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TROUP COUNTY SCHOOLS A System that Shines www.lagrangechamber.com

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Mask up, West GA

Not just for superheroes

Not all superheroes wear capes, but these days, they all mask up. If you wear a mask, you can have the special power to save lives, too (plus, the cool ability to go undercover at the grocery store). And, while you may not be hiding a secret identity under your face covering, Wellstar recognizes you for being a hero and protecting the health and safety of every Georgian. As Wellstar begins working to get the COVID-19 vaccine out to our community, it’s important we all continue to do our part to keep everyone safe. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance around others. Together, let’s mask up and take COVID-19 down.

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February 2021 VOLUME VIII, 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 www.lagrangechamber.com

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair: Dale Jackson, Jackson Services Past Chair: George Bailey, Salvation Army Chair Elect: Jamey Jackson, Individual Member Secretary/Treasurer: John Westmoreland, CPA, Boatwright

CHAMBER STAFF President: Connie Hensler Director of Member Engagement: Leslie Traylor Communications Manager: Sara Grace Todd

CONTENTS 4 | A Letter from the Chairman A Positive 2021 6 | Cover Story

18 | Spotlight on Hogansville

10 | Healthcare

22 | Movers, Shakers, Risk-Takers 25 | Spotlight on Troup County

Troup County School System Wellstar’s First 10,000 Covid-19 Vaccinations

The City of Friendly People

19 | Education

What do you thINC?

Future Works 2021

12 | Spotlight on LaGrange

26 | Chamber Events 33 | Small Business

City's Litter Campaign

14 | Community

Define it. Measure it. Complete it.

New Residents a Boon for the Community

35 | Business

Being a Boss

17 | Spotlight on West Point

36 | Tourism

The Power of Expansion

Songwriters & Music Legends

Accountant: Melanie Key, CPA

38 | Young Professionals

HYPE – Keeping Troup Connected

TO CONTRIBUTE Troup Trends welcomes your ideas. Please send inquiries to info@lagrangechamber.com for consideration. February 2021

ON THE COVER

DESIGN

Jayme Ogles 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.

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

P.O. Box 636 • LaGrange, GA 30241 lagrangechamber.com

Dr. Brian Shumate, Superintendent, Troup County School System Photo courtesy of Yolanda Stephen, Public Relations Director, Troup County School System

TROUP COUNTY SCHOOLS System that Shines A

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s Chairman of the Board for the LaGrange Troup County Chamber of Commerce, let me welcome you to “Thank goodness it’s not 2020 anymore”, also known as 2021! As we move further into 2021, with memories of the unusual 2020 holiday season still fresh in our minds, I present to you this challenge - let’s take all the positives from 2020 into 2021 and leave all the negatives behind. As we approach the anniversary of that day last March when everything in our world shifted, there is no question that some things might never return to what we once knew. One positive change that I personally hope will continue going forward is the spirit of unity that was demonstrated throughout our community last year. It was incredible to see individuals actively showing their support to locally owned businesses. It was exciting to see the ingenuity and creativity of our business leaders in finding ways to serve the community. And, it was so encouraging to see citizens and businesses alike jumping at the opportunity to support those who were courageously serving on the frontlines in our healthcare industry. It was this shared awareness of needs and the willingness to offer support that I hope remains strong.

Together with our members and the community, we look forward to facilitating discussions on some of those questions and understanding what meets the needs in Troup County. As Chairman of the Board, I’m excited about the year ahead and the opportunities that we have before us! Over the course of this year, we look forward to reaching out to our past, present and future members to communicate both the social and corporate opportunities available for community involvement. We will continue to find ways to safely connect with each other and provide valuable resources to our members. I am committed to leading the Chamber forward, making sure that local voices are heard, as we map a course for a future beyond the pandemic. As the new year brings with it the hope of new beginnings, I look forward to new opportunities with each of you. Here’s to a positive 2021!

As I’ve said, there is no doubt that the past year brought about a great deal of change. The LaGrange Troup County Chamber is committed to partnering with our local stakeholders to ensure that Troup County is positioned to harness the positive changes we have experienced for good. We know that questions still remain about what exactly life after COVID will look like.

Dale Jackson Chairman, Executive Committee LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

Special Thanks to Our 1911 Society Presenting Sponsors!

KIA MOTORS MANUFACTURING GEORGIA

KIA OF LAGRANGE

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chance conversation at a conference in Houston started Dr. Brian Shumate on his path to Superintendent of Troup County Schools.

Shumate happened to sit next to someone from LaGrange who, when she learned he was school superintendent in Medford, Oregon, mentioned that Troup County was looking for a new superintendent. A Kentucky native, Shumate was feeling a pull to return to the Southeast to be nearer to family in his hometown of Louisville.

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The match was made in February, 2019, and Shumate started work that July 1. Nineteen months and a pandemic later, the mutual enthusiasm is still high. “We are moving in the right direction,” school board chairperson Cathy Hunt said. “Dr. Shumate is a forwardlooking leader and has assembled a good team. Despite the pandemic, he has begun addressing all our areas of concern, and we feel progress has been made.” Shumate’s take: “We are sitting on something special here. Troup County Schools are a good deal, and we are going to get a lot better. Everything we need is right in front of us.”

“I asked a few questions, like what size system, what type community, and liked the answers, so when I got back to my hotel room, I started researching,” Shumate said.

LOUISVILLE LEGACY

The 34-year-veteran educator, then in his fifth year of a successful tenure in Medford, concluded Troup County was big enough to have the necessary resources, but small enough that he could be involved in all areas of the school system. That was his ideal situation. Though he checked out other opportunities, Troup superintendent was the only job he applied for.

Brian Shumate didn’t just get his start in Louisville; he spent the first five decades of his life there. A top student and athlete in high school, he worked nights at UPS to pay his way through the University of Louisville, where his first major was mechanical engineering. His switch to education came at the suggestion of his father, a draftsman who often worked for engineers.

Meanwhile, the Troup County Board of Education was in the midst of a nationwide search for a superintendent. A series of “listening sessions,” conducted with the help of a search firm, had established that the community wanted a leader with the work ethic, people skills and proven ability to raise test scores, improve discipline and boost attendance and morale.

"Everything we need is right in front of us.” Dr. Brian Shumate

As the large field narrowed, Shumate was among five finalists interviewed by video, then one of three tapped for inperson visits. Shumate was impressed by the professionalism of the search, but even more impressed by the strengths of the community and its “desperate desire for a school system it could be proud of.” The school board was impressed by his positive energy and track record of turning schools around in both Louisville and Medford. Ultimately the stars aligned. Shumate saw the Troup County School System as “a gem waiting to be polished.” The Board of Education unanimously agreed he was the right person to lead the polishing.

“My father asked ‘Do you really want to be an engineer?’ I had an older brother who had gone into education, and my dad thought it would be a good path for me. I’d had a lot of really good teachers and coaches. They taught me the value of hard work, and I looked up to them,” Shumate said. “I changed my major and have never regretted it.”

Shumate earned his degree in math education in 1987, and returned for a master’s in secondary education. He completed the PhD in educational administration in 2003, again at the University of Louisville, also his wife’s alma mater. Brian and Dana Shumate married right after college and both got teaching jobs with the Jefferson County Schools, the 100,000-student, Louisville-based system where they’d grown up and become sweethearts. They each worked in Jefferson schools for 27 years, while raising two children. Brian Shumate taught high school math and coached for seven years before moving into administration as an assistant principal at age 29, advancing to principal of one of the city’s most diverse and poverty-plagued high

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schools at 36. Under his leadership, the school twice led the county in achievement gains and the rate of students going on to college doubled. He later became one of six assistant superintendents, with responsibilities for four high schools, four middle schools, 15 elementary schools and an alternative school, again with enviable results.

I think he already knows more people than I do, and I’ve lived here 40 years.”

The cross country move to Oregon made him top man in the 14,000-student Medford district During his tenure, test scores climbed above state averages, with corresponding gains in graduation rate and attendance.

In August of 2019, during pre-planning for the new school year, he shared his “belief system” at two mass sessions for all faculty and staff. Topping the list: “This is a people business! We must care for each other and our kids.”

Whatever his role, Shumate continues to think of himself as a teacher.

He pledged to empower principals and confront issues, to push for instructional coherence across the district and urged educators to create “simplistic and strategic “initiatives to meet goals. He called on the 1,900 school employees to “communicate, communicate, communicate” and to “become ambassadors for the school system.”

