ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
GROWING PASSION Farmer Fredo Plants Seeds for Urban Agriculture THE BIG MOVE Georgia National Guard Has New Home on Marine Base
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017
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VOLUME 17 | ISSUE 6 ALBANY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MAGAZINE
BUSI NE S S PRESIDENT & CEO, EDITOR Bárbara Rivera Holmes CHAIR Jenny Savelle VICE CHAIR Tammy McCrary PRINTING US Business Products PHOTOGRAPHY Todd Stone AD SALES Mary Bickerstaff MARKETING AGENCY MADlab Marketing
Business (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
CONTENTS 06 Comments from the Chairwoman Jenny Savelle discusses the importance of volunteerism.
"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." - F. Scott Fitzgerald As a cool breeze finally sweeps over Southwest Georgia, it is the perfect time to visit Markâ€™s Melon Patch to pick out a pumpkin, hop on a hay ride and wind through the corn maze. Pictured: Abby Glow, daughter of Brandon and Jessica Glow
A Message from the Chamber President & CEO BĂĄrbara Rivera Holmes shares ways Albany can capitalize on its strengths in the year ahead, despite the many challenges faced in 2017.
A Growing Passion
From the music industry to the farming industry, Farmer Fredo now delivers 50-70 produce boxes a week to 13 locations in Southwest Georgia.
The Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District plans to jumpstart a project focused on urban agriculture conservation
Heading into the 2018 legislative season, our state delegation shares what its focus is for Southwest Georgia and the state.
20 The Big Move
Albany-based Georgia Army National Guard armory has a new home on Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
24 Improvise, Adapt, Overcome
How Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is recovering after estimated $125 million in storm damages. ON THE COVER: For the past three years, Fredando Jackson has been working with the North Florida Cooperative to supply schools in Dougherty, Grady, Mitchell, Worth, Thomas and Sumter counties with fresh collard greens, turnips, sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
30 September & October Highlights
Recent Chamber events and highlights.
FROM THE 2017 CHAIRWOMAN As I walked around the packed halls of the Business Expo, which showcased 55 businesses and was attended by almost 500 patrons, I felt a sense of pride. Chamber events like this bring our business community together. Although the year is coming to a close, the Chamber will continue to host events in November and December. In November, the Chamber will present its legislative priorities for 2018 at the Legislative Rise-N-Shine Breakfast, and in December we will highlight the work of Strive2Thrive. The Chamber is also planning for the upcoming year by preparing the budget, translating strategies into action items and selecting new board members and leadership. All this good work is not possible without the staff at the Chamber working alongside countless volunteers who are passionate about Chamber work. The Chamber is continuously strengthened by community stakeholders who work thoughtfully behind the scenes to provide guidance; board members who actively focus on the Chamber’s mission; and volunteers who work tirelessly on our multifaceted program of work. Throughout our community, so many of our citizens are volunteering their time and talent in churches, government, civic groups and nonprofits to encourage social inclusion, promote unity, urge civic engagement and create ownership of development results. We must continue to cultivate and encourage volunteerism for those reasons. As we approach this season of gratitude, I want to express a warm “thank you” to all who have generously given their time and energy for a better and more unified Albany. I encourage you to continue to give your resources as we strive to move forward together. Wishing you and your family a safe and joyful holiday season! -JENNY SAVELLE
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FROM THE PRESIDENT & CEO By no accounts has 2017 been an easy year for the Albany Area. Starting the year with back-to-back tornadoes and nearly $1 billion in estimated damages and losses will set things askew. I think of the houses with trees through their roofs; the residents who were displaced; the businesses whose buildings were demolished; the neighborhoods dark at night without power. But so much of life is about how we recover. And what stands out to me most about 2017 is not the difficulties the year brought, but the resiliency that we demonstrated through them. People housed each other, fed each other and loved each other. Businesses reinvested and reopened. Streets and parks were cleaned. Despite the challenges of the year, the community’s resolve set it on a course to be stronger