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Southwest Georgia Bank Believes in Business

WORKING to CREATE lasting leadership




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Summer 2014


sUMMER 2014 / vol. 59 No. 1



05 Letter from the Chairman 05 Board of Directors/Chamber Staff





06 Advocacy in Action 08 FACE-TO-FACE: 2014 Meet The Candidates


Creating Strong Advocates for Our Community

10 A-10 Mission: Up In the Air



22 Building Better Business

24 DREAM BIG: Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition 26 Living Her Dream 27 Happy Anniversary to the SEEDS Center! 30 A New Level of Leadership: President’s Partners 31 Business Outlook Breakfast a Success




Creating Connections

Chamber Ambassadors love to CONNECT! Meeting New Clients: Chamber Business Showcase

17 The Chamber Community Council Connecting the Chamber to the Community

18 What’s In It For Me? 19 Chamber Right Start Committee


36 Promoting Our Professionals 38 A Celebration of Winners in the Workplace

10th Annual World Class Employee Recognition event shows good work ethics really pays!

39 Leading Businesses Help PROMOTE Our Community! 40 Young Professionals at Work in Metro Valdosta 41 Promotion In Motion: Making Your Membership Count 42 5th Annual Chamber Choice Awards: A Red Carpet Affair 44 Business After Hours events


Summer 2014


2014 Board of Directors CHAIRMAN Carl Holley Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, PC

Where does the time go?


Dear Chamber members, It is hard to believe that we are half way through 2014. The spirit of cooperation remains prevalent among our community leaders. The business and economic challenges are great. That said, we feel that the stage is being set for huge successes for our area in the coming years.


Carl Holley, Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, PC

The long-term viability of Moody Air Force Base remains priority number one for our community. The threats of BRAC, sequestration and force reduction are real. The South Georgia Military Affairs Council, which includes representatives from the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber as well as our neighboring chambers of Berrien, Cook and Lanier counties, is fully involved and committed to enhance and preserve the Moody mission and its sustained viability for all of South Georgia. Your Chamber means business. The 2014 Chamber Economic Summit is set for August. This Summit will be a follow up to last year’s session, when specific strategies were identified and assigned to community organizations including VSU, the Chamber, the Industrial Authority, Wiregrass Technical College, the City of Valdosta, Lowndes County and the Conference Center and Tourism Authority. Each group will be reporting their progress in accomplishing the primary strategic goal of “Increasing the weekly average wage in Valdosta and Lowndes County.” Let the Chamber know if you are interested in participating in this very important event. The success of the Chamber programs is only possible with the full support of our membership and many community volunteers. Thank you for your continued confidence in our organization. Sincerely, Carlton W. Holley, Chairman

TREASURER Marty LeFiles, LeFiles Valenti Financial Planning, LLC VICE CHAIR, BUSINESS and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIVISION Baha Zeidan, Azalea Health VICE CHAIR, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT & EDUCATION DIVISION Tom Carroll, Sunset Farm Foods, Inc. VICE CHAIR, MEMBER SERVICES DIVISION Lee McArthur, ING IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN and VICE CHAIR, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Jay Prince, Prince Automotive Group PRESIDENT Myrna Ballard, Chamber of Commerce CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE Kevin McCraney, Georgia Power Company Michael Lee, Ameris Bank Sue Cox, Covington’s and 306 North Bruce Allred, Smith Drug Company Jan Brice, Langdale Place Mike Hill, Mike Hill Real Estate


Myrna Ballard, President Karil Brockington, Senior Director of Administration Mike Stalvey, Senior Director of Operations Patty Martin, Administrative Coordinator Wanda Stanley, Director of Communications Varian Brown, Director of Economic Development Miranda Moore, Marketing & Government Affairs Specialist Trevor Kellogg, Membership Development Specialist

416 North Ashley St. • Valdosta, GA 31601 p. 229.247.8100 • f. 229.245.0071

On The cover

Photo taken by:

Southwest Georgia Bank supports entrepreneurship through the Business Plan Competition. To find out how SGB grows the business community see page 24. Jeff Hanson and Jud Moritz are featured on the cover.

Copyright by Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. © All rights reserved. Progress is produced and published two 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 Valdosta-Lowndes 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.

Summer 2014



“Advocating for the business community, particularly our membership.�

There is no task of the Chamber greater than advocating YOUR business needs at local, state, and federal levels.

U.S. Representative Austin Scott visits the Chamber to announce the consideration of Moody AFB for the A-29 mission.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson stops in to address concerns involving the A-10 mission and federal budget proposal.


Members of the South South GeorGia Military affairS CounCil Georgia Military Affairs Council and Chamber Government Affairs Council travel to Washington D.C. to meet with leaders at the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

6 66

Summer 2014 Summer 2014

Jim Galloway presents transportation funding concerns to the GAC Executive Committee at the April Members To Be Heard meeting.

U.S. Representative Jack Kingston meets with local officials and business leaders to describe the current state of affairs.

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss provides an update on the A-10 mission to SGMAC and GAC.

Check out the next pages: the chamber advocates for your business!

State Senator Tim Golden addresses the 2014 State Budget at the State Legislative Lunch.

The GAC Executive Committee meets to discuss current legislative issues likely to affect the local business community. Summer 2014



2014 mEET THE cANDIDATES Each year, the Chamber kicks off the election season by offering an opportunity for local residents and business professionals to connect face-to-face with those running for political office. Meet The Candidates offers the opportunity to interact with each candidate, and to hear each candidate’s platform.

Candidates presented their platforms at the 2013 Meet the Candidates event.


be President’s Partners and a sponsor of the Meet The Candidates event as it provides our community with the opportunity to get to know pro-business leaders and their platforms.”

his year’s event is cohosted by the South Georgia Home Builders Association, Valdosta Board of REALTORS®, Inc., and is sponsored by the Chamber President’s Partners. It will take place at the Rainwater Conference Center on Tuesday, Oct. 7 from 5-7:30 p.m.

The event is open to the public. “We have the right and an obligation to know the people we are voting into office and to understand the positions they have on important issues that affect our community,” said Kevin McCraney (Georgia Power), Government Affairs Council Chairman. “This will be your

“We know that the success of our business community is greatly affected by the decisions of our legislative leadership,” said Will Kemp (Heritage Bank of the South). “We are excited to


Meet the ANDIDATES Proudly presented by

opportunity to meet the candidates and ask questions face to face. The candidates will also have the opportunity to voice their views to the entire group. There will be several candidate forums during this busy campaign season. The Chamber provides a slightly different venue as it allows you to speak one-on-one with the candidates. I encourage you to attend all of these informative sessions in our area so you can make an informed decision at the polls.”

President’s Partners

2014 Valdosta Board of REALTORS®, Inc.

Tuesday, October 1 • 5-7 p.m.

