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2017 Chamber Member Handbook

Advocate Build



Printed and Sponsored by:

2017 Organization Chart

Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce 2017 Organization Chart Barber Trust Advisory Board Carla Penny, Chairman Myrna Ballard, Coordinator

Finance Committee Marty LeFiles, Treasurer


Chamber Community Council Myrna Ballard, Coordinator

South Georgia Military Affairs Council

Brian Geary, Chairman

Karil Brockington, Coordinator

Myrna Ballard, Coordinator





Myrna Ballard, Coordinator Karil Brockington, Coordinator

Betty Morgan, Coordinator Patty Martin, Coordinator Myrna Ballard, Coordinator

Brad Folsom, Vice Chair

William Nijem, Vice Chair

Government Affairs Council

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Meet The Candidates Washington, D.C. Trip State Legislative Lunch Federal Legislative Lunch Campaign Academy SORT

Workforce Development & Education

 EAGLE Reception  STAR Banquet

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SEEDS Business Resource Center Client service SGB Business Plan Competition Business University Leads Group Business Outlook Breakfast Annual Economic Summit LINK YEA!

Valdosta Business & University Alliance Incubator Task Force DRUGS DON’T WORK



Lee McArthur, Vice Chair

Leslie Harris, Coordinator Karil Brockington, Coordinator Kaitlyn Redish, Coordinator Membership

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Chamber Annual Awards Business After Hours PrimeTime Business EXPO Another Cup Small Business of the Month

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Magazines E-publications Publications Media Liaison Websites/social media


Bruce Allred, Vice Chair Myrna Ballard, Coordinator

 Strategic Plan review  Staff salary/benefits review  By-Laws review


Ambassadors Committee

 Ribbon Cuttings  Leading Business of Week

Right Start Committee

Mission Statement: To serve as the voice of business in our community.

Vision Statement: To be recognized as one of the nation’s premier Chambers of Commerce and a leader in business advocacy. • Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., M-F 2


2017 Chamber Member Handbook

Organization Chart Page 2 Mission & Vision Statement Page 2

Dear Chamber members: Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Board this year. The mission of the Chamber is to serve as the voice of business in our community. To do so, we focus on accomplishing the mission of the Chamber by advocating for our businesses, building the kind of community where businesses can be profitable and successful, and providing opportunities for our members to connect with new clients and customers.

Chairman’s Letter Page 3 Board of Directors Page 4

James McGahee

2017 Chamber Board Chairman

I am personally excited about our “Build” goal this year that includes the development of a small business incubator. Entrepreneurs will likely play a big role in the future of communities like ours. The creation of jobs in our community is our biggest challenge and will be necessary if we want to keep young people in our community. Our University, our Technical College and our military base all offer young people options for the future. As a member of the Chamber, please help us grow our membership this year. I look forward to serving my community as Chairman of the Chamber in 2017.

Chamber Staff Page 4 Chamber Community Council Page 5 Chamber Board Support Page 5 Chairman’s Circle Members Page 6 President’s Partners Page 7 104 Years of Presidents/Chairmen of the Board Page 8 2017 Media Cares Partners Page 8

James McGahee 2017 Chairman of the Board

Community Development Division Page 9 Business and Economic Development Division Page 10 Member Services Division Page 12 2017 Chamber Ambassadors Page 14 Organizational Excellence Division Page 16 Layout & Design Kaitlyn Redish Communications Coordinator

416 North Ashley Street • Valdosta, GA 31601 • 229-247-81400 3

2017 Chamber Board of Directors

Pictured Above: Back Left: Jason Manley (Georgia Power), E. Michael Gudely (Southeastern Credit Union), LeeMcArthur (CCB Tech Group), Michael Lee (Ameris Bank), Terry Bennett (Renasant Bank), Marty LeFiles (LeFiles Valenti Financial Advisors, LLC) Front Left: Myrna Ballard (President, Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber), Steven Heddon (Fusion Creative Marketing), James McGahee (Chairman of the Board), Jan Brice (Langdale Place), Lacie Guy (Valdosta Chiropractic), Brad Folsom (Moore, Clarke, DuVall & Rodgers, P. C.), H. DeWayne Johnson (Bridgebuilder Education and Investments), William Nijem (Langdale Vollotton, LLC), Ron Borders (Real Living Realty Advisors), Bruce Allred ( Smith Drug Company)

