Author Archives: Barbara Rivera Holmes

Albany Area Chamber hosts Albany-Dougherty Day at Capitol

 

February 25, 2021

 

Albany Area Chamber hosts Albany-Dougherty Day at state capital

Chamber-led community delegation advocates opportunities, policies, resources

 

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce this week led a diverse delegation of local leaders from the public and private sectors to Atlanta as part of the Chamber’s long-standing Albany-Dougherty Day, a government affairs advocacy program that uniquely positions the community’s opportunities and partnerships and showcases the impact of its leadership and innovation.

The legislative event highlighted Albany’s resiliency during discussions with key state decision makers and partners — including the office of Gov. Brian Kemp, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Albany Area legislative delegation — who noted the community’s exemplary and decisive response to managing the pandemic; its role as a leader in rural innovation and rural health care; its efforts to expand rural broadband service and reliability throughout the Albany Area; and its economic opportunities in the growing areas of manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and health care services.

“Through vision and action Albany has positioned itself as a statewide leader in collaborative partnerships, resiliency and innovation. Our present is exciting; our future more so,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s largest business advocacy organization. “The Albany Area Chamber will continue to accelerate impact by leveraging partnerships and opportunities; convening and connecting stakeholders and leaders; and driving transformational change for Albany and the Albany Area.”

The Albany Area Chamber’s 2021 pro-business legislative priorities include investing in rural broadband and rural innovation, which is critical to supporting educational attainment, economic growth and utilization of telehealth services; the expansion of the health care professional pipeline to ensure Georgia has the work force to provide the care and services citizens need, and supporting telemedicine to increase access to care for rural Georgians; small business liability protections; support incentives and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses, that expand access to resources and that have proven to assist companies in investing and expanding their footprint in Georgia, which has been ranked the No. 1 state for business eight years in a row.

The local leadership delegation included representatives from the Commodore Conyers College & Career Academy; AB&T; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany Area Primary Health Care; Albany Technical College; the city of Albany; Dougherty County; Georgia CEO; LRA Constructors; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Phoebe Putney Health System; and the office of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany.

Albany-Dougherty Day is a component of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, chaired by Jake Reese, vice president of LRA Constructors in Albany.

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From 2021 Chairman 2021 Matt Reed

Dear Chamber Members,
Thank you for your continued membership and support of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
Historically, this time of year at the Chamber are some of the busiest months on our calendar. We traditionally kick off the new year by transferring the chairman’s gavel during our January annual meeting and celebrating the accomplishments of the past year. We look forward to hosting our 111th annual meeting in a new way in spring, and as we are able, to hosting other relevant events that highlight our community and our businesses.
This upcoming year sets a new course for the Albany Area Chamber. The Chamber’s recently adopted new strategic plan, #ImpactABY2023, lays the groundwork for continued sustainability and relevance in an ever-changing world and for engagement on a whole new level from our Chamber to you — our members and stakeholders. I want to thank 2020 Chairman Perry Revell, who led our strategic planning effort, along with our Chamber staff and the board for their tireless work on this endeavor. We look forward to sharing details of the plan with you soon along with opportunities to participate in this important work.
This last year brought unprecedented challenges to all businesses, including my own, but I am so thankful to live in this community with some of the best leaders that we could ask for. One thing is for sure: When people from throughout the state ask how Albany is faring, I am always encouraged that no matter what is thrown at us, especially these past few years, we have always persevered. The public health crisis is not over; please keep our leaders and frontline workers in your prayers as they continue to battle this most recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Thank you for you again for your engagement in the Albany Area Chamber. Know that we are here to support you and your business and welcome the opportunity to do so.
All the best,
Matt

Highlighting the Albany Area Chamber’s 2021 State Legislative Agenda

 

Advocating for a healthy business climate is a programmatic pillar of what we do at the Albany Area Chamber. On Monday, the Georgia General Assembly gaveled in the 2021 legislative session. Georgia is the No. 1 state for business, and has been eight years in a row; the prosperity of the Albany Area and Southwest Georgia contributes to that historic ranking. The Albany Area Chamber will continue actively advocating policy to enhance the Albany Area’s business environment and its quality of life — and, that of Georgia.