“My heart and soul are still in the classroom,” he said.

SHOT OUT OF A CANNON Former colleagues described Shumate as a supportive, results-driven leader who “knows how to roll up his sleeves,” understands the value of a good laugh and “likes people who can make things happen.” Local educators say he hit the ground running, set comprehensive goals, streamlined operations and, despite the added challenges of the pandemic, has moved steadily forward. “Dr. Shumate tells me he gets up every morning like he’s shot out of a cannon, and I believe it,” Hunt said. “He likes a challenge. He’s a problem-fixer, and he likes meeting people. 8

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Shumate is grateful that he had seven months before Covid to be out and about, attending community events, getting to know the schools, meeting teachers and school leaders

One goal is so close to his heart it has become known as his motto: “Create a place for every child.” “This part of his vision really spoke to me. So often, students disengage at some point,” said Hunt, a retired teacher recently re-elected to her second term on the school board. Shumate said he believes schools should work intentionally and strategically to help every student find a place to belong. “Every kid has three common needs: like-minded peers, caring


C O V E R adults and things to look forward to,” Shumate said. As an example, he describes driving past LaGrange High School on one of his first days in town. It was July, miserably hot, and dozens of band students were practicing out on the field. “They were just marching, no instruments, just back and forth, back and forth. They were into it.” Whether it’s band, automotive, art, music, sports, FFA — “whatever their deal is” — Shumate says kids who are involved and invested do better and are more likely to graduate. Schools need to find ways to connect kids to their place. “Everyone needs a niche. We all need affiliation,” he said.

RISING TO THE OCCASION Shumate recognizes he was hired to inspire and direct changes and embraces the role. “I’m not a maintainer,” he said. “I’m a builder.” Articulate but plainspoken, he does not believe in sugarcoating. “I will not back up from the challenges,” he said. “I tell our principals, ‘We run TO problems, not away from them.’”

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as a springboard for what our future should look like, which is finding a place for every kid.”

A SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT SHINES Shumate is fond of describing Troup County Schools as the centerpiece of the community. “I am a huge believer and advocate for public education. We are the one entity that touches every aspect of the community, that influences the overall well-being, the quality of life of the whole county, every nook and cranny of it. When we thrive, so will other entities. As the school system goes, so goes the community.” That’s makes it imperative, he said, to get things right and to improve performance in areas that currently fall short. “You often hear people say, ‘They ought to do something.’ Well, who is THEY? The school system has the power to do something. The responsibility for educating every kid in Troup County rests with us. So, who is they? We are they. We are the ones who can do something, and we will.”

Board Chair Hunt agrees. “Dr. Shumate expects hard work and inspires others to rise to the occasion.”

Shumate has made it a top priority to build relationships across the community, seeking to inspire both confidence and trust. “Most everybody is pulling for us, and that’s very powerful,“ he said.

That’s been especially true during the pandemic, a major challenge that hit just as Shumate and his team saw themselves making headway.

Success, he tells them, won’t come overnight or easily, but he is committed to giving the community a “school system that shines.”

“We felt we were well on our way to having better test scores last spring, but we didn’t get to test due to Covid,” Hunt said. Any Covid-related losses in achievement, she believes, will be temporary due to the lessons learned and the groundwork in place.

“I always remind folks that we need positive energy around this school system. I feed off of the positive energy and goodwill of the community and likewise, I know that people feed off of my energy. I will not get caught up in negativity, and I highly encourage our staff and supporters to do the same. We are sitting on something special here, and I am committed to pushing us forward in every metric while continuing to take care of all of our kids and employees.”

“We feel we are prepared to push the reset button, regain momentum and get back on a roll,” Hunt said. With characteristic optimism, Shumate has actually identified several “advantages” of the pandemic. “While it has been tragic on many levels, I have found that it has been unifying for the school system. When you have to mobilize and do something really hard, really fast, ordinary people realize they can accomplish extraordinary things.” As examples he cites “closer and tighter daily interactions with principals,” all of whom have his personal cellphone number. He also sees expanded capacity for virtual learning, an educational trend already gaining momentum before the pandemic. Plans are to retain a “Virtual Academy” after the pandemic ends. It will serve those students who have found they thrive in online learning as well as offering a path for homeschool-type families or families with medically fragile children to benefit from the public school system. “There will always be families who, for a variety of reasons, want their children at home. Now, thanks to the pandemic, we have it and can continue it,” Shumate said. “We will use the pandemic

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WELLSTAR SUCCESSFULLY SCHEDULES FIRST 10,000 PATIENT COVID-19 VACCINATIONS IN INITIAL DAYS OF PHASE 1A EXPANSION COVID-19 vaccine program for patients 65 and older generates significant demand

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ellstar Health System, one of Georgia’s largest and most integrated healthcare systems, has successfully scheduled the first 10,000 COVID vaccinations for Wellstar Primary Care patients age 65 and older following Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines to expand the Phase 1A COVID-19 vaccination program. The expansion of the eligible vaccination criteria for the current phase was announced by Georgia DPH on December 30 with the goal of accelerating vaccinations for populations most at risk of exposure, transmission, and severity

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of disease. A not-for-profit system with 11 hospitals across Georgia, Wellstar intends to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to every Wellstar patient following the phased approach outlined by health authorities as more vaccines and appointment slots become available. WHEN: In mid January, Wellstar patients began to receive notification of the process for vaccination appointments for the initial 10,000 vaccines allocated to Wellstar Primary Care patients age 65 and older. Scheduled vaccinations for this group will carry on for the coming days, weeks, and months as the DPH-


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led roll-out continues with additional vaccine deliveries. WHAT: The initial phase of patient vaccinations offered current Wellstar Primary Care patients 65 years of age and older the option to schedule an appointment to receive the Pfizer/ BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments for Wellstar patients in this group have already been filled due to significant demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, however additional time slots will be added to the MyChart scheduling portal as more vaccines are delivered. Wellstar patients are encouraged to visit the Wellstar MyChart scheduling tool to view new dates, times, and locations for vaccinations as they are added. For the most updated information, please call 470-956-7000 for a recorded message or visit www.wellstar.org. COMMUNITY RESOURCES: For those people in the community who are not Wellstar Primary Care patients or who would like to explore vaccine scheduling options, the Georgia DPH has launched a COVID-19 vaccination site location tool (https:// dph.georgia.gov/locations/covidvaccination-site) that allows users to search for vaccine providers across the state. DPH vaccine supply is very limited. The public is encouraged to contact their public health departments directly to schedule an appointment.

ABOUT WELLSTAR HEALTH SYSTEM At Wellstar, people are at the center of everything we do. By listening actively to what people want, need and expect from their healthcare, Wellstar is able to provide “More than Healthcare. PeopleCare.” — at every age and stage. Nationally ranked and locally recognized for our personal, high-quality care, inclusive culture, and exceptional doctors and team members, Wellstar provides access to compassionate, high-quality care through our: 11 hospitals; 300+ medical office locations; 9 cancer centers; 74 rehabilitation centers; 3 hospice facilities; 1 retirement village; 29 imaging centers; 16 urgent care locations; and 5 health

parks. As one of the largest and most integrated healthcare systems in Georgia, Wellstar is growing our services, footprint, capabilities, and ability to meet evolving patient needs. Our passion for people extends into the communities we serve. As a not-for-profit health system, we thoughtfully reinvest annually in prevention and wellness programs, as well as charity care for eligible patients. Our Wellstar Foundation also supports our mission

to enhance the health and well-being of every person we serve with funding for equipment, services, and programs that provide more than healthcare. To learn more about how Wellstar is always listening, learning, and tailoring care to meet patients’ individual needs, visit wellstar.org.

