crafter or are a beginner, they have options. The shop's grand opening is Saturday. Visit them at 1507 Dawson Road in Albany. Follow them on Facebook for upcoming classes designed to help you create unique designs.




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A HER A Respon se Ser v ices Albany Fish Company Andrew College Ann J. Kelley Ar tesian Cit y FCU Ber ney’s Tire Ser v ice Captain D's Albany Central Plumbing & Heating Contractors Cour t yard Albany D&D Kitchen Center Dougher t y Count y Rotary Club First State Bank of Albany F lint Off ice Fur nit ure F lint River Enter tainment Complex Georg ia's Ow n Credit Union Goodlife Vapor Holiday Inn Ex press & Suites Hugh Morris, At tor ney at Law Indu stry In sulation Logos-Plu s Mar tin Private Wealth Group Microf Financial Ser v ices Mi ssion Change MSA Or thopedics


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MEMBERS LoLo’s Beauty SenSations 478-456-9424 lolosbeautysensations.vistaprintdig ital.com True Vinyl 1507 Dawson Road Albany | 229-573-7261 Boy Scouts of America, South Georg ia Council 1841 Norman Drive Valdosta | 229-242-2331 sgcbsa.org Early Riser Solutions 417 Station Crossing Drive, Apt. A Albany | 229-343-6797 earlyrisersolutionsllc.net The Cool Place 2602 Dawson Road Albany | 229-886-2714 facebook.com/thecoolplacecalbany

We love our members, and each and every day we work to support you. We are especially thankful to all our members who have pulled together to support our community, and who are committed to also supporting the Chamber. Your members benefits are more important now than ever. Take advantage of them, or give us a call for a refresh. Like our members, the Albany Area Chamber is open, working and here for you.

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

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Profile for Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

Biz Magazine | Nov - Dec 2020