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LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander, right, and student body president Corey Morgan



February 2017


February 2017 VOLUME IV, ISSUE I A publication of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce 111 Bull St./P.O. Box 636 LaGrange, GA 30241 (706) 884-8671 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE John Asbell, Chair – Georgia Power Eric Blackman, Past Chair – Emory at LaGrange Casey Smith, Chair-Elect – Calumet Bank Marlene Rhodes, Secretary/Treasurer – Renasant Bank Page Estes, President – Chamber of Commerce Chunk Newman, Vice Chair for Public Policy Batson-Cook Company Phillip Alexander, Vice Chair for Leadership Development – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Dale Jackson, Vice Chair for Business & Entrepreneurial Development – Jackson Heating & Air Jason Ransbottom, Vice Chair for Talent & Workforce Development – Powertech America

CONTENTS 26 | Spotlight on Hogansville Hogansville library opening is one for the books

4 | A Letter from the President 6 | Science & Strategy Behind the growth at LaGrange College

28 | Movers, Shakers, Risk-Takers

8 | LC Graduates Transforming lives of their own students

30 | Spotlight on West Point West Point Downtown Revitalization

10 | Sports Tourism Troup County to host collegiate sports festival

32 | Non-Profit Spotlight LaGrange Academy

Loraine Allen, Vice Chair for Talent & Workforce Development – West Georgia Society for Human Resource Managers

12 | Annual Report

2016 by the numbers

33 | Ribbon Cuttings Join us in celebrating our members!

JJ Kuerzi, Vice Chair for Marketing & Tourism Troup County Parks & Recreation

17 | Meet Our Chariman John Asbell

34 | Chamber Events

Patricia Rogers, Vice Chair for Marketing & Tourism WellStar West Georgia Medical Center Richard Ennis, Vice Chair for Membership Development New York Life George Bailey, Vice Chair for Hogansville Business Council – City of Hogansville Meghan Duke, Vice Chair for West Point Business Council – City of West Point

DESIGN Jayme Ogles

38 | Calendar Things to see and do

18 | Mystery Traveler Pasaquan 21 | Healthcare

Jerry Fulks named 2016 CEO of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals

24 | Small Business Growing business, one client at a time

40 | Economic Development Great and wild things happening in LaGrange 45 | Business Spotlight William & Mary's Antiques 46 | HYPE Helping Young Professionals Engage

EDITOR Shelley Strickland This publication is produced by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without express written permission is prohibited. All claims, materials and photos furnished or used are, to the publisher's knowledge, true and correct. Publication of any article or advertisement is not an endorsement by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.

February 2017

ON THE COVER LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander, right, shows student body president Corey Morgan the layout of the new laboratory sciences building located at the corner of Park Avenue and Vernon Street.

Troup Trends is published quarterly by the LaGrangeTroup County Chamber of Commerce. Please send news items, suggestions, advertising requests and comments to:

Dave Marler P.O. Box 636 • LaGrange, GA 30241

Photo credit: LaGrange College





Dear Friends, Do you remember where you were on March 28, 1992? I do. It was the fateful night when Duke’s Christian Laettner hit the infamous jump shot to end my beloved Kentucky Wildcats’ bid for a National Championship. It took four years, but my Cats made it back to the top of the college basketball ranks in 1996. I’m sure February 5, 2017, has left an indelible mark on Atlanta Falcons fans as well; fingers crossed they will make it back to the championship game faster than the most recent 18 year gap. Only a few become elite athletes that compete for championships. Only a few have the commitment and dedication to practice hours upon hours to perfect their craft. Now imagine you are an entrepreneur with an idea. Will you devote the time necessary to bring your dream to reality? A few weeks ago, I had the honor to watch the conclusion of a nine year journey. Tamlin Hall of Granger Productions wrote, directed and produced the story of Holden Layfield, a local young man who struggled with mental illness and took his own life. As the credits rolled at the end of the movie, there was a moment of silence before the applause. I’m not sure if we moviegoers were overcome by the story itself, the beautiful cinematography or the admiration we have for Tamlin’s tenacity. In a recent email, he summed up his strategy: “If this was going to be my last project, then I better make damn sure every single day mattered. Every decision mattered. Every choice mattered.”

That’s the way I believe we should all live, work and play in 2017! Let’s use the Atlanta Falcons’ mantra to “rise up” to new opportunities and challenges. Let’s step out of our comfort zone and rid our vernacular of the “shoulds” and “ought tos.” What are we as individuals and as a collective business community inspired to do? Author Shauna Niequest writes in her book, Present Over Perfect, “We get to decide how we want to live. We get to shape our days and our weeks, and if we don’t, they’ll get shaped by the wide catch-all of ‘normal’ and ‘typical,’ and who wants that?” Another noted author, John E. Lewis, penned the famous statement: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” It is time for us to write our own screen play. Instead of playing on the big screen, we will see the results of our work in our schools, at our workplaces, and along the streets of our communities. All of us can play a role in the production. Join us as we take a close and honest look at where we are and what we as a community have to offer. Take our workforce development survey ( and help us get real about what we need to accomplish. Let’s explore what’s bubbling under the surface, waiting to “rise up.” There is another game to be played, and this time we all get to be on the team.

Warm regards,

Page Estes, President LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

Special thanks to our top level 2017 corporate sponsors. CHAIRMAN LEVEL


February 2017





Freshman Chris Fay conducts an experiment in the new organic chemistry lab.


February 2017

Photo: LaGrange College

Behind the Growth at LaGrange College


“We’ve had outstanding success with our undergraduates in sciences and going on into major graduate programs like pre-med. We have a very strong nursing program, and our exercise science program is also thriving. So we’re taking the success of our graduates and the success of our teachers and giving them a place that adequately supports them. We think it will be transformative,” said LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander. With a focus on scientific areas of study including biology, chemistry and ecology, the new building, which was designed by Nashville firm ESa and constructed by Batson-Cook, primarily houses lab facilities and seminar rooms. Tying the design of its facilities to the overall LaGrange College mission, both science buildings have been designed with student/faculty interaction in mind. The new building features multiple interactive spaces including areas with glass walls for writing, along with group seating to brainstorm outside classrooms and labs. “It’s been part of our strategic plan from the beginning to honor the long-standing tradition and heritage

of our school to be very relationship oriented. And to design spaces moving forward that continue to foster that goal and to look for opportunities to create intimate, interactive spaces,” said McAlexander. Proof of this relationship-building focus can be seen in results from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which polls first-year and senior students at four-year colleges on best practices and their overall experiences. According to McAlexander: “We outscore all our comparison groups by a significant amount, especially in the areas of student/faculty interaction.” Photo: LaGrange College


ust over six years into a 10-year strategic plan, LaGrange College is checking items off their to-do list at a rapid pace. One of the most visible items being the $21 million, 43,000-square-foot new science building, which was constructed to meet increasing demands for STEM studies, while ensuring the college is on the leading edge of technology. The project also includes a nearly 70,000-square-foot renovation of the former science building now housing updated classroom and faculty spaces.

The new science buildings aren’t the only recent renovations that have included a focus on student/faculty interaction. The 60,000-square-foot renovation of the old West Side School building, now housing nursing, music and digital creative media programs, features interactive spaces and the most current technologies. Other recent facility changes have included the Lamar Dodd Art Center refurbishment about five years ago, President Dan McAlexander and following that, upgrades to Price Theater, campus gymnasiums and the dining hall – as well as the addition of the Broad Street Apartments for Servant Scholars. It amounts to a total of nearly 200,000 square feet of like-new space in just five and a half years. Increasing enrollment has been one of the key reasons for facility additions and upgrades. In the last eight years, LaGrange College has grown its undergraduate population by 25 percent. And in the last four years, the college has seen its four largest classes in its history. The college is especially proud of the growth in its “top-qualified population,” including those who have chosen LaGrange College as part of the


C O V E R S TO RY Presidential Scholars Program, which honors the nation’s top high school graduates.

with Downtown LaGrange to create a more interconnectedness between the campus and downtown.”

Current undergraduate and graduate enrollment at LaGrange College is right at 1,000 students. “Our goal is about 1,400 students,” says McAlexander.

Supported by the new facilities, local projects like those involving The Ray and ecological research with Chattahoochee Riverkeepers will continue to be of interest. Also extending its reach worldwide, the college plans to expand its Global Engagement Program, creating greater connections for study abroad and adding international students to the LaGrange campus.

He attributes much of their successes in enrollment to creative marketing and social media, as well as the relationship-driven part of their recruitment. “What we think is good marketing is authenticity and getting really rooted in who we are, then emphasizing that and making sure it informs everything we do. “We’re working hard to get the word out about LaGrange College. We took a total review of our processes and made sure that everything we did from the very first contact reflected what it feels like to be a student here. So we’ve taken that idea of being relationship-driven and driven it forward in the recruitment process. We get our faculty involved with prospective students early on so they can begin forming those relationships. We feel that’s part of what makes this such a wonderful place.” In addition to developing its interactions with students, the college is deeply committed to the community at-large. One of the key driving forces in the strategic plan is serving the community and being intentionally and actively engaged. “Certainly our Servant Scholars program has helped us do that in a lot of ways,” says McAlexander. “And with our involvement in leadership and racial trust building initiatives, we bring a lot of resources to the table including our wellqualified faculty and very eager student body. We’re looking at every opportunity to be partners in helping the community achieve its strategies and initiatives. The college is in constant conversation


February 2017

Now that the college has built the necessary physical environment to support its goal of 1,400 students, as well as added faculty and academic programs, the focus for the next four years will be on populating that space and reaching all students who would benefit from attending LaGrange College. “We’re looking at new academic programs that make the most sense for our area,” says McAlexander. “For example, we added a Master in Clinical Counseling, Master in Philanthropy and Development, Exercise Science program, Master in Strength and Conditioning, and a Post-Production Film program. We’re looking at the area to understand not only what we need to do for the region, but also what programs will specifically help LaGrange, especially in this incredible moment of success and growth. With high-end manufacturing here in Troup County, we’re looking at how a liberal arts college with some professional programs can serve the needs of this expanding community.” Finishing out the last years of its 10year strategic plan, LaGrange College will continue to check off items from the list, remove any that are no longer relevant and review what’s new to come. All with the ultimate goal of becoming students’ “college of choice” and furthering its vision to “be distinguished as a college that transforms the lives of its students and its communities.” TT

LC Graduates Larry Murdock


n its vision statement, LaGrange College (LC) proclaims that the institution “will be distinguished as a college that transforms the lives of its students and its communities.” Visit Larry Murdock’s third-grade classroom at Ethel Kight Elementary School or Andre Carter’s fourth-grade class at Whitesville Road Elementary School and you’ll see two young men whose lives have truly been transformed by their LC experience. Watch Larry Murdock at work in his classroom and it’s obvious you’re seeing a young man who loves what he does, but more importantly, loves each one of his students. Throughout a lesson on reading comprehension, Murdock is constantly engaging students in the teaching being sure to encourage their participation. When a student shares a correct answer, Murdock is quick to tell them to give themselves a pat on the back. Born in Waycross, Georgia, he grew up on a farm and was always working. When he was old enough, Murdock began cutting lawns in the neighborhood, but even as he earned his own money he learned the value of a dollar. “My Dad made me pay him for gas, equipment and even maintenance on the mower. He wanted to be sure I knew nothing came easy in life.”