WMG Occupational Medicine, Keeping your Workforce Healthy Physical Examinations: Post-offer, Fit for Duty, Return to Work, Respirator, D.O.T. Treatment of Work-Related Injuries Drug Screens (urine and/or hair): Pre-placement, Post-accident, D.O.T., Random Breath Alcohol Testing Digital Radiography Screening: Audiometric Testing, Pulmonary Function Testing, EKG, Fit Testing COVID-19 Testing

100 Glenn Bass Road • LaGrange, GA 30240 706.845.3075 wghealth.org/our-services/occupational-medicine

Occupational Medicine

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SPOTLIGHT ON LAGRANGE

City’s Litter Campaign Gains Momentum Amid Covid-19

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he City of LaGrange continues to host monthly litter cleanup events as part of its “Leaving LaGrange Better Than We Found It” campaign and city leaders are proud the campaign continues to grow even during the COVID pandemic. LaGrange City Manager Meg Kelsey wanted to send a message to the community in April 2018 that the city is serious about littering and will lead by example. On April 20th, 2018, Kelsey

Tribe Ujima members at a recent litter cleanup closed down non-essential services and hundreds of city employees picked up litter throughout the community. The name of the campaign was inspired by City Councilman Nathan Gaskin who remarked at a city council meeting that his mother always told him to leave things better than he found it. The initial “Leaving LaGrange Better Than We Found It” cleanup in 2018 was so well received by both employees and citizens that the city began hosting 12

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monthly cleanup events with community partners. In March 2020, the city hosted one its most successful events at Jones Street Park partnering with both the Bell Line community and LaGrange College with nearly 100 people picking up litter, spreading much, cleaning playground equipment & enjoying the fellowship during this huge beautification event. Then, Covid hit LaGrange. “We are extremely proud of what the city has been able to accomplish with the help of our wonderful citizens when it comes to tackling the issues of litter. Since 2018, our litter campaign gained great momentum until Covid hit. Unfortunately we had to cancel many of our events after March,” said City of LaGrange Marketing/ Communications Manager Katie Mercer Van Schoor who leads the campaign. “But when we were able to once again start to safely host these events again in October, we started seeing record-breaking attendance and an unprecedented interest which is thrilling to see.” According to Van Schoor, in October nearly 75 people participated in the cleanup in the Hillside community and in November more than 100 people participated in a cleanup near Vernon Road/Vernon Street. While December and January slowed down a bit because of the freezing temperatures, attendance was still solid and more groups and individuals started reaching out inquiring about hosting their own cleanups.

Tribe Ujima is one local group in town that is hosting its own litter cleanup events. Members pick up litter sometimes several times a week in many different areas of the community. The city provides trash bags and gloves for the cleanups. Lafayette Christian School held a litter cleanup in downtown LaGrange as part of its annual Community Work Day. Dozens of students spent a couple mornings picking up trash in the downtown area with city and Downtown LaGrange Development Authority staff. The LaGrange Troup Chamber of Commerce Leadership Troup Class of 2020-2021 is also joining this initiative and plan to participate in the March 6th litter cleanup in Calumet Park with the Calumet Park Neighborhood Association. “I love receiving calls from concerned citizens who want to do something about trash in our community. It means that they care and want to help,” said Van Schoor. “I know it’s going to take more than the city’s monthly cleanups to address this issue but LaGrange is a special community. When we work together we can do anything. “


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LaGrange is a special community. When we work together we can do anything. LLBTWFI SCHEDULE: FEBRUARY - Saturday, February 6th, 8-10 a.m. Franklin Forest Elementary School parking lot, 1 Scholar Lane (off Ann Bailey Way) in LaGrange, community partner is Chattahoochee Riverkeeper MARCH - Saturday, March 6th, 8-10 a.m. Calumet Park, community partners are Calumet Neighborhood Park Association & LaGrange Troup Chamber Leadership Troup Class of 2020-2021 APRIL - Friday, April 23rd, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. City employees will pick up litter throughout the community If you’d like to join the city by joining an existing cleanup or hosting your own, contact Katie Mercer Van Schoor at (706) 883-2055 or kvanschoor@lagrangega.org. The public is always invited to participate and the cleanups are family friendly.

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NEW RESIDENTS A BOON FOR THE COMMUNITY

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ut out the welcome mats! Newcomers are finding LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville to be ideal communities for relocation. The community’s wellbeing is dependent on the positive impact of new residents who bring new ideas, skills and leadership and become volunteers.

Housing, population growth and economic development are also inextricably connected. Residential new construction and renovations of existing homes brings construction-related jobs and economic activity, attracts and retains permanent jobs, and draws retail and entertainment opportunities. An influx of new residents can have a powerful influence on economic development and retail strategy. “Retailers tell the city, ‘Show us the progress on developing new rooftops and we will show you a commitment to investing,’” said Scott Malone, President of the Development Authority of LaGrange. “The more residents, the more housing, the more retail development investment that will be made,” he said. Reasons for relocation are varied. Some are relocating to be near grown children in the Atlanta area but with no desire to live in a metropolitan city. There are those relocating because their employers are no longer expecting them to report to an office daily. Others are just seeking a slower pace with minimal traffic. Troup County has many attributes that rank it high on searcher’s lists. The proximity to Interstate 85, an international airport and Atlanta, Columbus and Auburn/Opelika are pluses as well as lake living, warm weather, Southern hospitality, visual and performing arts, and colleges. An inventory of historical homes has also been an attractor. “We are seeing many buyers from all over the country. With more people working from home, buyers are able to research the areas and decide on the best community to fit their lifestyle and not the location of their employment,” said Nicole Smith, realtor with RE/MAX Results LaGrange. Her company is currently working with buyers from as far away as Washington State, Colorado and New York.     One such couple is Tommy and Joy Poole, who moved to LaGrange’s Morgan’s Landing subdivision this past September. The Pooles lived in Kennesaw, Georgia for 24 years. “We were looking for a smaller town feel, a place that has its own identity, not a suburb of a large city, and a lake. We looked at several different places, but LaGrange was an easy choice for us,” said Tommy. Growing up in Bonaire, Georgia, Tommy came to West Point Lake to camp, fish and ski. “The lake is beautiful. Some people don’t like the Corps of Engineers’ building restrictions, but we think it

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Tommy and Joy Poole makes West Point one of the prettiest lakes in Georgia. We also have friends and family who sent their kids to LaGrange College, and they loved the college and the town. We felt it would be a wonderful place to live, and we haven’t been disappointed,” Tommy, an avid fisherman, noted. Because the couple is self-employed, they could work from most anywhere. Tommy has his own business, LeaderSci, LLC, providing leadership consulting and training to organizations. Joy is a piano teacher and just finished her term as President of Georgia Music Teachers Association. LeaderSci is a new Chamber member. The Pooles said they love everything about being in LaGrange. “Being on the lake at sunset. Going into downtown to eat, shop, and just walk around. And everyone is so friendly. During COVID, it is not as easy to meet people, but people here have gone out of their way to welcome us, especially the people at our church, First Baptist Church on the Square,“Tommy said. LaGrange’s location is an easy drive to see both their parents in Bonaire and their children are not too far away. Their daughter lives in Hiram and son Justin works in Atlanta. Justin is getting married in LaGrange in October. The growth reaches beyond LaGrange’s city limits. West Point and Hogansville are also attractive choices for new residents. “West Point has experienced an incredible resurgence in all regards especially real estate. Homes tend to sell quicker these days and for a premium.” said Grover Golden, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Spinks Brown Durand Realty. Caleb Stanley, CEO of PioneerGA out of Hogansville, is seeing the same momentum. “Honestly, we can’t keep up. People are looking for ‘community’ and a place where people know their names,” he said. Caleb and his wife, who moved to Hogansville


C via Los Angeles and Newnan, have been buying houses and flipping them. “Before we are done, they are sold,” he said. There is a shortage of move-in ready housing in the Hogansville area, Caleb noted. Artist Rich Brown opened his pottery shop Brick and Hubbard in Hogansville a few years ago and has just moved his family to Hogansville this month. Formerly from Peachtree City, Brown is a key leader in developing an artists’ mecca in Hogansville. Longtime residents of Troup County need to look at their communities through the lens of the newcomers and adjust their communications accordingly, said Laura Jennings, executive director of the LaGrange Art Museum. A couple of new residents made their first visit to the museum in December. “As we talked they commented that often they read about an event or place in the area but no address is given. It struck me that we locals just assume everyone knows the community like we do,” she said.

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Tips for Employers: • Create a buddy system, matching the newcomer to another staff member. This person can become a mentor or “go to person” for any questions about the community. • Invite new staff members to community and social functions. • Take them to favorite/iconic restaurants, tourism attractions and provide a driving tour. • Introduce them to people with similar interests, families, age. • And out in the community, be assertive and take the first step to welcome newcomers and offer assistance. Don’t wait for them to approach you. CommunityHeroJoeRaglandSmallAdVertical.qxp_Layout 1 2/5/20 11:16 AM Pag

Rich Brown

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Come in today and let us know that you’re a Community Hero!