Chamber Staff

Myrna Ballard President

Karil Brockington Senior Director of Administration

Betty Morgan VIce President for Business Development

Patty Martin Director of Operations

Leslie Harris Director of Marketing and Membership

Kaitlyn Redish Communications Coordinator

Marla Merriman Receptionist


2017 Chamber Community Council


he Chamber Community Council acts as a liaison for the Chamber in the community, helping our Board of Directors and staff keep a finger on the pulse of many areas of community life.

Thank you for your support! Pictured Above: Vanassa Flucas (Valdosta City-Neighborhood Dev. Division), Tim Golden (Georgia Dept. of Transportation), Jonathan Miller (Miller Hardware), Wendy Colson (Colson Printing), Jud Moritz (Southwest Georgia Bank), Ike Harbuck (Georgia Power), Sherry Zipperer (First State Bank and Trust Co.), Mike Beverly (Valdosta State University), Mike Dover (Dover, Miller, Karras and Langdale), Patti Minton (South Georgia Connections), Gerrell Aldridge (New Hire Solutions) Not Pictured: Charlie Barnes IV (Barnes Healthcare), Jim Godbee (Henderson & Godbee, LLP), Jack Hartley (Home Instead), Scott James (Talk 92.1), Pete Layne (Home Depot), J. Ryan Moorman (Care Medical - Spine & Pain Center), Penelope Schmidt (Wiregrass Georgia Technical College), Eddie Smith (Colony Bank), Jim Zachary(Valdosta Daily Times)

Providing Support to the Chamber Board Barber Trust Advisory Board

Finance Committee

Chaired by the Treasurer, the Finance Committee provides oversight and guidance to the Chamber in all areas connected to financing the work of the Chamber. Marty LeFiles Treasurer

Carla Penny Chairman

The Advisory Board meets annually to inspect the Barber House and make decisions regarding any distributions from the Barber Trust Fund. The Chamber is housed at the Barber House, which is owned by the Barber Trust.

South Georgia Military Affairs Council

Brain Geary Chairman

Created in 2013, the Council is comprised of the community leaders whose assistance will be required in the event of a threat to the continuation of Moody Air Force Base in our community.

Tom Gooding Chamber General Counsel 5


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Welcome 2017 Chairman’s Circle Members


he charter members of this unique Chamber membership category represent the top corporate citizens of Valdosta-Lowndes County. By making this strong commitment of their resources, they are showing their long-term dedication toward making Valdosta a world-class city, and we are grateful for their efforts.

Thank You for your continued support! 6

Welcome 2017 President’s Partners

Thank You for your continued support! 7

104 Years of Chamber Presidents/Chairmen of the Board 1912 - 1914 J. T. Blalock 1915 - 1918 J. J. Newman 1919 J. F. McCrackin 1920 - 1922 J. T. Mathis 1923 F. W. Webb 1924 - 1925 J. M. Smith 1926 - 1928 J. R. Dasher 1929 - 1930 A. G. Cleveland 1931 - 1932 A. J. Little 1933 - 1935 J. D. Ashley 1936 P. C. Pendleton S. D. Register 1937 S. D. Register 1938 - 1939 H. G. Caldwell 1940 - 1941 E. P. Bass 1942 M. F. Ellinor P. G. Walker 1943 P. G. Walker 1944 Harley Langdale, Jr. 1945 Wm. H. Warwick 1946 Arthur H. French 1947 - 1948 George B. Cook 1949 L. O. Smith 1950 Emil Girardin 1951 James L. Dowling 1952 Bert Glisson 1953 - 1954 J. W. Blanchard 1955 Don Nichols 1956 L. J. Mederer 1957 John Lastinger