Transform Lives of Their Own Students Andre Carter

As a student at Ware County High School, he played all sports but football was his favorite. And little did he know the sport would provide an avenue to pursue what would change his life. “I was recruited to play football at LaGrange College. Once I got on campus, I fell in love with the school and its homelike environment,” recalled Murdock. “The small classes and caring faculty made a tremendous difference. I could call anytime for help and, if I didn’t show up, they would place a friendly reminder call to strongly encourage my attendance,” he said with a chuckle. A couple of years earlier, Andre Carter, a native of Villa Rica, Georgia, had followed his dream to LaGrange and joined the LC Panther football team. At the time, Carter thought it was just the next step on the road to the National Football League. “From the time I was old enough to know, I have always wanted to be a professional football player” said Carter. “I knew that I needed to expand my horizons, to

experience diversity and explore a new part of the world.” And he found that opportunity at LC, but while he was a student he also had to mature as a man, “to learn how to manage financially, how to take care of my meals and adjust to being on my own.” Unlike so many of his peers, Carter

actually had a chance to follow his dream. Following graduation, he spent time with scouts from the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans organizations. Andre ultimately earned an invitation to attend the Washington Redskins Rookie Camp where his dream came to an end. “When I went to the Redskins camp they weighed

me, but I never had a chance to work out or take the field. A short while later the Redskins staffer came in and told me they had a plane ticket home and that was the end of the dream. I had the opportunity and it just didn’t work out.” Whether it is recreation league tee ball or professional football, teammates develop close ties that often last a lifetime. Playing together, Andre Carter and Larry Murdock formed a strong bond, as Carter, the upperclassman, took the new kid under his wing. “When I learned Larry was also interested in becoming a teacher, I tried to provide encouragement and some extra motivation. I could see he had great potential,” recalled Carter. “Andre really helped me out. He was always there telling me I could make it and that we could make a difference,” said Murdock. Ask both men what they recall about their academic career at LaGrange College, and they respond with the same glowing sentiments.



“Without LaGrange College, I wouldn’t be here at all,” said Murdock. “The faculty and staff took me under their wing and did all they could to ensure I was successful. Professor Ethyl Ault was a very inspirational professor, she cared about me as a person and a student. She would save newspaper clippings from our game and bring them to me each week. She was actually the one who steered me towards education.” Carter also praised the faculty, “… several professors had a tremendous impact especially in the math department. Dr. Jon Ernstberger, Dr. Beth McClanahan, and Dr. Greg McClanahan all helped me, as a math-minded student, to understand the subject much better. And it was actually Dr. Don Livingston who pulled me towards education and always was there to help.” Today, Larry and Andre share a passion to give back and to help kids grow and prosper. In only his first year, Murdock has grown to love the classroom. “I love coming in every day. I tell the students to forget about yesterday, that every day is a brand new day and I want to see smiles. I am hooked, and I know I can have a positive impact on their lives. I remind them every day that we are here to win!” As does any good teacher, both of the men learn many lessons from their students. After seeing and hearing about the many difficult things students encounter every day, they both have a newfound sense of gratitude for their life experiences. As a role model, Carter is determined to demonstrate for each of his students the path to success, reminding them how hard work can lead to success and make a difference in their life. “In my mind, I think I can help them all to overcome the obstacles they face, so I keep on churning, working to change their lives. I encourage them to dream but remind them of the importance of having a backup plan. I enjoy inspiring young African-Americans who live in poverty. They need the encouragement and inspiration, and I love every second of it.” Just as they both were transformed through their experiences at LaGrange College, there is little doubt that Larry Murdock and Andre Carter, whether through one student or 100 students, are transforming their community one day at a time. TT


February 2017

Troup County to host collegiate sports festival


rom softball to golf, baseball to tennis, Troup County offers exceptional venues where teams can make sports history. The community also has a reputation for stellar support Tourism professionals presented a symbolic of regional and national check to Gov. Nathan Deal during the 2017 recreational competitions. Tourism Day at the State Capitol. This year the Chamber Tourism team and Troup County Parks and Recreation are proud to host, in collaboration with LaGrange College, the 2017 USA South Spring Sports Festival, April 12-15. Previously held in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the event includes competition in baseball, softball, golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and women’s lacrosse. One of the oldest Division III conferences in the nation, the USA South has 16 member institutions stretching from Alabama to Virginia. The festival will have its official kick-off on Thursday, April 13, with the USA South Awards Banquet to be held at Sweetland Amphitheatre. Competition venues include baseball: Cleaveland Field and Point University; softball: Shuford Field; golf: Highland Country Club; tennis: McCluskey Tennis Center and LaGrange College; and lacrosse: Callaway Stadium. The conference champion in each sport will be determined during the festival. Tourism is a major part of economic development in Troup County and across Georgia. According to numbers just released from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, in 2015 Troup County’s tourism industry: supported 1,160 jobs, generated $156 million in direct tourist spending, created $6 million in state tax revenues and generated $4.5 million in local tax revenues. With nearly 900 student athletes plus their families, as well as coaches and college administrators, the community stands to enjoy a tremendous economic impact from the USA South event, as visitors stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores and refill with gas and snacks on their way to and from the competition venues. All competition events are free and open to the public. Please mark your calendar and plan to come out to support these student-athletes. Volunteer opportunities are also available. For more information, contact Dave Marler at 706-884-8671 or TT

Even with 43,000 square feet of new space on campus, our most important building project is still our students.

Tour the new lab sciences facility and renovated Callaway Science Building: Friday, Feb. 17 • 3:30 to 6 p.m. Parking and shuttle available at Price Theater

Find Your


Locally owned and operated! Open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (706) 884-2566•307 Vernon St.

Come find your shine at LaGrange Car Wash!


2016 A N N U A L R E POR T

2016 By the Numbers For 105 years, the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce has found untapped resources, connected them with opportunities and built a hub of economic prosperity. In 2016, the Chamber completed the second of a three-year strategic plan that focuses on CONNECTING, ENGAGING and ACTIVATING our business community.

From our magazine, Troup Trends, websites and social media platforms, we told our story to 5 million people.

4.57 Million Paid Ad Impressions


The Chamber team traveled throughout Troup County to showcase our communities to prospective candidates.



Leads Generated



Troup Trends magazines distributed

Miles driven for talent recruitment

The Chamber connected members with decision-makers, ensuring the voice of business is heard, and provided members with opportunities to learn and grow.



in business referrals by networking group


Members of

More than 3,000,000 tourists visited Troup County, creating jobs and generating revenue for our member businesses.


1,163 jobs 37

Stopped in Visitor’s Center

$156.1 Million Economic Impact

The core of our strategy is simple—it’s all about relationships!



Candidate & Public Affairs Forums



Breakfasts 12

February 2017

New members

Seminars & Workshops

Ribbon cuttings & Groundbreakings

872 Members Representing


2,263 Attendees






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2016 A N N U A L R E POR T The collaborative spirit of our region allows West Central Georgia to thrive economically.

In 2016, we celebrated the accomplishments of these members and volunteers.

The Chamber’s work is made possible by our members who are driving our region’s future.

ENGAGE 2016 By the Numbers

OF THE YEAR For 105 years, the LaGrange-Troup CountySMALL ChamberBUSINESSES of Commerce has found untapped resources, connected them with opportunities and built The Chamber recognized three outstanding small businesses (less than 50 employees) for their excellence in leadership, performance, a hub of economic prosperity. In 2016, the Chamber completed the profitability and workforce relations; awards were presented in three categories based upon total employment of each business. Todd second of a three-year strategic plan that focuses on CONNECTING, Carlisle (UGA Small Business Development Center), 2016 Chamber Board Chairman Eric Blackman (Emory at LaGrange) and Chamber ENGAGING and ACTIVATING our business community. Board Member Marlene Rhodes (Renasant Bank) presented the awards. From our magazine, Troup Trends, websites and social media platforms, we told our story to 5 million people.

4.57 Million Paid Ad Impressions


Students Hillside Montessori Troupfrom Trends

The Chamber team traveled throughout Troup County to showcase our communities to prospective candidates.



Leads Generated


(l-r) Principle Construction accepts Small Business of the Year for Category 2 - Jay Johnson, Leon Moody, Eric Blackman, Paul Posey, Todd Carlisle, Sykes Smith, Marlene Rhodes and Mark Lupo


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2016magazines Small Business of the Year, Category 1, Hillside Montessori of LaGrange. distributed Demonstrating that planning and Blackwell’s, Inc. was the winner in commitment to purpose are keys to The Chamber connected members with decision-makers, More than 3,000,000 tourists County, Category 3. visited From itsTroup beginning in 1983 to In Category 2, Principle Construction success, Hillside Montessori has generated ensuring the voice of business is heard, and provided creating jobs and generating revenue for our from serving today, Blackwell’s has evolved Georgia LLC was recognized for amembers profit sincewith its first day of business opportunities to learn andWest grow. member businesses. the local textile industry to working with leaving its mark across West Georgia and and has raised over $50,000 for capital customers in diverse industries across the East Alabama while investing in the local expenditures and future expansion. southeastern United States. Over the past economy. One example is a recent $1.2 five years, the company has increased its million project where more than 80% of capacity while working Stopped in by nearly 300% jobs the materials were purchased locally and toward greater operating efficiencies and more than 80% of the subcontractors and Center Visitor’s higher profitability. vendors were locally hired.





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Pictured from left to right: 2016 Chamber Board Chairman Eric Blackman, Otto Korth, Richard Ennis, Trae Long, Deborah Economic Impact Jackson, Great Wolf Lodge’s Keith Furnas, BobbyisCarmichael, Gina and 2017 The core of our strategy simple—it’s all Hall about Chamber Board Chairman John Asbell relationships!




