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At Coleman Talley, being a part of such an endearing community makes starting every day with a sense of purpose a little bit easier. It’s the successes of our community and its people that help us see the intangible rewards of extending a hand. It makes protecting what you’ve built our most worthy goal. It makes seeing positive outcomes in people’s lives and our businesses truly fulfilling. Over 75 years ago, Valdosta gave us our start. We’re proud to continue our tradition of giving back. BUSINESS
L I T I G AT I O N R E A L E S TAT E E S TAT E P L A N N I N G GOVERNMENT
FALL 2013 / Vol. 58 No. 2
05 Letter from the Chairman 06 Chamber Celebrates 5-Star Accreditation 08 2014-2018 Strategic Planning 10 Chairman’s Circle CEO Spotlights
27 Building a great community is a team effort
28 Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority - BUILD People - BUILD Business - BUILD Community
15 MetroOne connects young professionals with the community
30 Survey Says: Small business owners expect some growth
16 Dodging the social media marketing drag
17 What’s the #1 most effective form of advertising? Word-of-mouth
21 Chamber members share legislative concerns at “Members To Be Heard”
22 U.S. Congressman meets with Chamber leaders
South Georgia Military Affairs Council and U.S. Representative Jack Kingston welcome new 23rd Wing Commander to Moody
23 Chamber partners with area Rotary Clubs to host U.S. Rep. Austin Scott
31 It’s the job “MIX” that matters Final report from IMPACT 2012 consultant shared with top leaders
32 Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition
Growing jobs for college and university grads ONE business at a time
37 Leading businesses in the spotlight 38 Promoting your business and celebrating your successes 39 Aldridge of New Hire Solutions named Ambassador of Quarter 40 Chamber hosts 19th annual tradeshow to promote member businesses 42 Centennial Tree Project making plans to plant the 100th tree at the Chamber 44 Business After Hours events 46 MetroOne members make “40 Under 40” list
LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN
2013 Board of Directors CHAIRMAN Jay Prince Prince Automotive of Valdosta, Inc.
Your Chamber has been working hard this year by keeping the focus on you - OUR members!
CHAIRMAN-ELECT 2014/VICE CHAIR ORGANIZATIONAL EXCELLENCE DIVISION Carlton Holley Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, PC
Chamber Members, By continuing to focus on what’s best for our membership, and not being afraid to take on the challenges our community faces, I am proud to announce that the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber has once again earned the top rating possible from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Accreditation process – 5 Stars!
CHAIRMAN-ELECT 2015/ TREASURER James McGahee, Retired SGMC CEO VICE CHAIR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIVISION Bill Simmons Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM)
Your Chamber focuses on the things our members tell us they need us to do for the business community: • ADVOCATING for the business community, particularly our membership.
VICE CHAIR, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT & EDUCATION DIVISION Tom Carroll, Sunset Farm Foods, Inc. VICE CHAIR, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION Mike Hill, Mike Hill Real Estate
• BUILDING a pro-business environment with higher wage jobs. • CONNECTING our members together to accomplish what none can achieve individually.
VICE CHAIR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIVISION Michael Lee, Ameris Bank
• PROMOTING our membership’s businesses to enhance their profitability. These are the strengths of our Chamber and they will continue to be our focal points as we move forward.
VICE CHAIR, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION Sue Cox, Covington’s and 306 North
I have been honored to serve as the Chairman of the Board this year and am often reminded how the Chamber staff and Board of Directors have your best interest in mind. This group believes the Chamber can help make Valdosta and Lowndes County a better place to live and to do business. I hope you are as proud of your Chamber as I am.
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN Tim Jones, Citizens Community Bank PRESIDENT Myrna Ballard, Chamber of Commerce CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE Kevin McCraney, Georgia Power Company
Thank you for your investment in our 5-Star Chamber! I wish you and your business continued success.
Jeff Fulp, ERCO Worldwide, Inc. Clinton Beeland, CJB Industries, Inc. Baha Zeidan, Azalea Health
Jay Prince, Prince Automotive Group
CHAMBER STAFF 416 North Ashley St. • Valdosta, GA 31601 p. 229.247.8100 • f. 229.245.0071
Myrna Ballard, President Karil Brockington, Senior Director of Administration
Mike Stalvey, Senior Director of Operations Patty Martin, Administrative Coordinator Wanda Stanley, Director of Communications
ON THE COVER
Photo taken by:
Judith Hathcock, owner of Fresh Beginnings and eLead1One, wants to spread the good news about the Chamber’s 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce!
Varian Brown, Director of Economic Development Krystle Farlow, Membership Development Specialist Miranda Moore, Marketing & Government Affairs Specialist
(Story on page 6) Fall 2013
U.S. CHAMBER NAMES
Ranked among top 1% of local chambers nationwide Chamber Board member and former journalist Mike Hill (Mike Hill Real Estate) and Chamber president Myrna Ballard talk about the Reaccreditation process.
Of the 7,077 chambers of
commerce nationwide, only 79 have been judged to be at the top of the list on nine measures of organizational excellence. Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber leaders learned on Nov. 6 that ours is one of those in that exclusive category. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Accreditation Program in Washington, D.C. evaluates local chambers on the following measures of performance: • Governance • Finances • Facilities • Human Resources • Government Affairs • Program Development • Communications • Technology • Benchmarking 6
Chambers that meet the minimum requirements are Accredited. Those that go above and beyond the minimum measures of organizational excellence are Accredited with 3, 4 or 5 Stars. Our Chamber was ranked among the top 1% of chambers nationwide with a 5-Star Accreditation. Chamber Board member and former journalist Mike Hill (Mike Hill Real Estate) interviewed Chamber President Myrna Ballard regarding the Chamber’s recent announcement. MH: When did the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber become “Accredited”? MB: We were first accredited in 1987, under Johnny B. Lastinger’s (Executive Vice President) leadership. Owen Harris (Kentucky Fried Chicken) was president that year. At that time, it was a passor-fail kind of process. It was a bold
and ambitious step for our Chamber to take. But in Johnny B’s mind, failure was not an option in Winnersville! MH: When did the new rating system with “Stars” come into effect? MB: In 2004, the U.S. Chamber added the “Stars” to the program. A chamber could be evaluated as Accredited, or Accredited with 3, 4 or 5 Stars. We earned 4 stars in 2004, and were very proud of that. Jud Rackley (Brandon, Rackley & Dukes) was the Chairman of the Board that year. The U.S. Chamber raised the bar in 2008. Walter Hobgood (Express Employment Professionals) was Chairman of the Board in 2008. We were among the first chambers nationwide to be judged by the higher standards, and we earned 5-Stars.
MH: Why is Accreditation such a big deal to a chamber? What does it really mean? MB: Accreditation with the U.S. Chamber is the only program of its kind that defines excellence in chamber planning and recognizes chambers for outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities. It’s easy for an organization to say, “We’re one of the best.” This process is an objective measure of just how effective a chamber really is, compared with others across the country. MH: Is it difficult to earn Accreditation, and to maintain it? MB: Of the more than 800 local chambers that have participated in the program since 1964, only 216 currently remain accredited. The U.S. Chamber does not intend it to be an easy task to accomplish, and they seem to raise the expectation bar every five years or so. MH: This process takes a good deal of time and effort. Why do it? MB: We live in a 5-star community that deserves a 5-Star Chamber, with a 5-star Board of Directors and staff. Working through this arduous Accreditation process helps us ensure that we are building the kind of Chamber that this great community deserves.
U. S. Chamber of Commerce Accreditation Statistics, November 2013 Of the 7,077 local chambers in the United States, 216 are Accredited.