VSU Continuing Ed Bldg. 7 Tuesday, October

• 5-7:30 p.m. • Rainwater Conference Center

Invited Candidates Include: City of Valdosta City Council District 2 - Sandra J. Tooley - John Hogan - Calvin Graham, Sr.


Valdosta School Board District 1 - Lizzie Shumphard - Edgar Cornelius Tooley

Summer 2014

City Council District 4 - Alvin Payton, Jr. (I)

District 2 - Vanassa L. Flucas (I) - James L. Nelson I

City of Hahira Mayor

City of Lake Park Mayor

- Wayne Bullard (I) - Johnny L. Stalvey City Council District 1 - Terry C. Benjamin (I)

City Council At Large (Vote for 4) - Ronald Carter - Paul Mulkey

- Eric I. Schindler (I) - Bruce Cain - Rose Adams


2015 cAMPAIGN aCADEMY Creating Strong Advocates for Our Community


strong community comes from strong leadership. To grow and prosper, leadership must focus not only on the individual needs of residents, but on the community’s overall economic development strategy as well. The Chamber is making plans for a new program in 2015 for developing leaders in a way that will help to focus attention on both. In support of strong, business-minded elected officials at local, state, and federal levels, the Chamber will offer the Campaign Academy to provide the information local citizens need when considering a run for political office. This “Campaign 101” program will feature experienced elected officials who can provide reliable information on how to run an effective campaign for political office, and profes-

sionals who know what it takes to run a campaign that meets all legal requirements. Bruce Allred (Smith Drug Company), Government Affairs Council Vice Chairman, is leading the effort to prepare this program for implementation in Spring 2015. “How do we, as businesspeople, make a difference? Our 2015 Campaign Academy will actively encourage people to serve in public office and give them a head start by sharing ideas on how to prepare for an election. We will provide information about available offices, what areas best suit candidate goals, and advice from people that have been there and can give valuable insight,” said Allred. “If you have ever considered public office, we want to help you make that decision. We believe we need business interests represented in all levels of government. We have

to take an active part in our community, state and nation. Together, we can make things better.”

For more information about the 2015 Campaign Academy, please contact Miranda Moore at (229) 247-8100 ext. 231 or mmoore@ For the most up-to-date information from the Government Affairs Council, be sure to visit www.

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From left to right: Nick Lacey, Kevin McCraney, Michael Lee, Jan Brice, Sen. Johnny Isakson, Bruce Allred, and Cindy Pullen.

A-10 Mission: Up in the Air Washington D.C. Fly-In Includes Regional Leaders


dvocating for the needs of our businesses and our community is one of our Chamber’s most important missions. The focus of this year’s annual Washington, DC trip in early May was focused on advocacy for Moody Air Force Base. Congress currently is considering the deactivation of the A-10 fleet, which could impact Moody AFB as early as FY15. Two squadrons at Moody include an estimated 20 percent of Moody’s current manpower. With total annual economic impact of more than $450 million, Moody is one of our region’s largest contributors to the economy. Working with local governments, Parker Greene and the Moody Support Committee, and the Governor’s Defense Initiative, the Chamber has partnered with other area chambers of commerce in our region to create the South Georgia Military Affairs Council (SGMAC) to offer support to these organizations and to step-up our advocacy efforts on behalf of Moody Air Force Base. During SGMAC’s recent trip to Washington, Council members had a very productive meeting with Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Kathleen Ferguson in regards to the future of the A-10 and other potential missions for Moody AFB, such as the proposed A-29 mission. Should the proposed budget be approved by Congress, the divestment of A-10 aircraft will impact all of the South Georgia beginning in FY15. SGMAC members met with 10

Summer 2014

U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and U.S. Representatives Jack Kingston and Austin Scott to discuss the economic needs of the South Georgia region and the impact of Moody AFB on local economies. Our Congressional delegation is fully supportive of keeping the A-10 in service, and ensuring that Moody is considered for future missions as well. Our meetings confirm that our leaders in Washington, DC are familiar with our community’s support for Moody AFB. We underscored our willingness to make accommodations for potential new missions and provided letters of support for the proposed A-29 mission from city, county, and business leaders from the represented chambers within our region,” said Michael Lee (Ameris Bank), SGMAC Co-chairman representing the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber. “What we’re hearing from our legislators is that we’re making the right moves. We will continue to do all we can to prepare our base and our community for any mission that may become available in the future. SGMAC is comprised of four area chambers of commerce, including Adel-Cook (Gloria Mitchell, Co-chairman), Lakeland-Lanier (Cindy Pullen, Co-chairman), NashvilleBerrien (Nick Lacey, Co-Chairman), and Valdosta-Lowndes (Michael Lee, Co-chairman).

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Insurance products are offered through Wachovia Insurance Agency (WIA) and are underwritten Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC,Fargo isua registered broker-dealer andBank a non-bank separate non-bank affiliate Wells Investment and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC Insured NO Guarantee u MAY Lose of Value byFargo unaffiliated insurance companies. WellsAdvisors, Advisors WIAreserved. areuseparate & Company. ©2013 Wells Fargo LLC. Alland rights 1113-02312 [74020-v4] A1286 affiliates of Wells Fargo LLC, & Company. Wells Fargo Advisors, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells

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Summer 2014



“Connecting your business to the area’s leading business professional network.”

The Chamber keeps you connected to other business professionals, potential clientele, and area entrepreneurs. Networking opens doors, and the Chamber provides an array of opportunities to meet new people and build new business relationships.

Business After Hours events help our members meet new clients and develop strong professional relationships.

Chamber Ambassadors make connections with every member during Operation Thank You.

Chamber members get connected to 800+ new Moody personnel each year through the Right Start Program.

The Chamber Loves to connect Its members! Being involved in our business community is something worth smiling about! 12

Summer 2014

New members network and learn about the functions of the Chamber at Chamber 101.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. TM

Leads groups like PBR build bridges between professionals in the community.

Networking opportunities, like those provided through the VNP leads group, are among the most in-demand benefits of Chamber membership.

The Ambassadors are often the face of the Chamber, present for every Leading Business of the Week, ribbon cutting, groundbreaking and renovation celebration.

Summer 2014 Summer 2014

13 13



love to CONNECT! Chamber Ambassadors are a prestigious group providing membership mentoring to new and existing Chamber investors. Ambassadors enjoy making new contacts, strengthening relationships and accessing a wealth of information and resources. To learn how you can join this elite group, contact Wanda Stanley, Director of Communications at (229) 247-8100 ext. 232 or email Ambassadors earn points by attending ribbon cuttings and hosting at Chamber events. Points are tallied and an Ambassador of the Quarter is named. At the annual Chamber Choice Awards, an Ambassador of the Year is recognized.

Meet our 2014 Ambassador of the Year! Gerrell Aldridge (New Hire Solutions, LLC) – “Being an Ambassador with the Chamber is the key gateway to the community. As an Ambassador, the Chamber provides numerous ways to network and meet new and existing businesses in the community. My involvement has opened numerous doors for New Hire Solutions. Being an Ambassador can open doors, and with your commitment and involvement, it can put your company in the forefront.”