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DOWNTOWN 300 Church Street LaGrange, GA 30240 706.884.2666

WEST POINT 600 Third Avenue West Point, GA 31833 706.645.1391

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SPOTLI G HT ON WEST P OI N T

The Powertrain Expansion This latest investment of more than $240 million will bring with it a brandnew, state of the art 600,000 sq. ft. facility adjacent to the current plant. The new facility will also bring additional component sub-assembly with it, along with almost 900 newly created jobs including assembly, engineering, maintenance, and management positions. Once the new plant is completed the employee count for Hyundai Transys (counting both divisions) as a company will be approximately 1,700 employees. Front view of current plant

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yundai Transys Georgia Powertrain, Inc. (HTGP) has been investing in Troup County since its inception in 2008 and has recently started construction on an additional manufacturing site located next door to its current plant. HTGP is the American affiliate of its parent company, Hyundai Transys, headquartered in Dongtan, Gyeongi Province South Korea. “We are excited for the new opportunities ahead as we expand our presence in the West Point community,” said HGTP President and CEO SangKil Jung. Jung started the original plant as the Quality Department coordinator from 2008-12. He has significant experience with plant startups and is ready to push this project forward as well.

Production Floor

The original investment from HTGP in 2008 was $139 million for a 261,180 square foot plant that started operations in 2010 as Hyundai Powertech. Since then, the company has invested in two additional expansions totaling an estimated $7 million. In all this will bring the total local investment to about $386M over 15 years. Another area of growth for the company was the merger between Hyundai Powertech and Hyundai Dymos (assemble seats for Kia and Hyundai) in 2019. This merger led to the new name of Hyundai Transys as a company and Hyundai Transys Georgia Powertrain and Hyundai Transys Seating System as divisions of Hyundai Transys.

Jason Ransbottom, Senior Manager of Human Resources and Administration stated, “Although there were many possible sites to pursue, we are very pleased with Georgia and Troup County’s business climate and wanted to build our new plant in the same area for the same reliable experiences and relationships we’ve enjoyed for the past decade.”

HTGP Transmission HTGP has engaged Georgia Quick Start to assist in the plant’s ramp up training to prepare the company’s workforce for production. Hyundai Transys Powertrain is scheduled to complete construction in Quarter 1 of 2022, begin trials in the Fall 2022 and start of production in 2nd quarter of 2023.

West Point Business Council, March 25, 2021. For more information, contact Leslie Traylor at leslie@lagrangechamber.com or 706-884-8671

Plant 2 location HTGP is a tier one automotive manufacturing facility that supplies transmissions to both Kia Motor Manufacturing Georgia, here in West Point, and Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery.

Test Line Robot www.lagrangechamber.com

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SPOTLIGHT ON HOGANSVILLE

The City of Friendly People

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he City of Hogansville has continued its commitment to moving forward for our citizens, county and region as we head into the 2021 calendar year. Not only has Hogansville received the proverbial greenlight to move forward with relocating our city hall to a new location but we have several projects underway now and some already completed. Prior to the city moving forward with these projects, there was a call for submissions to update our logo. While we are still, and will continue to be, the “City of Friendly People,” it was time to that our logo represented our new path forward in Hogansville. There is an increasing vibrancy and attractiveness in the city and we wanted to make sure that we acknowledged this by doing our part. One of the ways was to establish a new brand for the city beginning with an updated logo. Admittedly, this was something long overdue and we were lacking in this effort compared to other localities including Newnan, Peachtree City, Senoia, and Sharpsburg. After receiving close to 100 submissions from throughout the local region and beyond, the city selected a design that was created from Troup County resident, Shannon Belletti of Belletti Creative. Ms. Belletti provided a design to the city that will undoubtedly be the brand for the city for years to come. During the last twelve months, people have been confined to tighter spaces while managing the ebbs and flows of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Hogansville recognized this and expedited several outdoor recreation projects to whatever extent possible so that residents could safely enjoy time outdoors in recreational capacities. The first of these projects to reach completion was the most recent round of improvements to the city’s Lake Jimmy Jackson recreation area. While there were already beach areas and fishing piers to enjoy, three pavilions have been installed for families to come enjoy the natural amenities that our Lake Jimmy Jackson offers. There have also been picnic tables, outdoor grilles, benches, and bike racks installed that provide many different ways for this area to be enjoyed. Even though these

New Hogansville Logo

Hogansville Business Council March 30, 2021 For more information, contact Leslie Traylor at leslie@lagrangechamber.com or 706-884-8671

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Lake Jimmy Jackson Recreational Area Improvements

Tower Trail Phase V improvements have increased ways to enjoy the area, the City of Hogansville continues to explore ways for future enhancements including playgrounds, volleyball courts, fishing pavilions, and more! Anticipated to be completed in February, Phase V of the Tower Trail will connect the trail to the downtown area of Hogansville and allow additional parking at the new city hall location. Through several partnerships including a $200,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the city is able to connect an outdoor classroom space with an elevated walking path to our wonderful downtown. The completion of this phase of the Tower Trail adds an additional terminus point for the trail with those now being at Oak Street, Hogansville Elementary School, and our new city hall location. Even though heightened during the recent year, outdoor recreation has always been a cornerstone for a healthy lifestyle and vibrant community. The city remains proactive and continues enhancing our natural environment for outdoor enjoyment. Stay tuned in 2021 and beyond because as they say, you haven’t seen anything yet!


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ost business leaders agree their greatest assets are the people they work with. After the rollercoaster ride of 2020, your organization probably looks and feels different than it did a year ago. Maybe you have fewer people working in your organizations. Maybe you have more. You might have eliminated jobs or created new ones. We want to know where you are today and where you want to go as we move forward and focus on the future. Educators are charged with developing talent and preparing young people for college and a career. They prefer that our young people live, work, and stay in Troup County. They know this means that young people need jobs; which drives them to prepare students with the professional skills needed to be successful. THINC College & Career Academy has partnered with Troup County

School System to create a needs assessment survey. The purpose of the survey is to gain greater insight to our business community’s workforce needs. We ask that you take the time to tell us how we are doing and what we need to do differently to prepare our rising workforce for careers in our community. The information gleaned from this survey will be used to reexamine our Career Technical Agriculture Education (CTAE) pathways and to sharpen our focus for class offerings. The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce endorses this needs assessment and encourages all of its members to participate. The survey link can be found at: thincacademy.net, troup.org, and lagrangechamber. com. The survey will remain open through Tuesday, March 2. Please contact Carrie Tomlin THINC College & Career Academy offers Mechatronics at tomlincl@troup.org with and Healthcare CTAE classes. Manufacturing and questions, and thank you for your healthcare were two of the high-demand careers identified continued support. in Troup County by a previous needs assessment.

thINC Instructor First to Receive Master Career Academy Teacher Designation based assignments and he has been a past nominee for Teacher of the Year twice. Blackwell said, “Last year, THINC was certified as an NCAC Model School. At that same conference, the association leaders announced a new Master Teacher program and I was interested. It was an in depth process and I needed the support to complete the certification, so after speaking with my school and district leaders, I started the application process.”

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idan Blackwell is the first in the nation to earn the National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) Master Career Academy Teacher certification. For almost 12 years, Aidan Blackwell has been an instructor in Troup County School System. For the last few years he has been teaching Advanced Placement Government, Advanced Placement US History, and Economics at THINC College & Career Academy (THINC). His students love his approach to teaching project-

He continued, “This certification helped me lead to improvement. I had to complete a SWOT Analysis, which forced me to look at the job I’ve done at THINC, while also looking at ways to improve the way I teach and enhance the student learning experience in my classroom. I hope with this acknowledgement I will be able to provide support for other teachers, as well.” To become certified as a Master Teacher, applicants must show mastery in ten

standards such as teaching philosophy, classroom environment, teacher leadership, student advocacy, partner collaboration, and student learning. The Auburn grad said, “For each standard, I had to provide evidence and artifacts that I mastered those elements. Those items were placed in a portfolio and submitted to industry professionals. I had to receive a minimum overall score to be certified.” Blackwell is thankful for the opportunity and support of his current and past leaders, He noted that many programs he has been involved in helped bolster his project portfolio, “Without experiences such as the LIFT Externship, presenting at national conferences, Project Zero Classroom through Harvard, I would not have been able to complete the portfolio requirements. I have to give thanks to Dr. Chris Williams, Dr. Kathy Carlisle, Jennifer Pike, Gerald Wyatt, Dr. Penny Johnson, and Dr. Brian Shumate for their guidance and support throughout my career, and for this opportunity.” www.lagrangechamber.com

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NEED HELP FINDING A PHY Wellstar Medical Group offers you a choice. Our physicians and advanced practice providers are part of Wellstar Medical Group, one of the largest multispecialty medical groups in Georgia made up of more than 1,150 providers representing 40 specialties. Wellstar Medical Group provides healthcare services, including primary and specialty care, acute care and ambulatory care in convenient and accessible locations. Wellstar Medical Group is committed to taking care of you, and your family’s health care needs.