• These elite chambers represent the top 3% of all chambers in the United States. Of those 216 Accredited local chambers: • 17 are Accredited • 40 are 3-Star • 80 are 4-Star • 79 are 5-Star
“I had the pleasure of serving as Chairman of the Board in 2004, the first year we were accredited under the ‘Star’ system. I would have been pleased to get a 3-star rating on our first effort. When we were notified that we were given a 4-star rating, to say that I was elated would be an understatement. It made me realize what a great Chamber we have. I believe that the ‘Star’ rating has helped us to become more accountable in evaluating the results of our many outstanding programs.” 2004 Chairman of the Board Jud Rackley (Brandon, Rackley & Dukes) “The accreditation program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a road map for local Chambers that want to be an effective voice for the business community, to enhance the business environment and to create opportunities for job growth and higher wages. Yes, it was exciting and rewarding to receive the 5-Star recognition and it was even more rewarding to know that we were doing the right things to enhance business and job opportunities during some of the worst economic times in our country’s history.” 2008 Chairman of the Board Walter Hobgood (Express Employment Professionals) “As a member of a 5 Star Chamber, I know that my membership produces an incredible return on my investment. I know that our Chamber isn’t afraid to take on the challenges that our community faces because it consistently keeps the focus on what is best for its membership. Being 5 Star validates the hard work by the Chamber staff and verifies that the programs and services being offered are what our members need to be successful. I am proud to be a member of one of the best chambers in the Country. “ 2013 Chairman of the Board Jay Prince (Prince Automotive) Fall 2013
FOCUSED FORWARD “None of us plan to fail, but sometimes we do fail to plan.” Mission Statement:
To serve as the voice of business in our community.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. TM
To be recognized as one of the nation’s premier Chambers of Commerce and a leader in business advocacy.
ests on the local, state and federal levels
Chamber Board members, Chamber staff, and members of the new Chamber Community Council met for a half-day session in June to begin a new strategic planning process for 2014-18. The major accomplishment of the session was consensus on the Chamber’s major functions:
Connecting James McGahee (Associate Member) and – Creating Ron Zaccari (Guardian Bank) opportunities for our Chamber members to connect with each other and with the resources they need to grow
he Chamber is never guilty of failing to plan ahead! We are in an almost constant state of selfevaluation, program assessment, and cost-benefit analysis of every program and service we provide. Annual membership surveys, measurable annual business plans, a long-range strategic plan, and a 5-year U.S. Chamber of Commerce accreditation process contribute to the Chamber’s ability to stay focused on the accomplishment of our goals.
Michael Lee (Ameris Bank) and Mike Hill (Mike Hill Real Estate)
Advocating – Effectively protecting the business community’s inter-
Building – Helping our community grow in a healthy and prosperous manner
Promoting – Developing effective ways for Chamber members to publicize and advertise their businesses to targeted markets This issue of Progress is dedicated to these four functions. To look at the Chamber’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan you can view online at: www.ValdostaChamber.com.
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Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. 2013 marked the beginning of a new era for our Chamber. After celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2012, we began 2013 with a brand new dues structure to provide more choice and better value for our members. The new tiered dues structure includes a special level for 12 of our community’s leading businesses and organizations. We’ve asked the CEOs of these Chairman’s Circle Chamber members to share with us a few of their “secrets to success”. We know you will enjoy reading and learning a bit more about these leaders in our community!
How long have you held your current position? 26 months. What advice would you give to new business owners? Think strategically and set a vision, and then set realistic
Michael Lee How long have you held your current position? Almost 3 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? I’m sure this is true for every business; however, particularly in the banking business,
Tim Jones How long have you held your current position? 5 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? Find people that have the attributes that you most admire, and develop relationships with those people so that you 10
and measurable goals that you can achieve and measure as you achieve those goals. Monitor those frequently. I would suggest using data to drive decisions based on those goals. You can’t correct what you don’t measure, so you have to use metrics to help decision making and data to drive decisions.
tive ideas come from? Employees and physicians. That’s where my most innovative ideas come from because ideas often are not original – they’re someone else’s. You have to capture the essence of other people’s thoughts and input around an idea or an opportunity. Randy Sauls, CEO
Where do your most innova-
people are our most valuable asset. My advice to upcoming business leaders would be to value their employees and their co-workers as the most valuable asset of their business. Where do your most innovative ideas come from? The most innovative ideas are those that meet real needs. In my experience, real needs
can learn from them. As you grow, network in a variety of ways within the community to provide opportunities for yourself and your business. Where do your most innovative ideas come from? Having a situation that’s hard to solve and requires a different approach – that’s usually, for me, when the best ideas come about. Whether it’s through
are typically uncovered at the grass roots level or on the front lines of any business. These innovative ideas come from customers and co-workers doing business. The challenge is to respond to these needs and ideas with solutions that work.
Michael Lee, President
team thinking or just sitting down and looking at all the facts and the situation and coming up with something on your own, it’s usually in those harder times when you’re pushed outside the box to be more innovative.
Tim Jones, President
Stacy Bush How long have you held your current position? 9 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? Allocate the right amount of money to marketing. It is very important to be involved in the community. The old saying “20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work” really
Giovanni Panizzi How long have you held your current position? 25 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? Be persistent, fair and not greedy -- but mostly persistent. Where do your most innovative ideas come from?
Judith Hathcock How long have you held your current position? 28 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? Make sure that you are extremely passionate about what you’re about to get involved with. The key to success is to be the person who’s more determined and more passionate than anybody else offering similar services. Your
applies. I think true business leaders are involved at every level of the community. Where do your most innovative ideas come from? Collaboration from our team of people here. Often, I’ll have an idea, and I’ll think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Then we’ll all meet and we’ll tweak it and it’ll end up being a whole lot better because I didn’t feel like it had to be my way or the highway. I feel like we work a whole lot better
I read a lot, and I have friends that are in business and are doing well, so I look at what they’ve done. The motivation for innovation is our clients. We have two types of clients. One is the companies that use us. Our employees/temporaries also are our clients, because without them we wouldn’t have anything to sell. You have to keep both sides happy. We need to keep the companies coming back because they feel that they are getting a valuable service.
product or service has to fill a need. It can’t just be something you’re interested in or something you like. It has to be something that other people are willing to purchase. Do your research, understand your demographics, personnel, legal issues and accounting issues. Maybe transition gradually to make sure that it’s a viable business before you just completely jump out of what you’re currently doing and into something brand new.
By: Olivia McLean, VSU Intern when we all take ownership and work together. Innovative ideas also come from other colleagues around the country – other advisors that are in my same business around the country – I learn a lot from them as well.
Stacy Bush, President and Wealth Advisor
We also have to have the employees/temporaries wanting us to help them find a job and feeling that we are treating them fairly and with respect. It’s a balancing act to keep both sides happy.
Giovanni Panizzi, President
My most innovative ideas come from listening to my customers and hearing what their needs are and hearing those words, “I wish somebody would…” or, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” I really key in on that, bouncing it off my very talented team and listening to their ideas. That’s really the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven us and driven our Judith Hathcock, President success from the beginning. www.freshbeginnings.com And always think big. If you’re going to do it, think BIG!
Where do your most innovative ideas come from? Fall 2013
Jeff Fulp How long have you held your current position? 7 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? One of the smartest things I did when ERCO came here was to join the Chamber. We’re sort of like the poster child of what the Chamber can do to help an industry. A lot of times, people look at the Chamber as helping small business and helping other
William S. Cowart How long have you held your current position? 3 years.
smaller groups of people, but this Chamber also is interested in, as is the Industrial Authority, existing industry and keeping that industry here in town and making sure that they’re taken care of. Through the efforts of Myrna Ballard and her staff several years ago, the Chamber played a major part in keeping our facility located here in Valdosta when there was a possibility that we would be relocated. My advice to any new business, industry, small business, etc. is to join the Chamber and get involved.
Where do your most innovative ideas come from? I would say from our employees. We have a lot of open communication. We give a lot of feedback, and we look for a lot of feedback from our employees,. The simplest thing can come up during a discussion that can lead to something that can have a significant impact on day-today operation of the facility.
to start a business, but I think if that’s their dream, there are certainly ways to do it. Community banks play a huge role in the development of any community and any business trying to get started. It takes determination.
learn along with the business owner as they have needs and problems they want us to help them with. We try to learn where they are as a business. Banking is an interesting and exciting business to be in, because you learn so much. You’re not stagnant. Every day is different—and plus, you get to help people. That’s really why I like banking. I’ve always loved what I do. William S. Cowart, President www.fsbtc.synovus.com
What advice would you give to new business owners? I think business is harder every day. There’s too much regulation that prevents people from just going out and starting a business. I think it’s a harder thing to do today
Where do your most innovative ideas come from? One thing about a job as a banker is you get to deal with lots of different things. Every day is different. We don’t pretend to know about every business. We try to
ever We Serve.” In order for our businesses to succeed, the communities we serve also need to be successful. Valdosta has so many good causes to support that will pay benefits for many generations to come. The dividends for the community and your business will pay off in the long run.