…and other outstanding Ambassadors! Deborah Maine (Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc. ) - “I consider it a privilege to personally thank and support local businesses for their contributions to our agency and to the community. The Chamber Ambassador Program has provided me with this opportunity and has allowed me to get to know local business owners and build relationships with them. The Chamber is the driving force behind the economic success of Valdosta and I am proud to represent such a dynamic organization.”

Cindy Hotchkiss (Cornerstone Design Consulting and Inc.) – “Being an Ambassador for our Chamber has been a pleasure for me! Since becoming a part of this group of Ambassadors almost five years ago, Paul and I have benefited in many ways, personally and in our business. Participation is great for getting to know our business community better. We are there to encourage and celebrate their accomplishments and it is appreciated. Thank you to all of you who continually do your best and get things done!”


Summer 2014

Eain Chappell (Comcast Spotlight) - “‘Good leaders must first become good servants.’ This quote by Robert Greenleaf explains how I live daily, personally as well as in my career. Since I have been in the Valdosta area, I’ve had the pleasure to meet many of the leaders within the community who are collectively responsible for its success. I have no doubt that they wouldn’t be where they are today without having to give back to the community which they serve. Being an Ambassador opens the door of opportunity to give back to the community and connect with local businesses.” Lyndi Soles (Fairway Outdoor) – “Being an Ambassador with the Chamber has not only been a great honor, but a wonderful opportunity for me, for the last seven years. In being an Ambassador, it gives me credibility among other businesses in the community, and also gives our business extra exposure as well. I have the opportunity to meet new businesses at Ribbon Cuttings, network at events such as Business After Hours, and participate in Ground breakings.”

Dave Huffman (ValdostaToasts) – “What does it mean to be an Ambassador for the Chamber and representing Valdosta Toastmasters to the community? I believe both can be summed up as drive to build my community through actions. Many will say they want to do something, but few will actually put forth labor in doing so. I want the best community we can have.”

Mary King (Telamon Corporation) – “As an Ambassador of the Chamber, I am able to connect with local entrepreneurs and professionals, which leads to a network of business contacts and clients while having fun celebrating the accomplishments of our business community. Attending Chamber events is a great benefit to our organization, because this increases our visibility. It gives businesses a chance to meet other business owners from different industries and promote their business.” Be on the lookout for more of our Chamber Ambassadors in the Fall Progress issue!

Commercial Department


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Summer 2014


Meeting New Clients: Chamber BUSINESS SHOWCASE Connecting with Other Professionals


ur members tell us time and time again that the most valuable benefit of Chamber membership is the opportunity to network with other business professionals. We know the importance of creating and developing those business relationships, so we offer many opportunities for our members to mix, mingle, and talk shop. The largest of those opportunities is the Annual Chamber Business Showcase, a trade-show featuring approximately 100 vendors displaying their products and services for the business community. Each year, an estimated 500 business people turn out to see what the Metro Valdosta business community has to offer. We spoke with Jeremy Chick of Ashley’s Business Solutions, presenting sponsor of the 2014 Chamber Business Showcase, about what our members can gain from participating.

Ashley’s Business Solutions at the 2013 Chamber Business Showcase. of products and solutions. This event gives us the opportunity to give our potential clients a first-hand presentation of what we have to offer.

Q: What is the advantage to meeting clients in this way? A: It is a very laid back professional environment and gives you a chance to have conversation about a wide range of services.

Q: Does this kind of marketing really work? A: It works very well. Anytime you can

ing your specific products, it is a good thing. Don’t miss the perfect opportunity to reach potential clients! This event will be held on Thurs., Sept. 25 from 5-7 p.m. at the Rainwater Conference Center. If you are interested in purchasing a vendor table, please contact Trevor Kellogg at tkellogg@ or (229)2478100 ext. 229. For more information about tables, please visit www.

make business contact while showcas-

Q: Why is this event important? A: First, it is a great way to support our Chamber. They go above and beyond for the businesses in this community. Second, it gives business professionals a chance to see a wide variety of products and services provided from local businesses.

Q: What makes this event attractive to you as a vendor? A: At Ashley’s, we carry a wide variety


Summer 2014

Thursday, September 25

5-7 p.m. Rainwater Conference Center

The Chamber Community council


uccessful Chamber efforts rely on dedicated members to spread the word about what we’re doing in the business community. The Chamber Community Council is an integral part of how we keep our community informed. The Council is comprised of members of the community who act as liaisons 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. “I’m involved with the Council because it gives me great insight into my community and the role the Chamber plays in it. It is also a great opportunity to get know leaders in the community.” – Curt Fowler (Fowler & Company) “Council members are active community leaders and engaged in a myriad of professions, organizations, social events, and political activities. Our roles and responsibilities are grounded in vigilance and productive feedback to the Chamber staff and Board.” – Dr. Ronald Zaccari (Guardian Bank)

The 2014 Chamber Community Council (from left to right, top to bottom): Brad Folsom (Moore, Clarke, Duvall & Rodgers, P.C.), David Waller (Associate Member), Ryan Williams (Nexxtep Technology Services, Inc.), Chris Lilly (Lowe’s Dist. Center), Ron Zaccari (Guardian Bank), Sean Panizzi (Teamtemps Personnel Staffing, Inc.), Dan Hoffman (Young, Thagard, Hoffman, Smith & Lawrence, LLP), Stacy Bush (Bush Wealth Management), Beth McCrary (BB&T Corporation), Heather Ferguson (Stifel), Lacie Guy (Valdosta Chiropractic & Rehab) and Angie Crawford (State Farm Insurance). Not pictured: Clint Wills (South Georgia Pecan Co.), Curt Fowler (Fowler & Company), Hugh Chancy (Chancy Drugs), Jerry Jennett (Georgia Gulf Sulfur Corp.), Louis Levy (Associate Member), Molly Deese (Wild Adventures Theme Park), Scott James (Talk 92.1), William Grow (South Health District)

Summer 2014



what’s In it for me


here are many advantages to getting involved with the Chamber and using its resources to better your business. One of the most important aspects of Chamber membership is CONNECTING. The Chamber can CONNECT you with other business professionals, community investors, potential business and retail clients. Building the right bridges can open doors to mutually beneficial partnerships which encourage growth.

We want to go to work for you. We invite you to ask, “What’s in it for me?” So glad you asked… Networking Opportunities • Business After Hours - your chance to meet at least 250-300 new prospects • Annual Membership Meeting - your chance to network your business with at least 400 top businesses. • Valdosta Networking Professionals and Professionals Building Relationships - join one of these leads groups and watch your business grow as you promote others and they promote you! • Chamber Business Showcase - you can showcase your business to other business people • The Art of Business - display the products and services of your business to consumers • Moody Link Magazine - get your foot in the door at Moody Air Force Base • Chamber Choice Awards - walk the red carpet and network with at least 300 other Chamber members • World Class Employee Recognition Breakfast - your chance to nominate an employee for recognition and get to know at least 300 other Chamber members • MetroOne - connecting our young professionals to strengthen the community’s ability to attract and retain them. Visit • Meet The Candidates, Federal and State Legislative Lunches - meet elected officials as well as candidates seeking office at one of several events sponsored by our Chamber throughout the year

We want to go to work for you.