Olumide Ajayi, MD

Wellstar Medical Group Family Medicine 454 LaGrange Street Greenville, GA 30222 706.845.3599

Joy Baker, MD, FACOG, PMH-C, C-EFM, MT (ASCP)

J. Robert Coggins, MD

Cameron Body, MD

Salman Fidahussein, MD

Wellstar Medical Group Obstetrics & Gynecology 1602 Vernon Street Suite 200 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7252 WellStar Medical Group Gastroenterology 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 Phone: (706) 880-7311

Wellstar Medical Group Gastroenterology 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7311

Wellstar Medical Group Pulmonary Medicine 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7222

Alexander Gedevanishvili, MD

Jennifer Carter, MD

Tom Gore, MD

Wellstar Medical Group Hematology & Oncology 1514 Vernon Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706.812.2426

Wellstar Medical Group Cardiovascular Medicine 1602 Vernon Road Suite 300 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.242.5100

Mack Clements, MD

Torey Harden, MD

Wellstar Medical Group Family Medicine 1497 Lafayette Parkway LaGrange, GA 30241 706.880.7335

211 East Broad Street Pine Mountain, GA 31822 706.845.3494

February 2021

211 East Broad Street Pine Mountain, GA 31822 706.845.3494

Srinivas R. Bramhadevi MD, FAAFP, MBA

Wellstar Medical Group Family Medicine 454 LaGrange Street Greenville, GA 30222 706.845.3599

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Martha Clements, MD

Wellstar Medical Group Family Medicine 1497 Lafayette Parkway LaGrange, GA 30241 706.880.7335

Wellstar Medical Group Cardiovascular Medicine 1602 Vernon Road, Suite 300 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.242.5100

Wellstar Medical Group Pediatrics 301 Medical Drive Suite 504 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.812.2655

To learn more v


YSICIAN?

Mark Mudano, MD

Wellstar Medical Group Orthopedics 300 Medical Drive, Suite 707 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7320

Vincent Scoglietti, MD

Wellstar Medical Group General Surgery 1600 Vernon Road Suite A LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7343

Ravina Kadam MD, CCD, FACP, CDE

Weredeselam Olango, MD

Richard S. Simmons MD, FACP, FCCP

Robinette King, MD

Ariyo Olobatoke, MD

Ashley Stewart MD, FACS

Wellstar Medical Group Internal Medicine 300 Medical Drive, Suite 704 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7361

Wellstar Medical Group Obstetrics & Gynecology 303 Medical Drive, Suite 405 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.242.5099

Wellstar Medical Group Neurology 303 Medical Drive, Suite 401 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.242.5161

WellStar Medical Group Pulmonary Medicine 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 Phone: (706) 880-7222

Wellstar Medical Group Pulmonary Medicine 1551 Doctors Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7222

Wellstar Medical Group General Surgery 1600 Vernon Road, Suite A LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7321

Gail Knight, MD

James Parker, MD

Robert Taylor, MD

Kevin Knight FNP-C, CFRN

Kalyani Rajeev MD, FAAP

Karin Whitlock Taylor MD, FAAPMR

Shawn Mathews, MD

Eugene Schaufler MD, FACOG, FAAP

Venu Thirukonda, MD, FACP

Margaret Schaufler MD, FACOG

Nick A. Vlachos, MD

WellStar Medical Group West Georgia Hospice 1510 Vernon Road LaGrange, GA 30240-4131 Phone: (706) 845-3905

Wellstar Medical Group Family Medicine 2000 Billy Tucker Cirlce Hogansville, GA 30230 706.880.7188

Wellstar Medical Group Ear, Nose & Throat 300 Medical Drive, Suite 705 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7144

Madhavi Naik, MD, FACOG

Wellstar Medical Group Obstetrics & Gynecology 106 Lukken Industrial Dr. West LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7204

visit wellstar.org

Wellstar Medical Group Family Medicine 1009 Ave.E (U.S. 29) West Point, GA 31833 706.242.5081

Wellstar Medical Group Pediatrics 301 Medical Drive, Suite 504 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.812.2655

Wellstar Medical Group Gynecology 1555 Doctors Drive, Suite 102 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7266

Wellstar Medical Group Gynecology 1555 Doctors Drive, Suite 102 LaGrange, GA 30240 706.880.7266

Wellstar Medical Group Radiation Oncology 111 Medical Drive LaGrange, GA 30240 706.845.3544

Wellstar Medical Group Rehabilitation Medicine 1600 Vernon Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706.298.5592

Wellstar Medical Group Hematology & Oncology 1514 Vernon Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706.812.2426

Wellstar Medical Group Occupational Medicine 100 Glenn Bass Road LaGrange, GA 30240 706.845.3075

www.lagrangechamber.com

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MOVERS, SHAKERS, RISK-TAKERS

MOVERS, SHAKERS, RISK-TAKERS Wellstar West Georgia Welcomes New Physicians Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center recently welcomed several new physicians to the team, including: Dr. Cameron Body, Dr. Mark Mudano, Dr. Ariyo Olobatoke and Dr. Nchang Taka. Dr. Body recently passed her Board Exam, and is now certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. She completed her residency and fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine and earned her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine, where she graduated magna cum laude. Dr. Body has received honors and awards in Community Health and Service Learning. She is a member of American College of Gastroenterology, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and the American Gastroenterological Association. For more information, contact Dr. Body’s office: Wellstar Medical Group Gastroenterology, (706) 880-7311. With 30+ years' experience, Dr. Mudano specializes in orthopedics and offers a wide range of orthopedic care for ages 2 and up, including sports medicine, total joint replacement, arthroscopy, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, hand surgery and fracture surgery. He completed medical school and orthopedic residency at the Medical College of Georgia and his Sports Medicine & Knee Surgery Fellowship at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. He is boardcertified in Orthopedic Surgery and is affiliated with numerous professional organizations including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Georgia Orthopedic Society, and National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Mudano proudly served as the Team Physician for many sports teams including the New York Yankees. For more information, contact Dr. Mudano’s office at (706) 880-7320. Specializing in Pulmonary and Critical Care, Dr. Olobatoke recently completed his pulmonary/critical care fellowship at Ascension Providence Hospital in Michigan, where he served 22

February 2021

as the Chief Fellow. He also served as a Clinical Instructor for Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. Prior to his fellowship, Dr. Olobatoke worked for 7 years as a hospitalist in Michigan. He attended medical school at the University of Ilorin and completed Internal Medicine residency at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Critical care Medicine and Pulmonary Disease, and holds memberships with multiple professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. For more information, contact Dr. Olobatoke’s office: Wellstar Pulmonary Medicine, (706) 880-7222 Specializing in Interventional Cardiology, Dr. Taka recently completed his Interventional Cardiology fellowship at the University of Kentucky in Bowling Green. Additionally, he completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Dr. Taka finished residency at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he served as Chief Resident his senior year. Prior to residency, he provided healthcare at multiple hospitals in Cameroon, in Central Africa. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, and Interventional Cardiology. Dr. Taka is a member of multiple professional organizations including the American Heart Association, American College of Physicians, and the Cameroonian Medical Association. For more information, contact Dr. Taka’s office: Wellstar Medical Group Cardiovascular Medicine, (706) 2425100.

Dr. Body

Dr. Mudano

Dr. Olobatoke

Dr. Taka


MOVERS, SHAKERS, RISK-TAKERS

Michael Strickland

has served the Fire and Emergency Services community since 1986. He was born in East Point, Georgia and served the Fayette County, Georgia community all of his career. Michael began his career as a Volunteer Firefighter for Fayette County Fire & Emergency Services and was hired on as a career firefighter in January of 1988. Michael earned his Georgia Paramedic in 1991, and served as a Firefighter/EMT, Paramedic, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Fire Inspector, and Captain before retiring in January 2021.

Georgia and Nationally Registered Paramedic and is an Advanced Certified Emergency Manager through the Georgia Emergency Management Association. Michael has also been nominated several times by the Ronnie Thames Foundation for the Heroes Award, served on the Fayette Fire Foundation Board and was an active member of the Central Midwest Georgia Red Cross Board.