1958 1959 1960 - 1961 1962 - 1963 1964 - 1965 1966 - 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989

Comer Cherry B. H. Roberts C. W. Warner John Langdale A. L. Dean Roger Budd W. C. Banks, Jr. Courtney Foy Donald T. Schutt Tenney Griffin Joe Lee Loyce Turner Walton Carter Bill Amos Joe Cordova Paul Sanders Tyson McLane Wade Coleman Bill Holland George Powell Wendell Godbee Gerald L. Rainey Tommy Hatcher H. Arthur McLane Wally Colson Owen Harris Clarence Heidemann Ed Crane

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

John R. Sessions Jewel Ivey Brad Burnette David K. Hollis Stan Fillion Thompson Kurrie, Jr. Glenn Copeland Lena Bosch Curtis Fowler Bill DeCoudres Bill Cowart Quillian Powell M. F. Campbell, Jr. Andy Deal Jud Rackley Jennifer Powell Tim Carroll Nick Valenti Walter Hobgood Jeff Hanson Terri Lupo Tom Gooding Tim Jones Jay Prince Carl Holley Ron Borders Michael Lee

Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber

Thanks Its Media Partners!

Our partners make it possible!


2017 Community Development Division Government Affairs Council Chairman: John Page (Page Insurance and Financial Services)

Mission: Brad Folsom (Moore, Clarke, DuVall & Rodgers, P.C.) Vice Chairman

Represent the business community to local, state, and federal elected officials; aggressively promoting legislative issues that pertain to business development.

2017 Goals

1. Develop Local, State and Federal business agendas 2. Monitor government actions and communicate to governments the key issues facing the business community 3. Keep the business community informed through Legislative Updates and Alerts 4. Maintain open communication between business community and legislators through the State Legislative Lunch and Federal Legislative Luncheon, and Valdosta Day at the State Capito 5. Coordinate Meet The Candidates for 2017 municipal elections 6. Raise awareness of available seats on local boards and authorities 7. Plan for 2018 Campaign Academy 8. Coordinate annual Washington D.C. Fly-In with GAC and SGMAC leaders 9. Coordinate SORT Committee, creating a local pro-business environment

Workforce Development and Education Programs Mission:

To implement innovative programs and services that will advance the current and future workforce and continuously strengthen the business climate in Metro Valdosta.


1. Workforce Education Support Team (W.E.S.T.) 501(c) 3; Chamber serves as fiscal agent and administrator 2. STAR Student Banquet with attendance of 135 3. EAGLE Reception with attendance of 75 9

2016 Highlights • • • • • • • •

18 candidates participated and 150 attended Meet the Candidates on September 27 350 attended the Federal Legislative Lunch on Aug. 24 and 275 attended the State Legislative Lunch on Dec. 7 6 participated in the Feb. 2 Valdosta Day at the State Capitol Washington D.C. Fly-In with GAC and SGMAC leaders Two Legislative Alerts were distributed to members regarding openings on local boards and authorities 12 prospective candidates participated in 2016 Campaign Academy SORT effectively addressed text amendments proposed for the tree ordinance (crepe myrtle trees) and the sign ordinance (banners) GAC leaders participated in the US Chamber’s training program, “GO Act!”

• • • • •

Hosted roundtable discussions with Congressman Austin Scott and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, and PSC Commissioner Chuck Eaton Chamber President continued to serve as one of 3 local chamber of commerce representatives on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee 133 at the STAR Student Banquet 40 at EAGLE Reception Completed the Community Partners in Education (CPIE) – Teacher of the Year Awards

Business and Economic Development Division SEEDS Business Resource Center Mission:

Bill Nijem (Langdale Vallotton LLP) Vice Chairman

To foster and assist entrepreneur development in Lowndes County. To maintain partnerships with area chambers (Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Lanier, Turner and Worth Counties) to provide free entrepreneur development resources through the SEEDS Business Resource Center regardless of chamber membership. To provide sophisticated information services to existing businesses and prospective new businesses.