than it had been and to look at major challenges as major opportunities. We told the powerful story of the Albany Area better than we have at any other time in recent history. It’s a story we needed to share, but that we also needed to embrace. The year can claim education and work force development successes; new jobs and capital investment; growth in tourism; investments in recreational assets; increased business engagement, leadership and advocacy; a growing interest in the downtown corridor; and a renewed sense of community pride. As 2018 nears, it’s imperative that we maintain the mindset of capitalizing on our many strengths; of continued investment in the areas that create economic opportunity; of working with cross-sector and cross-regional partners to develop innovative solutions to persistent challenges; of demanding our local, state and federal leaders to make well-thought and pro-business decisions. Certainly, we can hope for less dramatic natural events in the year to come. But above all, it is my hope that we carry forward the energy, the commitment, the collaboration and the unity that demonstrated to all - and most importantly, to ourselves - that There’s Only One Albany. - BÁRBARA RIVERA HOLMES
November | December 2017
AlbanyGA.com | BUSINESS 7
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Fredando Jackson - AKA "farmer fredo" - delivers 50 to 70 produce boxes a week to 13 locations in southwest georgia. 10 November | December 2017 | BUSINESS
a growing passion
ife’s journey seldom follows a straight path, as Fredando “Fredo” Jackson realized when he lost his job in the music industry more than 10 years ago. Originally a small-town boy from Plains, Ga, he was pursuing a career in music distribution in Atlanta when the industry began to shift from CDs to a digital format, forcing his position to be eliminated. “I just kept hitting walls in the Atlanta music industry,” he recalled. “I used up my 401K. I was couch surfing and trying to find my next meal. My mother told me I could always come home, but I told her there was nothing to do in Sumter County but pick beans, and that I was no farmer.” Little did he know, his life path was about to take another turn that would lead him to an entirely new career as “Farmer Fredo.” Still in Atlanta, Jackson hit rock bottom until, with the encouragement of friend and mentor Rev. James Orange, he began to volunteer with various community programs, such as Hosea Feed the Hungry. As he worked to distribute food instead of music, Jackson began to see the power that growing and sharing food had to feed both body and soul. A turning point came when Jackson, who was driving the bus for a trip organized by the American Friends Service Committee, stopped at Koinonia Farm in Americus, near his hometown of Plains. “I never even knew they were there,” Jackson said with amazement. A Koinonia internship program offered Jackson the ideal solution to continue his growing interest in food production while moving back home as his mother had suggested. Koinonia, which was founded as a communal farm in 1942, has long had international ties, first with Habitat for Humanity International and now with the Fuller Center for Housing. As Jackson worked in the kitchen garden, he saw the food that he helped grow used to prepare a noon meal every day that was served to visitors from all over the world. November | December 2017
“I saw all types of diverse people sit down at a table together and forget politics,” he recalled. “It was a powerful lesson.” With the guidance of Koinonia farm manager Brendan Prendergast, Jackson continued to read and attend agriculture workshops, teaching himself about different methods for smallscale agriculture production and implementing what he learned as he went along. “At this point, I was still going between Koinonia and my mom’s back bedroom, but I just kept moving forward, hoping that things would work out,” Jackson said. Jackson’s hard work and enthusiasm began to pay off as opportunities started coming his way. He started working with Farmers Organic, a family-run business that helps small farmers grow and market their produce. Then, when Fort Valley State University sponsored a trip to attend a Growing Power workshop in Milwaukee led by Will Allen, a nationally known practitioner of urban agriculture, Jackson was chosen to go. There, Jackson was inspired to start a Farm to Table Market Basket program putting together small, weekly boxes of produce as a first step in working with local farmers. Today, Farmer Fredo is a business delivering 50-70 produce boxes a week to 13 locations in Southwest Georgia. Consumers can see a list of what is available each week and order via his Facebook page by Tuesday for pick-up on Thursday. Jackson works with Hopkins Farm in Cairo, as well as other family farms in Bainbridge, Tifton, Adel, Albany and Northwest Florida to source the produce.