TraePublic Long of Gay & Joseph, CPA, P.C. Affairs was selected the recipient of the 2016 Ida Forums Tarver Jones Volunteer of the Year Award. The Chamber Board created the award in 2013 to remember Mrs. Jones, a servant leader who represented the Chamber withCounty, the nation and throughout Troup Attendees the world on her numerous travels. Mrs. Breakfasts



February 2017


New members

Seminars & Workshops


Jones’ daughter Traci Jones presented the award to Trae who has spearheaded Members the revitalization of the Chamber’s networking group, serving as Representing chairman of both organizations as well as serving as Secretary/Treasurer of Leadership Troup. His enthusiasm and dedicationEmployees has set an example for other young professionals to go above and beyond the call of duty in volunteer service.


Ribbon cuttings & Groundbreakings

OTTO KORTH DIPLOMAT OF THE YEAR: Richard Ennis Richard Ennis received the 2016 Otto Korth Diplomat of the Year which was presented by Mr. Korth. The award was created in 2014 to honor Mr. Korth and his decades of services as a Chamber Diplomat. Richard embodies the welcoming spirit of Otto, dedicating countless hours to attending special events, recruiting and mentoring new members and thanking existing ones.




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Developing a top quality workforce at JANE FRYER Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. AWARD: tcapmI cimowas nocJ.ERandy Jackson’s job; creating a J. Randy regional workforce of tomorrow became Jackson tuoba lla s’ti—The elpJane mis sFryer i ygetartshis ruopassion. fo erocRandy ehT was heard frequently saying, “In less ! s p i h s n o i t althan er 10 years, students Award was established in & sgnittuc nobbiR s2008 rebmeto m recognize weN sgnikaerbdnuorG a member of the Chamber community who has gone the extra mile to get involved in programs and activities that benefit our community. Through his involvement, the recipient must exemplify the dedication, work ethic and community service that Jane Fryer showed in her 35 years of serving Troup County through her efforts at the Chamber.



who will be sitting in the 6th grade this year will be KMMG’s workforce pool. We need to make sure we & sare randoing imeS what we can to give students spohthe skrobest W chance to succeed with the jobs that will be available in this region in the years srebmeM ahead.”


gnitneserpeR For his tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to thINC College & Career Academy, the 2016 Jane Fryer Award seeyolpmE was posthumously conferred upon J. Randy Jackson and presented to his wife, Deborah, in grateful appreciation for his efforts.




slarrefer ssenisub ni puorg gnikrowten yb TOM HALL INNOVATION AWARD: Tom Hall & Bobby Carmichael

The Chamber Board of Directors established a new award in 2016 to recognize those individuals or businesses that drive innovation through & etadidnaC creative thinking and problem solving s riaeconomic ffA cilbuP as well as take risks to propel smuroF development through their innovation. The award will be known as the Tom Hall Innovation Award in memory of the longtime LaGrange City Manager and Chamber partner whohtpassed away iw unexpectedly seelast dneyear. ttA The award stsawas fkaerB presented to Tom’s beloved wife, Gina, in







2016 By the Numbers



For his role in founding the LaGrange In recognition of her passion for tourism Symphony Orchestra and his enduring and commitment to customer service, For 105appreciation years, the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce has grateful and in memory of commitment to the arts and its impact on the 2016 Tourism Service Star Award was found untapped resources, connected them with opportunities and built Tom. the tourism industry, the 2016 Tourism presented to Holly Forsyth, Director of a hub of economic prosperity. In 2016, the Chamber completed the Visionary Award was presented to Dr. Sales for Wingate by Wyndham. of a three-year strategic Insecond recognition of his efforts to driveplan that focuses on CONNECTING, Water Murphy. Accepting on his behalf is ENGAGING and ACTIVATING our business community. innovation that has led to transformative his wife, Marianne Murphy. change, the 2016 Tom Hall Innovation The Chamber team traveled throughout Fromwas ourpresented magazine, Troup Trends, websites and social media Award to Bobby Troup County to showcase our communities platforms, we told our story to 5 million people. Carmichael, Executive Director of the to prospective candidates. Downtown LaGrange Development Authority. For more than 20 years, he has been a champion for business growth through the Chamber, industrial development authority and downtown development. In 2001, he launched an Candidates aggressive plan in partnership with the Callaway Foundation and City of LaGrange to make our community one of the top (l-r) Marianne Murphy, Chamber Board economic development destinations in the (l-r) Chamber Board Vice Chairman for Chairman Eric Blackman Tourism JJ Kuerzi, Holly Forsyth, Chamber Troup Trends southeast. Board Chairman Eric Blackman

4.57 Million Paid Ad Impressions




Leads Generated


magazines distributed


Miles driven for talent recruitment

From advocacy issues to workforce development initiatives and recruitment of businesses and events to our three cities, the Chamber connected members with More than 3,000,000 tourists visited Troup County, isThe the Chamber economic development organization thatdecision-makers, regional leaders depend upon.

ensuring the voice of business is heard, and provided members with to learn and grow. The Chamber wasopportunities one of 56 stakeholders from across the states of Georgia, Alabama and Florida that reached consensus on recommendations to the US Army Corps of Engineers on how to manage the in business referrals ApalachicolaChattahoochee-Flint by networking river group system while protecting our own West Point Lake.




creating jobs and generating revenue for our

We member continue tobusinesses. activate the business community’s participation in developing our future workforce through our partnership with thINC College & Career Academy

Members of


1,163 37

Number of students enrolled in: jobs Stopped in

CAREERVisitor’s FOCUSCenter 270

$156.1 Million Economic Impact

Our tourism team activated an aggressive campaign to attract sporting events to our three cities—players, their families and spectators—that generated almost $8 million in economic impact in 2016. And we formed a new partnership with Candidate & the Cities of Public Affairs Hogansville and West Forums Point to promote tourism in these cities. We are unified in our efforts and in with our message.




Breakfasts 16

February 2017

2,263 Attendees

Number of Events


Seminars & Workshops

598 (Fall 2016 Semester)

The core of our strategy is simple—it’s all about relationships!

Players & Spectators

Economic Impact


New members

872 Members Representing

Ribbon cuttings & Groundbreakings

29,788 45 Employees







here is no such thing as a typical day for John Asbell, 2017 board chair for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. As a father of four active high school children and the founding board chair of thINC College and Career Academy, in addition to his job at Georgia Power, Asbell says every day is a juggling act. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Asbell grew up in Forsyth, Georgia. He left high school at 16 to enroll in Mercer University, where he had to pay his own way. He worked a couple of years as the assistant director for Monroe County Parks & Recreation, until the director passed away, and then he took over as the director at the age of 19. This more-than-full-time job forced him to leave college, but he always had that desire to finish what he started. A trait that defines Asbell to this day. He eventually re-enrolled in Mercer, and when he graduated in 1991, he was immediately hired by Georgia Power. During his 25-year career with the power company, he has worked in customer service, human resources, marketing, sales and key accounts, before landing his current role as a local area manager. As soon as he and his wife, Kim, and their children arrived in Troup County in 2010, he knew it was the right fit. “I believe there was a purpose for me being here,” Asbell said. “Everyone welcomed my family, so many people helped us get acclimated to the community, and they were all so genuine.” One of the first people he met was Chamber President Page Estes, and she immediately helped plug him into volunteer opportunities, such as the Chamber’s tourism committee, economic development and the West Point Lake advisory committee.

what I love about the Chamber, and we are constantly asking ourselves how to do something better to benefit the community.” This trail of dots soon led Asbell to the steering committee of the proposed college and career academy. When the plan reached the point where a leader was needed to get the academy up and running, Asbell eagerly said yes to the challenge and became the founding board chair of thINC. “My daily goal is to make an impact, to serve my neighbor. I’m always thinking about what I should do with the time I’ve been given on this earth. And it may sound cliché, but I strongly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected,” Asbell remarked. “I realize I have big shoes to fill. What has always impressed me about this community is that there is such a legacy of leadership here,” Asbell said. “There is an extraordinary amount of opportunities for our citizens here, and we always seek to include, not shut out. That doesn’t happen everywhere.” Asbell says he is so fortunate to work for a company that pays him to do what he loves. The company motto is “A citizen wherever we serve.” And no one takes that responsibility more to heart than John Asbell. TT

“My daily goal is to make an impact, to serve my neighbor. I’m always thinking about what I should do with the time I’ve been given on this earth. And it may sound cliché, but I strongly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected.” – JOHN ASBELL

“I love innovation and connecting dots that need connecting,” Asbell said. “That’s



n a u q a s a P S ix lonely miles outside Buena Vista, I began to doubt my latest mystery traveler assignment.

Guidebooks describe this remote section of Marion County as “pine country,” and there are trees, to be sure, but not a hint that a major visionary art site is close at hand. I was thinking “middle of nowhere,” when, after a slight turn onto Eddie Martin Road, there it was. Sprawled before us in bold, shimmering color was the mind-boggling marvel called Pasaquan, an acclaimed landmark of “outsider art,” listed on the National Register of Historic Places and heralded by CNN as “one of 16 intriguing things to see in the U.S.” In the middle of nowhere – just 90 minutes from LaGrange there is a strange and mysterious new world.

An eerily powerful, oddly beautiful


February 2017

and, yes, definitely intriguing, sevenacre artscape created decades ago by Eddie Owens Martin, a sharecropper’s son, self-taught artist and larger-thanlife character who had a vision of the future and set out to paint it. From the late 1950s until his death in 1986, Owens, who took the name St. EOM, transformed an old yellow farmhouse inherited from his mother into a psychedelic wonderland. “He couldn’t stop creating,” said Charles Fowler, a bearded young artist and caretaker of Pasaquan, who cheerfully donned a sequined robe, reminiscent of the outrageous attire Martin favored, when I asked to make his picture. He stood beside an unnerving sign warning that “bad dogs” guard the totem-lined portal. “There are no bad dogs,” Fowler said with a reassuring smile.

