Category Archives: Chamber News



Join the Albany Area Chamber for Business After Hours on Tuesday, March 27 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Flats at 249 Downtown. Sponsors Karen Cohilas, State Farm Agent and the Flats at 249 will present a lucky drawing winner with a Kayak Attack trip down the Flint River! Pretoria Fields Collective will be on site for samplings of their kraft beers made right here in Albany.

Small Business & Non-Profit of the Year Nominations



Small Business & Non-Profit Award Nominations 

Do you know a small business owner or non-profit that is deserving of recognition for the perseverance, diligence and courage it takes to have a successful organization? Nominate that business and non-profit organization that works daily to set high standards that successfully provides an exceptional product and/or service, and that represents the very best of business/non-profit in the Albany area.

Award-eligible businesses/non-profits:

  • Must be a current member of the Chamber for a minimum of 3 years
  • Have fewer than 100 employees
  • Can not have won the award in the past 5 years

Nomination Deadline-March 9, 2018

Click here for Small Business Nomination Form.
Click here for Non-Profit Nomination Form.




Aaroh Patel (right) of Deerfield-Windsor School, 2018 Dougherty County STAR Student, with his STAR teacher, Jake Clawson.

Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today hosted the 60th annual Dougherty County Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) luncheon, during which high-achieving high school seniors and their teachers were honored and during which the overall county STAR student was announced.

“The success of our community is directly tied to the success of our students. We’re proud of the significant achievements made by our public and private high school students and honored to be able to recognize them as STAR designees,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

To qualify for STAR competition, a student must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of his or her graduating, class based on grade point average. The STAR teacher is selected by the declared high school STAR student for having made the most significant contribution to the STAR student’s scholastic development. The Albany Area Chamber plays no role in determining the school STAR students nor the overall Dougherty County STAR student.

The 2018 STAR students and teachers are:

  • Avry Fulford, Byne Christian School; teacher: Tonya Germany
  • Aaroh Kalpesh Patel, Deerfield-Windsor School; teacher: Jake Clawson
  • Carterion Lamon Whitlock, Dougherty Comprehensive High School; teacher: Matthew Peters
  • Anthony George Eafford, Monroe Comprehensive High School; teacher: Suzanne Bridges
  • Sidney Elleon Reid, Monroe Comprehensive High School; teacher: Subha Roy Vidyadharan
  • Casey Gregors, Sherwood Christian Academy; teacher: Sabrina Davidson
  • Dylan Wade Holland, Westover Comprehensive High School; teacher: Thomas Amos

At the luncheon, Aaroh Kalpesh Patel of Deerfield-Windsor School was announced as the 2018 Dougherty County STAR student. He will represent Dougherty County at the Region 9 STAR luncheon on March 28 at South Georgia Technical College in Americus.

For 60 years, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the Dougherty County STAR student program, which was started by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to focus public attention on Georgia’s outstanding scholars and the teachers who help shape them. Today, the STAR program is facilitated by the PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators) Foundation.

The STAR program offers awards totaling more than $34,000 at the district and state levels of competition.







Albany Dougherty Day 2018, Georgia Capitol


Atlanta — Community and business leaders were in Atlanta Tuesday and Wednesday meeting with top state officials and sharing the community’s story as part of Albany-Dougherty Day at the Georgia Capitol, an annual legislative event organized by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Keeping the needs and priorities of Albany-Dougherty County and the Albany Area top of mind with our state leaders in Atlanta is important for facilitating opportunities and increasing awareness about our assets as a region,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “This week in Atlanta we promoted Albany-Dougherty County, we demonstrated our cross-sector and public-private partnerships, we highlighted our advancements in economic and work force development, and we had important conversations about where we are headed as a community and region, and the role that the state plays in that.”

Members of the locally-elected legislative delegation  — Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and Reps. Gerald Greene, Winfred Dukes, Ed Rynders and Darrel Ealum — participated in the event, presented resolutions to the Georgia Senate and the Georgia House of Representatives and welcomed members of the community leadership to address both legislative chambers.

Community leadership met with state officials including Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, House Speaker David Ralston, University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Christopher Nunn and Jay Roberts, director of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“We have been intentional in building and broad strong relationships with our state leaders and having honest discussions about our community, region and state,” Holmes said. “This has facilitated investments and assistance, fostered understanding and respect, and created mutually-beneficial partnerships.”

Albany-Dougherty Day is one component of the chamber’s legislative advocacy program, which includes the development of a state legislative agenda; professional representation at the state and federal Capitols by Cornerstone Government Affairs; and ongoing federal advocacy for Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

The Albany-Dougherty delegation was made up of members of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany CEO; Albany Technical College; Albany State University; the city of Albany; the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Georgia Power; Horizons Community Solutions; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. The chamber’s legislative program is supported by these partners as well as the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau and Procter & Gamble.

Local leaders will meet with the Congressional delegation in March in Washington, D.C., to discuss federal priorities. Leaders will also meet with officials at the Pentagon.

 More photos here.


Open House & After Hours Reception

You are invited to an Open House & After Hours Reception Thursday, February 8, 2018, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Phoebe Learning Center on 311 Third Avenue, Albany. Be present to win a $100 drawing from the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. Tours of Flaggstone will be available. Hear from residents on their experience at Phoebe and in Albany.