As Jackson began to become established among Southwest Georgia farmers, he also built a connection with the New North Florida Cooperative, a pioneer in the farm-to-school movement. AlbanyGA.com | BUSINESS 11
Jackson credits the leadership and example of the co-op’s executive director, Glyen Holmes, with his knowledge of how to work with both farmers and school systems. For the past three years, Jackson has been working with the co-op to supply schools in Dougherty, Grady, Mitchell, Worth, Thomas and Sumter counties with fresh collard greens, turnips, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Jackson has also partnered with the Dougherty County School System School Nutrition Services program and their Partners in Excellence to establish or assist with 13 teaching gardens at Dougherty County elementary schools. Here, students are receiving hands-on education in food sustainability, growing crops such as lettuce, spinach, onions, radishes and collards that are harvested and served in the school cafeterias for special occasions. Jackson’s passion for small-scale food production also led him to offer workshops, consultations and garden installations for backyard gardeners. “I see myself as an eco-social entrepreneur who wants to make a difference in rural and under-served communities by teaching super simple sustainable practices that feed people, preserve the environment and bring diverse communities together,” he said. So, when he saw a posting on Dougherty County Commission Chairman Christopher Cohilas’ Facebook page sharing that the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was looking to hire a coordinator for 2its urban program, Jackson Prince new ad_Layout 1 1/6/14 5:21 PM Page knew he had to give it a shot. Cohilas, who did not know Jackson previously, is glad that he helped make the connection.
“Fredando is a unique, talented and driven individual who has proven that he is willing to roll up his sleeves to get the work done on this very important initiative,” said dougherty county commission chairman christoper Cohilas.
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Jackson jumped into his new position July 1, full of energy and ideas. Already, the Flint River Fresh, Inc. has filed for 501(c)3 status for the program, which will expand to include all of Jackson’s current efforts, as well as some new initiatives.
“Fredando is the ideal person to lead this initiative,” said SWCD Chairman Marty McLendon. “The energy, knowledge and passion he has for this work will have long-term benefits for this program as well as the community of Albany.” For Jackson, it’s as much about growing relationships as it is about growing food. Whether he’s connecting farmers with families, teaching children to grow their own food, or educating people on the importance Project1_Layout 1 3/29/17 10:00 AM Page 1 of natural resource conservation, he sees this development as the next step on a winding path that, after a few detours, led him right back to where he started – the rich soil of Southwest Georgia.
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U Urban Agriculture
URBAN AGRICULTURE Last summer, the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was one of 42 conservation districts across the country to receive a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). The goal: To jumpstart a project focused on urban agriculture conservation in Albany. A state agency comprised of farmers, landowners and community leaders that are dedicated to the conservation, wise use and protection of natural resources in the Flint River Basin, the Flint River SWCD encompasses Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell and Seminole counties.
The organization submitted a proposal in 2016 to NACD’s Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative. The initiative, in partnership with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, aims to increase and stabilize technical assistance where the land is predominantly urban or urbanizing. The urban grants will allow districts to help urban farmers, community gardens and other local agricultural partnerships implement conservation practices that support local food production, provide opportunities for education and stewardship and protect natural resources. Flint River SWCD Urban Program Coordinator Fredando Jackson is tasked with implementing the project objectives, which are to provide technical assistance and educational resources for small and urban farmers; to enhance natural resource planning and management related to urban agriculture and urban communities; to expand access to local food with a focus on underserved, lowaccess areas; and to educate community citizens and students on conservation and agriculture. The geographic focus initially will be in Albany with plans to expand to other area communities. “The Flint River SWCD looks forward to working with community leaders in Albany to build this innovative program,” said Flint River SWCD Chairman Marty McLendon. “Our goal is to utilize urban agriculture to further connect people to their food source and the natural resources integral to production.” The Flint River SWCD envisions building collaborations in three focus areas: community, education and environment.
14 November | December 2017 | BUSINESS
By working alongside community partners to revitalize existing gardens, as well as to establish new community gardens in areas known as “food deserts” within the county, the agency aims to increase community health, wellness and sustainability through enhanced accessibility and education of locally-grown foods.
EDUCATION | The second prong of the program integrates local
agriculture with educational, experiential learning opportunities for farmers, students and the community. For example, in collaboration with the Dougherty County School System, Jackson assists in school gardening programs with participating schools, providing an opportunity to take learning outside of the classroom and show students the farm-to-table connection.