M YSTERY T R AV E L E R The sign is a replica of one Martin used to alert himself to visitors. There were plenty of those, the caretaker said. The eccentric Martin, who led a checkered life in New York before coming home to Georgia, supported his art by telling fortunes, among other things. He was said to be so good that cars lined up, full of people eager to pay $20 for his predictions. Local legend has it that a man killed in a car wreck moments after leaving Pasaquan was clutching Martin’s hand-written note: “You have no future.” Three decades after his death, however, the future of Pasaquan itself was in serious doubt, its paint sadly faded, its buildings near collapse. Two years ago, the Kohler Foundation and Columbus State University (CSU), responding to pleas from the local Pasaquan Preservation Society, stepped in to save the day. What I saw on my winter visit was the result of an intense two-year restoration directed by prominent conservation experts assisted by Columbus contractors and CSU art students. The newly restored Pasaquan, gifted by Kohler to CSU’s Foundation, reopened last November and is beginning to attract artsloving tourists – and curious folks like me - in growing numbers. My trip to Pasaquan actually began in LaGrange, where LaGrange Art Museum (LAM) is hosting “In the Land of Pasaquan,” a major exhibition and “complete interpretation” of Martin’s works. Dozens of never-before-seen originals, deemed too fragile to remain on site, are being shown for the first time at the museum on Lafayette Parkway. You can see it, free, through August 5; then it goes on national tour. A fascinating foray through the LAM gallery brought me face-to-face with astonishing drawings, sculptures, paintings, regalia and other art by St. EOM (pronounced Ohm, like the sound Buddhist monks make while meditating). Paintings of multi-colored

Pasaquoyans, the gigantic “people of the future” he claimed to see in a vision and the inspiration for the elaborate one-man religion he created, made hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I felt the same tingling sensation as I roamed the folk architecture of Pasaquan, Owens’ personal utopia, with its towering totems, fancifully shaped buildings, handcrafted tin roofs and wildly colorful murals that seem to vibrate if you look at them just right. Hundreds of colorful motifs dot more than 900 feet of elaborately painted masonry walls. Try as I might, I could find no two designs alike, yet the overall effect is cohesive, in a headshaking way. Martin was all about harmony, a placard explained. Other signage described his creation as a lavish fusion of cultural and religious symbols from around the world - African, Indian, Mesoamerican and North American civilizations. “When Eddie got religion, he got every religion there ever was,” biographer Tom Patterson said. Looking through a window edged in scalloped, salvaged tin, I could almost see St. EOM in headdress and braided beard, whirling in the sand-filled dance circle. Or a sweaty Martin meticulously painting snake figures atop a curvy stretch of wall. I found myself wondering what his Mama would make of it. And how in the world would I describe it? That Martin had endless imagination – and a type of genius – seems obvious. But there’s a reason the New York Times called him “the philosopher of the far out.” Whether he was a true visionary or a gifted hustler is part of the mystery. I could not get my head around much of it, but I could feel the wonder in all of it. TT

MEET MISTY REE My tourist gene runs deep. I love to go, to see, to do. I am always ready to eat, shop, play, listen, view, wander or try something new. I want you to go along with me, at least in spirit. We’ll visit some familiar places and others off the beaten path, from one end of beautiful Troup County to the other. To make our journeys more interesting, I am going incognito. You won’t see me coming. You won’t know where I am going next. If you have a suggestion of a place I ought to visit, just drop a line to my buddy Dave Marler, VP of Marketing and Tourism at the Chamber. ( Tell him you have a message for Troup’s Mystery Traveler, or use my nickname: Misty Ree.


Delightful downtown lagr ange There’s nothing more delightful than downtown LaGrange. From rockin’ concerts at the 2,000-seat Sweetland Amphitheatre to splendid celebrations at Del’avant Event Center, LaGrange is teeming with activity from dawn to dusk. Downtown LaGrange offers stylish boutiques, acclaimed art galleries and museums, a state-of-the-art cinema complex, farmer’s market and a vibrant blend of restaurants and bars.

Scobey Photography



February 2017




JERRY FULKS NAMED 2016 CEO OF THE YEAR by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals


erry Fulks, president of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center (WGMC), was named 2016 CEO of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals at its 33rd annual conference held Oct. 12-14. The award highlights the impact of member hospitals and their executive leadership on individual patients, the health and wellness of Georgians, and the quality of life of their communities. Fulks is recognized as a leader who has expanded and improved the services provided to his community and garnered industry accolades for WellStar WGMC. Fulks served as president and CEO of West Georgia Health from 2001 to March 31, 2016, when he became president of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center. He also serves as senior vice president of WellStar Health System. “We are proud to recognize Jerry Fulks as the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals’ 2016 CEO of the Year for his leadership of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center,” said Monty Veazey, Alliance president. “He has prioritized patient safety and technological modernization in order to better serve the hospital’s community.”

Under Fulks’ leadership, WGMC has worked to enhance access to care in the community by expanding its services, transforming its culture, significantly improving the quality of care delivered to patients, achieving new heights in patient satisfaction and leading the nation in the adoption of the Electronic Health Record. During his tenure in LaGrange, WGMC has created the West Georgia Health Foundation and West Georgia Physicians professional services organization, as well as launched several new service lines including interventional cardiology, bariatric surgery, occupational medicine, a women’s health center and a wound care center. Fulks also developed the vision and laid the groundwork for building a new four-story patient tower that houses the Heart Clinic, Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and Labor/Delivery/Recovery suites. This year, he has led WGMC to earning top industry awards that recognize excellence in healthcare service, patient safety and technology. Truven Health Analytics™ named WGMC one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® for 2016, and Becker’s Hospital Review named it to a national list of “100 Great Community Hospitals.”

WGMC also was named one of the 2016 “Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems” by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and earned the 2016 Women’s Choice Award® as one of America’s Best Hospitals for Patient Safety. Fulks is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and currently serves as a delegate to the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board 4. He received the Chairman’s Award from the Georgia Hospital Association in 2015. He serves as an Executive Committee member of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals and is the GACH board chairman. An active member in his community, Fulks has served as president of the LaGrange Rotary Club, chairman of the LaGrangeTroup County Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the West Georgia Technical College Board of Directors. He also has served on boards for United Way of West Georgia, Commercial Bank & Trust of LaGrange, Twin Cedars Family and Children’s Services and the LaGrange-Troup County Development Authority. TT


Need Help Finding a West Georgia Physicians offers you a choice. West Georgia Physicians, an affiliate of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, provides primary and selected specialty care as well as hospital medicine for inpatients at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center. Our physician practices are conveniently located in LaGrange, Hogansville, West Point, Pine Mountain and Greenville and specialize in internal medicine, family medicine, cardiovascular care, obstetrics, gynecology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, surgery, urology, occupational medicine, oncology/hematology, wound care, pediatrics and ear, nose and throat. West Georgia Physicians is committed to taking care of you and your family’s health care needs.

Srinivas R. Bramhadevi MD, FAAFP, MBA Family Medicine

February 2017


West Georgia Family Practice 1497 Lafayette Parkway LaGrange, GA 30241 706-880-7335

West Georgia Cardiology 1602 Vernon Road Suite 300 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-242-5100

Mack Clements, MD

Torey Harden, MD

Family Medicine


West Georgia Physicians at Greenville 454 LaGrange Street • Greenville, GA 30222 706-845-3599 West Georgia Physicians at Pine Mountain 211 East Broad Street • Pine Mtn., GA 31822 706-845-3494

West Georgia Kid Station Pediatrics 301 Medical Drive Suite 504 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-812-2655

Martha Clements, MD

James K. Jones, MD

Family Medicine


West Georgia Physicians at Greenville 454 LaGrange Street • Greenville, GA 30222 706-845-3599 West Georgia Physicians at Pine Mountain 211 East Broad Street • Pine Mtn., GA 31822 706-845-3494

West Georgia ENT, Head & Neck Surgery 300 Medical Drive Suite 705 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7144

J. Robert Coggins, MD

Ravina Kadam MD, CCD, FACP, CDE


West Georgia Physicians Gastroenterology 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7311

Internal Medicine

Salman Fidahussein, MD

Wassim McHayleh MD, FACP

Pulmonology & Critical Care

West Georgia Primary Care 303 Medical Drive Suite 406 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7361

West Georgia CardioPulmonary 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7222

Hematology & Medical Oncology

Alexander Gedevanishvili, MD

Paul Major, MD, FACS


West Georgia Cardiology 1602 Vernon Road Suite 300 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-242-5100

To learn more visit


Tom Gore, MD

West Georgia Oncology 1514 Vernon Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706-812-2426 General Surgery

West Georgia Surgery & OB/GYN 106 Lukken Industrial Drive West LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7204


Physician? Sana Muneer, MD Family Medicine

Eugene Schaufler MD, FACOG, FAAP

West Georgia Primary Care Hogansville 2000 Billy Tucker Circle Hogansville, GA 30230 706-880-7188


Michael Myers, MD

Margaret Schaufler MD, FACOG


West Georgia Gynecology & Primary Care 1555 Doctors Drive, Suite 102 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7266

Ashley Stewart, MD, FACS General Surgery

West Georgia Surgery 1600 Vernon Road, Suite A LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7321

Robert Taylor, MD

Radiation Oncology

West Georgia Urology 303 Medical Drive Suite 401 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-242-5201


Madhav Naik, MD, FACS

Vincent Scoglietti, MD

West Georgia Surgery & OB/GYN 106 Lukken Industrial Drive West LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7204

West Georgia Surgery 1600 Vernon Road, Suite A LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7343

General Surgery &v Bariatrics

Madhavi Naik, MD, FACOG

Richard S. Simmons MD, FACP, FCCP

Nick A. Vlachos, MD

General & Oncology Surgery

Obstetrics & Gynecology

West Georgia Gynecology & Primary Care 1555 Doctors Drive, Suite 102 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7266 General & Breast Surgery

West Georgia Radiation Oncology 111 Medical Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706-845-3544

Wesley Turton MD, FACS, FASMBS

West Georgia Surgery & Bariatrics 300 Medical Drive, Suite 707 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7320

Occupational Medicine

West Georgia Surgery & OB/GYN 106 Lukken Industrial Drive West LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7204

Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine

James Parker, MD

Chad Sisk, DO, FACG

Danielle Warner, MD

West Georgia Physicians West Point Clinic 1009 U.S. 29 West Point, GA 31833 706-242-5081

West Georgia Physicians Gastroenterology 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7311

West Georgia ENT, Head & Neck Surgery 300 Medical Drive, Suite 705 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7144

Kalyani Rajeev, MD, FAAP

George Stefenelli, DO, FACOOG

West Georgia Kid Station Pediatrics 301 Medical Drive, Suite 504 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-812-2655

West Georgia OB/GYN Specialists 303 Medical Drive, Suite 405 LaGrange, GA 30240 706-242-5099

Family Medicine


West Georgia CardioPulmonary 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706-880-7222


West Georgia Worx 100 Glenn Bass Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706-845-3075


Obstetrics & Gynecology



Growing Business, One Client at a Time


hen John and Catherine Holmes were looking at expanding their turf business, they knew they needed help. That’s when they turned to Mark Lupo, regional manager for the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) out of Columbus. One of many success stories the SBDC has had a hand in over the years, Atlas Turf International is one of their favorites. Atlas Turf, headquartered in LaGrange, provides genetically engineered grasses for athletic fields and golf courses around the world. As their business began to grow, the Holmes needed some outside assistance. “Like any small company, we plugged along growing in small increments,” John said. “Then we reached a point where we wanted to expand into new markets, but we knew we needed help.” John & Catherine Holmes

The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber connected them to Lupo and the SBDC. “John and Catherine are the type of business owners who have a hunger to grow and an eagerness to learn, both professionally and personally,” said Lupo. “They have a successful and profitable international business operation already built on a strong foundation, and they were looking to

grow to the next level.” “Working with Mark and the SBDC has been so valuable,” John said, “not only learning the nuts and bolts of things like strategic planning and human resources that we didn’t know, but also giving us the confidence that we are on the right track.” “We would never have even known that resource was available to us without our connection to the Chamber,” Catherine said. Now Atlas Turf has projects in more than 37 countries and has expanded their staff.