January 2018 Business After Hours

Join us for the January Business After Hours at Merry Acres Event Center, hosted by WALB. They are so excited to be able give a sneak peek of the winter Olympics. They will have door prizes and a “GO TEAM USA” photo booth! Meet new contacts, promote your business and build relationships within the community. Grab a co-worker or friend and join us for the fun!

Chamber-CVB structure benefits Albany, taxpayers

By Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO
Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau

Structure matters. It matters in art, it matters in engineering, and it matters in organizations. The discussion around the governance structure of the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) is an important one for the city of Albany, for its tax-paying citizens and tax-paying businesses, and for its dollars-spending visitors.

The ACVB, under the governance of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, has nurtured a flourishing tourism industry. Most recently, a Carl Vinson Institute of Government study commissioned by the city of Albany reported that the ACVB is performing well; is utilizing its funds for their intended purpose; has well respected and capable staff; is employing the industry’s best practices; and has a broad stakeholder input.

The ACVB is funded through the hotel-motel tax that is generated through hotel stays in Albany. The ACVB is allocated $725,000, or 31 percent, of the hotel-motel tax revenue ($2.4 million, FY 2017) that is received by the city of Albany. The Albany Area Chamber provides well-document professional services to the ACVB. It provides savings to taxpayers through shared operational services; comprehensive benefits for employees; and below market-value professional services. The Albany Area Chamber also provides executive leadership and business-led volunteer board leadership to the ACVB.

The ACVB cultivates local events — such as the Albany Snickers Marathon and Half Marathon — and works with attractions, restaurants and hoteliers. Through effective visitor and attractions marketing, sports marketing and hospitality programs, the ACVB reaches an internal audience and promotes Albany to an external audience. This draws tourists, sporting events, conferences, meetings, reunions to Albany, where people stay in our hotels; book our conference centers; utilize our facilities and services; enjoy our recreation, nature-based and outdoor activities; visit our attractions and cultural amenities; shop in our retail stores and dine in our restaurants.

There’s a feel-good component to welcoming visitors to Albany and having them enjoy our community. There’s also a lot of dollars and jobs associated with that. For the July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017 period, the city of Albany, which imposes an 8 percent hotel-motel tax on lodging, recognized $2,335,898 in revenue through the hotel-motel tax (Source: city of Albany). That’s an increase of $399,743 or 22 percent, over the July 1, 2015- June 30, 2016, period (collections of $1,936,155; source: Georgia Department of Community Affairs).

Albany’s tourism industry is growing; according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, in 2016, the industry had an economic impact of $244 million, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, in 2016 Albany supported 4,880 hospitality-related jobs, a growth of 14.5 percent since 2012. This growth — in the hotel-motel tax revenue, in tourism-related economic impact, in hospitality-related jobs — isn’t without intention nor without the effective work of the ACVB.

The city of Albany is examining a policy change to the structure of Albany’s well-performing ACVB — that is, to potentially remove it from under the umbrella of its parent agency, the Albany Area Chamber, by terminating its contract with the chamber and creating a new corporation that would contract directly with the city of Albany. The Albany City Commission will vote on this matter during meetings that start at 6 p.m. Monday, January 8.

The existing relationship of an Albany Area Chamber-led — a business led — Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has facilitated growth in Albany’s tourism industry. The existing relationship is good for the city of Albany, its citizens and its businesses.

The Chamber-CVB structure works. The Chamber-CVB structure works well for our community and our taxpayers. And structure matters.

Albany City Commission

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
Home: 229-435-5107
Cell: 229-407-0635

Commissioner Jon Howard, Ward 1
Home: 229-436-1102
Cell: 229-344-1769

Commissioner Bobby Coleman, Ward II
Cell: 229-343-0668

Commissioner BJ Fletcher, Ward III
Cell: 229-854-9443

Commissioner Roger Marietta, Ward IV
Office: 229-317-6808
Home: 229-878-0944
Cell: 229-894-2425

Commissioner Bob Langstaff Jr., Ward V
Cell: 229-343-7617
Fax: 229-436-5729

Commissioner Tommie Postell, Ward VI
Home: 229-432-2481
Cell: 229-347-2903

Holmes Appointed to Board of Regents

Gov. Deal Appoints Chamber President to Board of Regents
Bárbara Rivera Holmes named regent of University System of Georgia

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Albany Area Chamber President and CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. This appointment will be effective January 1, 2018.

“I am honored to be appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the Board of Regents. I look forward to working with my fellow regents and the chancellor to strengthen Georgia’s higher education landscape, which is foundational for economic growth and opportunities,” said Holmes.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia was created in 1931 as a part of a reorganization of Georgia’s state government. The governor appoints members of the board to a seven-year term and regents may be reappointed to subsequent terms by a sitting governor. Regents voluntarily donate their time and expertise to serve the state through their governance of the University System of Georgia. The board oversees the public colleges and universities that comprise the University System of Georgia and has oversight of the Georgia Archives and the Georgia Public Library System.

Holmes will represent the Second Congressional District. Other appointed and reappointed board members include Don L. Waters, First Congressional District; C. Thomas Hopkins Jr., M.D., Third Congressional District; W. Allen Gudenrath, Eighth Congressional District; and Erin Hames, At-Large representative.

For more information on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, please visit