Prior to the beginning of the session, the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC), led by GAC Chairman Jake Reese of LRA Constructors, worked through the fall of 2020 developing our 2021 State Legislative Agenda. This set of priorities was approved by the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors in November 2020. Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, presented the priorities to the Albany Area state legislative delegation during a pre-session meeting with other business and community organizations, and strategic partners.

The Albany Area Chamber’s state legislative priorities are listed below. As the 2021 legislative session begins, we want to say how much we appreciate the opportunity to work with our Albany Area state delegation — Senator Freddie Powell Sims and Representatives Gerald Greene, Winfred Dukes, CaMia Hopson and Bill Yearta — and other state leaders, as we have for many years, to advance our priorities.

2021 STATE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Funding Priorities

  • $6.9 million for construction of the regional health professions simulation lab at Albany State University, which would create increased opportunities for health professions students and better equip them to enter the work force
  • $8 million for the Diesel Equipment & Auto Collision Demonstration Center at Albany Technical College, which would reduce the transportation worker shortage by allowing additional space and program enhancements for diesel technology, automotive collision, automotive technology, and commercial truck driving
  • $964,000 to continue supporting Math Corps, an AmeriCorps program designed to improve math skills for students in grades K-8

Pro-Business Priorities and Positions

Rural Health Care

  • Support initiatives that expand the health professions pipeline, including appropriate licensure reform to grow Georgia’s health care work force and increased investments in educational programs that support Georgia’s health care industry
  • Support appropriate reimbursement rates for telemedicine services to increase access to care for all patients
  • Support efforts that address mental and behavioral health gaps in rural communities
  • Support initiatives and investments that expand access to care and strengthen our regional health care delivery system, such as through the expansion of telemedicine
  • Support efforts to enhance Georgia’s trauma care network

Internet & Broadband

  • Expand broadband capacity in rural and underserved areas through public-private investment and incentives. Access to and reliable Internet impact education, health care, national defense and commerce. 

Business Climate & Economic Development

  • Support programs and initiatives that remove barriers for small businesses and expand access to resources
  • Maintain current tax incentives, which have proven to assist companies in investing and expanding their footprint in Georgia
  • Maintain the state film tax credit, which supports Georgia’s $9.5 billion film industry
  • Expand the Rural Quality Job Tax Credit to all Tier 1-lowest 40 communities
  • Support state partnerships for greenfield projects that promote regionalism and enhance quality of life, tourism, wellness, and economic development
  • Oppose policies that would have a discriminatory effect on Georgia’s ability to grow the economy and maintain a reputation as a leader for global commerce

Education, Talent & Work Force

  • Maintain Albany State University as a component of the University System of Georgia
  • Support policies that improve college persistence and completion rates to provide an employable and adaptable workforce
  • Invest in methods that improve third-grade math and literacy outcomes

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  • Support the investments and the development of programs and policies that facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation in rural communities

 Transportation

  • Support investments to expand and modernize transportation infrastructure
  • Support education and training programs that expand the transportation work force
  • Support partnerships and investments in infrastructure improvements 

Military & Defense

  • Support policies, investments and partnerships that strengthen Georgia’s military installations and their communities, as well as service members and their families

Natural Resources

  • Preserve & enhance access to high-quality, affordable water supplies for businesses and communities in the Albany Area and Southwest Georgia

Albany Area Chamber announces Albany Under 40 category winners

 

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bárbara Rivera Holmes
229.434.8700

December 31, 2020

 

Albany Area Chamber announces 2020 ‘Albany Under 40’ category winners

 

Albany, Ga.– The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today announced the 2020 Albany Under 40 category winners, selected from among the category finalists previously announced. Albany Under 40 honors and celebrates the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals in a variety of business sectors, each representing a component of the area’s diversified talent pool and economy.