• Chamber Member Website: FREE web presence available to all Chamber members • Member Directory Listing: E-mailed listing or printed list is available for purchase • Chamber In Motion-Weekly E-Newsletter: Keeps you connected with event updates • Ribbon Cutting and Ground Breaking Ceremonies: celebrations for new, expanding or relocating businesses • Progress Magazine: Two publications (per year) reaching 4,000+ contacts locally and regionally per issue • Connection Magazine: Annual publication reaching 2,500+ retirees locally per issue

Education • SEEDS Business Resource Center: provides sophisticated reports that serves the needs of existing as well as new businesses. Visit • Business University Workshops: Educational workshops that deal with business issues • Legislative Updates and Alerts: Sent when critical business information is received and/or members action is requested • DRUGS DON’T WORK in South Georgia: Save 7.5% on your Workers Compensation insurance premiums Find out more about these and many other opportunities at our next Chamber 101. All members are invited, especially new members, new employees to member companies and members seeking a refresher course.

For more information on what the Chamber can offer your business please call 229-247-8100, Ext. 229 or email Trevor Kellogg at or visit and join online TODAY! 18

Summer 2014

Chamber Right Start Committee

Chris Miller


hamber Right Start Committee members participate in Moody’s Right Start briefings twice monthly at Moody Air Force Base. The Committee Chairman Judy Martin Trexler (Judy Martin Trexler, LCSW, LLC) and her team welcome 800 Airmen and their families each year.


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


To provide the business community with the opportunity to support Moody AFB Right Start briefings, welcoming 800 newly arrived Moody personnel each year. To learn more about how to connect with Moody Air Force Base contact Karil Brockington (229) 247-8100 ext. 228 or email: kbrockington@

Summer 2014



Summer 2014

It’s like a bank. Looking for a better financial experience? Sometimes it feels like big banks care more about your money and their bottom line than they do about you. Southeastern Federal Credit Union is member-owned and community-focused. We conduct business with your best interest in mind and we exist to serve you–not increase our bottom line. As a member, you can have a say in how the credit union is run. And unlike banks, we are a not-for-profit financial cooperative that reinvests earnings back into the credit union. It’s easy to join and almost anyone is eligible. In fact, if you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly do business in Lowndes County or the surrounding eligible counties, you can become a member.

Call, click, or visit today to experience the difference!


Federally Insured by NCUA

Summer 2014



“Helping build your brand recognition and clientele.�

The Chamber is a business builder focused on growing new and existing businesses, and supporting the upcoming workforce and entrepreneurs.

Members attended a workshop led by Toastmasters on creating and communicating vision to promote leadership excellence.

Attendees at a Management Essentials Workshop practice a proper professional handshake.

Local businesses participated in a Google webinar about becoming more visible online.

Members discuss details of the Affordable Care Act at a Georgia Chamber webinar. 22 22

Summer Summer 2014 2014

The South Georgia Employer Committee gives an update on employment and labor law.

The MetroOne Talent Connection panel met with VSU students to give insight on what employers want in an employee.

MetroOne Talent Connection

Communicating across generations was the focus of this Management Essentials Workshop.

VSU Students share with President McKinney their internship successes through Talent Connection.

Check out the next pages: the chamber helps build your business! Summer Summer 2014 2014

23 23

Making Dreams Come True for Entrepreneurs


he entrepreneurial spirit thrives in Metro Valdosta, and each year the Chamber provides the opportunity for creative people to bring something new to the area. The Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition allows local entrepreneurs to submit innovative business ideas and develop comprehensive plans for making their ideas successful as start-up businesses.


big: Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition 24

Summer 2014

Eligible businesses demonstrate the ability to produce a service or product needed by our community as well as the ability to provide employment opportunities to local college and university graduates. Contestants attend workshops and seminars which teach methods for operating a successful business. Applicants also work with local business professionals to create a well-developed business plan which is presented before an independent panel of judges from the local business community.

The Business Plan Competition is important not only because it provides a means for a business to obtain much needed operating capital, but more importantly, it provides the support structure to develop the concepts of our applicants into viable operating businesses.� Jeff Hanson (Southwest Georgia Bank)

Angel Partners & Sponsors:

All contestants are coached by business professionals with years of experience and proven success. These leaders address potential needs of the proposed businesses, assist with determining the target audiences, and help create marketing strategies to reach the intended demographics. The skills taught throughout the competition are truly success builders, so ultimately every participant is a winner. “Our economy consists largely of small businesses and this sector continues to be a leading job creator in our community. Southwest Georgia Bank is proud to work with small business leaders to help them grow their businesses as we realize that the success of this sector is in direct correlation to the success of our community as a whole,� said Hanson. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 in startup capital in addition to a one-year complimentary Chamber membership and approximately $20,000 in in-kind services from Angel partners. For more information about the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition, please contact Varian Brown at or (229) 247-8100 ex. 234 or visit:

Summer 2014





ngela Roark - serial

Angela Roark Lives Her Dream

entrepreneur, owner of Hairspray Salon and Spa and two-time graduate of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College – received her $10,000 prize for building the best business plan in the 2014 Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition. Roark is using her cash winnings along with the support of numerous Chamber Angel Partners to start her second business, Monarch Hair Solutions. “We were honored to have Angela Roark and her new business, Monarch Hair Solutions, as the winner of the 2014 Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan competition. With her being a Wiregrass Georgia Technical College graduate, we hope that her success in this new business venture will encourage future Wiregrass graduates to pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams.” - Jud Moritz (Southwest Georgia Bank)

Monarch Hair Solutions’ Angela Roark and Jud Moritz of Southwest Georgia Bank

The eighth winner of the Business Plan Competition, Angela Roark is a graduate of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College with diplomas in medical assisting and cosmetology, laying the perfect foundation for Roark’s new business.

Monarch Hair Solutions’ patients will be provided with a medical grade prosthesis that is usually prescribed by a physician and is often covered by insurance. A cranial prosthesis helps restore self-esteem and a sense of normalcy to the lives of individuals who have hair loss due to alopecia, chemotherapy radiation, brain injury or surgery. Patients can wear their hair system while working, exercising or swimming without the fear of it becoming unattached.