Terri Lupo How long have you held your current position? 8.5 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? Be involved with your community. Our founder, Preston Arkwright, understood the importance of community involvement when he coined the phrase “A Citizen Wher12
Where do your most innovative ideas come from? Our employees. They are
Jeff Fulp, President
the “boots on the ground” and know the needs of our customers and fellow employees. One of the things we’ve done recently is look for ways to simplify the way our customers and employees do business. The best ideas have come from our frontline employees. Terri Lupo, South Region Vice President
Michael Gudely How long have you held your current position? My first day as president and CEO of Southeastern FCU was Monday, November 4, 2013. I was previously the President and CEO of Innovative Business Solutions, LLC for four and one half years. IBS is a
Jeff Sikes How long have you held your current position? 22 years. What advice would you give to new business owners? Do your homework and focus on the products or services you provide. Be determined to be the best at what you do. Don’t be defensive when someone complains, but use it as a chance to show your concern for complete
William McKinney How long have you held your current position? 18 months. What advice would you give to new business owners? Take the time to listen and learn from everyone in your organization and from everyone served by your organiza-
credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by 10 credit unions in the Carolinas. What advice would you give to new business owners? Stay focused on tomorrow and let your people take care of today. By understanding emerging opportunities and challenges, your people will be positioned for continued success when tomorrow arrives.
customer satisfaction. Most businesses need an accountant, a banker, an insurance consultant, and an attorney. If you are contemplating a new start up, make sure you get with your accountant and complete a pro-forma for a reality check. An open and honest relationship with your CPA could prove to be your best investment. Where do your most innovative ideas come from? Since I was a young boy pushing a lawnmower cut-
tion. That investment, in time, pays off manyfold. Where do your most innovative ideas come from? Innovations begin with communication. Mine always start in conversations with my wife. Dacia is brilliant and perceptive, and she brings a fresh set of eyes to every issue. I also listen to our faculty, staff and students. A university is filled with tremendous intellectual capital, and my job is to create
Where do your most innovative ideas come from? My most innovative ideas don’t necessarily come from trying to be innovative but rather from looking at possible solutions for one issue and suddenly seeing another issue from a completely different standpoint and asking the question “what if we...?”
Michael Gudely, President
ting grass for money, I always wanted to please the customer. Innovation can come from customer comments, employee input, or reading. The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber of the Gerber Baby Company, literally changed my whole way of doing business. Customer satisfaction is our number one goal. If you keep that in mind, innovative Jeff Sikes, President ideas abound! www.1stamericadrugs.com
the environment where that capital can flourish. Finally, I am very active with my peers on a national level and always willing to learn from their successes and mistakes.
William McKinney, President
“Bank of the Ozarks is proud to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber provides many opportunities for businesses to connect. Bank of the Ozarks connects with other business leaders at Business After Hours events, the Economic Summit and through participation in Chamber Committees including government affairs.” - Denise McKenzie Vice President Commercial Lender
CONNECTS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS WITH THE COMMUNITY Did you know that one-third of the Lowndes County population is between the ages of 21 and 40? Young professionals have become a significant force – not to mention a great target market – for many businesses, political movements, civic clubs, and religious institutions in Metro Valdosta.
etroOne is the Chamber’s initiative to help young professionals connect with each other, and with their community. “Our ultimate goal is to retain more of our college and university graduates in Metro Valdosta when they complete their degrees,” explains the Chamber’s Varian Brown. “But MetroOne also helps us build the kind of community where young professionals want to live, work and raise families. That’s good for the overall economy of Metro Valdosta.” Think back to your first real job. Ever wish an employer would give you an opportunity to show what a great employee you could be? That’s part of what internships are all about. “Internships give college students a chance to learn how to perform in a professional environment, and that’s good for both the student and the business community,” said Thompson Gooding (Dewar Properties). “From the employer’s perspective, a great intern can turn into a great employee after graduation. The internship gives the employer an opportunity to really evaluate a prospective employee in-depth without committing to a permanent hire.”
MetroOne Talent Connection
If you are interested in learning more about the MetroOne Talent Connection, and how your business can benefit from internships, call Varian Brown at 229-247-8100 extension 234 or visit www.MetroOneValdosta.com. If you’re a young professional interested in joining MetroOne, please sign up at www.MetroOneValdosta.com and like us on Facebook. There is no charge for membership.
Members of MetroOne participated in a panel discussion for upper classmen at Valdosta State University in September. “The VSU class prepares students to be outstanding interns,” explained Crystal Goode (VSU). “The MetroOne panel members answered the students’ very practical questions about interning. Our goal is to send well prepared interns to the workplace.” Fall 2013
Dodging the Social Media
MARKETING DRAG Social media is currently the hottest avenue for business marketing, but trying to manage the multitude of social networking sites quickly can become overwhelming.
his is especially true for professionals who multi-task and have multiple windows open or several applications running at a time.
updates to each of the accounts being monitored. For example, users could access Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram updates simultaneously without having to open up the application for each site, and without having to exit emails or other tasks already in progress. Quick access and shortcut options allow for painless management of many accounts in a snap.
Operating many applications at one time on mobile devices can also quickly drain batteries and cause slower system function. So what is the easiest way to manage all of the media sites? Tickers.
Social media marketing is successful because of its fast pace and low maintenance requirement. A variety of media ticker applications are available across the spectrum of computer
Tickers are applications which host multiple social networking platforms. They allow users to sign into various accounts, and provide real-time
and mobile software. Each ticker is different, from pricing, to view format, to supported networks, so research is key to selecting the ticker that best fits each user’s needs. Search keyword “social media ticker” in your browser or application market to find out which software or applications are available for your device. While you’re at it, find the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber on your favorite social networks. Would a short workshop on tickers be helpful? Contact Varian Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
When you shop and invest locally, it’s good for everyone in our community.
The same goes for banking too. We offer world class financial services that we can tailor to suit your local needs, after all we are a place you know and that knows you. Bank locally. Bank with us.
COMMERCIAL BANKING COMPANY Member FDIC
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WHAT’S THE #1 MOST effective form of advertising?
Word-of-mouth Your Chamber membership gives you access to great networking events – about two dozen activities each year to exchange a lot of business cards and handshakes. If word-of-mouth advertising and hot leads could help you grow your
business, a Chamber Leads Group is the place for you and your business.
Network during breakfast or lunch.
ach week sales professionals from non-competing industries meet for one hour to network and educate one another on the various products and services each person can provide. A different business is highlighted each week and their products and services are showcased. There’s no fee to join a Leads Group. Your Chamber membership is your ticket to participate! Join a Leads Group each week, have a great meal, invite other Chamber members to join the group, and exchange quality leads… everyone generates more business! The “Valdosta Networking Professionals” group enjoys lunch on Mondays at the Wooden Nickel Restaurant. “Professionals Building Relationships” group meets over coffee and breakfast at The Egg & I Restaurant. Networks grow, relationships are built and sales leads are shared at both locations!
“The Chamber Leads Groups provide members a great opportunity to build their networking and presentation skills, while promoting their business at the same time. We have a great group of members who are sincerely interested in helping each other be successful.” Walt Moody (Moody Law Firm)
For more information about joining a Leads Group please call Varian Brown at 229-247-8100 ext. 234 or visit: www. seedsbusinessresourcecenter.com Fall 2013 www.ValdostaChamber.com Fall 2013 www.ValdostaChamber.com
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“The Chamber has played such a vital part in the growth and development of Bush Wealth Management. Our community continues to produce remarkable leaders who want to be involved in business development, which in turn increases our town’s economic environment and directly impacts our business’s bottom line. Whether it is at the local or State level, the Chamber always makes it a priority to have a presence in the decisions being made. I consider the Chamber my personal advocate and liaison to our State and local leaders.” - Stacy Bush President and Wealth Advisor
CHAMBER MEMBERS share legislative concerns at “Members To Be Heard” Members To Be Heard is a chance for any Chamber member to voice their opinion or concern about an important issue.
aha Zeidan (Azalea Health) was one several Chamber members who shared a legislative concern with the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council (GAC) at the September “Members To Be Heard” session at the City Hall Annex. Zeidan asked the Chamber to advocate for a funding mechanism for the new Invest Georgia Fund. The structure for the fund was developed and signed into law during the 2013 Legislative Session, but a funding source remains to be identified by State Legislators. Zeidan explained that Invest Georgia will be a $100 million fund that will be invested into Georgia companies over a five year period. 40% of the monies in the Invest Georgia Fund will be designated to the Georgia-based seed/early stage funds and 60% will be designated to the Georgiabased growth stage funds. He noted that Invest Georgia has been championed by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and our own State Senator Tim Golden, and could be a key for keeping second stage, growing, knowledge-based companies in Georgia.
Baha Zeidan (Azalea Health) ask the Chamber to advocate for a funding source for Invest Georgia.