“The Albany Area is home to young leaders who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through their innovation and through their participation in building a stronger community and region,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “Through Albany Under 40, we’re honored to recognize our area’s diverse and outstanding professionals who everyday contribute to our thriving community and region.”

“We know that people are at the heart of our businesses, our organizations and our community. The 2020 Albany Under 40 professionals represent the incredible and growing talent of our local and regional work force,” said Zan Waldon-Cooley, the volunteer Leadership Division Chair of the Albany Area Chamber and the Albany Under 40 program coordinator. Waldon is the Workforce Development Specialist, Workforce Planning & Analysis Branch Chief at Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany.

Nominations for Albany Under 40 were sought from the public. Finalists were considered from among the nominees who applied, and were selected, following selections criteria, by a panel of volunteer judges: Jessica Nicole Dorsey, iHeart Radio; Pamela Green-Jackson, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Jeretha Peters, Wells Fargo Advisors; Daniel Stone, Synovus; Brianna Wilson, Southern Point Staffing; Milan Patel, Indusa Investments; Clifton Bush, Albany Area Primary Health Care; Alvita Swain; Strive 2 Thrive; Jacqueline Nicholson, Albany State University; Rob Collins, NEOS Technologies; Tau Kadhi, Albany State University.

Category winners were selected from among the category finalists. The 2020 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year, selected by the volunteer panel from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber’s 111th annual meeting, the details of which are to be announced.

 

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Albany Area Chamber announces 2020 Albany Under 40 finalists

 

Albany Area Chamber announces 2020 ‘Albany Under 40’ finalists

 

Albany, Ga.– The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today announced the finalists of the 2020 Albany Under 40 awards, a program that honors and celebrates the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals in a variety of business sectors, each representing a component of the area’s diversified talent pool and economy.

“The Albany Area is home to young leaders who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through their innovation and through their participation in building a stronger community and region,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “We’re honored to recognize these diverse, outstanding professionals — this talent — and proud they’ve chosen to live, work and invest in the Albany Area.”

“We know that people are at the heart of our businesses, our organizations and our community. The 2020 Albany Under 40 finalists represent the incredible and growing talent of our local work force,” said Zan Waldon, the volunteer Leadership Division Chair of the Albany Area Chamber and the Albany Under 40 program coordinator. Waldon is the Workforce Development Specialist, Workforce Planning & Analysis Branch Chief at Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany.

Nominations for Albany Under 40 were sought from the public. Finalists were considered from among the nominees who applied, and were selected, following selections criteria, by a panel of volunteer judges: Jessica Nicole Dorsey;  iHeart Radio; Pamela Green-Jackson, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Jeretha Peters, Wells Fargo Advisors; Daniel Stone, Synovus; Brianna Wilson, Southern Point Staffing; Milan Patel, Indusa Investments; Clifton Bush, Albany Area Primary Health Care; Alvita Swain; Strive 2 Thrive; Jacqueline Nicholson, Albany State University; Rob Collins, NEOS Technologies; Tau Kadhi, Albany State University.

Category winners, selected from among the category finalists, will be announced soon. The 2020 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year, selected by the volunteer panel from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber’s 111th annual meeting, the details of which are to be announced.

 

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Albany Area Chamber recognizes Bishop Clean Care, Open Arms with top honors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 13, 2020

 

Albany Area Chamber Recognizes

2020 Small Business of the Year and 2020 Nonprofit of the Year

 

Albany — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced Bishop Clean Care as its 2020 Small Business of the Year and Open Arms as its 2020 Nonprofit of the Year.

 

“Successful small businesses are cornerstones of our community. They create jobs, they invest, they participate, they shape the business landscape and they add to the vibrancy of our quality of life. Our nonprofits likewise play a vital role by focusing resources and providing services to community needs without regard to profit,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “During a year in which small businesses and nonprofits have been especially tested, these two sectors continue to demonstrate their value, their impact and their resiliency, and we as an Albany Area community are stronger because of them.”

