Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grant Writing Class – Workforce Development Series

Don’t wait! Use this link to register while seats are available
Are you or your organization seeking grants to provide much needed resources to operate?
Do you want to partner with Grant Writing experts that have over 30 years of combined experience with successfully writing, monitoring and accounting for millions of dollars in multi-year grants?
O’Neal’s Consulting & Training Services is partnering with expert trainers to help small businesses and organizations write award winning grants, budget and monitor those funds in accordance with accounting principles.
This class will also feature leadership development and provide lunch to each in-person participant.

Morning Mix & Mingle

Join the Albany Area Chamber June 13 for its quarterly Morning Mix & Mingle, presented by Doublegate Country Club, for Chamber 101, coffee and breakfast and networking. The event is an opportunity to meet others and learn more about how your business can benefit from membership in the Albany Area Chamber. The event is free to members and prospective members of the Albany Area Chamber.

Doublegate Country Club
3800 Old Dawson Road | Albany, Georgia

Tuesday, June 13, 2023
8 a.m. — Check In & Networking
8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. — Program

Work Source Georgia is hosting a Community Empowerment Summit

Wednesday, June14, 2023 – 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Phone: 229-336-2378

Jimmie C Harpe Community Center 31 MLK Drive
Arlington, Georgia 39813

Employers and Laid-Off Workers: come out and learn more about the various Rapid Response services ranging from avoiding future layoffs, accessing a range of direct services, benefits, training opportunities and employment rights and regulations such as the WARN ACT.

Who Is Invited: Adults, Dislocated Workers, Long-term unemployed, Veterans, Returning Citizens, Seniors (55 & older), Youth (In-school and Out­
of-school), and Employers

Speak with Subject Matter Experts about:

• Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Services • Business Services for Employers • Rapid Response Services • Training Opportunities • Employment Opportunities • Sign up for GED training• Trending Healthcare Careers • Mental Health (Adults & Youth) • Healthy Life and Wellness • Disability Services (Adults & Youth) • Community Resources • Veteran Services • Homeownership • Other Opportunities

Refreshments will be provided!

WorkSource Southwest Georgia is an Equal Opportunity employer/program/ service. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals
with disabilities.” Where telephone numbers are listed, TDD/TTY or relay service number should be provided. Information regarding the Georgia Relay Center is available from the Consumer Hot Line at 1 (800) 682-8706. The number for the Georgia Relay Service is 1(800) 255-0056 (TDD/TTY) or 1(800) 255-0135 (Voice).

ASU Symposium – Health Literacy Project 6.3.2023


On behalf of the Health Literacy Albany, GA Project we would like to invite the community to our Symposium, scheduled for Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 10:00AM – 2:00PM.

There is going to be a wealth of knowledge provided concerning, the future of COVID-19, mental health specialist, COVID survivors as well as giveaways, lunch, and more for the 1st 100 attendees that pre-register.

Please, pre-register for this event using the QR Code listed at the bottom left side of the flyer and share with others.

Deadline is Friday, May 26, 2023, at 3:00PM


Kernice Battle-Jones, B.S.S.W., M.S. Psy
Program Assistant
Health Literacy Program
Albany State University
229.500.3494 (office)

Albany State University
504 College Drive
Albany, GA 31705

Propel+ program builds business connections for female students

The room was electric May 15 as students and adults made connections during the Albany Area Chamber Foundation’s Propel+ program, which aims to build a web that through connection nurtures, provides and empowers Albany’s female youth to design their paths. More than 50 female students at the Commodore Conyers College & Career Academy participated in professional development exercises, built relationships with adult women in the work force, and were inspired by stories of entrepreneurship shared by panelists Quinetta Hall of Q’s Cakes, Sherrer Hester of Indusa Investments and peer students that participated in the FLEX ABY youth entrepreneurial competition.

The Propel+ Career Closet, unveiled at the event, is a resource that provides students with access to professional wardrobe items.

One hundred percent of participating students reported feeling better equipped to communicate with adults in a business setting. All adult participants said they were more likely to hire someone who has participated in Propel+ compared to someone who has not.

Building community looks like a lot of things and it requires a lot of hands. Through Propel+, the business community is helping build Albany’s talent and by doing so, building a stronger Albany.

Propel+ is the youth development component of the Albany Area Chamber’s women at work program, Propel.

Grand Opening of Whistle Express Car Wash

Magnolia Wash Holdings Debuts New Whistle Express Car Wash in Albany

– Express Car Wash Operator Celebrates the Grand Opening with a Ribbon Cutting Event, Free Washes and $10 Monthly Membership Promos for the First Three Months –

Albany, GA (May 17, 2023)Magnolia Wash Holdings, a premium express car wash operator, announced today the opening of a new car wash in Albany. Located at 105 South Westover Boulevard, the new Whistle Express Car Wash is kicking off the celebration on Thursday, June 8th, as it hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. with the Albany Chamber of Commerce. During its grand opening weekend (Friday – Sunday), the team will be offering free washes and discounted membership promotions for only $10 a month for the first three months.

Whistle Express Car Wash offers exceptional express car washing services that are both fast and economical. By utilizing innovative technology and cutting-edge equipment, Whistle Express Car Wash enables customers to treat their cars to a premium on-site experience in under 10 minutes, ensuring a clean, polished, and well-protected exterior. In addition, customers can benefit from the higher-powered vacuums and air nozzle available for a spotless interior. Whistle Express Car Wash is committed to sustainable and eco-friendly practices, including the use of biodegradable detergents and water reclamation technology, to make each car wash as environmentally friendly as possible.