Todd Carlisle, SBDC Business Consultant The SBDC was formed in 1976 after the Small Business Administration started eight pilot programs, one at the University of Georgia, to help small businesses. In the last five years, the Georgia SBDC has helped 1,422 new businesses. Their clients have added nearly 12,000 new jobs to the economy in Georgia, and have racked up nearly $9 billion in sales. The SBDC provides tools, training and resources to help small businesses grow and succeed. Designated as one of Georgia’s top providers of small business assistance, the SBDC has 17 offices around the state to serve the needs of Georgia’s business community. And their services are completely free of charge and confidential. In addition to their one-on-one consults, they lead a variety of seminars ranging from digital marketing, financing and accounting help, to how to start a new business. While the regional office is in Columbus on the campus of Columbus State University, the consultants do keep office hours at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber by appointment. In addition to Lupo, consultant Todd Carlisle spends one or two days a week meeting with local entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business or growing an existing one. Now that the Chamber will have a satellite office in downtown West Point, Carlisle will also be available to meet with clients there beginning in March. “My background in banking and logistics helps me walk alongside my clients, understand what they’re going through and ultimately help them achieve their dream. We help them develop a business plan, understand their financing needs, and provide marketing and accounting advice,” Carlisle said. “Starting your own business is a very complicated process, and the better foundation you lay, the more likely you are to be successful. We are here to help our clients build a strong foundation.” If you are thinking of starting a new business or need advice on an existing one, call the SBDC office for an appointment at (706) 529-2651. TT

Contact the UGA SBDC at (706) 569-2651 to schedule a complimentary consultation.


February 2017


at DanRic Homes, we believe that every buyer should be able to have the custom home experience, no matter what their budget may be. That’s why we offer a variety of floor plans and neighborhoods for every stage of life. No matter if it’s your first home, or your retirement home, we can build your family a liveable home with uncompromising quality, at an affordable price. Give us a call today and let us prove that building a new home is easier and more affordable than you think!

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View floor plans & pricing on *Buyers subject to credit approval and lending guidelines. All information herein subject to error, omission and/or change without notice. Equal housing opportunity. Listings held by Coldwell Banker Spinks Brown Durand Realtors 706-884-5681.

The essence of Italy with the charm of Georgia. Stroll through boxwood gardens in the shadow of the century old Fuller E. Callaway villa. Lovingly preserved for over 175 years, they offer a distinctive Italian feel paired with a welcoming Southern charm. Plan your visit at: Home and garden tours offered year-round. 706-882-3242





ith the construction of its new $3.1 million, state-ofthe-art facility on Johnson Street, the Hogansville Public Library has seen a significant uptick in visitors. In less than six weeks after opening its doors on December 13, the library recorded an increase in circulation of more than one thousand items compared to the same period during the previous year. And more than 60 new library cards were issued. In their old building on Main Street, that number generally would not exceed even a dozen in a month’s time. With its new facility, the library has also welcomed Kate Chambers as its full-time children’s librarian/assistant branch manager. During her short tenure, the number of children’s programs and attendance have already doubled. Young children are not the only focus of this programming. Teens now have “Teen Meet” – an after-school time, geared specifically to them on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. These teens meet informally in their own dedicated space, equipped with comfortable seating and outlets to plug in their devices.

Additionally, opportunities for adults are on the list of offerings for patrons. The “Souper Reads” book club, now in its third year, continues to meet on the last Tuesday of each month. For crafters, the library is now opening its facility for individuals to spread out, share ideas, and enjoy fellowship, while making materials by hand and through the use of the library’s new 3D printer. In February, the library kicked off its Movie Monday for older patrons to come and watch movies together on the big screen. “The new interest in our services excites and energizes our staff,” said Troup-Harris Regional Director Keith Schuermann. “Thanks to the many local and state officials who supported us on this project, we are now only limited by our imagination as we look forward to what the future will bring.” TT

Hogansville Public Library

310 Johnson St, Hogansville, GA 30230 Phone: (706) 637-6230 26

February 2017


Playing are:

LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra! LaGrange Youth String Ensemble! Strings Attached Musicians! MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017 7:00 PM CALLAWAY AUDITORIUM



MAR. 21, 2017 MAR. 27, 2017

APR. 25, 2017

706.882.0662 |


MOVERS, SHAKERS, RISK-TAKERS Dave Marler named Vice President – Marketing and Tourism, effective January 1. Marler

joined the Chamber team in October 2014 as Director of Tourism. In his new role, he is responsible for communicating the value provided through Chamber membership and participation in Chamber programs and events. He will continue to lead the tourism marketing effort across all distribution channels.

Pardue named Head Football Coach at LC

Brittany Simmons has joined the Chamber team as Visitor Center Manager. She most recently served as an Information Specialist at the Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point where she was responsible for greeting visitors and providing travelers with information about Georgia. Simmons attended Southern Union State Community College and completed the Regional Economic & Leadership Development program through the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. She is married to Kenneth Simmons and has two girls, Kenadi Martin and Katelyn Simmons.

Hutchinson Traylor named a 2016 Best Practices Agency

Steve Pardue has been named LaGrange College's new head football coach, according to Athletic Director Jennifer Claybrook. Pardue is no stranger to the city of LaGrange and LaGrange College. He was an assistant coach and head coach for 19 years at LaGrange High School, where he compiled a 161-45 head-coaching record in 16 seasons, winning three GHSA Class AAA state championships in 2001, 2003 and 2004. As an assistant coach, he helped guide his school to a 1991 GHSA Class AAAA title and a no. 1 national ranking. "Steve brings a tremendous amount of experience and an impressive win record to his new position in Panther Athletics," said LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander. "We look forward to what he can accomplish as he helps challenge our student-athletes to greater achievement on the playing field and in the classroom." Laura Tabor

Chamber of Commerce announces staff addition

Brenda Blakely

Hutchinson Traylor is proud to announce that it has been named a 2016 Best Practices Agency by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. The award is only given to a small, elite group of top performing agencies in the country, out of a field of 1,800 nominations. The award was initiated by the Big “I” as a foundation to improve agency performance. Agencies are nominated by either a Big “I”-affiliated state association or

insurance company and qualified based on operational excellence. “(These) agencies continue to adapt and lead the way to a brighter future, regardless of the challenges they face,” said Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” President and CEO. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the industry with this prestigious award,” said Hutchinson Traylor Vice President Michael Dollar. “We’re committed to caring professionalism and positively impacting the families and businesses we serve.”

F.L.I. Properties welcomes new agents

F.L.I. Properties has added real estate sales professionals, Laura Tabor and Brenda Blakely, to their team. Laura specializes in Relocation and First Time Home Buyer Education in East Alabama and West Georgia. She and her husband, Mike, are members of the Church of the Highlands in Auburn. Brenda has a Master’s degree in Social Work and retired from a 32 year career with the State of Georgia providing social services for children & families. Brenda and her husband, Lester, attend New Community Church. 28

February 2017


Holden On debuts in private screening

Holden On, a film by Tamlin Hall based on a true story, debuted to its hometown audience on January 24 at the AMC Theatre in LaGrange.

experience that has evolved over nearly ten years.

Hall and Producer James Cooney, along with stars Matthew Fahey and Kelly Finley, were in attendance as LaGrange got its first glance at the film which was lensed in and around Troup County.

“LaGrange was incredible throughout the shoot,” said Cooney. “This film will always be dear to me because of the support provided by the entire community. You fed us, gave us shelter, provided costumes and allowed us to use countless locations. I have never been part of something so special.”

During a Q and A session following the movie, Hall, Cooney, and Bob Layfield, father of Holden, reflected on the

Hall spoke of his gratitude to the Layfield family. “This project would not have been possible without the trust and faith the

Layfield’s have in my vision. I will be eternally grateful for their willingness to tell Holden’s story and to use the message to make a difference in schools across the country.” The film has been entered for consideration at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival, and will soon be submitted to the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. Negotiations are ongoing for distribution deals with hopes for the movie to premiere in late 2017. For more information visit



West Point Downtown Revitalization

Quickening the Pulse of Downtown West Point


owntown is the heartbeat of West Point. That’s why over the years there’s been such an emphasis placed on keeping it healthy. While it may be geographically small, its importance is large,” said West Point Mayor Pro Tem Steve Tramell. When West Point fell on harder times in the latter years of the 20th Century, the downtown represented the times with corporate and commercial closings and relocations, vacant and neglected buildings, and an overall loss of activity and viability. Over the last decade, downtown West Point has represented the City’s revitalization and determination. Formalizing a vision for a new West Point, a charrette was presented in 2002. This vision was later followed by several other plans including the Georgia Department of Community Affairs resource team report, downtown West Point Master Plan and the 2008 Comprehensive Plan. Also in 2008, Point University (formerly Atlanta Christian College) relocated its campus from East Point, Georgia, to downtown West Point and in doing so has served to provide an infusion of life and activity into the downtown. In tandem, local companies and merchants have been building successful businesses right in the heart of downtown West Point, supported by City-led efforts to beautify the downtown through façade improvement initiatives and significant investments in upgrading the district streetscapes. With walkability as a priority, the improvements have created a sense of place with plantings, benches and quality design. Recently, along the Chattahoochee River,


February 2017

the city has also created a downtown River Park with a splash pad, concrete walking path, covered pavilion and retail space. The property was redeveloped from a utilitarian use as the city “barn” that served as the headquarters for the city Public Works and Sanitation Division to an open green space with an open-air pavilion and walking trail. The city removed three buildings and several underground storage tanks to create the park space. The new River Park creates a dedicated community gathering space and a destination, bringing people to an area that might expose them to other activities, goods, or services to engage in or remember for a future visit. The more often people visit an area, the more likely they are to return, expanding the number of visits, the time of visits, and number of people involved. In the future, the River Park has tremendous potential to draw residential and commercial development that would not consider West Point otherwise. New businesses and facilities now in the works for downtown include Point University dormitories along with additional dining options. Also, in collaboration with the West Point Development Authority, the Chamber will soon open the West Point Business and Visitors Center at 707 3rd Avenue. Designed to better serve local Chamber members, the office will also serve as a welcome center for visitors to the downtown area. “We are grateful for the partnership with Ed Moon, Meghan Duke and the Development Authority. The Business and Visitors Center will provide tourism information for visitors who stop in and be a great resource for our members,” said Chamber President Page Estes.