Michael’s career has focused strongly on the health and safety of his team and was dedicated Michael has an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s on finding the most efficient ways to serve the Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern communities he worked for. Michael has made University. He holds numerous certifications his home in LaGrange, Georgia with his wife in Fire, EMS and Emergency Management Tammy. He has four amazing children Megan, including National Professional Qualification Ashlynn, Caitlynn and Payton and loves spoiling Firefighter 1 and 2, Aerial and Pumper his first grandson, Carter. He enjoys golfing, Operator, Fire Inspector 1, Fire Instructor 1 traveling, being on the lake and spending as and 2 & Fire Officer 1,2,3 and 4. Michael is a much time as he can with his family.

Maryanne Lovejoy

The Troup County Center for Strategic Planning welcomes Maryanne Lovejoy as its new Executive Director. A native of Florida, Lovejoy came to LaGrange in 2005 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Wingate University in Wingate, N.C. and dual Masters Degrees in Healthcare and Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. An alumna of Leadership Troup, she has held positions in both private and public workplaces, including West Georgia Health and Interface. She resides in Troup County with her husband, Kyle Lovejoy, and two daughters, Whitley Kate and Lillian. In addition to spending time with her family, she serves on the Board of the Laurel Garden Club and is a Sustainer in the Junior Service League of LaGrange. “I’m excited to work with the outstanding Board of the Center for Strategic Planning,” Lovejoy said. “My experience in healthcare, industry and higher education showed me how to build relationships and the importance of working cooperatively across departmental lines. I love Troup County and look forward to being part of this collaborative effort to build on our strengths and find solutions to the challenges we face.”

Sam Craig

LaGrange native Sam Craig recently started a consulting role with DASH as a Capital Acquisition Strategist. His role will focus on long-range strategic planning and identifying a scalable model for the effective development of housing. He recently received his MBA from Georgia Tech with a concentration in real estate and finance and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. Prior to graduate school, Sam worked for 4 years at a fundraising consulting firm in Atlanta as a capital campaign development consultant. Having a knack for entrepreneurship, he co-founded the UGA needs-based Gail and William Oliver (Dr. Pat) Hunnicutt III Scholarship, founded the Atlanta Red Cross Young Professionals Council, as well as co-founded the Georgia Tech Real Estate Club. He also serves as a trustee on the Callaway Foundation and Fuller E. Callaway Foundation. He is excited to be back in LaGrange after graduating from LaGrange High School over 10 years ago and pursue meaningful work with DASH.

Donna Williams

is from Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Clark Atlanta University in 2013. After receiving her bachelor's degree; she relocated to Miami, Florida, where she began her journalism career. Donna worked in promotions at LITE F.M. radio, after several years in that position she worked her way up to a top 10 radio market. She then decided to embark on a new journey. Donna made her way from behind the microphone to in front of the camera. Donna has over 5 years of experience in the communications industry. Before accepting the position of Communications Manager, she served as the LaGrange Bureau Reporter at WRBL. Donna is expecting her first child in February of 2021, she says "This is my biggest accomplishment thus far; I am so excited to meet my little angel." www.lagrangechamber.com

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SPOTLIGHT ON TROUP COUNTY

Future Works 2021 Troup County is working on many projects for 2021 including Feeding the Frontline events, Troup County video series, and the Secure Your Load campaign.

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roup County Government worked with Corey Faulkner from CedarCross Media to create a video series “Start Here!” in late 2020 to showcase all that Troup County has to offer. The goal of this series is to highlight all the benefits of relocating to Troup County. “Start Here!” kicked off with a promotional video about outdoor activities and focused on family. The next video in the series will be everything you need to know about starting and owning a small business in Troup County. Donna Williams, County Communication Manager, stated they plan on continuing the series with housing options and following with education in Troup County, showcasing homeschooling, private and public education options.

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ecure Your Load! The Troup County Board of Commissioners would like to encourage people to help prevent litter on county roads. Drivers transporting oversized items such as furniture, tools, and equipment, or debris to take the time and use basic supplies, such as ropes, netting, and straps, to properly secure their loads. A load is secure when nothing can slide, shift, or fall onto the roadway, or become airborne.

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n January 22, Troup County partnered with the City of LaGrange and Downtown LaGrange Development Authority (DLDA) for the Feeding the Frontlines event at the Troup County Bus Barn. During the two hour event 40 of Jim Bob’s chicken finger plates were served to public health workers giving the vaccine. Vaccinations were by appointment only for county and city employees, along with first responders and senior citizens. DLDA started the LaGrange Community Feeding the Frontlines campaign at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to provide meals from local restaurants to frontline workers, and have asked the community for support with donations to purchase meals. The meals are given out to healthcare workers, law enforcement, firefighters, public health workers, and emergency service workers.

Troup County

SECURE YOUR LOAD and help keep our City and County roads li�er-free

Visit Troupcountyga.gov for tips.

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C H A M B E R

E V E N T S

Chamber members represent more than 31,000 business people who support our community by creating jobs, volunteering and fundraising for worthy causes, mentoring our future leaders and marketing our communities to future businesses and our residents. Our strength and success arise from the number and quality of our connections to each other.

We welcomed 60 new members in 2020! A Chosen Few Network, Inc. Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care Agrimerica Farm and Construction, LLC A New You Massage Therapy AT&T National Fiber Sales Bikel Frenelle Realty City to City Market of West Georgia Colonial Community Properties, LLC Communities of Tomorrow Costa Head Agency Creek Lodge Daewon America, Inc. Diamond Legacy Corporation Donnie’s Lawn Care Down to the T Cleaning Service Dr. John Vollenweider Duncan, Thomasson, & Leonard, P.C. Dunkin Donuts Emberglow Handmade, LLC Farmer’s Insurance - The Fuller Agency Filter Tech, Incorporated First Presbyterian Church Fun Factoree Fair Foods LLC Good Ol’ Buffet Grayhill Clearing and Grading Heart and Vascular Care of Georgia Hill St. Balloons HR Re-Source Solutions Ivy League Realty Jamey Jackson, Individual Jennifer Y. Emery, JYEmeryArt KohParenting Services LABE Restaurant Group, LLC Lafayette Parkway Self Storage LaGrange Nutrition Lazy Lizard Furniture Co. LLC Main Street Photo Company National Fabricating Services, Inc. Pike Consulting Group, LLC Positive Fields Inc Ressa’s Unique Boutique Securikey Locks LLC 26

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Sheridan Construction Superior Tax Office TAO Golf Enterprises The Burrow Warehouse The Carver Companies The Foundation for Casey’s Cure, Inc. The Kreative Company LLC The Mind Clothing The Yard on Mill Apartments

Tiffani Bray Photography, LLC Upwork US Renal Care of Lagrange Valley Wood Inc. Virus Control Services Visit LaGrange, Inc W. Luther Jones Wildflower MJ ZenBusiness

Special thanks to our 202 1 Corporate Sponsors. C

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Christmas to the Rescue! Honoring first responders and healthcare workers, the 42nd annual Christmas Parade took place on Thursday, December 3.

www.lagrangechamber.com

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Youth Leadership Graduation

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ongratulations to the Youth Leadership graduating class of 2020 presented by Point University!

With a mixture of in-person and virtual attendance, 37 local high school students graduated from Youth Leadership on Tuesday, November 10. Our guest speaker was LaGrange native, Quay Boddie. Quay is a speaker, author, and community servant. The graduation program was sponsored by LaGrange Housing Authority. Part of Leadership Troup, which is an affiliate organization of the Chamber, the Youth Leadership program gives future leaders insight into how they can positively contribute to their communities and schools, reaching far into their adult lives. Both the adult and youth programs are governed by a volunteer board of Leadership Troup graduates. This year’s Youth Leadership class was led by board member and Youth Leadership Chairperson Molly Fulghum, along with facilitators including Debbie Burdette, Renae Willis, Cheryl Magby, Monica Barber, Dr. Penny Johnson, Yolanda Stephen, Ginger Booton, Rebecca Roth-Nicks, Sheri Cody, Mike Angstadt and the Twin Cedars team.

