Author Archives: Mary Bickerstaff

Star Business of the Week: Hugh Morris Attornery at Law

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce proudly recognizes Hugh Morris Attorney at Law as our esteemed Star Business of the Week. With nearly 20 years of law experience in Albany, Georgia, Hugh Morris has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice for the injured. As a native of Leesburg, Georgia, Hugh’s roots run deep in the Albany area and his dedication to serving those in need is evident in every case he handles. Specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and workers’ compensation cases, Hugh Morris and his team provide compassionate support and expert guidance to clients during what can be a physically and emotionally challenging time. The team at Hugh Morris Attorney at Law offers comprehensive support every step of the way. The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce congratulates Hugh Morris Attorney at Law on this well-deserved recognition and applauds their ongoing dedication to serving our community with integrity and compassion.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Star Business of the Week is sponsored by Fleming & Riles Insurance and WALB News 10. Treats are sponsored by Q’s Cakes.

Star Business of the Week: Jones Welding and Industrial Supply, Inc.

We are thrilled to announce that Jones Welding and Industrial Supply, Inc. has been selected as this week’s Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Star Business of the week! With over three decades of dedicated service, Jones Welding has become synonymous with integrity, reliability, and exceptional customer care. As a family-owned and operated business, they have grown into the largest independently owned distributorship in Georgia, boasting an impressive network of thirteen convenient locations across the region. Their commitment to excellence shines through in their comprehensive range of welding and industrial supplies, including equipment, gases, steel, safety gear, and more. Jones Welding’s steadfast dedication to their customers and community is truly commendable. Let’s celebrate their achievement and continue to support local businesses like Jones Welding and Industrial Supply!

The Albany Area Chamber Star Business of the week is sponsored by Fleming & Riles Insurance and WALB News 10.

2023-2024 Political Leadership Institute

 ALBANY, GA – January 23, 2024 – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the 2023-2024 Albany Area Political Leadership Institute (PLI), a nonpartisan program dedicated to preparing participants for leadership roles on local boards and in elected office. 

The program, now in its second year, welcomed a diverse group of participants who completed a rigorous application process and were hand-selected for their commitment to public service and community engagement. The program’s January 17 graduation ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of the 2023-2024 PLI cohort, consisting of individuals from throughout Albany and the surrounding area. Participants included Renea Miller, Christopher Harvey, Tameeka Daniels, Martez Favis, Dr. Jennifer Williams, Angela Michele Patterson, Kenyetta Simons, Caleb Clugston, and George Houston. 

PLI’s goal is simple and local: To build well-equipped candidates for elected office and appointed boards. Throughout the three-session program, held from November 2023 to January 2024, participants delved into essential topics such as “Government 101,” “Issues of Importance,” and “Appointed Boards and Elected Office.” The curriculum, developed by business leaders in Albany, aims to equip participants with foundational knowledge and skills needed for effective public service leadership. Each program session was followed by networking opportunities with community and business leaders, connecting class participants to those serving the community in a variety of ways. 

Graduates of the 2022-2023 program successfully obtained local appointments, and 2023-2024 graduates are well on their way to expand their public service. 

“Participating in the 2023-2024 Political Leadership Institute has been an enlightening journey for me,” said class participant George Houston, organizational development coach at Phoebe 

Putney Memorial Hospital, president of the Lee County Exchange Club and member of the Board of Elections and Registrations for Lee County. “I entered the program with a commitment to community service. Through this experience, I gained wonderful insights into the intricacies of local governance. The program’s comprehensive curriculum and networking opportunities have left me feeling even more encouraged that normal individuals can indeed make a significant difference in shaping the future of the Albany Area. I am grateful for this empowering experience and look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my continued service to the community.” 

Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, expressed the chamber’s commitment to developing local talent for public service leadership. 

“The Political Leadership Institute serves as an innovative platform to nurture public servants and political newcomers, providing them with essential insights into issues and expectations as they consider elected office candidacy or public board positions,” she said. “The Albany Area Chamber aims to engage more people in public service, to prepare business-minded leaders who have an interest in exploring leadership opportunities on appointed boards or elected office, and to help them discover how their experience, skills and talent could address critical policy issues.” 

Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chairman of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, emphasized the program’s impact on bridging the gap for political newcomers and those interested in public service. 

This program educates and equips future community leaders on the unique demands of governmental leadership,” he said, “helping potential candidates and board members become more attuned to community needs and prepared to meet those needs through strategic action. 

Applications for the 2024-2025 class will open late summer/early fall. Interested individuals should follow the Chamber at and on social media. 