Other issues brought by Chamber members to the GAC during the session were: • SPLOST VII • Support for the Arts • Advocacy for Valdosta Regional Airport funding • Assistance with Lowndes County Common Community Vision • Support for Behavioral Health Services The Chamber’s GAC is gearing up for the upcoming State Legislative Session, which begins on January 13.
SAVE THE DATE...Annual State Legislative Lunch Featuring State Senator Tim Golden and State Representatives Ellis Black, Amy Carter, Jason Shaw and Dexter Sharper Co-hosted by the Chamber Government Affairs Council, the Valdosta Rotary Club and the Valdosta North Rotary Club
12 – 1:30 p.m. • $15 per person (excluding Rotarians)
Call the Chamber today and reserve your tickets -
Wednesday, December 4
MEET WITH CHAMBER LEADERS ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS
South Georgia Military Affairs Council and U.S. Representative Jack Kingston welcome new 23rd Wing Commander to Moody
he South Georgia Military Affairs Council (SGMAC), a new regional partnership of the chambers of commerce in Valdosta-Lowndes, Nashville-Berrien, Lakeland-Lanier and Adel-Cook, asked U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to help our region welcome Col. Chad Franks to Valdosta in August as the 23rd Wing Commander of Moody Air Force Base. The luncheon, co-hosted by Georgia Power and Colquitt EMC, drew nearly 150 area leaders to the Rainwater Conference Center.
U.S. Representative Jack Kingston
Congressman Kingston spoke about the need to protect Moody Air Force Base and our military in general. “If we can’t have a country that is protected, we can’t have a country that is free,” Kingston said. Proudly sponsored by:
By: Olivia McLean, VSU Intern
When focus shifted to the topic of a possible Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) review of Moody AFB in 2015, Kingston added this: “You’ve done a good job of BRAC-proofing Moody, in large part because of the work that Parker Greene and your Chamber have done.” Kingston is the U.S. Representative for the First Congressional District of Georgia. It is comprised of 17 counties in Southeast Georgia, including that part of Lowndes County where Moody is located. Parts of the Base border Berrien and Lanier counties, while all four communities included in the South Georgia MAC partnership feel the economic impact of Moody. Congressman Kingston is a member of the Committee on Appropriations and a senior member of its Subcommittee on Defense.
Chamber partners with area Rotary Clubs to host U.S. Rep. Austin Scott The Chamber welcomed Congressman Austin Scott to Valdosta in September at a legislative luncheon co-hosted by the Valdosta, Valdosta-North and Nashville-Berrien Rotary Clubs. Nearly 200 were in attendance at the Rainwater Conference Center to hear what he had to say. During the luncheon, Scott addressed small-business owners’ concerns such as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. “Today, I see entrepreneurs asking themselves, ‘How can I grow my business without taking on more employees’? This is one of the many negative effects Obamacare is having for the business community,” Scott said. Scott is the U.S. Representative for the Eighth Congressional District of Georgia, which is comprised of 23 counties, including part of Lowndes County.
Today, I see entrepreneurs asking themselves, ‘How can I grow my business without taking on more employees’?” - Austin Scott
To stay up to date and for more information about the Government Affairs program at the Chamber please visit: www.ValdostaBusinessVoice.com or call Miranda Moore at 229-247-8100 ext. 231.
L-R: Garrett Copeland, Richard Welch, Amy Cowart, Patsy Permenter, Bill Cowart, Frank McTier
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“The Chamber of Commerce and Lowe’s -what a great partnership. From people development, networking opportunities, and employee growth through referrals, they also keep us connected to what’s going on in the community. Being a member of the Chamber is a win, win!” - Chris Lilly Regional General Manager
Building a great community is a team EFFORT
Members of Metro Valdosta’s economic development team include Jim Galloway (Executive Director, Valdosta-Lowndes Airport Authority), Myrna Ballard (Chamber President), Andrea Schruijer (Executive Director, Valdosta-Lowndes Industrial Authority), Amanda Peacock (Valdosta Main Street Director) and Tim Riddle (Executive Director, Valdosta-Lowndes Conference Center & Tourism Authority).
Progress magazine is a great way for the Chamber to inform the community about our efforts in entrepreneur and small business development, our retiree attraction program, and SORT, our initiative to streamline the business development process in our community. But we want our community to know more about what our economic development partners do, as well.
Our community has an economic development team that works together to grow our local economy.
In this issue of Progress, we’ve asked the Valdosta-Lowndes Industrial Authority to share their perspective on growing our community. In future issues, we will feature the great work of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority, the Valdosta Main Street Program, and the Valdosta-Lowndes County Airport Authority.
hirty years ago, when a community leader spoke about “economic development” he or she meant, almost exclusively, industrial recruitment. Today, communities are more diversified in their economic development efforts. Successful communities understand that “economic development” still means industrial recruitment, but it also can include: • Entrepreneur and small business development • Tourism development and conference recruitment • Retiree attraction • Air service development • Downtown revitalization • Overall community development
The mission of the ValdostaLowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) is to create an environment to attract new industry and promote the growth of existing industry to drive job creation and capital investment.
Business Development (Fiscal Year, July 2012-July 2013) What has yesterday taught us about tomorrow? A lot. In 2012 VLCIA made great strides to retain and grow existing businesses while continuing our efforts to attract new businesses. Growth by existing businesses make our region more attractive to prospective companies, serving as indisputable proof of our areaâ€™s viability. Our Business Retention and Expansion Program continues to pro actively engage and build meaningful relationships with existing industries.
The Industrial Authority completed 52 existing industry visits. Our team was hard at work with 61 new projects with 15 site visits. The result was 3 announcements/expansions, 375 total new jobs, and $8.5 million total investment in 2012-2013.
BUILD Community: The Advantage in ValdostaLowndes County
Valdosta-Lowndes County is a thriving community with an economy balanced for growth, where wages are increasing at a healthy pace, yet costs of living and business remain competitively low. We make it easy for small,
medium-sized and large companies to establish healthy roots for success. Located midway between Atlanta and Orlando, Valdosta-Lowndes County is strategically positioned for business to access and serve the global economy. Valdosta-Lowndes County is embarking on a bright and exciting future with our state-of-the-art healthcare training centers, top-ranked specialty hospital, and world-class education institutions.
For more information
BUILDING A GROUNDBREAKING
COMMUNITY BUILD People:
Community Business & Industry Partnership The Community Business & Industry Partnership was established by the Industrial Authority with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce and key economic development professionals at the local, regional and state level to forge a stronger and more responsive team approach in delivering economic development services/support to local business and industry to support ongoing business operations and planned expansions, job creation and capital investment in the community.
Workforce Development Initiative Our communityâ€™s prosperity is built around education. The intense competition in todayâ€™s global marketplace demands a world-class education for every student. Along with strong academics, vital skills like critical thinking must be part of the equation, and opportunities must be tailored to each industry. The Community Business & Industry Partnership identified workforce development as its first initiative from opportunities that existing industries identified in recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce to fill initial entry, supervisor, and management positions. Participants in the initiative include some of Valdosta and Lowndes Countyâ€™s most visible administrators and existing industry managers. The education administrators plan to work with their respective organizations to identify existing programs and/or develop new education initiatives to resolve the identified opportunities to assist in closing the gap in basic knowledge, critical skills and work ethic.
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS EXPECT SOME GROWTH
SBDC and Chamber survey small businesses
he Chamber and the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) surveyed the Chamber’s small business members this summer, with 42 small business owners participating in the survey. And here’s what the survey says: • 81% work full-time in their business • 76% of owners were over 39 years of age • 74% had fewer than 10 fulltime employees • 67% of owners had at least an Associates degree • 40% described their business as a family owned business • 33% are operating their first business • 31% have always lived in the state of Georgia Business owners were asked to reflect on their overall revenue change during the previous twelve months. Six out of ten owners said their business revenue had remained stable or increased. Over the next 24 months, 62% expect to see their revenues remain stable or increase. 30
Eleven business owners noted that it is not at all likely that they will hire new employees, three business owners plan to soon sell their business, while only one entrepreneur is expecting to close the business. The survey found that 92% of our small business owners know what they want to do with their business over the next two years, whether it is to grow, sustain, sell or close their doors. • • •
55% sought support for their business from another business owner 52% consulted with their attorney 40% had utilized the Chamber’s SEEDS Business Resource Center.
Remember that free resources are just a phone call, email or appointment away at the Chamber’s SEEDS Business Resource Center and Valdosta State University’s Small Business Development Center. “The Valdosta State University Small Business Development Center and the Chamber’s SEEDS Business Resource Center work cooperatively to promote and support business expansion and new business creation. Both centers are amazing and impactful Ruby Riesinger (SBDC) and Varian Brown (Chamber resources for our area entre- Economic Development Director). preneurs. I am very proud of our great and longstanding partnership,” states Ruby Riesinger (SBDC).