“Key areas of the current revitalization include 1st, 3rd and 4th Avenues, and 7th, 8th and 9th Streets – all in downtown West Point,” said Tramell. “If funding of redevelopment can be maintained, the downtown area will continue to need improvement.” While there’s still more work to be done, downtown West Point has successfully reversed its several-decade slide and now boasts a vibrancy consistent with the city’s economic achievements. TT

Rich with opportunity and the best business climate in the southeast – $1 billion in new investments – West Point offers a traditional smalltown atmosphere, the sophistication and excitement of a college town, along with the benefits of living in a diverse region boasting some of nature’s most breathtaking natural wonders. We guarantee you will Be Surprised by what WEST POINT has to offer.

City of West Point • 730 First Avenue West Point, Georgia 31833 706.645.3518

Visit to complete the Talent Needs Survey Troup Works Workforce Development Initiative is supported through a partnership between:



LAGRANGE ACADEMY LAGRANGE ACADEMY 1501 Vernon Road, LaGrange (706) 882-8097 OPENED: 1970 NUMBER OF STUDENTS: 250 HEAD OF SCHOOL: Carl Parke HOW WE HAVE GROWN: Over the last five years, LaGrange Academy has grown by more than 40 percent. During that time, our faculty and current parents, those who are closest to the school, have helped spread the word about all the opportunities at the Academy. WHAT WE DO AND WHY WE DO IT: The only college preparatory school in Troup County, LaGrange Academy is an affordable choice that offers students an advanced, personalized education, resulting in a lifelong love of learning. Our nurturing atmosphere promotes attitudes of acceptance, trust and mutual respect. Due to our smaller size, opportunities abound for Academy students to shine in academics, athletics and the arts. A MEASURE OF OUR SUCCESS: For the last decade, we have had 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rates. In the last five years, five Academy graduates have been named Hatton Lovejoy scholars, one has been Troup County’s STAR Student, and the entire Class of 2015 were members of the National Honor Society. WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: As the school nears a decision on its next head of school, the future is very bright for the Academy. In the next five years, the board of trustees and administration will continue to manage the school’s enrollment growth and plan for the upcoming phase of the school’s life. HOW BEING A MEMBER OF THE CHAMBER HAS HELPED US: The Chamber provides us with logistical and networking support that helps us reach our target audience. We have also enjoyed being a part of the many planning and vision meetings the Chamber holds as it works to help the area grow in all facets. TT

Members chosen to be the focus of the Nonprofit Spotlight are selected quarterly from those who have attended the previous Early Bird Breakfasts. Be sure to register for future Early Bird Breakfasts to be included in the next drawing.


February 2017


Join us in celebrating our members!

Wild Leap Brewery Announcement 308 Main Street, LaGrange

Hogansville Public Library 310 Johnson Street, Hogansville

Labor Finders 2120 West Point Road, Suite 5, LaGrange

Lafayette Christian School Athletic Complex 1904 Hamilton Road, LaGrange

True North Investment 405 Ridley Avenue, LaGrange

LaGrange Mall Retail Additions 1501 Lafayette Parkway, LaGrange Jim Hull, Hull Property Group and owner of LaGrange Mall, reviews expansion plans with LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton. The mall has announced the addition of Dunham’s Sporting Goods and Hobby Lobby.

WheelRight Sensors & Wattway Solar Road Dedication The Ray and West Point Welcome Center, West Point




Matt Miller, President of Interface Americas, was the featured speaker at the November Early Bird Breakfast. He provided insight on the company’s Mission ZeroTM commitment—their promise to eliminate any negative impact Interface has on the environment by 2020. Mr. Miller was joined by local Interface team members pictured, from left to right: Scott Landa, Robby Burch, Darrell Hogan, Kathy McDuffie, Jane Mahan, Jennifer Kell y, Miller, Chamber Board Chairman Eric Blackman, Tripp Skinner, Chris Turk and Jay Brown.

Spectrum Business, networking coffee sponsor, and Lafayette Society for the Performing Arts (LSPA) provided door prizes. Front row: Door prize winners Yvonne Lopez (Ark Refuge Ministries) and Kathy Carlisle (thINC College and Career Academy); second row: Luis Luciani, Dawn Douglas (ReMax Results), Chamber Board Chairman Eric Blackman, LSPA’s Kerri Vice and Nick Woodson (City of LaGrange)


WellStar West Georgia Medical Center hosted an interactive discussion with members of our West Point and Hogansville Business Councils in December. Jill Case joined the group in Hogansville at Community Bank while Leo Reichert spoke to the West Point Council at Johnny’s Pizza.

Jill Case of WellStar

WellStar West Georgia Medical Center’s Phillip Flanagan, Patricia Rogers, Leo Reichert, Carol Todd and Dr. James Parker



UGA Small Business Development Center Business Consultant Todd Carlisle discussed business start-ups with future entrepreneurs enrolled at LaGrange College and Point University at a lunch and learn hosted by the Chamber.


February 2017

In January, the class examined education in Troup County and the State of Georgia. The session included a tour of thINC College & Career Academy.

This year’s Leadership Troup class had an informative and challenging session in November with panels of community leaders and lessons on collaboration.



Thrity-nine local high school sophomores, juniors and seniors graduated from the Youth Leadership program on November 29 at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange. Graduates included: Claire Alford, Amna Amir, Hannah Asbell, Maggie Asbell, Kora Barnes, Kyla Bedingfield, Catherine Benefield, Caroline Blanks, Brooks Bledsoe, Annie Burch, Charlye Colley, Luke Daniel, Taylor Earnhart, Sally Elder, Jennifer Espinoza, Stevie Hardigree, Elaina Horlander, Eva Hutton, Kyla Johnson, Emarie Kazmi, Ruthie Kelsey, Kaylee Key, Jackson Kuerzi, Gunner Lankford, Jiwahn Lee, Carmen McGhee, Reese Miller, Sophie Myers, Stewart Payne, Joseph Ragland, Lexi Sewell, Olivia Smith, Travis Traylor, Maurie White, Lizzie Wilkerson, Pate Williams, James Wood, Keegan Woods and Lauren Yarbrough.


Maurie White, a student at LaGrange High School, was selected to represent her class at a summer leadership program in Washington, DC. She is pictured with Leadership Troup Board member and Youth Leadership Program Coordinator Monica Barber.

Chamber Board Chairman John Asbell (Georgia Power) hosted Jindal Films Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Passos for a welcome lunch with local elected officials and economic development team. Pictured from left to right: Scott Malone (Development Authority of LaGrange), Opal Hogg (Jindal Films), Speer Burdette (Callaway Foundation and Development Authority of LaGrange Board Chair), Meg Kelsey (City of LaGrange), Mayor Jim Thornton (City of LaGrange), Chairman Patrick Crews (Troup County Commission), Mr. Passos, Maggie Laton (Georgia Department of Economic Development), Mike Criddle (City of LaGrange), Mr. Asbell, Kevin Donovan (Jindal Films) and Tod Tentler (Troup County Commission).


The Chamber has partnered with the LaGrange, Troup County and West Point Development Authorities and the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning to engage Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, to coordinate a six-month strategic planning process that will examine the county’s available workforce and identify tactics to bridge gaps in the local education and talent recruitment pipeline. The “Troup Works” project commenced in January with focus groups and private interviews conducted with more than 100 member representatives. All Chamber members are asked to complete an online survey ( to help the consultants gauge today’s highest demand occupations and skill sets.

Rami Helminen (left) of Sentury Tire reviews the company’s future workforce needs with Avalanche Consulting’s Chris Engle (center) and Tony DeLisi (right).



ANNUAL MEETING What a fun evening we had with almost 500 of our great member representatives at the Chamber’s 106th Annual Meeting held at the Callaway Conference Center (CCC)! Special thanks to the team of C’sons who provided delicious food inspired by the future menu at Great Wolf Lodge LaGrange, to Sweetland Amphitheatre for our beverages, to West

Georgia Technical College President Steve Daniel and CCC’s Rebecca Smith for the perfect venue, to Kim Banks and the team from Renasant Bank/Marketplace at Lafayette Square for managing our Interface carpeted selfie station, to our official photographer/ videographer Henry Jacobs (H Jacobs Creative), to outgoing Chairman Eric Blackman (Emory at LaGrange) for throwing

a great party with live music from his friend and The Voice competitor Jordan Searcy and to the Chamber’s incredible team (LeTisha, Dave, Renae, Sheila, Jayme and Shelley plus special assistants Marie and Anna) for their incredible hard work planning and executing the largest annual meeting ever!

Keith Furnas, from Great Wolf Lodge provided wolf ears for everyone in attendance—we had a “howlin’ good time.”

Board member Phillip Alexander (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity) and his wife, Taresa

Anthony Rodriguez and Rob Goldstein (Wild Leap Brewery)

Bill and Susan Black (JK Boatwright & Co.)


February 2017

Community Bank’s Shenequa Killingsworth and Danielle Beasley

Selfie station volunteers Susan Moore (Renasant Bank), Al Brannon (Marketplace at Lafayette Square), Barbie Watts (Downtown LaGrange Development Authority) and Kim Banks (Renasant Bank)




The 2017 Young GameChangers, Georgia Forward’s program for 48 young professionals from across the State of Georgia, were in Troup County for two days in January. The Young GameChangers will spend six months developing big ideas to four challenge questions: • How can Troup County strengthen the relationship between the local colleges (West Georgia Technical College, LaGrange College, Point University) and the community in order to encourage/ incentivize more students to remain in the community post-graduation? • With great industry partners and proximity to excellent engineering schools, how can Troup County become a center for advanced manufacturing and innovative technologies? • With The Ray as a catalyst for conversation regarding environmental sustainability, how can Troup County become the greenest community in America? • Troup County is home to outstanding tourism assets that currently attract travelers ages 45+. How can the community appeal to more millennial travelers/tourists?


Vernon Woods hosted the annual Holiday Bash which featured delicious fare from Chef Jeffery Tucker (center). Pictured with Chef Tucker are Vernon Woods’ Debbie Jones, door prize winner Cheris English (Retired), Vernon Woods’ Susan Burdick, and door prize winner Jeremy Andrews (Troup County News).

Enjoying the festivities were Phillip Alexander (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity), Richard and Cheris English (Troup County Commission) and Deedee Williams (Georgia Department of Labor).

Ever wonder how our cities magically transform into winter wonderlands during the holidays? The “elves” in the City of LaGrange are from the Public Works Department. They are always willing to help Chamber staff throughout the year and especially during the Christmas parade and annual tree lighting.