Star Business of the Week: Flint River Fresh, Inc.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is delighted to shine a spotlight on Flint River Fresh Inc., our Star Business of the week, for their exceptional contributions to our community. Flint River Fresh goes above and beyond in ensuring access to fresh, local, affordable, and healthy food for all. Their impactful initiatives include not only creating economic opportunities for local farmers and fostering youth development through agriculture but also actively distributing fresh produce to our community. Through partnerships with local organizations, they connect people to the resources they need to live healthier lives. Flint River Fresh plays a pivotal role in planting community gardens as well as taking the lead on initiatives like the “School Garden to Cafeteria” that focuses on schools growing food for their cafeterias. Their commitment reflects their dedication to creating positive and sustainable change in Albany. Congratulations to Flint River Fresh for this well-deserved recognition as a beacon of positive impact in our community. To learn more about Flint River Fresh, visit or to volunteer please email

Exciting News: Jeretha Peters Named Chair of Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

 Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome Jeretha Peters as the 2024 chair of its Board of Directors. With a distinguished background as the Branch Manager and First Vice President of Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, Peters brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the business community. 

As we stand at the beginning of a new year, many of us are inspired by the idea of change and the prospect of doing things differently to bring about better results, ” she said. “It is with immense gratitude and honor that I assume the role of chair of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. 

“Margaret Mead once said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.’ These words resonate deeply, not only with me, but within the spirit of the Albany Area Chamber as a collective of dedicated individuals and businesses on a journey to impact Albany positively,” Peters said. “We are not just an organization; we are catalysts for change, working to create a community that benefits us all – changing our world for the better. I am both excited and honored to serve our community through the Albany Area Chamber and invite you to join us as we navigate this journey to create a more thriving and prosperous community.” 

Peters is a longstanding member of the Albany Area Chamber and has served in various capacities. She served as chair-elect in 2023 and held a three-year role as chair of the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, where she spearheaded the area’s first business-led initiative focused on fostering a welcoming environment for all. 

“We look forward to this year under Jeretha’s leadership and her focus of fostering innovation, transforming challenges into opportunities and collaborating with those who share a vision for Albany’s future,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber and its 51c3 affiliate, the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “We believe that together with our members and partners we can turn collective resolve into tangible actions that positively impact our community.” 

Ben Maillette, plant manager of Albany’s Molson Coors brewery, is the 2024 chair-elect and will assume the role of chairman in 2025. Peters was preceded in leadership by Perry Revell, CEO of AB&T; the late Chandu Kuntawala; and Don Gray, facilities manager for the city of Albany. Jeff Wright, managing partner at Draffin & Tucker, serves as the Chamber’s treasurer. 

Peters will address the membership at the Chamber’s 114th annual meeting on April 25. 


The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance economic opportunities. With a diverse business community in our corner, the Albany Area Chamber works diligently to serve area businesses, develop strategies that help our community prosper and design the path of Albany’s future. Learn more at 

Albany Aces Soccer Club Pro Indoor Soccer – Tickets on Sale NOW!

Home Season starts February 2, 2024

All Home Games are at the Albany Civic Center


Friday – February 2 @ 7PM

Sunday – March 17 @ 3pm

Sunday – March 24 @ 3pm

Sunday – April 21 @ 3pm

Sunday – April 28 @ 3pm

Sunday – May 5 @ 3pm

VIP Seats $25

General Admission $15

Kids 10 & Under FREE With an Adult

Purchase Tickets at ALBANYACES.COM


Star Business of the Week: Gill’s Inc.

Congratulations to Gill’s for being recognized as the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Star Business of the Week! As a third-generation, locally owned business, Gill’s has been a proud member of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce since 1975. Their commitment to unbeatable prices, quality products, and superior service is evident in every aspect of their business. From no credit needed flexible payment options to free delivery and installation on rent-to-own items, Gill’s goes above and beyond to make the shopping experience convenient and accessible for everyone. The Holiday Deals featured in their 2023 Wishbook (viewable at showcase their dedication to offering fantastic deals on a variety of products. Gill’s is a standout choice for those in the Albany are and beyond looking to elevate their homes. Cheers to Gill’s for this well-deserved recognition!

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Star Business of the week is sponsored by Fleming & Riles Insurance and WALB News 10. Treats are provided by Q’s Cakes.

Star Business of the Week: Garnto Financial Group

Congratulations to Garnto Financial Group for being recognized as the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Star Business of the Week! With over a decade of expertise, Ryan A. Garnto and his team at Garnto Financial Group provide personalized and strategic financial planning services. Their hands-on approach and commitment to customized strategies set them apart. As a proud member of the Albany Area Chamber for 6 years, their active involvement in the community reflects a dedication to fostering local business growth. Ryan believes that all businesses can experience advantages through chamber membership, as a robust chamber serves as a guiding force, illuminating new business prospects and actively supporting the influx of fresh enterprises to our community. Garnto Financial Group’s comprehensive services showcase their commitment to addressing the diverse financial needs of individuals and businesses. Cheers to Garnto Financial Group!

The Star Business of the Week program is sponsored by Fleming & Riles Insurance and WALB News 10. Treats are provided by Q’s Cakes at 2700 Dawson Road in Albany.