Small businesses have big impact, Holmes said. For every $100 spent at a small, locally-owned business, $68 stay within the local economy. Those dollars help create jobs, support families, fund public sector service and programs, provide investment for neighborhood improvements and promote development in our community.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, two out of three net new jobs are created by small businesses, substantiating why small businesses have long been hailed as the backbone of the American free enterprise system, and why the commercial fortitude of communities is often judged by the ability of their small businesses to thrive. In Georgia, 99.6 percent of all businesses are small and employ 43.1 percent of the private sector work force, or 1.7 million people (source, 2020 Georgia Small Business Profile, SBA). Statewide, firms employing fewer than 20 people saw the greatest job gains, with annual net new job creation of 38,017.

Nationally, nonprofits employ 10 percent of the American work force and provide 5.5 percent of our gross domestic product, Holmes said. They provide an avenue for people to dedicate their time, talents and treasure to making a difference. As the regional hub of commerce and service, Albany is home to many nonprofits, and every year, new ones are established; they are a presence in the area’s quality of life and economy.

“Each year we are humbled by the stories of sacrifice, success, impact and resiliency shared by our small businesses and our nonprofits,” said Perry Revell, chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors and senior vice president at AB&T. “You make us proud, and we appreciate all you do.”

 

About Bishop Clean Care

Bishop Clean Care is a residential and commercial cleaning company servicing the Southwest Georgia community for more than 65 years. Services include cleaning of carpet, tile, rugs, and drapery as well as mold removal and air duct cleaning.

 

Notable Fact: Ten days after quickly mobilizing their teams to provide emergency services to their customers in the wake of Hurricane Michael, Bishop Clean Care experienced a fire that resulted in the loss of their building. The business relaunched within 48 hours and resumed serving the community in the post hurricane cleanup.  Bishop Clean Care has been in business 68 years, has been an Albany Area Chamber member for 56 years and employs 108 people.

 

 

About Open Arms

It is the mission of Open Arms to bring healing, hope and help to children, adults and their families in need of support, intervention and prevention as a result of child abuse in all its forms.

 

Notable Fact: In the past year alone, Open Arms has moved 206 people from homelessness and abusive homes into safe and stable housing. By providing services and housing, Open Arms helps decrease the community’s costs in caring for this population. Open Arms has operated for 29 years and has been a Chamber member for six years.

 

The awards program is led by volunteers of the Albany Area Chamber’s Small Business Development & Membership Committee. All finalists for the small business and the nonprofit honors were featured in the latest edition of Biz, the Albany Area Chamber’s award-winning magazine.

 

 

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Albany Area Chamber-led campaign supports safety, expands business resources

 

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700

bholmes@albanyga.com

 

August 27, 2020

 

Albany Area Chamber-led campaign supports safety, expands business resources

#StrongerTogetherABY engages public, unifies economic recovery tools

 

Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today launched #StrongerTogetherABY, an action-led campaign that encourages resident and business participation in recommended guidelines known stop the spread of the coronavirus and that expands access to business resources and training that support return-to-work guidelines and the sustainable reopening of the economy.

The goal of the campaign is to drive participation in safety guidelines in order keep people healthy and restore the economy. Businesses that make the promise at www.StrongerTogetherABY.com commit to being a partner in stopping the spread of the virus by providing a safer environment for their employees and their customers. Participating businesses will receive face masks, hand sanitizer and free access to the Unified Standards COVID-19 safety training for their employees, along with marketing materials to promote their business as a #StrongerTogetherABY partner. The campaign invites consumers to positively support businesses that adhere to safety guidelines.

“The economic recovery of Albany and Albany Area depends on the health and safety of everyone in our community. The comeback begins with us; every person and every business is accountable to do their part,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business organization. “#StrongerTogetherABY fosters a healthier community by driving participation, providing businesses with PPE and expanding access to work force training that creates safer environments and boosts consumer confidence. Through this initiative we aim to mobilize residents and businesses to combat the pandemic, together. To advance our economic recovery and build our resiliency, together. To move forward, faster and safer, together.”