Summer 2014

Wiregrass is proud to claim that some of the most successful entrepreneurs in South Georgia are graduates of our college,” said WGTC President Dr. Tina Anderson. “Many of our programs are designed with the idea that the graduate could choose to start their own business. A large number of our programs incorporate an entrepreneurial course within the academic course work for that very reason. Angela’s choice to combine two Dr. Tina Anderson, Wiregrass Georgia skill areas at Wiregrass that are very difTechnical College ferent but complimentary of each other has given her the foundation to provide a much needed service to this community. She, like many graduates before her, will continue to give back to the community by providing new jobs for other soon-to-be graduates. We congratulate Angela Roark on her successes and will continue to provide support to her as her business grows.”


Happy Anniversary


to the seeds center!

Building on a great foundation for entrepreneur development


Powered by

e are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the SEEDS Business Resource Center the same way we created it – with the support of Georgia Power Company. Georgia Power provided “seed money” for the creation of the Business Resource Center in 2004, when the SEEDS Center began offering its services to the region. Ten years and more than 4,500 clients later, Georgia Power continues to support the Chamber’s entrepreneur development efforts in 2014 as a major sponsor.

successful small businesses are the backbone of strong, successful communities. We want to continue to support the SEEDS Center as it moves to the next level of service,” said Terri Lupo (Georgia Power Company).

“Nineteen strategies were identified to help our community retain college and university graduates, and at the top of the list of strategies was the development of an incubator,” said Chamber Director of Economic Development Varian Brown.

Scott Manley, Director of the Center for Business & Economic Research at Valdosta State University, led a facilitated discussion during our 2013 Economic Summit with a very diverse group of community leaders to ask that very question – what is the “next level of service” to entrepreneurs in our community?

The 2014 Annual Economic Summit will include a report-out on our progress on a business incubator, BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTERas well as progress reports on the other 18 identified strategies.

“Georgia Power supports entrepreneur development because strong,

Their conclusion? Develop a small business incubator.


Are you interested in being included in the 2014 Annual Economic Summit? Contact Varian Brown at vbrown@valdostachamber. com for information. Visit our website www. to view last year’s “Lowndes County By The Numbers” report from the 2013 Annual Economic Summit.

GeorGia power supports more riBBon CuttinGs. Georgia is our home too. That’s why we’ve partnered with local chambers, development authorities and elected officials across the state to stimulate growth and invest in the future of our communities. And why, for more than 85 years, we’ve helped bring jobs and investment to the state – more than 113,000 new jobs and $23.6 billion in capital investment over the past decade alone.

Downtown ~ Northside ~ Lake Park ~ Norman Dr.

Summer 2014


Commercial Cleaning Industries has been in business since 2006 and has operated a fullservice Janitorial firm in Valdosta since 2005.

Carl Copeland

Services We offer: • Janitorial Services • VCT Maintenance • Carpet Cleaning • Natural Stone Care • Green Cleaniing

Phone 229-559-0799 Cell 229-292-3721

“We Help Your Business Succeed”


Summer 2014


Cleanliness is our Business!

Experience, Knowledge and Commitment For almost 60 years, HeritageBank of the South has been a preferred financial institution for small businesses and entrepreneurs in South Georgia. We are experienced bankers who are vested in the success of our community and the customers we serve. Thanks to our strong lineup of products and services, our record for financial strength, and our ability to understand and address our customers’ changing needs, we will continue to be a leader in the financial industry and our community. We look forward to continuing to serve Valdosta and the surrounding area. VALDOSTA OFFICE 3295 Inner Perimeter Road 229.293.8590 Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC

Summer 2014


A New Level of Leadership: President’s Partners - Growing Greater Valdosta


ur President’s Partners have a true passion for giving to the community. They are generous with their time, their talents, and their treasures to ensure that the Valdosta-Lowndes area is always growing and thriving. We asked each of our President’s Partners investors what they do to pour back into the community. Here’s what they had to say:

Coleman Talley, LLP - Bill Holland “Coleman Talley has contributed approximately 167,000 pounds of food since the onset of the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy Competition in 2012. We are excited to be part of such a life changing effort. It is truly fulfilling to know that our work will bring positive outcomes in the lives of others. We attribute our success to the hard work and contributions from the partners and employees of the firm; in addition we extend our sincerest thanks to those in the business community who joined our efforts to make this a huge success.”

Colony Bank Valdosta, FSP - Eddie Smith “Colony bank is invested in the future of the Valdosta-Lowndes community. We are proud supporters of Community Partners in Education, United Way, the Chamber, VSU, and numerous other local charities and events. We believe in giving back to the community, and we do so by volunteering with local area charities, civic clubs, and schools. We believe in growing the community that helped to grow us.”

Commercial Banking Company - Kevin Conrad “As a locally owned and operated community bank, we recognize the importance of giving back to our community through charitable contributions and volunteer efforts linked to civic and community projects. We attempt to balance needs with resources to better offer a productive response in support of our community.”

First Federal of Valdosta - Douglas Rayford “At First Federal, we originate family loans. We’ve never sold a loan. We make local decisions and keep it all right here, and we give back through those relationships. We also contribute to all of the different schools through capital, involvement, athletics, and education. At the college level, we pour a lot of effort into SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) and recently donated new computers for the labs. We are happy to contribute to the community that supports our business.”

Heritage Bank of the South - Will Kemp “Heritage Bank of the South has been committed to South Georgia for over 60 years. Our record of financial strength, along with a commitment to exceptional personal customer service and a strong lineup of bank products and services, has allowed us to be a financial leader in the Valdosta Lowndes County market. That success has enabled us to reinvest our resources and talents back into the Valdosta/ Lowndes community through our non-profits, schools, and civic organizations. We are committed to this mission as a corporate citizen of the Valdosta community and surrounding area.”

Southwest Georgia Bank - Jeff Hanson “Southwest Georgia Bank is a true community bank that believes in giving back to the community. The investments we make directly impact the very place we live, so we have a vested interest in building a stronger community. Our customers are not just numbers on a page, they are our friends and neighbors and we want them all to succeed and prosper. We are proud to be a part of this community and are pleased that we are able to contribute to many worthwhile causes.” 30

Summer 2014

enlightening our business leaders An Update On the ECONOMY In 90 MINUTES! Mike Gudely (Southeastern Federal Credit Union), Dr. Tom Cunningham (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta), Dr. Cynthia Tori (Professor of Economics at the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business at Valdosta State University), Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys (Director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business) and Carl Holley (Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, PC) Chamber Chairman of the Board.