ENVIRONMENT | The urban program assists community leaders
and small-scale, urban producers with natural resource planning and management and works within the county to encourage and educate the community about conservation and green infrastructure initiatives. “Our mission is to collaborate with the community to work with school gardens, home gardens, urban farms and the city,” Jackson said. “We are working to establish a relationship between residents and the surrounding natural resources to ensure a sustainable future for all community members.”
Visit flintriverswcd.org for more information on the program. AlbanyGA.com
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G E T TI N G T O K N O W OU R
L E G ISLAT IVE LEA D ER S
Looking forward to the upcoming legislative season, our legislative leaders shared what they are focusing on in 2018, challenges facing rural Georgia and who they're cheering on this football season.
WINFRED DUKES (D)
STATE REPRESENTATIVE - District 154 YEAR ELECTED: 1997 HOMETOWN: Albany COMMITTEES: Economic Development and Tourism;
Agriculture; Special Policy; State Planning
DARREL BUSH EALUM (D) STATE REPRESENTATIVE - District 153
PRIMARY CHALLENGES FACING RURAL GEORGIA?
Finding good jobs, having better schools and quality and accessible healthcare FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Atlanta Falcons FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY:
HOW IS THE GEORGIA DELEGATION WORKING TO STREGTHEN GEORGIA AS A MILITARY STATE?
COMMITTEES: Human Resourses and Aging; Veteran
Our Military Affairs Study Group and a planning session met on October 19, and visited Washington, D.C., November 1-2. We produced extensive legislation in 2018 in support, and I expect we will sponsor several pieces of legislation this year in support of our military bases, personnel, dependents and retirees.
GERALD E. GREENE (R)
PRIMARY CHALLENGES FACING RURAL GEORGIA? Loss
YEAR ELECTED: 2014
Affairs; Banks and Banking; State Properties; Military Affairs Study Group
STATE REPRESENTATIVE District 151 YEAR ELECTED: 2014 HOMETOWN: Cuthbert
of population, jobs, economic development, strong educational system FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Georgia Southern
COMMITTEES: State Properties (Chairman); Economic
FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY:
ED RYNDERS (R)
PRIMARY CHALLENGES FACING RURAL GEORGIA?
Development and Tourism; Rules; Retirement; Public Safety and Homeland Security and Appropriations
STATE REPRESENTATIVE - District 152 YEAR ELECTED: 2002 HOMETOWN: Albany COMMITTEES: Governmental Affairs (Chairman);
Baked hot wings and horseradish dip
Educating community leaders, both elected and nonelected on funding opportunities provided by the state, which reduce the pressure on local budgets; along with actively promoting regional economic development.
Appropriations (Secretary); Health & Human Services FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Georgia Bulldogs (Secretary); Ways & Means; Transportation; Legislative FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY: & Congressional Redistricting; Intragovernmental Good Southern food Coordination
FREDDIE POWELL SIMS (D)
healthcare and behavioral health; Aging population; Loss of intellectual capital; Transportation; Population decline; Economic development; Lost revenue; Recruitment of professionals/personnel for education and healthcare
COMMITTEES: Agriculture; Appropriations; Education
FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Atlanta Falcons and Fort
STATE SENATOR - District 12 YEAR ELECTED: 2004
& Youth (Secretary); Interstate Cooperation (Vice Chair); Natural Resources
Valley State University Wildcats
PRIMARY CHALLENGES FACING RURAL GEORGIA?
A "purple bag"
FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY:
Crumbling infrastructure; Broadband; Access to
16 November | December 2017 | BUSINESS
YEAR ELECTED: 1992 HOMETOWN: Albany COMMITTEES: House Appropriations
Committee; Subcommittee on Agriculture; Rural Development; FDA; Subcommittee on Military Construction; Veterans Affairs; Subcommittee on Financial Services WHAT IS YOUR FOCUS FOR THE 2017-2018 CONGRESSIONAL SESSION?
SANFORD D. BISHOP, JR. (D-GA) U.S. CONGRESSMAN
My first, second and third priority is jobs, jobs, jobs. We are doing all we can to help Georgia, and the rest of the nation, create the conditions for sustainable job growth in all sectors of our economy, including investing in our schools and universities, supporting our agricultural industry, and fostering economic development around towns, cities and military bases.