The communications component of the campaign includes a new website with resources and support for businesses; public service announcements in local media outlets; donated advertising space from corporate partners; donated PPE; publicity and social media programs to involve residents; and support from local governments, businesses and agencies to share the message.

#StrongerTogetherABY was developed by the Albany Area Chamber and is supported through collaboration from numerous public and private partners, including The Levee Studios and its Unified Standards training program that’s designed to work within the state-mandated requirements for 17 business sectors and create basic online training for safe work operations amid COVID-19. Unified Standards brings all essential requirements together in one easy-to-download app. It is built on the latest virtual training technologies and delivers a dashboard of video programs, testing documents, recommended best practices and detailed strategies to help businesses expedite their reopening, follow guidelines and spur economic recovery.

“Employers and employees need to know the guidelines and how to follow them in order to create a safer environment that restores work force confidence and consumer confidence,” said Blake Cook, co-owner and co-founder of The Levee Studios and Unified Standards. “Unified Standards provides easy-to-implement work force safety training that adheres to the guidelines now and as they evolve.”

The Albany Area Chamber and Unified Standards have also partnered with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to launch #StrongerTogetherGA to engage businesses statewide and support Georgia’s economic recovery.

“The Albany Area Chamber’s #StrongerTogetherABY call-to-action campaign packages the resources and education that businesses and communities need to move forward safely and reignite their economies,” said Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber, the state’s largest business organization. “Strong local economies support a strong state economy. By partnering on #StrongerTogetherGA, we’re exponentially expanding the actions and access to resources that will advance our state’s economic recovery and support its long-term resiliency.”

To learn more about the campaign and the resources available to businesses, visit www.StrongerTogetherABY.com. To learn more about Unified Standards, visit www.UnifiedStandards.com, where reprensentatives are available via chat to answer questions.

 

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is strengthening the area’s assets and businesses and leveraging the power of partnerships to create opportunities that establish a new path forward for all. The trends and issues on which the Chamber is focused – small business innovation and entrepreneurship; economic development; advocacy; talent development; recovery and resiliency – are more important than ever. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1910. Learn more at albanyga.com or call (229) 434-8700.

 

Chamber Chair: A Future-Focused Chamber

A Future-Focused Chamber 

 

When, during its 110th annual meeting in January 2020, I assumed the role of chairman of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, I did so with clarity about the responsibility of the role and an appreciation for the expectations of the membership, the needs of the community, the capabilities of our staff and the Chamber’s forward focus. 

“This meeting is a time for us to look back, but it’s also a time for us to look ahead. A time to see what was, and to vision what will be,” I shared then with an audience of business and community leaders. “Twenty-twenty (2020) will prove to be a pivotal year for our Chamber. The Board has worked diligently with staff to think strategically, and to reimagine and redirect the future of our Chamber. Like for many of the organizations we serve, the business environment demands we evolve, so it’s no longer business as usual. The future is ours for the taking.” 

Through extensive research and feedback from our stakeholders, we knew then that the forward issues on which we would focus were the right priorities for our members and our community.  We knew we needed to be more responsive and also more proactive; more strategically focused and also broader in reach. We knew we needed to be a nimbler, more agile organization, in order to meet the needs of the membership and to advance the issues before us.  

Some consistent themes emerged: Being intentionally inclusive across various facets of the business community. Strengthening communications, and our member, community and regional outreach. Providing leadership in small business development, workforce development. Stepping forward as a convener and a purpose-driven organization, with the idea to build on past successes to become more relevant locally, regionally and statewide,” I said. “With a new mission and vision, we can become a future-focused Chamber poised to serve as a key organization, not just today but well into the future. As a result, our priorities are clear and our objectives meaningful as we seek to become a Chamber positioned for future success.” 

And so here we are, well into the fast-tracked future, executing a vision and a strategy we knew then was transformational, and evolving quickly and strategically to facilitate Albany’s economic recovery and to ensure its long-term economic resiliency. 