outheastern Federal Credit Union hosted our 2014 Business Outlook Breakfast. Mike Gudely (Southeastern Federal Credit Union) explained the importance of providing economic projections to influential leaders, stating, “The more successful your business is, the more successful the ValdostaLowndes community will be.” Dr. Tom Cunningham with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta gave the crowd of 170 his national

outlook. Cunningham expects a 1% drop in the nation’s unemployment rate. He made it a point to explain that our drop in unemployment is due in part to people retiring, becoming disabled or pursuing a higher education before reentering the labor force. Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, Director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, provided the Georgia economic outlook. Dr. Humphreys predicts the

state of Georgia will outperform the nation with 2.2% job growth. He also expects Georgia to experience a full recovery from the recession in mid-2015. While Humphreys is expecting a full recovery from the recession, he is also cognizant of the fact that improving education outcomes in Georgia is critical to both our standard of living and our growth as a state. Dr. Cynthia Tori, Professor of Economics at the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business at Valdosta State University, provided our local forecast. Federal spending cuts at Moody AFB are a particular concern. Tori acknowledged stagnant wages and low consumer spending, but expressed an opportunity for our community to come together and be proactive about our approach to growing our existing businesses and recruiting new industries. To review more information from the 2014 Business Outlook please visit: businessoutlook

Summer 2014


Branding from the Ground Up By Arthur Morin Strategist and Account Manager, Fusion Creative Marketing

Great brands are much more than attractive logos and catchy taglines… they’re the way a company, a group of people express their personality and their values. Successful brands feel authentic, not fake; that’s because they are rooted in reality. And these brands need time and effort to construct and regular care to stay current in the marketplace. At Fusion Creative Marketing, our approach to branding starts with an understanding of our client’s business strategy and then works its way up to marketing, branding, creative design, and finally to marketing plans and advertising campaigns. Phase Two: Brand Strategy and Branding Workshop.

Marketing Plans & Tools

We review all existing brand assets (logos, taglines, brand graphics, etc.) and how these are used in signage, web graphics, advertisements, store premises and fixtures, product displays and catalogues, and any other significant marketing tools. After this review, we often conduct a branding workshop, where we analyze how to evolve the brand in terms of positioning and messaging.

Work on Brand Assets Branding Strategy

Phase Three: Work on Brand Assets.

Business and Marketing Strategy Phase One: Business and Marketing Strategy.

Phase Four: Design and Execution of Marketing Plan. We propose the basic elements of a marketing plan and then perform required work on marketing tools (website, advertisements, billboards, photo shoots, video, etc.)


Summer 2014


We work with management to understand the basics of their business strategy. This includes a review of sales objectives in terms of market segments (customer types, geographies, behaviors). This phase often includes opinion surveys and focus groups to complement information we learn from management and staff. We then propose a marketing strategy for the client (who are they trying to reach, with what messages and with what budget).

Now that we have a solid foundation, work can proceed on any new or revised brand assets (logos, taglines, brand graphics, etc.) The creative process is much more efficient because designers are given clear guidelines in which to work. And their work product is ultimately more successful because it is based on the client’s business strategy and objectives.

The Real Value of Marketing Real Value of Marketing The Real Real Value Value of of Marketing Marketing The By Steven Heddon By Steven Heddon A.L. Girardin Award Winner and BySteven Steven Heddon By Heddon A.L. Girardin Award Winner and Creative Consultant, Valdosta A.L.Girardin GirardinAward AwardWinner Winner and A.L. and Creative Consultant, Valdosta Chamber of Commerce CreativeConsultant, Consultant, Valdosta Creative Valdosta Chamber of Commerce ChamberofofCommerce Commerce Chamber

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Having a trusted partner helps steer you in the right direction. You’ll find that partner in your First State Bank and Trust banker. Your banker will work to understand the goals of your company and offer sophisticated products to help you reach your destination. Whether it’s our enhanced Business Internet Banking and Business Online Library or our complete array of personal products designed to help you manage your finances, we deliver with commitment. It’s how we do business at First State Bank and Trust. Visit us today and discover all the financial services we offer, some which you might not expect from a community bank. 229-242-5725

First State Bank and Trust is a division of Synovus Bank. Synovus Bank, Member FDIC, is chartered in the state of Georgia and operates under multiple trade names across the Southeast. Divisions of Synovus Bank are not separately FDIC-insured banks. The FDIC coverage extended to deposit customers is that of one insured bank.

Think Locally.

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.







3462 North Valdosta Road - 1215 Baytree Road - Valdosta / 110 West Main St. - Hahira 635 Veterans Parkway North - Moultrie / 729 West 2nd Street - Tifton

229-242-7600 -

Where Excellence Is Standard.


Summer 2014

Pool Supplies & Equipment, Patio Furniture, Above Ground Pools, Free Water Analysis and monthly or weekly pool service.

Summer 2014



“The Chamber of Commerce is here to help promote your business.”

Through your membership, the Chamber offers many advertisement and sponsorship opportunities to build your brand recognition and clientele.

Kelly Barr/State Farm Insurance was overwhelmed by the support of the community, her family and the Chamber at the Ribbon Cutting. Ribbon Cuttings are a special way to celebrate a monumental moment with the ones we love. The Chamber provides a great photo that any Chamber member can share on their Facebook page.

Eain Chappell (Comcast Spotlight), Gerrell Aldridge, 2014 Ambassador of the Year (New Hire Solutions) and Courtney Benton (New Hire Solutions) are great examples of talented young professionals in our community. 2014 4 Under 40 Award Winners Jamie Baltrus (United Hospice), Micha Hogan (Wild Adventures) and Malynda Dorsey (Valdosta State University) pause for a photo with Talk 92.1’s Scott James and Southeastern Federal Credit Union’s Courtney Gooding.

Young Professionals enjoy conversation during a MetroOne Mixer. 36

Summer 2014

4 Under 40 finalists and guests gathered for a great evening at the Turner Center for the Arts.

Chamber Ambassadors helped shovel some dirt at the groundbreaking for The Medicine Shoppe.

Check out the next pages: PROMOTING OUR MEMBERS!

MetroOne Young Professionals leave their business shoes and business attire home and participate in Keep Lowndes Valdosta Beautiful’s 2014 Great American Cleanup.

MetroOne Co-Chairs Courtney Gooding (Southeastern Federal Credit Union) and Thompson Gooding (Dewar Properties) lead our efforts to attract, retain and develop our talented young professionals. Summer 2014



Winners in the Workplace Hard Work REALLY pays!


ur area is home to some of the best employees in the world, real winners in the workplace. These workers go above and beyond day in and day out to provide the best possible customer experiences, increase productivity, and increase the bottom line for their organizations. This kind of commitment to excellence is worthy of honor. E-LEAD1One/Fresh Beginnings and First State Bank and Trust Company presented the Chamber’s 10th Annual World Class Employee Recognition Breakfast at the Rainwater Conference Center in May. Approximately 300 members of the business community were present.


Summer 2014

Winners (Angela Vickers, Julee Lincoln, Thomas Manus, and Gerrell Aldridge) are pictured between Bill Cowart of First State Bank and Trust Co. and Judith Hathcock of ELEAD1ONE|Fresh Beginnings.