SEEDS Business Resource Center (continued) 2017 Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Provide service to 500 clients Assist 10 entrepreneurs successfully start a new business Host or co-host 20 Business University events Coordinate the establishment of YEA! (Young Entrepreneur Academy) Complete business plan for the Business Incubator with consultant, Jim Greenwood; prepare to move to next stages, including application for funding from EDA 6. Coordinate a new Hispanic Networking Group 7. Coordinate 2017 Business Outlook Breakfast 8. Coordinate 2017 Chamber Economic Summit

Chamber Leads Groups Valdosta Networking Professionals Chairman: Taylor Hutchinson (Nexxtep) Continue weekly meetings to share sales leads, averaging 25 participating members, and 100 leads exchanged monthly The LINK: A Business Networking Group Chairman: Shaun Roberts (n2 Publishing Inc.) Continue bi-weekly meetings to share sales leads, averaging 25 participating members

Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition 1. Present the 2016 winner at the Chamber Annual Awards Dinner 2. Recruit 20 qualified Business Plan contestants and retain 10 qualified finalists 3. Secure 20 Angel Prize Pack Sponsors

2016 Highlights SEEDS Business Resource Center

• • • • •

Thressea Boyd, THBoyd Communications was announced the 2016 Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition Winner Assisted 462 SEEDS Center clients Hosted/co-hosted 28 Business University events with an average attendance of 22 Chamber members participated in two weekly Chamber Leads Groups New Website created and introduced July 29, 2016 averaged a 34% increase of unique visitors over the same time last year 11

DRUGS DON’T WORK in South Georgia Mission:

To promote business and community development by encouraging area companies to become and to remain certified drug free workplaces, thereby increasing productivity and safety in the workplace and reducing the companies’ Workers Compensation insurance premiums by 7.5%.

2017 Goals

1. Establish and maintain 240 drug-free workplaces throughout the 11-county network (217 in 2016) 2. Provide training in excess of state requirements to members 3. Provide technical assistance to members

DRUGS DON’T WORK In South Georgia Proudly Sponsored by

2017 Member Services Division Membership Development & Retention Mission:

To encourage all Lowndes County businesses to become and remain active Chamber members and to identify resources that benefit Chamber members to enhance the value of their membership.

Lee McArthur (CCB Tech) Vice Chairman

2017 Goals

1. Increase overall retention rate to 91% 2. Increase first year renewals of members who are still in business to 60 3. Increase second year renewals of members who are still in business to 65% 4. Increase new members who seek information from the SEEDS Business Resource Center to 60% 5. Increase those with a Chamber Member Website to 400 6. Increase Chamber membership to 1,300 7. Recruit 120 new members 8. Increase number of President’s Partners memberships to 20 9. Provide sponsorship, advertising and networking opportunities with increased membership value and participation, and increased net profit to the Chamber.


Marketing and Communications Mission:

To effectively market and promote Chamber programs and initiatives to appropriate target audiences.

2017 Goals 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Maximize partnerships Develop and implement annual Marketing Plans for major initiatives Analyze marketing efforts Stay connected to Create Chamber media messages the Chamber through Utilize Chamber publications social media. Maximize and monitor Chamber websites Utilize social media consistently

2016 Highlights Membership Development • 198 new members • Ranked one of largest chambers in Georgia • 90% overall retention rate • Coordinated PrimeTime Business Expo with 83 exhibitors and 500 visitors • 298 Chamber Member Websites • Coordinated Membership Event, bringing in 125 new members • Coordinated the Chamber Annual Awards • with 380 in attendance • Coordinated 10 Business After Hours events with an average attendance of 250 Marketing • 39 television stories • 6 television commercials • 34 Radio Spots • 78 Print Articles • 27 Presentations • 308 Internet Articles