Parade Grand Marshal Jane Fryer and her family kicked off the holiday season in LaGrange with a tree lighting prior to the Chamber’s 40th Annual LaGrange Christmas Parade.

The parade theme was “A Star is Born” as depicted by West Georgia Technical College’s award-winning entry.


Congratulations to Jennifer Emery (Atlas Turn International), our first prize winner in the monthly Social Ambassador drawing. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Linked In or Twitter to let your family, friends and colleagues that they will #BeSurprised by all Troup County has to offer.

Floats, bands, horses, dignitaries and antique cars comprised the 100 parade entries.




Spring Conference: "Understanding Selected Miracle Stories in the Bible” March 6-8 In keeping with the upcoming Easter season, the guiding narrative for this conference is Matt: 28-2- "And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it." The focus will be on biblical texts where there was human need, the presence of God, and a sense of wonder. Contact Brandi Wardrip for information.

Follow the Cross Walks March 7-April 15 Learn more about the last week of Jesus' ministry in one of the most authentic settings this side of Israel. Guided tours include Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and teaching at the Temple, to the Last Supper, the arrest in Gethesemane, trial before Pontius Pilate, crucifixion and the Resurrection. For the ultimate Easter experience, schedule a biblical meal as part of your tour. Reservations required. Contact Penny Smart for information.

Easter Sunrise Celebration April 16 – 7 am Come celebrate Easter in one of the most authentic settings this side of Israel. Title of program is "Following Mary Magdalene from Galilee to the Empty Tomb."

Roman Army Day May 6 An extremely popular annual event that features dramatic presentations from Legio XI, a group of Roman soldier reenactors. Other activities include bread making, mosaic tiling, weaving, Roman marketplace, catacombs and much more. Admission charged.


Contact Information: Bettie Biggs, Artistic Director Choral Society of West Georgia, (706) 333-0627,

"A Little ‘Brit’ of Broadway" Saturday, February 25 – 6-9:30 pm A fun-filled evening of traditional, new and all-time favorite Broadway tunes with a uniquely choral twist. Angela Anderson is the guest choreographer and will have dancers to liven up the evening! The Fidelity Jazz Quartet will be featured, along with the dancers by Angela Anderson. The Fidelity Jazz Quartet


February 2017

has performed in LaGrange three times before to sellout audiences. Location: Highland Country Club, Dinner and dancing begins at 6 pm, and the concert about 7:15 pm, $45 per person, inclusive of the meal, concert and dancing.

West Ga. Choral Arts Festival & Concert March 11 – 12 pm to 4 pm The Choral Society of West Georgia hosts the second area wide Choral Arts festival featuring choral groups from in and around the West Georgia area in a free afternoon concert! Groups will perform individually as well as collaboratively under the direction of a guest choral conductor. Location: Callaway Auditorium, LaGrange College


(706) 882-3242,

Landscapes in Oil Saturday, March 11 – 10 am-1 pm Join award-winning artist and teacher extraordinaire Chris Hagebak as he leads a special class on painting landscapes from photographs. Participants will focus on seeing in terms of mass and form rather than detail. Following a short talk and demonstration, each student will create their own 11x14 oil painting of a landscape scene from a photograph taken at Hills & Dales. Each person will leave with a complete landscape scene. The class is appropriate for first-time painters and those experienced alike. Children 10 and up are welcome. All supplies and materials will be provided. Refreshments included. $35 each

Herbal Medicines: A Quaint Piece of History or a Promise for the Future? Tuesday, March 28 Reception at 6:30 pm, followed by Presentation at 7 pm Dr. Jim Affolter has traveled from China to South America researching the important role plants play in both traditional and modern medicine. More recently, as Director of Research at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and Horticulture Professor at UGA, he has been studying our native flora as a source of medicinal cures. During this presentation Affolter will talk about global medicine, local species with medicinal value and the current tensions and opportunities between traditional and modern medicine. Guests will also enjoy a spring preview of gift shop merchandise. Hills & Dales Estate Visitor Center Admission is free but registration is required.

Magnificent Mushrooms: Learn, Grow And Eat! Saturday, April 22 – 10 am-1 pm Shitake, Lion’s Mane, Oyster, Enoki, Porcini, Chanterelles and Morels! Mushroom diversity is amazing. Back by popular demand, Cornelia Cho

and Sam Landes of the Mushroom Club of Georgia will share the fascinating world of edible fungi and also provide an opportunity to taste a few different varieties. After a presentation about culinary and medicinal uses of mushrooms each participant will create a Shitake mushroom log to take home, nurture and harvest. All supplies will be provided. Hills & Dales Estate Visitor Center $35 per person.

Container Garden: Window Box Workshop Saturday, April 29 – 10 am-12 pm Join the Hills & Dales horticultural staff as they provide guidance for designing, creating and caring for your window box container. You will get ideas for different planting themes, learn about what soil to use and get suggestions for compatible companion plants. After a presentation each participant will create their own box to carry home. All supplies and plants provided. Hills & Dales Estate Visitor Center $35 per person.

10th Annual Picnic in the Garden Saturday, May 13 – 11 am-2 pm Join us in the Pecan Grove for the 10th annual Picnic in the Garden. This enjoyable family-friendly tradition is a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day with your loved ones. This year activities include an old-fashioned cake walk, flower potting, face painting, pony rides and a hula hoop competition. Additionally, picnickers will enjoy live music from local artists, and prizes will be awarded to those with the best picnic spreads. Hills & Dales Estate Admission to the garden is free to anyone who brings a picnic basket and blanket.


20th Century Graphics from the Cochran Collection February 17-April 14 Celebrating the opening of "20th Century Graphics from the Cochran Collection” at the Lamar Dodd Art Center at LaGrange College on February 17, 6-8 pm. The exhibition features 63 works of modern art showcasing pieces from pivotal moments in modern art history by pioneers of abstract expressionism, surrealism, pop art and post-modernism. Lamar Dodd Art Center, 310 Panther Way, LaGrange College. The museum’s galleries are open to the public, 8:30 am-4:30 pm weekdays when classes are in session.


LAGRANGE-TROUP COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE LaGrange College 3D Journey Lecture: Sicily March 27 – 10 am

LSO presents EARTH - Of Earth and Nature April 25 – 7:30 PM

3D Journeys offers you two free lectures to enrich and inspire. Focused on Sicily, each Monday morning session will feature a member of LaGrange College's distinguished faculty. March 27 "Vincenzo Bellini: Siciliy's Son of Musical Drama" Shelley Cooper, Musical Theatre LaGrange College Turner Hall Dickson Assembly Room Contact Information: Alumni and Community Relations 706-880-8244 3DJourneys@

LaGrange Symphony Orchestra concludes the 2016-2017 season with EARTH - Of Earth and Nature. This concert includes Rossini's William Tell Overture and Copeland's Appalachian Spring. Concert features Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) featuring soloists selected from the LSO.

LaGrange College 3D Journey Lecture: Sicily April 24 – 10 am 3D Journeys offers you two free lectures to enrich and inspire. Focused on Sicily, each Monday morning session will feature a member of LaGrange College's distinguished faculty. April 24, “Sicilian Art and Photography” John D. Lawrence, Art and Design LaGrange College Turner Hall Dickson Assembly Hall Contact Information: Alumni and Community Relations 706-880-8244 3DJourneys@


Callaway Auditorium on the campus of LaGrange College Contact: Raylene Carter, Executive Director (706)882-0662

LSO presents WATER - Music of the Ocean March 21 – 7:30 pm This concert begins with a side-by-side with the members of the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra playing with their adult counterparts. Other music includes Mendelssohn's The Hebrides as well as Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage. Soloist and LaGrange College professor Beth Everett joins the LSO to present Elgar's Sea Pictures. The concert ends with Britten's Four Sea Interludes.

LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra's Spring Concert March 27 – 7 pm LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra's string, woodwind, brass and percussion musicians present their annual Spring Concert. Also appearing are the LSYO String Ensemble, and students from the LSO Strings Attached program.


136 Main Street, LaGrange (706) 884-1829 or or

Beyond the Ropes March 3, 2017 – 7-9 pm Join us for stories, anecdotes, and connections about select museum pieces and artifacts in our galleries by County Historian, Clark Johnson $20 for Troup County Historical Society Members, $25 for non-members

Monuments and Memorial Reception March 9, 2017 – 4-6 pm Come celebrate the opening of the new exhibit in Legacy Museum’s Charter Foundation Gallery, “Monuments and Memorials!” This exhibit will feature various monuments and memorials that hold a special value to the people of Troup County. Free

Broad Street Walking Tour April 9, 2017 – 2 pm Follow Historian, Clark Johnson, on a walking tour of historic Broad Street in LaGrange. Learn about the architecture and stories about the people who once lived there. Begins at Broad Street Church of Christ Parking Lot $20 for Troup County Historical Society Members, $25 for non-members


411 W 8th Street, West Point, (706) 518-6234 (tickets) or (706) 643-7529 (theatre)

Singin’ In The Rain, Jr February 16-18, 2017 8 pm each night, with a 2 pm Matinee on Saturday Classic Broadway Musical, presented by our younger players $16 Adults/$13 Seniors, Students, & Military/ Group (10+) Rates are available

Sister Act April 13-15, 2017 8 pm each night, with a 2 pm Matinee on Saturday A feel-good musical comedy, based on the hit 1992 film $16 Adults / $13 Seniors, Students, & Military / Group (10+) Rates are available


Jason Isbell w/ Special Guest Hiss Golden Messenger Friday, March 31 – 8 pm Tickets: $30 - $50 (plus fees)

Blackberry Smoke – Like An Arrow Tour Friday, April 28 – 8 pm Tickets: $25 - $48 (plus fees)

Photo Preservation Workshop May 6, 2017 – 10:30 am Join Archivist Shannon Gavin Johnson for a workshop to learn how to preserve priceless family photos. Troup County Archives, 136 Main St, LaGrange

Hill View Cemetery Tour June 4, 2017 – 2 pm Join Historian, Clark Johnson, for a tour of Hill View Cemetery Meet in the parking area of Animal Health Clinic, 311 Old Morgan Street $20 for Troup County Historical Society Members, $25 for non-members



Great and Wild Things Happening in LaGrange


onstruction is in full swing on two major projects sure to keep LaGrange visitors and residents entertained. Great Wolf Lodge, which is scheduled to open in May 2018, is now building its resort here to include nearly 500 guest rooms, a 93,000-square-foot indoor water park, an executive conference center, restaurants, bars, and even a ropes course and bowling lanes. Offering a much different type

of entertainment, construction (actually renovation) is also under way for LaGrange’s first brewery, Wild Leap Brew Company, which is slated to open this summer in the old Westbrook Tire location downtown. Great Wolf General Manager Keith Furnas and Wild Leap owners Anthony Rodriguez and Rob Goldstein recently spoke to a group of Young Gamechangers,

a leadership action program that brings together 50 of Georgia’s brightest minds under the age of 40, to help solve persistent challenges of one Georgia community – currently LaGrange. Here’s a snapshot of what the Great Wolf and Wild Leap representatives had to say about their businesses, especially around the issue of attracting tourists to our area.



e’ve been trying to get to this area for years. It’s a great market and a great area for families,” said Furnas. With plans to open three to four more resorts in the U.S. in the next few years, Great Wolf looks forward to continuing its mission of “making family traditions, one family at a time” right here in LaGrange. “It’s a really exciting time for our company,” said Furnas. Great Wolf is expecting to see positive, measurable results from its LaGrange location: approximately 100,000 room


February 2017

nights booked and 500,000 visitors per year. According to Furnas, the typical Great Wolf guests are families with children, age six to 12, within a four-hour drive of the resort, staying for two to three nights. “We’ve invested a lot of time and energy in the design to make this a truly unique Great Wolf. The water park has been especially well-thought-out, with a focus on the overall guest experience including places to sit and a dry space that will be a premier space for us,” said Furnas. The desire to create an exceptional guest

experience continues in the guest rooms, which are designed to be “welcoming, with a high-quality look and feel – and a departure from your standard hotel room.” Different suite styles will be offered to sleep 4, 6, 8 and even 10.