We, like you — our members, our businesses, our community — have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in every way. And we, like you, have adapted. Our investments in board and staff development, member outreach, relationships, digital communications and technology have allowed us to transition operations and programs from predominantly in-person to a virtual/hybrid model. We’re hosting meetings online, offering our programs and events virtually, connecting you with resources and experts and officials — all from our computers to yours. You’re tuning in, learning, engaging, connecting and providing feedback. We’re developing new programs. We’re leveraging the online platform to expand our reach, be more inclusive, provide our resources to more businesses and to more quickly advance key areas for our members, our Chamber and our community. And we’re doing this not from our traditional work desks. 

Since 1991, our home has been at 225 West Broad Avenue in the heart of downtown Albany.  Since March, our HQ has been 225 West Broad Avenue, but our get-it-done work office has been any address, physical or virtual, that allows us to serve our members, support our community and meet our mission. We’ve worked remotely without sacrificing our responsiveness to our members. We’ve been here. Open. And working for you. 

In 2019, the Chamber Board of Directors and staff committed themselves not just to vision and strategy, but to operational excellence in order to better carry out our mission. With everything on the table, we allowed ourselves to envision a future in which 225 West Broad Avenue wasn’t our home. What 2020 has proven to us, and to you, is that we are an organization without walls. We can serve you, and serve you well, from anywhere. Our commitment to Albany lies not in our physical space, but in our purpose: To create a thriving community.   

 And so, it is with confidence in our present, and with confidence in our future, that we are pursuing the sale of our historic property at 225 West Broad Avenue. Our hope is that its future purpose will be as impactful as its present.  And, while we know we can work from anywhere – even from home, we do appreciate and value a physical presence in our community, a versatile working space, a space to convene, for collaboration, and are exploring options in Albany’s central district. 

In the months to follow, you can expect the Albany Area Chamber to continue serving you while we pursue the sale of 225 West Broad Avenue.  And you can expect your Chamber to continue evolving. To continue innovating. To continue launching. To continue leading. To continue being your advocate and your champion; your resource and your advantage; your connector and your convener. 

This year marks our 110th anniversary.  This year marks our new future.   

I’m grateful to serve alongside you.   

 

Perry Revell is the 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, and Executive Vice President at AB&T.

 

Chamber-led delegations meets with federal officials

 

PRESS RELEASE                                                                 

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2020

 

Albany-Dougherty Leaders Meet with Congressional Delegation, Marines

Albany Area Chamber-led program convenes local leaders, federal officials

 

Albany – Business and community leaders met Tuesday with federal officials during the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Washington, D.C., Fly In,” an annual legislative event that connects  local leaders with federal partners to put before them the issues that impact Albany and the Albany Area. The long-standing program that builds relationships and communicates priorities was hosted virtually due to restrictions stemming from the pandemic.

 

“The Albany Area Chamber’s public policy initiatives are more important than ever to ensure we’re connecting with our federal partners in real time about the issues that impact our community’s recovery and resiliency — from ongoing aid for our small businesses to incentivizing domestic manufacturing to investing in the expansion of broadband to support the Albany Area’s robust advancements in commerce, education, health care and national defense,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our community is strong and innovative, and we see opportunities ahead that will strengthen us further and position us more competitively. We will continue to work closely with our Congressional leadership to support the programs and initiatives that create more opportunities for our citizens.”

 

The local delegation had virtual meetings with U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany and Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, along with Georgia’s Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler. During the call with Sen. Perdue, the Albany Area Chamber partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to recognize the senator’s receipt of the U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award, given in recognition of his support for pro-growth policies in the second session of the 115th Congress.

 

A key priority of the Albany Area Chamber is supporting the mission and capabilities of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and its major tenant, Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command. A virtual meeting with U.S. Marine Corps leadership at the Pentagon, which included Lt. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, allowed for discussion of key areas including utilization of 5G technology aboard the installation to support the modernization of the industrial base and enhance mission-readiness capabilities such as talent development, 3D printing and micro manufacturing, and advanced weapons systems maintenance, storage and sustainment.