Please visit www.SEEDSBusinessResourceCenter.com or visit www.georgiasbdc.org for more information.
It’s the job “MIX” that matters Final report from IMPACT 2012 consultant shared with top leaders
hamber consultant Chris Miller shared the final report on the IMPACT 2012 Targeted Business Expansion initiative with Chamber Board of Directors members, as well as a number of top community leaders, at the quarterly Board meeting on September 24. The 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was recently made available for analysis, making it possible to complete the 5-year effort. “The Valdosta MSA held its own from 2008 – 2012, even making a little progress is some areas,” Miller told the Board. “But the community is still lagging behind our Georgia peer group on most measures of economic health. If it were not for the growth of the healthcare, information technology and environmental technology sectors, Valdosta would be in serious trouble.” The Chamber invested $185,708 in IMPACT 2012 funds between 2008 and 2012 to facilitate the growth of 1,000 new jobs in these targeted sectors – knowledgebased businesses that employ college or university graduates. The total net growth of jobs in the targeted sectors between 2008 and 2012 was 964. Of those, 67 were directly impacted by the IMPACT 2012 initiative. “In a world where communities frequently spend more than $100,000 on tax and other
THE CHAMBER INVESTED $185,708 IN IMPACT 2012 FUNDS BETWEEN 2008 AND 2012 Chris Miller incentives to grow one new manufacturing job, an investment of $2,772 to grow a new higher wage job for a college or university graduate seems like a good investment to me,” Miller added. The Chamber has been focused on growing a knowledge-based economy since 2004. After a great deal of research and experience, we know that these businesses require three main “ingredients” to be successful:
Capital. The Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition provides start-up capital for one new knowledge-based business each year. The Chamber also actively supported the creation of the INVEST Georgia venture capital fund, and is now lobbying the State Legislature to provide a funding source for the program.
Talent. The MetroOne Talent Connection is a partnership with local higher education institutions that links qualified intern prospects with employers. Research and experience shows that successful internships can result in job placement. That’s our goal – to
keep our college and university graduates in Valdosta!
Pro-Business and Young Professional-Friendly Community. Young professionals want a “cool” community in which to live and work. MetroOne, our young professionals network, is helping us identify amenities that young professionals want and need. Young entrepreneurs need a probusiness regulatory environment. SORT, our ombudsman program designed to simplify the business development process in our community, is a great partnership between the Chamber and our local governments. Budding businesses need resources to help them identify and reach their target markets, locate their competition, and navigate the complicated business start-up process. The SEEDS Business Resource Center, a partnership with the City of Valdosta, provides these services at no cost.
Miller’s complete report can be found at www.valdostachamber.com/ impact-2012.htm
Fall 2013 www.ValdostaChamber.com Fall 2013 www.ValdostaChamber.com
BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION HAS A NEW SPONSOR!
SOUTHWEST GEORGIA BANK OFFERS $10,000 ANNUAL PRIZE
SouthweSt GeorGia Bank
BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION By: Mike Hill (Mike Hill Real Estate; Chamber Board member)
etro Valdosta has talent! And
Southwest Georgia Bank has stepped up to make certain that talented entrepreneurs in our community get the financial kick-start they need to be successful.
“SGB recognizes that small business is the backbone of our economy. An investment in small business is an investment in our community. Our long term commitment to the Business Plan Competition is a great way for SGB to re-invest capital into the community that has been so supportive of us, and it further demonstrates our long term commitment to Valdosta-Lowndes County.” - Jeff Hanson (Southwest Georgia Bank)
“Capital for start-up businesses is often a major obstacle,” said Jeff Hanson (Southwest Georgia Bank). “The SGB Business Plan Competition provides not only access to capital, but also assistance developing their business plans. These businesses target college and university graduates, which has proven to be critical to retain local talent to our community.” With $10,000 cash on the line, the 8th annual competition is underway, created by the Chamber to foster entrepreneurship, retain Valdosta’s college and university graduates and enhance the local economy. Varian Brown, the Chamber’s Director of Economic Development said the SBA reports that two-thirds of multiemployee businesses fail within two years and almost half fail within five years. “It often takes more than hard work and a good product,” Brown said. “Each new business needs an immediate and long-range plan to succeed.” Local entrepreneurs can improve the odds by tapping into the Small Business Development Center and SEEDS Business Resource Center, resources offered throughout the year, 32
Stan Fillion, Jeff Hanson and Jud Moritz of Southwest Georgia Bank
not just during the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition. Brown said there will be no losers in the competition. “Every entrepreneur who participates has the opportunity to take advantage of valuable resources and assistance to develop their very own business plan. Working through the process is very valuable in itself,” he said. The winning entrepreneur will have to have the best combination of a well prepared business roadmap and a definite plan to locate in Lowndes
County and hire graduates from VSU, Wiregrass Georgia Tech, and other colleges and universities. The winner of the current competition will be announced at the Chamber’s 102nd Annual Membership Meeting on January 30 at Rainwater Conference Center. Southwest Georgia Bank also is the presenting sponsor for the luncheon. Tickets are available for the 102nd Annual Membership Meeting. Visit www. ValdostaChamber.com/ chamber-only-events or click on the QR code.
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“CertusBank is proud to be part of a chamber that gives our local businesses networking opportunities at such a low cost. We are excited about participating in the many events held by the Chamber throughout the year. The exposure that the Chamber has given to CertusBank has allowed our business to grow and connect to clients in our community.”
- Martha N. King Assistant Vice President
IN THE SPOTLIGHT Special thanks to Care Medical Spine and Care Center for being the 2013 sponsor of Leading Business of the Week.
”Sponsoring the Leading Business of the Week for the Chamber has been both enjoyable and rewarding. The Leading Business of the Week not only provides great exposure for the sponsor but truly recognizes local businesses for their service in our community. Small businesses are the foundation that communities are built on and I am proud to recognize their efforts.” - J. Ryan Moorman, D.C.
eading Business of the Week recognizes long-standing members of the Chamber that are leaders in the business community. The Chamber Ambassadors present a special banner to the week’s Leading Business every Monday morning (excluding holidays) and the Chamber features the business on the Chamber’s home page for the week. A photo of the event is included on the Chamber’s e-newsletter, “Chamber In Motion”, and on Chamber social media sites.
To check out photos from our most recent Leading Business please visit www.ValdostaChamber.com/leading-business-of-theweek.
To be chosen as the Chamber of Commerce ‘Leading Business of the Week’ is an honor for Valdosta Family Medicine. We have been providing health care to the community for 25 years. Through our association with the Chamber of Commerce we are able to educate the community on important topics and better address the needs of our citizens, as exemplified by our recent decision to be open on Sundays from 1pm-4pm for urgent care needs. We are grateful and look forward to many more years of collaboration together.” - Jennifer Bishop
PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS
& CELEBRATING YOUR SUCCESSES Celebrating the opening of your brand new business? Spotlighting an expansion, a re-model or a new location? Announcing a new product line?
et the Chamber Ambassadors help you “tie a bow-ribbon” on your big day!
The Chamber conducts Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies as a complimentary service for Chamber members at any membership level -- it’s a value-added benefit of being a member. Ceremonies can be performed as a stand-alone event or as a part of an Open House or Grand Opening. We invite our Chamber Ambassadors, we’ll bring the camera and official Chamber scissors and, of course, the pretty red ribbon!
What are the benefits of a Ribbon Cutting? • Create public awareness about your business • Thank your contractors, lenders and other support businesses • Show future customers ‘behind the scenes’ areas of your business What the Chamber does: • Invites Chamber Ambassadors, Chamber Board members and provides a list of media & elected officials to invite if you choose • Promotes the event on the Chamber Calendar • Provides the giant scissors and ribbon • Attends the Ribbon Cutting and takes a photo
Boot Barn Ribbon Cutting
LET THE CHAMBER HELP YOU CELEBRATE!