I am focused on: 1. Ensuring our farmers have the resources they need to compete at home and abroad. 2. Continuing to advocate for our veterans and military families; and 3. Strengthening our infrastructure – roads, bridges and wastewater facilities – while creating jobs and reforming our tax code to make it simpler and fairer. FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Georgia Bulldogs FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY:
2nd Congressional District of Georgia
YEAR ELECTED: 2010 HOMETOWN: Tifton COMMITTEES: House Armed Services Committee; Subcommittee on Readiness; Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities; Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; House Committee on Agriculture; Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit (Chairman); Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Caucuses of Note; Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (House Vice Chairman); Republican Study Committee; Congressional Rural Health Caucus; Congressional Peanut Caucus
AUSTIN SCOTT (R-GA) U.S. CONGRESSMAN District 8
WHAT IS YOUR FOCUS FOR THE 2017-2018 CONGRESSIONAL SESSION? National Security: This Congress, I placed a great deal of focus on the U.S. House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (FY18 NDAA), a very important bill which authorizes funding for our nation’s military. The NDAA passed the House with broad bipartisan support, and included six amendments I introduced aimed at addressing combat readiness and training. Specially, my amendments were able to secure a pathway forward in addressing our combat pilot readiness and the U.S. Army’s ability to acquire and upgrade its small arms capabilities. Support for U.S. Southern Command: Included in FY18 NDAA is a provision I authored aimed at addressing the threat that transnational criminal organizations pose on our country and seeking to find new ways to support SOUTHCOM in its continuing effort to tackle those threats head-on. Similarly, I authored an amendment to H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, that supports multinational efforts to reduce the flow of drugs from Central and South America into the U.S. by providing training and
November | December 2017
technical assistance to partners in Central and South America to enhance regional security capabilities. The Farm Bill: As our nation’s primary agriculture and food policy tool, a comprehensive farm bill is a top priority of mine, and is essential to keeping the industry and our economy moving and producing for the American people. Net farm income continues to suffer due to lower crop receipts and a large downward adjustment in the value of farm-held stocks. The current scenario, in which the agriculture sector is experiencing economic distress, is one of the primary reasons we have a farm bill. I, along with my colleagues in the House Agriculture Committee, have been thoughtful in my examination of the impacts of reauthorizing, updating and, in some cases, cutting certain aspects of the current farm bill. Rural Broadband: In many of the 24 counties that make up the Eighth District, we need broadband just as much as we need roads and bridges. For me, all options are on the table when it comes to providing our rural communities with the technological resources they need to keep farms producing, students learning and economies growing. Broadband is much more than a quality of life issue; it is an economic issue, and as the Agriculture Committee continues Farm Bill negotiations and as the House works on an infrastructure spending package, the issue of rural broadband service remains on my front burner. FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Georgia Bulldogs FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY: Boiled peanuts
AlbanyGA.com | BUSINESS 17
Legislative Leaders YEAR ELECTED: U.S. Senate 2004; Re-elected 2010
HOMETOWN: Marietta COMMITTEES: Senate Committee on Veterans’
Affairs (Chairman); Senate Committee on Ethics (Chairman); Senate Committee on Finance; Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions How is the Georgia Congressional Delegation working together to strengthen Georgia as a military state?
JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA) U.S. SENATOR
The Georgia delegation comes together for our military installations and our brave men and women in uniform. Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services, each of which plays a critical role in keeping America safe at home and abroad. Our
YEAR ELECTED: 2014 HOMETOWN: Warner Robins COMMITTEES: Armed Services; Banking; Budget;
WHAT IS YOUR FOCUS FOR THE 2017-2018 CONGRESSIONAL SESSION?