• • • •

Distributed 2 issues of Progress magazine (4,000 copies per issue) Distributed MoodyLink magazine to 612 new Moody Airmen Distributed Connection magazine to 3,500 affluent retirees in Lowndes, Lanier, and Brooks counties Increased social media activity a. Facebook – 1,423 followers b. LinkedIn – 357 followers c. Twitter – 471 followers d. Instagram –140 followers e. Pinterest – 17 followers Received in-kind advertising from 15 Media Cares partners 13

Ambassadors Committee Mission:

To serve as goodwill ambassadors for the Chamber to the community. To promote growth and development of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber by assisting with its events.

2017 Goals Kimesha Bonner (Fairway Outdoor) Chairman

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Maintain 30 active Ambassadors Conduct 55 Ribbon Cuttings Assist with Chamber sponsored events Designate Ambassador of the Quarter and Ambassador of the Year Participate in “Leading Business of the Week” each week

2016 Highlights • • • •


he Chamber thanks our 2016 Leading Business of the Week sponsor.

37 Ambassadors Conducted 46 Ribbon Cuttings, 1 Ground breaking, and 1 Renovation Celebration Conducted 43 “Leading Business of the Week” events Designated “Ambassador of the Quarter” and “Ambassador of the Year”

Right Start Committee Chairman: Judy Martin Trexler (Center for Personal and Family Growth, LLC)


To continue a long standing tradition in our community of cultivating and enhancing a positive relationship between the business community and local military personnel.

2017 Goals

1. Provide opportunities to the business community to participate as a sponsor and support for Moody AFB related activities such as: Welcoming over 800 newly arrived Moody Personnel, Right Start and Quarterly Airman Ceremonies.


2017 Ambassadors Chairman Kimesha Bonner Fairway Outdoor

Jerry Kozuch (South Georgia Vein Center)

Kinsey Hagedorn (Williams Hotel Group)

Patti Minton (South Georgia Connections)

Lisa Register (Comfort Keepers)

Sandra Webb (Southwest Georgia Bank)

Kelvin Miley (SAMs Club)

Courtney Copeland (Williams Hotel Group)

Rebecca BradfordWilliams (DuMealz)

Scott Register (Comfort Keepers)

Mary King (Telemon Corp.)

Lane Sayre (Eye Associates)

Jessica Thornhill (Ambassador Personnel)

Candy Rowe (Fairway Outdoor)

Thomas Simpson (Valdosta Mayor’s Council for Persons with Disabilities) 15

2017 Organizational Excellence Division Mission:

To commit to organizational excellence and visionary leadership in all areas of Chamber operations and governance.

2017 Goals Bruce Allred (Smith Drug Company) Vice Chairman

1. Conduct a review of Chamber By-Laws 2. Conduct a review of the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan 3. Conduct a review of Chamber staff salaries 4. and benefits, based on GACCE 2015 Wage and Benefits Survey

Barber House




For more information about events, sponsorship opportunities, or ticket information, please call Leslie Harris at 229-247-8100 ext. 231 or visit

Thank You! Special “Thanks” to ALL our major sponsors for our 2016 Chamber events and publications!

PrimeTime Business Expo/ Winter Progress

Chamber Annual Awards

Most Valuable Employee Award

Small Business of the Year Award

Small Business of the Month

Young Professional of the Year Award

Chamber in Motion

Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition Leading Business of the Week DRUGS DON’T WORK Business Outlook Breakfast STAR Banquet and EAGLE Awards


MoodyLink Magazine

Connection Magazine

Annual Economic Summit

SEEDS Business Resource Center 17


Colson Printing Ad 19

2017 chamber member handbook  
2017 chamber member handbook