While Great Wolf is almost like its very own small city, Furnas does expect guests to venture out into LaGrange. “Our guests are given wristbands during their stay, so no doubt you’ll be seeing them a lot around town,” which is typical of Great Wolf’s other locations, according to Furnas. Great Wolf often has a ripple effect on a community. “In other communities, we’ve seen businesses like retail and food and beverage pop up around us.” That can mean great things for Troup County – not just for visitors, but also for residents in the form of jobs and improved quality of life. Great Wolf alone plans to employ 400 to 600 people – from lifeguards to guest services, housekeeping and retail personnel. LaGrange area residents will also be able to enjoy all amenities Great Wolf has to offer, other than the water park, which is available only for guests. This includes the conference center which can host most any type of event from corporate retreats and meetings to family reunions and cheer camps.


ike Great Wolf, Wild Leap also hopes to create a unique guest experience and to be a catalyst for other things to come to our area. “We’re not just pushing beer out the door,” said Rodriguez. “We’re bringing people in and giving them an experience. We’re creating a social environment, with experiential moments and plenty of atmosphere.” Rodriguez and Goldstein first came to LaGrange as founders of the Craft Beer Festival here in 2015, which served as a testing ground for interest in craft brewing. “That’s when we decided we should be the guys to open a brewery here,” said Rodriguez. “Now, we’re all in with Troup County, restoring an historic building that sat vacant for nearly a decade and creating a new hub for visitors.” Wild Leap will be producing all their beers on premises, where tours of the facility and the brewing process will be offered. The beers, which are expected to include a blonde ale, an IPA and wheat beer to start will be distributed by local Chamber member, LaGrange Grocery. Although the facility is not up and running, they’ve already started brewing beer through a third-party, so you’ll be seeing Wild Leap products popping up in local restaurants. “Once we’re open, we plan to not only provide tours and tastings, but also host events and festivals,” said Goldstein. “We’ll

have capacity inside and out for about 800 people.” The owners are expecting Wild Leap, which has a large front yard pavilion area, to be a draw for parties, weddings, and corporate events, as well as just a fun place to gather to listen to live music. “We want downtown LaGrange to be a major congregation point, with Wild Leap serving as a bookend on one end of downtown,” added Rodriguez. “We hope to see everything in between us and Sweetland Amphitheatre really grow. Part of our vision is to see lots of people out walking in town, enjoying restaurants, shops and entertainment. A few years from now, you won’t even recognize the city.” As it says on the brewery’s website, the name Wild Leap speaks to the conviction of the two founders, who left successful career paths to follow their passion of creating a better-tasting craft beer. It’s also a nod to celebrating that important first step that sets a dream in motion. The founders hope it encourages others in the community to take their own “wild leaps.” TT



February 2017


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February 2017

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WILLIAM & MARY’S ANTIQUES WILLIAM & MARY ANTIQUES 200 East Main Street, Hogansville (706) 333-2520 OWNERS Bill Stankiewicz (Hogansville Mayor) and his wife, Mary Stewart WHO WE ARE William & Mary’s Antiques opened for business in July 1999. This July will mark our 18th anniversary on Main Street in Hogansville, an eternity for the antiques business. Our store offers amazing finds, from traditional to midcentury modern furniture and accessories, specializing in American Art pottery. You’ll also find collectibles, both sports and others. We even sell on the internet and have sold to all 50 states and 30 foreign countries, the most unusual being Uzbekistan. WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO Mary: Our store is more than a business, it’s our passion, and you do your best when it’s those things about which you are passionate. I have been collecting antiques since I was a teenager in Philadelphia and have had a life-long ambition to open and operate an antique shop. Bill has been collecting sports memorabilia since watching his cousin, Eddie Stanky play major league baseball in the 50s and 60s. Bill’s sports collectibles are so impressive that they were featured at the LaGrange Art Museum last year in a special “Collectible” exhibit. SOMETHING UNEXPECTED The most unusual item we’ve ever sold was a Bild Lilli doll, which was a German fashion doll launched in 1955 and later went on to become the prototype for the Barbie Doll. Mattel acquired the rights to the doll in 1964 when production ceased. Its design was based on the German comic strip character Lilli.

Members chosen to be the focus of the Business Spotlight are selected quarterly from those who have attended the previous Early Bird Breakfasts. Be sure to register for future Early Bird Breakfasts to be included in the next drawing.

WHY HOGANSVILLE? Bill: After I was transferred to Atlanta, we began to search for the perfect place to open antique shop. Upon discovering Hogansville, we knew this was the place. It’s the kind of town with the kind of people who encourage community involvement and spirit. And we’ve embraced that ever since we arrived. TT


H Y P E – H E L PI NG Y OU NG P ROF ES SI ON ALS EN G AG E HYPE is a high impact group of diverse young professionals working together to showcase Troup County as a unique and fun place to work and live. HYPE provides its members with opportunities for building relationships with community and business leaders and cultivates an atmosphere for building personal relationships and a sense of purpose within the community.


EVENTS IN REVIEW Callaway Foundation President Speer Burdette and Downtown LaGrange Development Authority Executive Director Bobby Carmichael were the featured speakers at the November “Lunch in the Know.”

HYPE members celebrated the holidays by watching the LaGrange Christmas Parade from the Rooftop of the Del’avant. More than 40 toys were collected for local children in need.

The Fields Golf Club hosted the 2017 HYPE Kick-Off Event & Annual Meeting on February 2.

UPCOMING EVENTS FEBRUARY 21, 2017 12-1 PM Lunch in the Know: State of the Community Lunch with Mayors and County Commission Chairman. $10/ person includes lunch.


The 2017 HYPE Board, elected at the Annual Meeting, is chaired by Trae Long (Gay & Joseph, CPA, PC). Pictured from left to right: Brent Addison (Emory at LaGrange), Rachel Ennis (Gay & Joseph, CPA, PC), Jessica Brannen (Kelsey Advertising & Design), Nate Crawford (LaGrange College), Sarah Beth Snider (Advertising Made Easy), Henry Jacobs (Chattahoochee Riverkeeper), Holly Anderson (CB&T), Long, Cheryl Magby (City of West Point), Meghan Duke (City of West Point) and Anna Willis (Parmer-Willis Monument Co., Inc.). Not pictured: Eric Blackman (Emory at LaGrange) 46

February 2017

Anna Willis

MARCH 10, 2017 7:30 PM Hockey at the Snake Pit! Watch the Columbus Cottonmouths battle the Knoxville Ice Bears from the Coweta Hospitality Suite. $25/person includes ticket and appetizers. MARCH 21, 2017 5:30-6:30 PM HYPE Happy Hour: Wing & Pint Night at The Brickhouse. We provide the wings; you buy the pint. MARCH 28, 2017 12-1 PM Lunch in the Know: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts with Shelley Strickland, The Strickland Group. $10/person includes lunch. For more information and to register, visit http://business.lagrangechamber. com/events.

Current Occupation: Sales Manager Current Employer:  Parmer- Willis Monument Co. How long have you lived in Troup County? 25 years, I moved here when I was one year old from Texas. When you’re not working, what do you like to do? I love to spend time with my friends, travel, decorate my house, and jam out in the car to music! What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? "Don't hide your light under a bushel basket." My mom always told me that one, especially when it came to my singing.  What is your best personal achievement? Honestly, as of right now, buying my first home two years ago. To me that was a big achievement at my age. Favorite “after work” spot in Troup County: I'd have to say my bed. I enjoy being a homebody at times.  Married/Single/Kids/Pets? I've got two kittens, Lucy and Buddy, who are very spoiled! Where do you see yourself in five years? Just being generally happy!!!

21st Annual


March 3-5, 2017 • LaGrange College







DO • 706.882.9909


Tickets available:














CAIN, em


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If you’re struggling with your marketing strategy and need some advice, the Chamber Marketing Committee is here to help.

A one-on-one marketing brainstorming session with some of the brightest marketing minds in Troup County, FREE to Chamber members or future Chamber members. The next sessions are scheduled for March 23. For an appointment, contact Renae Willis at


World-Class Care, Close To Home. Our ever-expanding roster of local medical specialist are part of the world-renowned Emory Healthcare system and have access to the same technology and medical resources as our counterparts in Atlanta and around the world. You don’t have to travel to receive the best care available – it is available to our patients right here in LaGrange. More options, close to home, & the largest multi-specialty group practice in Troup County. • • • • • • • •

Emory Clark-Holder Clinic 303 Smith Street LaGrange, GA 30240 706.882.8831


February 2017

Davis Road Primary Care 380 South Davis Rd., Ste E & F LaGrange, GA 30240 706.882.8831

Bariatric Surgery Cardiology Cosmetic Treatments ENT Facial Plastics Family Medicine Gastroenterology General Surgery

West Point Family Practice 1610 East 10th St. West Point, GA 31833 706.882.8831

• • • • • • • •

Internal Medicine Ob/Gyn Oncology Ophthalmology Orthopedics Pulmonary Medicine Radiology Sports Medicine

Emory Southern Center for Orthopedics 1805 Vernon Rd. LaGrange, GA 30240 706.884.2691


Troup Trends - February 2017  

The February 2017 issue of Troup Trends features a look at the brand new science building at LaGrange College along with an update on other...

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