Category Archives: Chamber News

Albany Area Chamber Foundation donates to Albany Crime Stoppers as part of public safety efforts

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 24, 2021

 

Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber Foundation, a 501©3 affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, today presented Albany Crime Stoppers with a nearly $13,000 contribution as part of the business advocacy organization’s ongoing public safety efforts.

“The Albany Area Chamber and its Foundation have engaged in discussions with businesses, local officials, law enforcement and judicial partners to explore how the business community can partner and make an impact in crime and public safety,” said Perry Revell, chairman if the Albany Area Chamber Foundation Board of Directors and immediate past president of the Albany Area Chamber. “Beyond our foundational work to support business growth and a healthy and prosperous community, we identified Albany Crime Stoppers as an opportunity.”

Albany Crime Stoppers is a local community action program that encourages citizens who see something to say something and provides cash rewards to anonymous callers for information leading to arrest and conviction.

In 2020, the Chamber engaged public officials in ongoing conversations about crime.

“The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, the region’s leading business advocate, represents the unified interests and concerns of Albany and Albany Area businesses of all sizes and sectors. Collectively, the business community is increasingly and urgently concerned about crime in our community, its impact to safety and its impact on the economy,” the organization stated in an October 14, 2020, letter to officials. “The business community believes in actionable solutions. We believe in partnership and in collaboration. As such, we seek to engage with you in a transparent discussion around crime in Albany, and together work to address this issue. We recognize that, as with many other complex issues, progress can be advanced through the commitment of stakeholders who share a common goal.”

The impact of crime, both real and perceived, is broad — from citizen pride, population growth and access to talent; to business investment and business success; to tourism and travel; and internal and external perception.

“We must create and sustain a community in which businesses want to invest and people want to live. A safe environment for families, for visitors and for businesses is crucial to that goal and central for Albany’s growth and prosperity,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Business involvement and collaborative partnerships are powerful tools. We’re grateful to our Albany Area Chamber businesses whose investment supports Albany Crime Stoppers and whose leadership enables so much of the work in which we’re collectively engaged.”

The $12,850 contribution from the Albany Area Chamber Foundation was complemented by a $5,000 contribution from Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards, with whom the Chamber is working.

“Albany Crime Stoppers is a powerful community-based crime solving program that is committed to increasing the safety of our citizens and partners on this effort with media organizations, police departments and other law enforcement agencies,” said Judy Randle, chair of the Albany Crime Stoppers Board of Directors. “The contributions from the business community through the Albany Area Chamber Foundation and from District Attorney Greg Edwards are a much-needed boost and will extend our efforts to provide anonymous rewards for tips that lead to criminal arrests.”

The Albany Area Chamber Foundation’s donation was made possible through the support of Albany Area Chamber member businesses: Albany Sunbelt Ford-Lincoln of Albany; Brad Lanier Oil Co.; Colony Bank; Dougherty, Duggan, Hart & Tiernan Insurors; Fleming & Riles Insurance; Flint Community Bank; Gardner Willis Sweat Plaire & Wilson; Jim Boyd Construction; Maple Hill Landfill; Oxford Construction; Paragon Foods; Phoebe Putney Health System; Southern AG Carriers; Watson Spence; and Worldwide Equipment.

xxx

Albany Area Chamber Opposes MSA Change

 

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce opposes the recommendation from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to raise the minimum population by which cities qualify as Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).  Raising the MSA minimum population from 50,000 to 100,000 people would divert much needed federal funding away from Albany, Georgia, one of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic; Albany was a COVID-19 global hot spot. At a time when we need federal aid and support most, the loss of MSA status and associated funding would threaten our sustainable economic recovery; remove our ability to provide input into regional and state level infrastructure planning; widen the chronic transportation funding gaps that exist; and hamper community and economic development.    

“The Albany Area Chamber opposes raising the minimum population by which cities qualify as Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The proposed change would be of significant negative impact to Albany and the Albany Area, threatening economic development efforts, regional infrastructure improvements and needed federal aid,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, the region’s largest business advocacy organization. “Albany has made incredible strides as a community, and through vision and action has positioned itself as a statewide leader in collaborative partnerships, resiliency and innovation.  As we collectively work on economic recovery, it is particularly important to nurture pro-growth policies for businesses, families and communities like Albany. “

Although raising the minimum MSA population cutoff from 50,000 to 100,000may be billed by OMBas a purely statistical exercise, there are many federal programs that utilize the MSA statistical designations to determine which cities are eligible for federal funding. OMB identified more than 140 cities in almost every state that would lose federal funding if the MSA population cutoff is raised to 100,000. This is especially impactful for Albany— arural Georgia hub community disqualified from “rural” status benefits and incentives; the loss of MSA status would be a double hit. Making this change would stop the flow of critically-needed federal aid that supports Albany as the economic driver of Southwest Georgia, a rural region that already faces challenges related to demographic changes, workforce development, capital access, infrastructure, health, land use and food safety.It should be noted that since 2017, Albany has withstood not just a pandemic, but also four federally-declared natural disasters.

Chamber and community leadership have jointly expressed their opposition to the change to the area’s Congressional delegation and OMB.

Ask your legislators to OPPOSE  the OMB recommendation. Click here to find your Congressman.

Nominations open for 2021 Albany Under 40 program

 

 Albany Under 40 Nominations Open

Chamber young professionals program celebrates area’s talent

 March 15, 2021

Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today opened nominations for the 4th annual Albany Under 40 awards, a program that honors and celebrates the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals. The program recognizes professionals in a variety of industries, each representing a component of the Albany Area’s diversified talentpool 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 commitment to building a stronger region,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “Albany Under 40 celebrates these professionals and promotes the breadth and scope of the talent that helps make the Albany Area a regional leader.”

Individuals may be recognized in 12 categories:  Arts & Entertainment, Culinary Arts, Events, Tourism and Hospitality; Civics, Defense, Government and Public Affairs; Financial and Insurance Services; Innovation and Start- up; Journalism, Marketing, and Public Relations; Legal, Manufacturing, Service Industries, Energy & Architecture; Medicine and Health Care; NonProfit Services; Sports, Wellness & Fitness; Technology; Youth and Education.

Nominations may be submitted an online form at albanyga.com/albany-under-40/. Nominations must be received by April 12, 2021. Nominees will be notified of their nomination and will receive the application materials. Category finalists and category winners will be announced at the Albany Under 40 Awards Reception on August 19, 2021 (tentative). One overall Albany Under 40 award winner, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s 112th annual dinner in January 2022.

Albany Under 40 is a program of the Chamber’s Talent, Leadership and Education Division, and is led by Zan Waldon-Cooley, the Workforce Development Specialist, Workforce Planning & Analysis Branch Chief at Marine Corps Logistics Command in Albany.

Candidates must be under the age of 40 at the time of the award ceremony.

 

xxx

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.

###

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.

 

xxx

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.

 

xxx

 

 

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.

 

 

###