ALDRIDGE of New Hire Solutions named Ambassador of Quarter
B&B Carts & B&B Mini Storage Ribbon Cutting
• Posts the photo on the Chamber Facebook page, on Chamber website, and in “Chamber In Motion” e-newsletter • Presents a framed photo afterwards to the place of business
What the Member Business does: • Coordinates the date and time of the Ribbon Cutting with the Chamber two to three weeks in advance • Provides refreshments, if desired • Invites special guests of the company What goes on at a Ribbon Cutting? • Chamber Ambassadors MC the event and speak on behalf of the Chamber • Company representative(s) comment and cut the ribbon • Official photo is taken Who should I invite to the Ribbon Cutting? Invite any one you wish to be at your Ribbon Cutting. Some companies invite family and friends, others invite their VIP customers. Use this opportunity any way you wish. Some companies have an open house with refreshments, while others just feature their employees. It truly is your day to plan however you wish. May I invite a religious leader to speak at my Ribbon Cutting? Absolutely. You may invite anyone you wish to speak. Do I need to have food? If you are planning to invite a large group, refreshments are nice, but not necessary nor required.
To check out photos from our most recent Ribbon Cuttings visit ValdostaChamber.com/ribbon-cuttings-ground-breaking. To schedule a Ribbon Cutting, contact Wanda Stanley at email@example.com or 229-247-8100, extension 232.
The Chamber recognized Gerrell Aldridge of New Hire Solutions as the Chamber Ambassador of the Second and Wanda Stanley, Chamber Third Quarters to Ambassador Coordinator and Gerrell Aldridge of New Hire recognize the num- Solutions. ber of hours he volunteered for Ribbon Cuttings and other Chamber events. Aldridge has assisted with more than 80 events in 2013.
We are very pleased to name Gerrell as our Ambassador of the Quarter,” said Wanda Stanley (Chamber). “Gerrell is a true professional who sets the bar for what it means to be an Ambassador.” Chamber Ambassadors, who can be recognized by their green business jackets that symbolize prosperity, assist with member events throughout the year. “For my company, New Hire Solutions, the Chamber’s Ambassador Program is beneficial in terms of the number of contacts and networking opportunities it provides me,” said Aldridge. “By being an Ambassador, I’m able to be in the front row meeting potential new clients.” For more information about the Ambassador Program, call Wanda Stanley at 229-247-8100 ext. 232 or visit www. valdostachamber.com/ambassadors.
By: Olivia McLean, VSU Intern
SPECIAL FOCUS ON EMPLOYEE WELLNESS
CHAMBER HOSTS 19TH ANNUAL TRADESHOW TO PROMOTE MEMBER
he 19th annual Business & Wellness Expo in October was a great way to promote business. The Expo was presented by Azalea Health, 1st America
Health Group, Air Life Georgia and Valdosta CEO and provided more than 80 Chamber member businesses a great platform to showcase and promote their products and services.
The name of the event was modified this year to focus attention on the importance of our health care sector and to promote a well-workplace initiative. A healthier workforce affects the bottom line of a business. The Expo was a Business After Hours format from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Rainwater Conference Center. Great food was available from local restaurants and caterers, and door prizes such as tablets, external hard drives and gift certificates were presented.
Business & Wellness
The 19th annual Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber welcomes you to the
Special thanks to all the vendors who participated!
SAVE 7.5% on Next year’s Business Showcase has been set for
Thursday, October 2, 2014. Mark your calendar, and call Krystle Farlow today to reserve your booth at 229-247-8100 ext. 229
Worker’s Compensation Insurance Premiums
DRUGS DON’T WORK is the statewide Drug-Free Workplace program established by the Chamber of Commerce. DRUGS DON’T WORK exemplifies an effective PublicPrivate partnership in combating substance abuse in the workplace in Georgia.
Door Prize Sponsors:
Proudly Sponsored by:
• Android Tablet (courtesy of Best Buy)
Peaceway Counseling & Mediation Services and Peaceway DUI School
• $100 Wal-Mart gift cards (courtesy of Wal-Mart both locations)
“Helping To Put The Pieces Together”
• 250 GB External Hard Drive (courtesy of Office Max) • 320 GB External Hard Drive (courtesy of Office Max) • $35 Office Depot gift card (courtesy of Office Depot)
For complete information contact: Mike Stalvey (229) 247-8100 ext. 227 416 N. Ashley Street • Valdosta, GA 31601 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To review the Expo photos and winners of the door prizes please visit: www.ValdostaChamber.com/2013-businesswellness-expo
www.ValdostaChamber.com Your Company CAN Make a Difference! Join DRUGS DON’T WORK Today! Fall 2013
CENTENNIAL TREE PROJECT planting 100 trees in Valdosta
Members of the Centennial Tree Committee are Kevin Conrad (Commercial Banking Company), Anne Shenton (Nexxtep Technology), Lori Cauley (Southeastern Federal Credit Union), Jane Shelton (South Georgia Travel), Tim Jones (Citizens Community Bank), Terri Lupo (Georgia Power). Chairman Carla Penny is placing the 100th “leaf” on the Centennial Tree sculpture at the Chamber.
n celebration of the Chamber’s 100th anniversary, the Centennial Tree Project was initiated in March 2012 with a goal of planting 100 significant trees in the City of Valdosta. The project allowed businesses and individuals to sponsor 12-foot Live Oak trees to be planted in honor or memory of a person, or simply in support of the Chamber’s special anniversary. Each sponsor is included on a commemorative plaque displayed at the Chamber. Each honoree is included on a “leaf” on the special Centennial Tree sculpture on permanent display at the Chamber. Phase one of the project was completed in 2012 on St. Augustine Road, where 65 Live Oaks were planted. Phase two is located on the new Gornto Road extension and was completed with the planting of the 99th tree. The 100th tree will be planted at the Chamber on Arbor Day in February 21, 2014 in honor of the 100 Chairmen of the Chamber Board of Directors between 1912 and 2012.
This massive project would not have been possible without enthusiastic support from the entire community and the Valdosta Tree Commission,” said Centennial Tree Project chairman Carla Penny (Classic Art & Frame). “This project makes a symbolic statement about the impact of the Chamber on this community’s growth and development over the past 100 years.”
Special Thanks to:: Centennial Tree Project Chairman: Carla Penny (Classic Art & Frame) City of Valdosta: Larry Hanson (City Manager) William Simms (Engineering Dept.) Stacey Griffin (former City Arborist) Valdosta Tree Commission: Kevin Conrad (Chairman) McDonald Nurseries: Buddy McDonald (Owner)
By: Olivia McLean, VSU Intern
Centennial Tree Sponsors 2012 Chamber Board and Staff In Honor of Myrna Ballard Alvin Payton, Jr. In Honor of Alvin Payton, Sr. Amy Alexander Carter In Honor of the Alexanders, Carters and Boatenreiters Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts In Honor of Cheryl Oliver Anonymous Donor (3) In Honor of Don Penny In Honor of Carla Penny In Honor of Jud Rackley Astro Exterminating Services, Inc. In Memory of Lamar and Margaret Culbreth Automotive Tranfers (Keith Trumn) (2) In Honor of Howard W. Trumn In Honor of Wallace A. Lewis Azalea Health In Honor of Baha Zeidan In Honor of Dan Henry In Honor of Douglas Swords Blanton & Griffin Insurance Agency (4) In Honor of James B. McAllister In Honor of J. Edwards Willis In Honor of Archie L. Griffin In Memory of Louie S. Blanton Bush Wealth Management In Memory of Dr. Thomas Smoot Chet and Myrna Ballard (2) In Honor of Fred DeLoach, Jr. In Honor of Joe Cordova Citizens Community Bank (2) In Honor of D.K. Hollis, Jr. In Honor of Tim Jones CJB Industries, Inc. (2) In Memory of Brian Reagan In Appreciation of CJB Industries Employees Classic Art & Frame Co. In Memory of Gil Harbin Clinton and Jeana Beeland In Honor of Jean and Curtis Fowler Coleman Talley (2) In Memory of Henry Turner Brice, Jr. In Memory of B. Lamar Tillman
Commercial Banking Company David and Sharon Waller In Memory of Coach Nick Hyder DuPont Crop Protection (4) Dutton M. Miller, Sr. In Memory of Willis L. Miller, Jr. ERCO Worldwide Express Employment Professionals In Honor of Walter Hobgood First State Bank & Trust GA Power Company (20) Guardian Bank In Memory of Mr. Don Schutt Helen Pendleton In Memory of Albert Sidney Pendleton, Jr. Henderson & Godbee, LLP (2) In Honor of Gerald Henderson In Honor of Wendell Godbee Heritage Bank of the South Hugh and Judy Hathcock In Honor of George and Joyce Aigen J L Concepts & Promotional Advertising Products In Honor of Judy and Hugh Hathcock James McGahee In Honor of Catherine McGahee Jennifer Powell In Memory of Edwin W. Powell Jerry and Kay Jennett (3) In Honor of Dr. Ronald Zaccari In Honor of Bette Bechtel In Honor of Herb Reinhard
Joan Wilkinson In Memory of Anthonee C.D. Wilkinson Lynne Conrad Marvet In Honor of Kevin and Delthia Conrad Mike Hill In Honor of Linda Lockington Medicare Supplement Insurance Services, Inc. In Honor of Charles and Martha Carter Prince Automotive Group In Honor of John B. Prince III Rotary Club of Valdosta (7) In Memory of Arthur Herndon, Jr. In Memory of Bill Lester In Memory of Clarence H. Heidemann In Memory of Jesse Parrott In Memory of Malcolm Rainey In Memory of Richard H. May In Memory of William O. Feimster SCANA Energy Southeastern Federal Credit Union Southwest Georgia Bank State Senator Tim Golden Steve Barnes In Memory of MSgt. Norma Barnes Sunset Farm Foods The Coleman Family In Memory of Gloria Coleman
The Crane Family In Honor of Ed and Mary Crane The Joe Vallotton Family In Memory of Joseph E. Vallotton Tim Harris In Honor of Owen & Nelda Harris Tim Jones In Honor of Bobbie Jones Tom & Merry Jo Kurrie and Doug & Amy Carter In Honor of Lena Bosch Tyson and Mary Sue McLane In Honor of Mary Zipperer In Memory of Kyle Zipperer Valdosta Insurance In Honor of Walton T. Carter, Jr. Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber (2) In Honor of the Centennial Planning Committee and Major Sponsors In Honor of Harley Langdale, Jr. Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Valdosta Tree Commission (4) William M. Lester, Jr. Family In Memory of William McMorris Lester, Jr. William P. Langdale, Jr. In Memory of William P. Langdale
Thank you to all the sponsors!