 

“Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is vital to the mission of the United States Marine Corps, and has been since the installation was established in 1954,” said Col. Dan Gillan, USMC (Ret), who chairs the Albany Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and serves as CEO of the Albany Area YMCA. “The base and command are leading innovators within the Corps. Ongoing investments are needed to equip and sustain our facilities and our Marines — from investments in technology to investments in the work force. As a community and as a Military Affairs Committee, we have and will continue to stand behind our Marines in leading the support for these and other areas of priorities. Our Marines and Civilian Marines live in this community that we call home and we will do what is necessary to further connections and be a voice of support.

 

Fly In participants included business-sector leadership represented by LRA Constructors, AB&T and Georgia CEO; and leadership from the city of Albany; Albany Area Chamber; Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Phoebe Putney Hospital System; the Chamber’s long-standing Military Affairs Committee; as well as representatives from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command.

 

“We thank our local partners for engaging in this meaningful work and presenting a united force to our leaders in Washington,” said Jake Reese, chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and vice president of Albany-based LRA Constructors. “We had intensely relevant discussions about where we’ve been and where we’re headed, and the partnerships required. It’s all very encouraging. Albany is well positioned.”

 

The Albany Area Chamber is represented in Washington, D.C., by Cornerstone Government Affairs.

 

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Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

229-434-8700

bholmes@albanyga.com

 

Chamber CEO: Let’s reimagine and redefine what we can be

On Economic Recovery, Reimagination and Resiliency

 

Albany has demonstrated time and again that it can withstand a crisis, unite in its wake and emerge stronger in its aftermath. We are innovative, compassionate and resilient. We don’t need to reinvent who we are. We need to reimagine and redefine what we can be.

By Bárbara Rivera Holmes

President & CEO

Bárbara Rivera Holmes
President & CEO

 

Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet and theologian, thoughtfully wrote that a wound is the place where the light enters you. The concept is most often visualized within the context of personal healing and growth, but it also beautifully applies to our community. Now, through this difficult time, we must recover in a way that allows us to improve our economic competitiveness and resiliency, and create new pathways for our citizens.

 

In January, at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s 110th annual meeting, I shared with more than 400 business and civic leaders the challenges and opportunities on which our organization would focus in order to advance economic sustainability and prosperity for our community and our region. In February, we launched the community’s first comprehensive work force strategy. The forward trends and issues within our focus areas — small business innovation and entrepreneurship; economic development; inclusivity and advocacy; talent and work force training — are now more important. Urgent, even. The environment has accelerated, and so must our response. Because COVID-19 didn’t just present a health crisis; it hit fast forward on a socioeconomic paradigm shift.

 

The disruptions in global supply chains, the changes in consumer behavior, the development of social distancing guidelines, the limitations on travel, the broad implementation of telework — these are challenges in what is becoming the old economy. The opportunities — onshoring production for domestic security, a preference for locally-sourced goods and foods, closer-to-home leisure travel, an increase in automation and demand for high-tech skills, flexibility to work from anywhere, a surge in gig jobs — exist within the emerging new economy.

 

Upskilling and diversifying the existing work force, and creating, retaining and recruiting talent, will create exponential growth opportunities. Spending more dollars locally than abroad and online will allow them to recirculate within our economy, which will mean stronger small businesses, offsets to tax hikes and improvements to critical infrastructure. Helping our existing industries grow and recruiting new ones will strengthen our economic anchors, expand the tax base and provide more jobs.

 

The Albany Area Chamber is working with community partners to frame the conversations around economic recovery and resiliency. Together, we responded decisively and innovatively in the face of the health crisis. Together, we are supporting businesses through reopening. Now, as we write the next chapter of Albany’s history, together we must move forward.

 

COVID-19 has wounded us. We can recover, and we will. We can also reimagine and redefine what we can be. We can regenerate as more inclusive and resilient and vibrant. We can let the light enter us.

 

Bárbara Rivera Holmes is president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.