Nominees were judged on attendance, dependability, attitude, dedication, job knowledge, quality of work, judgment, critical thinking, relationship with others, community service, involvement, and professional development. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges. The 2014 winners were Julee Lincoln of Azalea Health (Small Business Employee), Angela Vickers of Repeat Boutique (Small Business Supervisor), Thomas Manus of

Wild Adventures (Large Business Employee), and Gerrell Aldridge of New Hire Solutions (Large Business Supervisor). Each winner received $1,500, a ticket package to Wild Adventures Theme Park, and various gifts from E-LEAD1One/Fresh Beginnings and First State Bank and Trust Company. To view the World Class Employee Recognition photos please visit:

Leading businessES

in the spotlight Special thanks to New Hire Solutions, 2014 sponsor of Leading Business of the Week. “Being the Leading Business sponsor has been an excellent source to get our name out to individual companies throughout Valdosta. As a sponsor, it has opened numerous doors in a way that we get to meet owners and managers of a different company each week, putting New Hire Solutions in the forefront of their minds if a need for staffing services ever arises. It is a pleasure and an honor to work closely with the Chamber in recognizing businesses in the community.”

-- Gerrell Aldridge

“ “ “

Being selected by the Chamber as a “ Leading Business “ automatically extended credibility to my business. There is no doubt this gave us a larger audience to discuss the products and services we provide at Allstate Insurance/Larry Ganas. My employees took tremendous pride that their hard work and dedication was recognized for taking care of our valued customers by the Chamber.” - Allstate Insurance, Larry Ganas

Hilton Garden Inn was thrilled to receive the recognition as the Chamber’s Leading Business of the Week. Not only did we have bragging rights for a week and a sign in our lobby to prove it, but we were visited by the Chamber’s Ambassadors and congratulated for being a member in good standing for over 5 years. It is evident that the Chamber staff works on our behalf to continue to grow, guide and give back to its business community and we are honored to be among the “leading businesses, leading our community.” - Hilton Garden Inn, Jade Walton Being chosen as ‘Leading Business’ means so much to Radney Plumbing, Inc. (RPI) and Tommy Radney because it shows us that people do realize that we strive each and everyday to be the very best in our industry, providing superior service to our customers and still having the same philosophy Mr. Roy Radney began Radney Plumbing, Inc. (RPI) with in 1965, and that is ‘be the best you can be at what you do every time you do it.’ ” - Radney Plumbing, Debbie Radney

Summer 2014


Young Professionals at Work

in Metro Valdosta Jamie Baltrus


of our community’s brightest and most ambitious young professionals were recognized as finalists for the prestigious 2014 Metro Valdosta 4 Under 40 Award. The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts provided the venue and Southeastern Federal Credit Union provided the food and beverages as Eric Johnson, Jamie Baltrus, Micha Hogan Malynda Dorsey and Micha Hogan were announced as this year’s award recipients. “Our award recipients exemplify leadership and selfless service to our community, and we couldn’t be prouder to nominate them for Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 honor,” said Courtney Gooding (Southeastern Federal Credit Union), MetroOne Young Professionals Co-Chair. The young professionals group from the Bonita Springs Area (Florida) Chamber of Commerce judged our finalists and were tasked with identifying the four young professionals who displayed the best combination of professional accomplishments, community involvement, leadership qualities, entrepreneurial spirit and overall positive impact. Last year’s 4 Under 40 Award recipient and Georgia Trend Magazine 40 Under 40 Honoree, Sharah Denton helped present the awards. Jamie Baltrus is the Community Relations Representative for United Hospice, a division of PruittHealth. She is a graduate of Valdosta State University. Her professional associations include the 2014 class of Leadership Lowndes, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, Georgia Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, Valdosta North Rotary Club, LAMP, Community Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity and United Way.


Summer 2014

Malynda Dorsey

Eric Johnson

Malynda Dorsey is co-owner of Organized Arts, cofounder of Uplifting Sisters and is the Communications Specialist for VSU. She earned an MPA from VSU. Her professional affiliations include 2014 Lifeline Conference Presenter, Jewels for Julie, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Eta Omega Chapter, Pi Alpha Alpha Public Administration Honor Society, Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta, Leadership Lowndes 2014 class, Brooks County Schools CTAE Advisory Board and Brooks County Trojan Hall of Fame. Micha Hogan is the Marketing Manager for Wild Adventures Theme Park. She serves on the Chamber’s World Class Employee Recognition Committee. She is a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Bereavement Committee and is the Park liaison for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Great Strides Walk, Second Harvest of South Georgia Derby Duck Race, Community Partners in Education, Azalea Festival Committee, Relay for Life, and Keep Lowndes-Valdosta Beautiful.

Eric Johnson is employed by Guardian Bank and serves as their Commercial Banking Officer. He is a graduate of The Citadel, University of Georgia and Louisiana State University. He serves on the Greater Valdosta United Way Board of Directors and organized the Valdosta North Rotary Club’s inaugural Teacher Appreciation Dinner. He is a graduate of Leadership Lowndes and was selected as the SBA’s Georgia’s Financial Services Champion. The 4 Under 40 will be nominated by the Chamber for this year’s Georgia Trend Magazine 40 Under 40. Honorees will be announced in the October issue of the magazine.

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.

Want to learn more about MetroOne?



Call Varian Brown at 229-2478100, extension 234, or sign up at and like us on Facebook.


There is NO charge for membership.

2014 Metro Valdosta 4 Under 40 Finalists: Jamie Baltrus (United Hospice a division of PruittHealth); Seth Brown (Lowndes/Valdosta Commission for Children & Youth); Stan Crance (Valdosta State University Small Business Development Center); Malynda Dorsey (Valdosta State University); Meghan Duke (Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority); Erica Hill (Caribbean Delight); Jamie Hill (Lowndes County Board of Education); Angela Hobby (Wiregrass Georgia Technical College); Micha Hogan (Wild Adventures Theme Park); Corey Hull (Southern Georgia Regional Commission); Eric Johnson (Guardian Bank); Tesha Larkins (Valdosta City Schools); Jill Maine (The Home Builders Association of South Georgia); Molly Roan (Valdosta-Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity); Valious Smith (Enterprise Holdings); JaTaryia Thomas (C.A.$.H. Prosperity Campaign, Inc.); Tiffany Vinson (South Health District) and Karen Yawn (The Haven Battered Women’s Shelter)

Visit the MetroOne website ( for more information and more photos!


des County Cham



rketing Progra

Sponsorship Ma

Promotion In Motion: Making Your Membership Count Outreach Opportunities

2014 In Motion Promotion

Promoting your business is one of the key functions of your Chamber membership! Throughout the

year, we provide a wide array of opportunities for you to network with other professionals, reach potential clients, and increase your brand recognition. If you’re looking for ways to become more visible to your target market, here’s what’s coming up for the remainder of 2014: July: Business After Hours – YOUR NAME COULD BE HERE! Aug. 28: Annual Economic Summit – Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber in partnership with VSU’s Langdale College of Business (2 CO-SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE!) Aug. 28: Business After Hours – Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority

September: Small Business Month – SAM’S Club Sept. 25: Chamber Business Showcase – Ashley’s Business Solutions (2 CO-SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE and 100 vendor spots available!) November: Business After Hours - YOUR NAME COULD BE HERE! December: Ambassador Social – YOUR NAME COULD BE HERE! We encourage you to take advantage of your membership by putting us to work for you! If you are interested in taking advantage of the available sponsorship opportunities, please contact Trevor Kellogg at or (229) 247-8100 ext. 229!