Georgia plays a critical role in our national defense, and we are dedicated to supporting our military communities at every turn. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I met with leaders from each of Georgia’s military communities to get their input and discuss how we strengthen our
military presence and impact is growing. Whether it’s new command and troops at Fort Benning in Columbus, the cyber environment at Fort Gordon in Augusta, or Moody Air Force Base’s (Valdosta) role in fighting terror and helping our own citizens recover from terrible storms, Georgia installations are crucial. I have been proud to initiate an ongoing series of meetings in both Washington, D.C., and Georgia with senior Pentagon officials from each branch of the armed services, as well as visits to military installations, to highlight the importance of Georgia-based assets and the critical role each plays in our national defense. FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM: Georgia Bulldogs FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY:
state’s contribution to our national defense. Using this feedback, we were able to secure top priorities important to Georgia in this year’s defense bill, including protections for JSTARS readiness at Robins Air Force Base; allowing for public-private partnerships at Dobbins Air Reserve Base; and expanding on cyber-training initiatives like those at Fort Gordon. FAVORITE FOOTBALL TEAM:
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets FAVORITE ITEM TO BRING TO A TAILGATE PARTY:
DAVID PERDUE (R-GA) U.S. SENATOR
18 November | December 2017 | BUSINESS
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N National Guard Armory
By all accounts, Brig. Gen. Tom Carden, until recently the Georgia National Guard's assistant adjutant general, is one of the men most responsible for the move of the Albany-based Georgia Army National Guard armory at North Monroe Street to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. It was Carden, after all, who started calling for the move some 20 years ago. As fate would have it, though, Carden wasn’t to be seen on October 5 when the new Guard facility was dedicated with all the pomp and ceremony such an opening requires. Carden had, it turns out, a more pressing engagement: Two weeks prior to the ceremony, he was named to serve as the U.S. Army’s deputy commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) multinational division, headquartered in Bucharest, Romania. Nominated by National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel and supported by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Carden was approved for the appointment by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and shipped off to his new post in Romania on October 1, just days before the grand opening of the Guard’s new facility. “It breaks my heart not to be there,” said Carden, who was born in Dawson and grew up in Sumter County. “This is something I’ve been actively involved in for 20 years, for most of the 32 years I've been in the Guard. But I'm so proud to see this come to fruition.
"The move is, I believe, a textbook example of what can happen when the public, the community and the government work together for the common good." -Brig. Gen. Tom Carden, Georgia national guard
In addition to the people of Albany and the surrounding area, our governor, the state legislature, and the city and county commissions there all had a hand in making this happen.” While Guard, Marine Corps and officials at all levels of government have received their share of credit for making the move of the armory onboard MCLB Albany happen, it’s businessman and former Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Bodine Sinyard who is mentioned by all involved as the primary catalyst.
20 November | December 2017 | BUSINESS
“We are delighted the governor saw fit to include funding for the move,” said Georgia House District 151 Rep. Gerald Greene, who with Georgia House District 153 Rep. Darrel Ealum is recognized as a major local player in the move. “It’s a positive economic impact and a wonderful opportunity. As we look at a potential BRAC (base realignment and closure) in the years to come, it gives us some leverage there. But Jeff Sinyard is the catalyst behind this.” Georgia Guard Deputy Adjutant General Joe Farrero, who is also an attorney, echoes Greene’s assessment. “Bodine’s the guy,” Farrero said, using Sinyard’s commonly known nickname. “There were so many people who had a part in making this happen, from the governor on down. But I’m telling you, without Bodine Sinyard, the move would never have happened.” As is his custom, Sinyard modestly attempts to downplay his role in the move. But he acknowledges that his advocacy for the Guard armory’s location onboard Albany’s Marine base became one of his primary goals as he served on the Dougherty Commission and in appointed statewide positions. “We knew we had to get ahead of the curve when it came to BRAC,” Sinyard said. “We’d been through two, and in one of them our base was actually put on the list (for closure), but was taken off. We knew we had to be proactive and aggressive when it came to fighting for our base. Because, I’m telling you, that base is the nucleus of this region. We figured if we could get the Guard inside those gates, it was one more layer – along with locating the Veterans Affairs clinic there – one more mission for that facility.”
Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer of MCLB-Albany
Deal announced in late 2015 that he would include $1.1 million in his supplementary budget to support a Guard facility at the Albany base, provided the local governing bodies agreed to “put some skin in the game.”
Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Christopher S. Cohilas gladly called a joint meeting of those two bodies in January 2016 to announce that their commissions had agreed to contribute $200,000 each to the project, sealing the deal for construction of a new Guard facility at MCLB Albany. “There had been talk in Congress about moving the armory, and it looked like a target was set for 2004,” Carden said. “But then 9-11 happened, and funding was diverted to more pressing matters. A few years ago, Bodine brought the issue up again, and Reps. Greene and Ealum ran with it at the state level. It soon became apparent that this was a move everyone could get behind.” Officials at the Marine base say they welcome the addition of the Guard armory. “On behalf of the entire Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany team, we welcome the Georgia Army National Guard to the installation,” Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer of MCLB Albany, said of the move. “We look forward to providing all the facilities, infrastructure and critical support services required to enhance their overall mission and unit effectiveness.”
November | December 2017
AlbanyGA.com | BUSINESS 21
N National Guard Armory Farrero said the role the Guard has played in military action since 9-11 was another key factor in setting up the Albany unit onboard the Marine base. “The National Guard, in the wake of 9-11 and military actions in Bosnia and Kosova, transitioned to an operational reserve rather than a strategic reserve,” he said. “No longer was being part of the Guard about ‘two weekends a year or a weekend a month.’ Hundreds of thousands of Guard troops were deployed across the world.” And, Sinyard notes, what better place to train troops for combat than at an active Marine base? “Now you have a Guard unit for the southwest quadrant (of the state) that has the opportunity to utilize all the facilities of an active Marine base,” Sinyard said. “It’s an enormous training opportunity; the facilities, barracks, PX, offices and quarters are the best you can get. Nothing against the armory on North Monroe, but the difference between there and the new one at MCLB Albany is like day and night.” “Nobody was sure that this would work – I believe there is only one other such installation in Georgia, and it's rare across the country – but everyone involved, we just kept talking ... to the Marines, to the Guard, to government officials,” Sinyard said. “We never gave up, and after a while I think it became pretty clear that this was the right thing to do.”
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Which makes Carden a happy man, one who no doubt celebrated in absentia when the dedication ceremony took place. “When you’re in the military, in the Army, you’re called to do a job,” he said. “You salute, say ‘Yes, sir,’ and go serve your country. I consider it an honor to get this new assignment (in Romania), but a part of me will be with you guys in Southwest Georgia when the new facility opens. What everyone did to make this happen ... I couldn’t be prouder of a community.”
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22 November | December 2017 | BUSINESS
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Base Storm Recovery
IMPROVISE ADAPT OVERCOME
STORM RECOVERY AT MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY Photos by Nathan Hanks, Public Affairs Specialist at MCLB Albany
hile citizens of Dougherty County and the Albany Area have gone through the arduous process of filing insurance claims and meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Georgia Emergency Management Agency representatives since January tornados left a devastating and lasting mark on their properties and on the region, the Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany have done what Marines always do: Improvise, adapt and overcome. With Dougherty County Commission Chairman Christopher S. Cohilas proclaiming post-storms that total costs — in damages, loss of services and loss of productivity — in the region will far exceed $1 billion, MCLB Albany, which took a direct hit from an EF-3 tornado that touched down January 22, suffered damages expected to total more than 10 percent of that estimate. “The base sustained major damage to its infrastructure,” said Colie Young, public affairs officer at MCLB Albany. “As far as facilities were concerned, those damages were isolated to our industrial/warehouse district. The lion’s share of those damages occurred to warehouse and maintenance
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facilities in this area of the base. Clean-up, repairs and minor and major construction is estimated to exceed $125 million.” The devastation had an impact on dignitaries and government officials who came calling in the aftermath of the storms. Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was one such VIP who got an up-close look at the devastation.
“NOTHING DOES IT JUSTICE UNTIL YOU SEE IT UP CLOSE,” CAGLE SAID AFTER VISITING THE BASE IN FEBRUARY. "But the Marine Corps is noted for its resiliency, and the Albany base’s commander immediately made it clear that there was no time for lamenting losses. He offered condolences, then put his men and women to work.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the storms and tornadoes,” Col. James C. Carroll, commanding officer for MCLB Albany, said after assessing damages. “Our team is aggressively working with our tenants and supported commands to restore the installation to normal operations.” Emergency clean-up, temporary repairs and the installation of temporary facilities were carried out by base personnel and local contractors, with considerable assist from a unit of Navy Seabees (Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 of Gulfport, Miss.). Local and regional contractors have since begun permanent repairs and construction, according to Young. “Resources from the U.S. Department of Defense’s budget – specifically U.S. Marine Corps and Defense Agency accounts – were mobilized to conduct permanent repairs to damages sustained by the base,” Young said. “Military construction funding has also been initiated to support damage reimbursement.”