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The Youth Leadership curriculum was revamped six years ago by the J.W. Fanning Institute at the University of Georgia. Entitled “Youth Leadership in Action,” the goal of the curriculum is to embolden each of our youth participants to achieve more, to do more, to be more. During this year’s program, the students, from both local public and private schools, participated in eight sessions (both in-person and virtually) that covered a range of leadershiprelated topics and activities, including: • Building Teams • Ropes Course at Camp Viola • Understanding Leadership • Communicating Effectively • Etiquette Dinner, sponsored by LaGrange College • Appreciating Differences, sponsored by Diverse Power • Managing Conflict • Setting Goals, Making Decisions and Mapping Your Community Molly Fulghum says “it was an honor to work with these amazing young leaders of the class of 2020 and the community leaders facilitating the programs. Everyone showed tremendous professionalism and determination despite the challenges presented in 2020! We owe a special thanks to TCSS, including Dr. Brian

Shumate, Dr. Penny Johnson, Crystal Valencia, and Alton White and their teams for allowing us to meet at LaGrange High School, as well as to First Baptist Church on the Square for the use of the New Life Building. This year put new meaning to the phrase “It takes a village,” and LaGrange certainly rose to the occasion!

Graduates included: Anna Kate Bakarich Jack Baker Jacob Bearden Isabelle Blair Trevor Booton Mattie Ann Comerford Angel Crim Milly Criswell Jackson Dennis Brianna Drake Anna Fenn Chloe Harrell Tripp Hollstrom Henry Huberdeau Grace Huff Eileen Hwang Justin Johnson Ayaka Kimura Abby Grace Kornek

Adeline Lanier Bethany Lewis Kayla McBride Dylan Nation Maddie Nolen Kari Parkmond Dallas Pearson Gabby Peay Robert Polk Kameron Probst Luke Purdy Mary Smith Spencer Stephens Jazmyne Taylor Zach Taylor Mary Maddox Westmoreland Hayden Wolfe Ashton Wright


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Join us in celebrating our members! Ribbon Cuttings, Anniversary Celebrations and Grand Openings

The Colonial Building 119 Ridley Avenue, LaGrange

Emberglow Handmade 130 Bull Street, LaGrange

Ivy League Realty 100 Smith Street, LaGrange

Nissan of LaGrange 1050 Lafayette Parkway, LaGrange

Serendipity of LaGrange LaGrange Mall

The Yard on Mill Apartments 150 Mill Creek Parkway, LaGrange

ActiKare 133 Main Street, LaGrange

Eco Choice Interiors 100 Mooty Bridge Road, LaGrange

LaGrange Nutrition 2170 West Point Road, Suite 30, LaGrange

An Affair to Remember 9 E. Lafayette Square, LaGrange

K Co. Kiddie Coutoure 106 Bull Street, LaGrange

Sheridan Construction 314 Greenville Street, LaGrange

www.lagrangechamber.com

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HOGANSVILLE BUSINESS COUNCIL

WEST POINT BUSINESS COUNCIL

SAFETY COUNCIL The Troup County Safety Council met on Wednesday, November 11 and received a Workers Compensation legal update from Dale E. Slemons, from Hall, Booth, and Smith Attorney at Laws.  The Troup County Safety Council's mission is to establish a cooperative effort to educate and influence people and the organizations they represent, thereby promoting a commitment to and ultimately accomplishing incident free operations. 

On Tuesday, December 15 the Hogansville Business Council met at Station Coffeehouse for their final meeting of 2020. We heard from City Manager Jonathan Lynn and his guest, Interim Police Chief, Jeff Sheppard. 

The final meeting of 2020 for the West Point Business Council was on Thursday, December 10 at the West Point Technology Center. We listened to Dr. Lacey Southerland from Point University and took a tour of the Chattahoochee Early Learning Academy with Heather Hoats.

EARLY BIRD BREAKFAST STATE OF REAL ESTATE Presented by Jackson Services, our "State of Real Estate in Troup County" luncheon was on Monday, November 16. Our featured guests were Dawn Ware, Synovus Mortgage Loan Originator, Alynda Jones with J.T. Jones & Associates Realty and Caysi BrooksSwol with Go Realty. Special thanks to our gold sponsor, Go Realty. 

Our featured speaker at the November Early Bird Breakfast, presented by Jackson Services, was LaGrange local and Licensed Professional Counselor, Dr. Kelly Veal. Dr. Veal gave insight on our state's current mental health crisis and how to be an advocate for mental wellness in your workplace. 

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2 0 2 1 C OM ING E VE NTS EARLY BIRD BREAKFASTS presented by Jackson Services Tuesday, March 9 Tuesday, April 13 Tuesday, May 11 Tuesday, June 8 Tuesday, August 10 Tuesday, September 14 Tuesday, October 12 Tuesday, November 9

STATE OF COMMUNITY LUNCHEONS,

CHRISTMAS PARADE,

WOMEN IN BUSINESS,

ANNUAL CHAMBER GOLF TOURNAMENT,

NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION

presented by Kimberly Clark Thursday, December 2

presented by J. Smith Lanier & Co. Thursday, October 7

presented by Jackson Services Monday, March 22 Monday, May 24 Monday, August 23 Monday, November 15

TROUP COUNTY SAFETY COUNCIL,

presented by Results Property Management Thursday, October 28

Tuesday, March 16 Wednesday, June 16 Wednesday, August 25 Wednesday, December 8

Save the Date ANNUAL MEETING May 2021

POLAR PLUNGE

Thursday, February 18

presented by Hyundai Transys Powertrain Wednesday, March 17 Wednesday, June 16 Wednesday, September 8 Wednesday, November 17

WEST POINT BUSINESS COUNCIL Thursday, March 25 Thursday, June 24 Thursday, September 23 Thursday, November 18

BARK AT THE PARK,

presented by Thornton & Graham Saturday, October 23

VALOR AWARDS September 2021

HOGANSVILLE BUSINESS COUNCIL Tuesday, March 30 Tuesday, June 29 Tuesday, September 28 Tuesday, November 30

www.lagrangechamber.com

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TROUP COUNTY E-SPLOST VI March 16, 2021 Early voting February 22 – March 12

Did you know?

E-SPLOST is:

• NOT a new sales tax • An extension of the current sales tax • A sales tax that is paid by everyone who shops in Troup County, including the millions of visitors we have every year

E-SPLOST will:

• Provide access to materials and updated technology to all students and teachers • Promote equity in access to educational opportunities • Improve safety and security • Invest in new school buses which are safe and efficient

• An equitable way to provide modern, safe and secure school facilities for Troup County children and teachers

• Continue Troup County’s trajectory of excellence in education

• A method to fund educational improvements that everyone contributes to, not just property owners

• Keep property taxes down since everyone who shops or visits Troup County pays sales tax, which takes a huge burden off of property owners

QUALITY SCHOOLS PROMOTE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH WHICH BENEFIT ALL RESIDENTS OF TROUP COUNTY

Great Schools Benefit Everyone in Troup County

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S M A L L

B U S I N E S S

Define It. Measure It. Complete It.

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hat is your “go to” information to review when making decisions about your business? For some it is a “gut feeling”. For others, it can be a variety of factors to include but no limited to categories such as fuel cost for the month, inventory turn, prospect calls made each week, production run times, past year’s performance, or labor percentages for the month. Can the information you use be tracked and measured over time? Setting up ways to track and measure this information can be extremely beneficial for you and your team. These ways are often called Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s.

KPI’s will vary depending on the business in terms of it goals and the industry. Some of the most common KPI’s are related to the financial performance of the business. An example of a financial KPI would be, if the goal for the company this year is to reduce material cost by 8%, the indicator used to measure this goal would be the gross profit margin.

WHAT ARE KPI’S? KPI’s are the metrics or indicators that are used to measure performance in different aspects of your business in relation to your goals and industry. As you are managing the business it is important to be able to maneuver between the dayto-day operations of the business and the long-term success and growth of your business. KPI’s can provide a type of dashboard or overview of where you stand in relation to your goals and benchmarks. It will allow you to take the pulse of your business and determine whether a deeper dive is needed thus helping be more efficient with use of time and resources.

First, establish your goals for your business for 2021. Next, determine what KPI’s need to be in place to track those goals. Finally, share those with your team to grow you business!

ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF KPI’S? Yes. Key Performance Indicators can be established for all aspects of your business.