Call the Chamber TODAY and reserve your sponsorship!

Summer 2014



Proudly presented by:

The 2014 award winners pose together after walking the red carpet to receive recognition.


n April, Citizens Community Bank presented the

5th Annual Chamber Choice Awards event to honor the best and brightest in the business community. Rusty Simmons and Jordan Turman of Wild Adventures emceed the red carpet event that included the following award presentations: Ambassador of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, Members’ Choice Award, Small Business of the Year, and BIG Thinker Award. Ambassador of the Year was awarded to the Chamber Ambassador who volunteered the most time to Chamber events in 2013. Gerrell Aldridge (New Hire Solutions) received this year’s honor after attending and assisting with the most Chamber functions. These events include Ribbon Cuttings and Ground Breaking Ceremonies, Leading Business of the Week Presentations, Business After Hours, Chamber 101 New Member Orientations and other special events.


Summer 2014

The Young Professional of the Year award was presented to an employee who has made a significant impact on his or her employer’s bottom-line. The winner was chosen based on the individual’s general positive impact and financial impact on the employer. The 2014 Young Professional of the Year Award was presented to Angela Hobby (Wiregrass Georgia Technical College) for her exemplary leadership and dedication to the college. Hobby has been instrumental in tripling the number of dually enrolled students at WGTC. The Members’ Choice Award is awarded to a business that shows dedication to quality, customer/client services and courtesy within the community. This year a recordbreaking 2,276 total votes were cast to determine the winner. The award was presented to Newbern Family Dental Practice for their customer care and loyalty. Newbern Family Dental Practice is owned and operated by Jeanne and Jeff Newbern.

CHOICE AWARDS: “A Red Carpet Affair” Astro Exterminating Services was awarded the Small Business of the Year award, an honor given to a top-notch business with 100 employees or fewer that exhibits growth and stability in the business community. Founder Lamar Culbreth started Astro using one truck to provide pest control to residential and commercial customers. Since then, the company has grown to be Valdosta’s largest exterminating service business. Laura Culbreth Perlman has carried on the tradition as manager and president of the Valdosta and Tifton offices since her father’s retirement. The Chamber introduced the BIG Thinker Award in 2005, the year the Chamber was recognized as Georgia’s first “entrepreneur-friendly” community by Governor Perdue. The BIG Thinker was designed to recognize those entrepreneurs in the Valdosta-Lowndes community whose ideas, innovations and business savvy go above and beyond the norm. The award recipient was selected by a blue-ribbon committee of top business leaders in the community. This year’s BIG Thinkers are Susan and Chuck Steel, owners of Steel’s Jewelry. The couple had a vision for the economic growth of Valdosta and now invest generously in growing the community.


2014 Members’ Choice Award Newbern Family Dental Practice

2014 Ambassador of the Year Gerrell Aldridge

2014 Young Professional of the Year Angela Hobby

2014 BIG Thinker Award Chuck and Susan Steel

2014 Small Business of the Year Astro Exterminating Services

To view the Chamber Choice Award photo gallery, please visit Summer 2014

43 43

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. TM


ur Chamber Business After Hours events offer 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.

FAIRWAY OUTDOOR ADVERTISING Fairway Outdoor Advertising co-hosted a

one-of-a-kind interactive Business After Hours event on April 17. More than 250 Chamber members and guests enjoyed great food, drinks, and artistic promotion at the event. In addition to meeting new people and making new connections, members enjoyed decorating a fullsize billboard with markers and spray paint, a billboard design contest, and the opportunity to take photos to be featured on Fairway’s digital billboards.

To learn more about hosting a Business After Hours, please call the Chamber at 229-247-8100 ext. 229 and speak to Trevor Kellogg.


Summer 2014

Steps to Success The Chamber along with the Cactus Flower Café, Chick-fil-A (Valdosta Mall), CooperCraft

Communications, Douglas Financial, Eye Associates, Horse Creek Winery, Monarch Hair Solutions and State Farm Insurance-Kelly Barr hosted the “Steps to Success Business After Hours” on May 13. Members enjoyed playing corn hole, taking photos with the Chick-fil-A cow, tasting a variety of local wines, and creating new professional contacts.

The Azalea Center The Azalea Center Medical Aesthetics/Health & Lifestyle celebrated its grand opening with a Business After Hours on June 5. More than 300 guests enjoyed great food, networking, door prizes, and a tour of the state of the art facility.

Summer 2014


- A dve r t i s e r s -

1st America Health Group | 20 Ag Pro | Inside Front Cover Ameris Bank | Inside Back Cover Cactus Flower Cafe | Page 17 Chartwells | Page 28 Chubby’s Chicken Fingers | Page 46 Citizens Community Bank | Page 11 Colquitt EMC | Page 46 Commercial Banking Company | Page 34 Commercial Cleaning Industries | Page 28 First Federal Savings of Valdosta | Page 27 First State Bank & Trust Co. | Page 34 Fresh Beginnings/ELead1One | Page 38 Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey, P.C. | Page 46 Fusion Creative Marketing | Pages 32 & 33 Georgia Power | Page 27 HeritageBank of the South | Page 29 Herndon Company | Page 15 Langdale Hyundai | Page 19 Options Now | Page 46 Southeastern Federal Credit Union | Page 21 South Georgia Travel | Page 9 South Georgia Vein Centers | Page 3 State Farm Insurance/Christi Marsh | Page 11 U.S. Press | Back Cover Watson’s Pools & Patios | Page 35 Wells Fargo Advisors | Page 11

Publisher: Myrna Ballard Creative Director: Wanda Stanley Chamber Creative Consultant and Cover Photo for Progress: Steven Heddon (Fusion Creative Marketing) Advertising: Trevor Kellogg

- Printing -

- Grand Opening June 18th -

Lunch and late night specials everyday! For catering and tailgate questions call (850-339-8672)

1211 Baytree Road • Valdosta, GA


Summer 2014


The Power of Community.

Committed to You. At Ameris Bank, our customers and the community are always at the center of everything we do. From big-ticket decisions to every-day services, we’re committed to serving our neighbors and supporting the community. Valdosta Location 3140 Inner Perimeter Rd. | 229.241.2851 Quitman Location 1000 W. Screven St. | 229.241.2851

416 North Ashley St. Valdosta, GA 31601 CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Leading Businesses. Leading Communities. TM

US Press

Back Cover Ad

Progress 2014 Summer Issue  

A publication of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce published semi-annually, reaching 4,000+ contacts locally and regionally per issue...

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