already well under way (before the tornado hit) to improve them, and the January storm has accelerated some of those efforts.” Businessman and former Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Bodine Sinyard, whose ties to MCLB Albany remain unbreakable despite his escape from much of the spotlight on him for a large part of his adult life, said the importance of the base’s recovery cannot be lost on this community. “We’ve got P&G (Procter & Gamble), Miller(Coors), our regional healthcare facilities and a lot of other big hitters that are vital to the economic growth and well-being of this region,” Sinyard said. “But that Marine base … man, that’s the nucleus of it all right there.”
Even with the extensive damages incurred at the base, officials there were able to find the silver lining as their recovery efforts kicked into high gear. “In assessing damages, it was determined that the facilities held up as expected,” Young said. “Our utility systems are very resilient; efforts were
November | December 2017
AlbanyGA.com | BUSINESS 25
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replanting what was lost In January, two storms hit the Albany area leaving beautiful scenic landscapes, like Tift Park and Radium Springs, in ruin. In response to these damaging storms, Grow Albany was established to replant and distribute trees to these affected areas. Less than a year after the storms, Grow Albany and community partner SB&T/Synovus announced the first Community Planting Day scheduled for Saturday, November 4 at Radium Springs Overlook. SB&T/Synovus was one of the first Grow Albany partners to come on board in January after the initial storm. SB&T/Synovus President Pam Simmons said, â€œAfter seeing the devastation left behind by the January storms and the effects these storms had on our community, we knew it was important not only to help restore the community esthetically, but physically and mentally as well. By partnering with Grow Albany to host the first Community Planting Day, SB&T/Synovus will help grow both trees and community pride for future generations.â€? Community members and organizations are welcome to volunteer for this family-friendly event by registering online at growalbany.com or by contacting Judy Bowles with Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful.
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A F T E R H O U RS
Ginger Faircloth, Stacey Nelson, Jennifer Dozier and Todd Davis enjoy the preview of the Albany Museum of Art's reopening
Mark Holloway, Camia Hopson and Sly Shumate celebrate Albany State University at Business After Hours
S EP T EM B ER 1 9
OC T OBER 1 0
ALBANY MUSEUM OF ART
ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY
he Albany Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Business After Hours on Tuesday, September 19, at the Albany Museum of Art. Guests had the opportunity to preview the museum reopening after extensive repairs made following the January 2017 storms. Those in attendance also enjoyed door prizes and catering by Loco’s Restaurant. Chamber members were eligible for a drawing to win $100 cash. September Business After Hours was sponsored by the Albany Museum of Art, Cintas Uniforms, Loco’s Restaurant and WSWG TV.
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MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA, SOUTHWEST CAMPUS AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY 1000 N. Jefferson Street | Albany 229-312-1425 | www.augusta.edu/mcg
ctober Business After Hours was an opportunity for guests to celebrate the Albany State University spirit with a salute to Homecoming. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Business After Hours on Tuesday, October 10, at Eula Lovette Hall at Albany State University. This month’s Business After Hours was sponsored by the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau and Albany State University.
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310 Over Ct. | Albany 229-854-4587
undreds of people gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday, September 28, for the Albany Area Chamberâ€™s annual Business Expo. Guests had the opportunity to visit with more than 50 Chamber member businesses, enter to win door prizes and sample local cuisine.
Erica Massie of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial won the grand prize, a Honeywell IP Surveillance System valued at $1,650, donated by Central Monitoring. Wes Allison of Kelly Services won an iPad, courtesy of Renasant Bank. The 2017 Business Expo was sponsored by Albany State University, A. West Enterprise, Central Monitoring, Integrity Hospice, MillerCoors, The Albany Herald, WSWG TV and Golden Corral.
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Photo courtesy of: Shae Foy Photography
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