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. TM
ur Chamber Business After Hours event offers our members a chance to kick back after work, socialize and network away from the pressures of the workplace. Held throughout the year, usually on a Thursday afternoon from 5 to 7 p.m., Business After Hours offers sponsors a chance to promote their businesses and take their message to other Chamber members in a relaxed atmosphere. To learn more about hosting a Business After Hours, please call the Chamber at 229-247-8100 ext. 229 and speak to Krystle Farlow.
RAINWATER CONFERENCE CENTER Rainwater Conference Center co-hosted a one of a kind Roundup for Success Business After Hours event on November 7, along with the Valdosta-Lowndes Airport Authority, Wild Adventures Theme Park and AgPro sponsors. Over 300 Chamber members and guests enjoyed great country music, a wild west theme and mouth watering food and signature drinks.
TURNERS FINE FURNITURE Turners Fine Furniture believes in a strong commitment to the community and was proud to host a Business After Hours event on
October 3 to showcase its North Valdosta location and its beautiful furniture to approximately 200 Chamber members and guests. Turnerâ€™s has been creating picture perfect rooms for over 98 years. From the moment you step into Turnerâ€™s Fine Furniture, it feels like home.
SOUTH GEORGIA MEDICAL CENTER South Georgia Medical Center was proud to be able to celebrate the grand opening of the Dasher Memorial Heart Center &
Patient Tower with Chamber members and guests on August 27. Everyone enjoyed great food, networking and a tour of the state of the art facility which will serve the Valdosta-Lowndes residents and surrounding communities. We are so fortunate to have SGMC!
MetroOne members make
“40 Under 40” list
wo of Metro Valdosta’s top young professionals were selected among Georgia Trend’s annual “40 Under 40” award winners. Trey Taylor (Taylor Insurance) and Sharah Denton (Brooks County Board of Education) were featured in the October issue of the magazine. Denton was one of our 2013 Metro Valdosta “4 Under 40” winners. This program spotlights four young professionals each year who have excelled in their professional life and in civic engagement. Those four winners are nominated by the Chamber each year for Georgia Trend’s “40 Under 40” list.
Want to learn more about MetroOne?
It is important as a leader and professional to focus on the overall goal and not oneself. There are talented and proactive individuals in the community and it is important to tap into new people, ideas and overall goals for growth and success. It also is important to build and sustain relationships with peers for the longevity of a progressive and growing community. It is always about reaching and implementing goals to make a vision grow.” - Sharah Denton (Brooks County Board of Education)
Call Varian Brown at 229-247-8100, extension 234, or sign up at www.metroonevaldosta.com and like us on Facebook.
The purpose of MetroOne is to promote policies and development, resulting in an attractive and viable community for young professionals. MetroOne provides networking and professional development opportunities while also promoting involvement and partnership with other community organizations.
There is NO charge for membership.
VOTED Best Travel Agency
SOUTH GEORGIA TRAVEL 1300 Baytree Rd. • Valdosta
in South Georgia again in 2013!
www.sgatravel.com • Follow us on Facebook! 46
Pool Supplies & Equipment, Patio Furniture, Above Ground Pools, Free Water Analysis and monthly or weekly pool service.
VALDOSTA TEAM Dimple Sali, Head Teller Jasmine Williams, Teller Alicia DeRoche, Branch Manager Janet Strickland, Teller Tim Richardson, Customer Service Representative
VALDOSTA OFFICE 3295 Inner Perimeter Road 229.293.8590 Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC
DuPont is a science company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation. Our operations in the Valdosta area are part of DuPontâ€™s Crop Protection business and Agricultural & Nutrition Platform. Our mission is to enable the production of safe, high-quality, and abundant food and feed crops by providing farmers, retailers, and advisors with products and services that best meet their needs. DuPont and the employees of the Valdosta Manufacturing Site salute the Valdosta Metro community. We are proud to add our 200 plus years of winning tradition to that of the Valdosta area.
DuPont Crop Protection 2509 Rocky Ford Road â€˘ Valdosta, GA 229-242-8635
Seal the cracks in your portfolio Seal the cracks in Do you knowportfolio which investments are your draining your earnings potential? We can Do you whichifcracks investments are in Seal the help youknow determine your investments draining your earnings are working toward yourpotential? goals andWe if can your portfolio The loss of a loved one is help you determine your investments they’re working well iftogether. Call today devastating enough are toward your goalsreview. andare ifin Doaworking you know whichcracks investments for complimentary portfolio Seal the The loss of a loved one is they’re working well together. Call We today draining your earnings potential? can your portfolio devastating enough for a complimentary review. help you determine ifportfolio your investments Know an EnErgy EfficiEnt homE whEn you sEE it. The H E R S Home Energy Rating System Learn how to save money and energy with the Home Energy Rating System. It’s the national standard for measuring energy efficiency. The score of an average existing home is 130, while an EarthCents® New Home scores 77 or less. That difference can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. So look for the HERS index, buy smart and save big. Learn more at georgiapower.com/hErs.
Make sure your family’s loss doesn’t adversely affect their income as well. Talk to us. We’ll help you determine the amount of life insurance you’ll need – and the most Make sure your doesn’t adversely affect appropriate typefamily’s of policyloss foryour your circumstances. are working toward goals and Do know which areifFor a theiryou income asconsultation, well. Talk toinvestments us. We’llcall help complimentary please or you visitdetermine today. they’re well you’ll together. Callthe today the amountworking of life insurance need – and most draining your earnings potential? We can Wells Fargo LLC Wachovia Insurance productsAdvisors, are offered through Insurance Agency (WIA) and are underwritten appropriate type of policy for your circumstances. For a for a complimentary portfolio review. by unaffiliated insurance companies. Wells Fargo Advisors and WIA are separate non-bank help you determine if your investments complimentary consultation, please call or visit today. affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Make sure your family’s loss doesn’t adversely affect 341working Northside Drive are toward yourWe’ll goals and if their income as well. TalkWachovia to us.Insurance help Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC Insurance products are offered Agencyyou (WIA) determine and are underwritten Valdosta, GA 31602 through by unaffiliated insurance companies. Wells Fargo Advisors and WIA are separate non-bank the amount of life insurance you’ll need – and the most they’re working well together. Call today Tel: 229-245-7013 • 866-828-8189 affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. appropriate type of policy for your circumstances. For a 341 Northside Drive Fax:a229-245-0515 for complimentary portfolio review. complimentary consultation, please call or visit today. Valdosta, GA 31602 Make sure your family’s loss doesn’t adversely affect Tel: 229-245-7013 • 866-828-8189 Wells Fargo LLC to Insurance productsAdvisors, are offered Wachovia Insurance Agency (WIA) and are underwritten their income as well. through Talk us. We’ll help you determine 229-245-0515 byFax: unaffiliated insurance companies. Wells Fargo Advisors and WIA are separate non-bank the amount of life insurance you’ll need – and the most affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. 341 Northside appropriate typeDrive of policy for your circumstances. For a Valdosta, GA 31602 complimentary consultation, please call or visit today.