WHY USE KPI’S? Whether you are a one-person shop or have a multi-level management structure, goals and having the ability to measure them is beneficial. It allows the team and its members to check their progress and know where to focus their efforts.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR SMALL BUSINESS? Contact Todd Carlisle with the UGA Small Business Development Center at (706) 569-2651 to schedule a complimentary consultation in our LaGrange or West Point office.

www.lagrangechamber.com

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February 2021

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BEING A BOSS

The 3 Rs & Your Business Resolutions A few things to consider as you move your business into 2021

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t’s still early in the year. For most entrepreneurs, it is a natural time to think about how they want their business to look for the next 12 months. As our communities move past the COVID pandemic re-evaluating your industry, competitive environment and your own organizational strengths and weaknesses will be key to making sure any plans that you make now will stick. Here is a strategy that covers the “3Rs” of planning for the year ahead: REFLECT on 2020 and learn what you can from last year's activity. Ask yourself these questions: • What worked that I need to double down on? • What didn't work that I should stop ASAP? • What is missing? The last question is key and can include what you think about staffing, market and industry trends, leadership development, etc. Commit to RESULTS and what you can produce in each area. Hopefully, what you are trying to achieve is bold and dynamic.

Your goals should aim to inspire everyone responsible for making them happen to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Keep in mind, these targets or measures work best when they are objective and quantifiable.

Curtis Brown, Jr. operates a portfolio of digital businesses that monetizes content for entrepreneurs through ecommerce and advertising channels. Visit btcbrands.xyz to learn more.

Allocate RESOURCES to achieve your goal. There will be a number of things to think about on your quest for success! The right people will have to be on board and prepared with the knowledge and skills to complete tasks that support results. Are your available resources in-sync with your goals and strategic positioning? One way to regulate this is to have project or program "milestones" that will provide a natural gauge of progress. It is very easy to get caught up in the moment and not lay the appropriate plan because you succumb to immediate anxieties around opportunities or risks. Some believe that they are planning, when they are deluding themselves into a happy ending. Use the 3R’s as a template to help you think things all the way through and not move vaguely or without preparation.

Submitted by Curtis Brown, Jr. General Manager, BTC Brands

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SONGWRITERS & MUSIC LEGENDS OF LAGRANGE

One of the most famous songs in the world was born in LaGrange: "You Are My Sunshine." Country superstar George Jones once called it the most perfect song every written and it's considered to be one of the best known songs of all time, right up there with "Happy Birthday." OLIVER HOOD

CHIPS MOMAN

Neighbors remember him as someone who wouldn’t hesitate to share what little he had. Hood was generous to a fault and it cost him dearly. He never even thought to copyright his creation – which is why Wikipedia gives songwriting credit to Jimmie Davis, a country singer and former governor of Louisiana. Mind you, Davis never actually said he wrote the song. Rumor is that he bought it for $35 from Paul Rice, another Georgia artist who moved to Shreveport.

After his huge success with Elvis, artists flocked to work with Moman, including Neil Diamond, who recorded “Sweet Caroline” at his studio, as well as Dusty Springfield (“Son of a Preacher Man”) and The Box Tops (“The Letter”). That’s

The LaGrange genius responsible for this classic is probably someone you’ve never heard of though. Oliver Hood was a soft-spoken man who worked in the local cotton mill before becoming a music teacher in the 1950s and the host of a radio show on WLAG. His home on McGhee Street was affectionately known as the community center. Every Sunday afternoon, musicians would gather with him on the front porch to play. Hood wrote the words to “You Are My Sunshine” on a paper bag, which his children reportedly still have. He first performed the song in LaGrange in 1933, singing it through a megaphone out of a hotel window at a VFW convention.

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Perhaps no one has left a mark on more musical genres than the late Chips Moman, the LaGrange-bred guitarist, songwriter, engineer and producer who shaped music from the early 1960s to the mid ‘90s. Born Lincoln Wayne Moman, he got the nickname Chips for his casino and cards prowess. After hitchhiking to Memphis in the ‘60s, Moman worked as a session guitarist before opening a recording studio. He quickly gained a reputation for turning songs into hits for legends such as Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. He named his studio American Sound, which was quite appropriate because the songs that came out of there from 1967 to 1972 could be heard all over the radio. More than 120 hits from Moman’s direction flooded the American Top 40 charts in just four years. He is probably best known for producing the 1969 album From Elvis in Memphis, which contained “Suspicious Minds” and “In The Ghetto.”

Moman you hear playing lead guitar on Aretha’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” And, you can hear the words he penned for Aretha in “Do Right Woman.” Moman also wrote the B.J. Thomas hit, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” which won a Grammy for Best Country Song in 1975. He continued in the country vein after that, producing the classic “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Moman also produced Willie’s awardwinning smash, “Always on My Mind.” In 1985, he produced another iconic, Grammy-winning album, Class of ’55, featuring the greats Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. In the ‘90s, Moman retired to his native LaGrange, where he lived until his passing in 2016. The city honored his achievements by renaming Pegasus Parkway as the Chips Moman Highway.

PAT ALGER

Pat Alger is one of the most successful country songwriters of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Although he was born in Queens, New York, he was raised in LaGrange and still considers it his hometown. Alger taught himself to play


T has also collaborated with the famous producer Timbaland as well as many hip hop favorites including Big Boi, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake and more. After a self-imposed early retirement where Sparxxx took up farming, he is back to releasing music and touring. Now living in Nashville, Sparxxx is a country songwriter.

guitar as a teen. He went on to study architecture at Georgia Tech but would perform folk songs at night in local clubs. In the ‘80s, he followed his dream to Nashville and was chosen to open for the Everly Brothers on their tour. Another early success was writing “Once in a Very Blue Moon” for Nanci Griffith. Alger has well over 20 hit songs to his credit, including eight that reached number one. His songs have been recorded by Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle and Peter, Paul and Mary, among others. However, Alger is best known for the number-one hits he co-wrote with Garth Brooks: “Unanswered Prayers” and “The Thunder Rolls.” He also wrote “Small Town Saturday Night” for Hal Ketchum. In 1991, Alger was voted Songwriter of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Sparxxx credits the diversity of LaGrange, both racially and musically, for his inspiration. Born Andy Mathis, he fell in love with hip hop at a young age and started rhyming at 14. Playing tight end and linebacker for Troup County High School, he helped his team to a regional championship and earned all-region honors as a senior. Sparxx remains true to his West Georgia roots. He even named his 2014 album “Made on McCosh Mill Road” after the place where he grew up. (It’s northwest of LaGrange, starting at West Point Lake and heading towards Glenn).

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ASHLEIGH SMITH

Another promising LaGrange star is the R&B-infused jazz singer and songwriter Ashleigh Smith. Raised in a musical household, Smith’s father is a former school band director and accomplished pianist. Her grandfather played jazz saxophone and her grandmother played classical piano. She earned a full-ride scholarship to study classical music at Columbus State University and transferred to the esteemed jazz institution, University of North Texas. Then in 2014, Smith won the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition and a recording contract. Her 2016 debut album was entitled Sunkissed, which perfectly describes her sultry sound.

BUBBA SPARXXX

LaGrange continues to turn out gifted artists. The early 2000s saw the rise of Bubba Sparxxx, a hip hop artist who helped to spawn a new genre of country rap that has influenced many on the charts today. He’s best known for the songs “Ms. New Booty” and “Heat It Up.” He www.lagrangechamber.com

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YOUNG

PROFESSIONALS

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.

HYPE BOARD MEMBER PROFILE

Thursday, February 18 2021

See page 37 for details!

Ryan Cook Current Employer: LaGrange College Current Title: Associate Dean of Campus Life How long have you worked in Troup County: 2.5 years When you’re not working, what do you like to do: Play music, hike and be out in the woods, hang with Mr. Wilcox and enjoy a nice IPA from Wild Leap What is your best personal achievement: Became a Dean before 30 What are your future plans: Work for the Department of Education Favorite Ice Cream: Culvers frozen custard – something with caramel and brownies All-Time Favorite Movie and Why: Gladiator – was too young to see it when it first came out but when I was able to watch it I loved the story, action, writing, and acting. Close second is Avengers Endgame, epic story and got to see it as a private screening with LaGrange College students prior to release. Very cool memory. If you won $1 million, what would you do with the money: Invest a bunch, pay off loans for my family, buy a bunch of COVID vaccines to distribute to the college. Favorite “after work” spot in Troup County: Besides my front porch? Beacon or the Patio at Wild Leap 38

February 2021

HYPE hosted their 2021 kickoff at Sweetland on Ice on Thursday, January 21.


A PLACE FOR EVERY KID The mission of the Troup County School System is to educate all students in a challenging and safe learning environment, so they will become productive citizens in a diverse and changing world.

Troup County School System www.troup.org

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February 2021

Profile for LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce

Troup Trends February 2021 Issue  

Troup Trends February 2021 Issue  

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