The loss of a loved one is devastating enough
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Tel: 229-245-7013 • 866-828-8189 Investment and Insurance Products: u NOT FDIC Insured u NOand Bank Wells Advisors, LLC Wachovia Insurance products are offered through Insurance Agency (WIA) areGuarantee underwrittenu MAY Lose Value Fax:Fargo 229-245-0515 by unaffiliated insurance companies. Wells Fargo Advisors and WIA are separate non-bank
HERS is a registered trademark of Residential Energy Services Network, Inc. Used with permission.
96% of our patients would recommend DaVita for dialysis. 96% of our patients would recommend DaVita for dialysis.* ®
Better care. of life. of life. BetterBetter care. quality Better quality
96% of our patients would recommend DaVita® for dialysis.*
Better care. Better quality of life.
Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) Dialysis (PD) Peritoneal
:: This needle-free dialysis treatment uses thetreatment inner lining of the to of clean blood.to clean your blood. :: This needle-free dialysis uses theabdomen inner lining the your abdomen :: You can do the flexible, easy ateasy home or at work.at home or at work. :: You can dotreatments the flexible, treatments :: Peritoneal dialysis help preserve your(PD) remaining kidney :: may Peritoneal dialysis may help preserve yourfunction. remaining kidney function. Peritoneal Dialysis
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank afﬁliate of Wells affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Fargo & Company. ©2013 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0113-01820 [74030-v4] A1284
341 Northside Drive Investment and Insurance Products: u NOT FDIC Insured u NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value Valdosta, GA 31602 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank afﬁliate of Wells Tel: 229-245-7013 • 866-828-8189 Fargo & Company. ©2013 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0113-01820 [74030-v4] A1284 Fax: 229-245-0515 Investment and Insurance Products: u NOT FDIC Insured
u NO Bank Guarantee
u MAY Lose Value
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank afﬁliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2013 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0113-01820 [74030-v4] A1284
:: This needle-free dialysis treatment uses the inner lining of the abdomen to clean your blood.
Home Hemodialysis (HHD) Home :: You Hemodialysis can do the flexible,(HHD) easy treatments at home or at work.
:: You can dialyze on yourcan schedule—up to six times per week. ::::You dialyze on your to sixremaining times per kidney week. function. Peritoneal dialysis may schedule—up help preserve your :: Better blood pressure control, recovery afterrecovery treatments higher energy and levels. :: Better bloodshorter pressure control,time shorter timeand after treatments higher energy levels. ® :: Enjoy fewer diet96% restrictions, better fluid control and take fewer medications. :: Enjoyof fewer diet restrictions, better fluid control and takeDaVita fewer medications. our patients would recommend for dialysis.* Home Hemodialysis (HHD)
Better care. Better quality of life.
:: You can dialyze on your schedule—up to six times per week. :: Better blood pressure control, shorter recovery time after treatments and higher energy levels. :: Enjoy fewer diet restrictions, better fluid control and take fewer medications.
Investment and Insurance Products: u NOT FDIC Insured
u NO Bank Guarantee
u MAY Lose Value
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank afﬁliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2013 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0113-01820 [74030-v4] A1284
Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)
:: This needle-free dialysis treatment uses the inner lining of the abdomen to clean your blood. :: You can do the flexible, easy treatments at home or at work. :: Peritoneal dialysis may help preserve your remaining kidney function.
Home Hemodialysis (HHD)
:: You can dialyze on your schedule—up to six times per week. :: Better blood pressure control, shorter recovery time after treatments and higher energy levels. :: Enjoy fewer diet restrictions, better fluid control and take fewer medications.
Find services at: Find services at: VALDOSTA H OM E TR AI N IHNOM G E TR AI N I N G VALDOSTA 4 01 NO RT HSIDE . RTHSIDE SU ITE A , DR VAL , GA 3 16 02 4 01DR NO . DOSTA SU ITE A , VALDOSTA , GA 3 16 02 Find services at: VALDOSTA H OM E TR AI N I N G 4 01 NO RTHSIDE DR . SU ITE A , VALDOSTA , GA 3 16 02
Call 229-247-9286 today Call 229-247-9286 today
to find out what modality maywhat workmodality best for may you. work best for you. to find out
Call 229-247-9286 today
*Based on annual patient satisfaction results. *Based on annual patient satisfaction results. © 2013 DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. All rights reserved. 05750-13-FMKT-B1.All Flyeryou. to find out what modality may workModality best for © 2013 DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. All rights reserved. 05750-13-FMKT-B1.All Modality Flyer
Find services at: DaVita.com/TreatmentEvaluator VALDOSTA Hsatisfaction OM E TR AI N I N G *Based on annual patient results. 2013NO DaVitaRTHSIDE Healthcare Partners Inc..All SU rightsITE reserved. 4©01 DR A 05750-13-FMKT-B1.All , VALDOSTAModality , GAFlyer 3 16 02
The Region’s Premier Health System and Destination for Health Care
Commitment to Quality Patient Care 2013 Large Hospital of the Year
by Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals
2013 Members’ Choice Award
by Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce
#1 in Spine Surgery in Georgia Top 10% Nationwide by Healthgrades
Blue Distinction Award for Spine Surgery by Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Certificate of Distinction for Advanced Certification as a Primary Stroke Center
1st America Health Group | Inside Front Cover Ag Pro | Inside Back Cover Blanton & Griffin Insurance Agency | Page 9 Chartwells | Page 18 Citizens Community Bank | Page 9 Coldwell Banker/Cindy Pegg | Page 8 Coleman Talley | Page 3 Colquitt EMC | Page 24 Commercial Banking Company | Page 16 Commercial Cleaning Industries | Page 18 Davita-Valdosta Home Training | Page 49 Dupont Crop Protection | Page 48 First Federal Savings of Valdosta | Page 49 First State Bank | Page 24 Fresh Beginnings/eLead1One | Page 19 Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, P.C. | Page 24 Fusion Creative Marketing | Pages 34 & 35 Georgia Power | Page 49 HeritageBank of the South | Page 48 Herndon Company | Page 19 Options Now | Page 8 Rainwater Conference Center | Page 25 Second Opinion Claims Services | Page 25 South Georgia Medical Center | Page 50 South Georgia Travel | Page 46 South Georgia Vein Centers | Page 33 U.S. Press | Back Cover Watson’s Pools & Patios | Page 47 Wells Fargo Advisors | Page 49 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College | Page 19
by The Joint Commission Publisher: Myrna Ballard
“Door to Needle Time” Hospital Award Champion Hospital of the Year for Stroke Care by Georgia Coverdell Stroke Registry
Get With The Guidelines-Silver Plus Award Get With The Guidelines-Bronze Stroke Award Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation Bronze Quality Achievement Award
Creative Director: Wanda Stanley South Georgia Medical Center ContributingHospital, Director & Cover Photo forof Progress: Smith Northview a Campus SGMC Steven Heddon (Fusion Creative Marketing) SGMC Berrien Campus | Clinch Memorial Hospital Advertising: Krystle|Farlow Louis Smith Memorial Hospital Langdale Place Contributing Writers: Mike Hill (Hill Real Estate) Hospice of SouthOlivia Georgia & Langdale Hospice House McLean (Valdosta State Intern) Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center
by the American Heart & Stroke Association
A CAMPUS OF SOUTH GEORGIA MEDICAL CENTER
AFFILIATE OF SOUTH GEORGIA MEDICAL CENTER
AFFILIATE OF SOUTH GEORGIA MEDICAL CENTER
Copyright by Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. © All rights reserved. Progress is produced and published three times per year by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. Subscription rate of $40 is included with Chamber membership. Reproduction in whole or in part of this publication without the expressed written consent of the ValdostaLowndes County Chamber of Commerce is prohibited. All claims, materials, photos appearing herein are believed by the editors to be accurate. However, no responsibility or liability is assumed, and is expressly disclaimed, by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Advertisements, articles, photos, editorial information, and other materials submitted for publication herein are subject to the unrestricted right to the edit of and by our editors and publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Progress Magazine, 416 N. Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601.
Your H omet ow n John Deere De aler. Whether you need new John Deere equipment, or you’re keeping your machines running tough, we’re strong on service. Stop by your local Ag-Pro today for equipment and people you can always depend on.
VALDOSTA 4506 North Valdosta Road (229) 257-0000
416 North Ashley St. Valdosta, GA 31601 CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. TM
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