“Albany is a beautiful town with a rich history and friendly community, offering a low cost of living that makes it an ideal place for businesses to thrive. The new Whistle Express Car Wash underscores our commitment to bringing top-of-the-line and sustainable express washes to local communities and we’re looking forward to becoming the go-to car wash for everyone in Albany,” said Bob Benjamin, chief operations officer at Magnolia Wash Holdings. “With summer travel season fast approaching, our aim is to make car washing easy and convenient for all road trippers as well. Our facility guarantees a fast and hassle-free experience, allowing you and your loved ones to hit the road for vacation in no time.”

The new Whistle Express Car Wash in Albany is operated by Magnolia Wash Holdings and is one of 23 active car washes owned by Magnolia in Georgia. In recent years, Magnolia has achieved tremendous development in the Southeast and is in the midst of aggressive expansion. The express car wash operator is actively seeking acquisitions and development opportunities, including in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. For more information about development opportunities with Magnolia Wash Holdings, please visit

The Whistle Express Car Wash Albany location is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about the new car wash and its membership packages, visit

 About Magnolia Wash Holdings

Magnolia Wash Holdings operates 91 Express Wash locations throughout Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, and Tennessee. Magnolia prides itself on delivering consumers and teammates a premium on-premise experience, including its Unlimited Fast Pass Membership Program, free towels, free vacuums, and free mat washing stations. The Company was founded by Frank Bennett and Brooks Moye in 2014 and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, visit


Albany Area Chamber-led delegation advocates in DC on funding, policy, defense


May 15, 2023



Barbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700


Albany Area Chamber-led delegation advocates in DC on funding, policy, defense

Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce last week led a delegation of local leaders to Washington, D.C., for its annual “DC Fly In,” the organization’s long-standing annual federal advocacy event. The delegation, representing the public and private sectors, met with defense officials and federal lawmakers on the issues most vital to Albany and Southwest Georgia.

The two-day, policy-intensive event included meetings with the Albany Area Congressional Delegation — U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock — and the Pentagon-based leadership of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB Albany) and Marine Corps Logistics Command, including Meredith Berger, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, and Lt. Gen. Edward Banta, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations & Logistics. Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of MCLB Albany, participated in the Pentagon discussions.

During meetings the delegation provided updates on a variety of fronts including Albany as a military community of excellence and MCLB Albany as a defense leader in energy security and logistics innovation; economic development and Albany as a premier industry location; health care delivery and expansion of services to meet regional needs; education and employer-led initiatives aimed at developing the talent pipeline in high-demand fields; and infrastructure investment as a component of community and economic development.

“Albany-Dougherty County has, through vision, action and results positioned itself as a leader in innovative partnerships that have local, state and national impact, and this distinction is well recognized among federal leadership,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business organization, and its 501c3 affiliate, the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Through the Albany Area Chamber’s DC Fly In our community demonstrates a united front in our nation’s capital, shares views on federal issues that impact businesses and the community, builds allies with national leaders and advocates for funding and policies that advance and bolster our talent, development and defense initiatives.”

The advocacy event is aimed at informing leaders on local priorities and initiatives, and requesting support for critical components of the community’s overall framework for development. Calls for Congressional support include:

  • DEFENSE: $46 million for mission-critical consolidated communications center at MCLBA that enables full utilization of the base’s 5G capabilities and strengthens communications resiliency and readiness; and $56 million for operational readiness facility at Albany-based Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command as a required component of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 strategy.
  • TALENT & HEALTH CARE: Investments in talent initiatives and projects that amplify the employer-led work force pipeline and in health care projects that address critical-need areas; and smart immigration policy reforms to support work force demands, boost economic growth, create jobs, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship,
  • INFRASTRUCTURE: Investments in federally-mandated infrastructure improvements including the city of Albany’s combined sewer separation project.

“The Albany Area Chamber spearheads our community’s advocacy initiatives with audiences including the Albany Area Congressional Delegation and U.S. Marine Corps leadership, and is the conduit through which the business community connects, convenes and collaborates,” said Chandu Kuntawala, 2023 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber and a program manager at Booz Allen Hamilton “The Chamber’s Government Affairs Division – along with its four other member-led committees that help drive organization’s overall objectives – embodies the mission of the Chamber as a center point through which the business community is empowered to take action and design the path.”

The local delegation also met with senior leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussing work force and talent; federal policies and regulations that impact businesses; and national economic forecast.

“A strong, united voice is central to the Chamber’s mission and to its role as the region’s leading business organization,” said Bridges Sinyard, chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs division and vice president of Adam’s Exterminators. “We further advance business and community success by building strong relationships between business leaders, elected officials and decision makers, and, with Albany’s role as a leading military community, build the community-Corps relationships that advance the nation’s defense efforts.”

The DC Fly In is a component of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs division. The program is program is supported by AB&T; Adams Exterminators; Albany Area Primary Health Care; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany State University; Albany Technical College; AT&T; the City of Albany; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Georgia CEO; Georgia Power; Horizons Community Solutions; McLendon Acres; Molson Coors; and Phoebe Putney Health System.

Visit to view the Albany Area Chamber’s 2023 legislative agenda.


The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance the business success and economic opportunities in Albany and the Albany Area. Learn more at 


A delegation of business and community leaders traveled to the nation’s capital this week as part of the Albany Area Chamber’s policy-intensive DC Fly In to meet with defense officials and federal lawmakers on the issues most vital to Albany and Southwest Georgia. The delegation is pictured here with U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D, GA).


Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance and atdc Georgia Tech present The Inventor IP Roundtable

GIPA and ATDC are pleased to invite you to the premiere of a statewide simulcast series, featuring successful inventors from the state of Georgia at ATDC’s main campus followed by in-person networking opportunities with innovation enablers and fellow entrepreneurs to include ATDC’s multiple partner locations in Georgia. This event is for anyone interested in learning more about patents and the Intellectual Property (IP) process for their business.

Attendance is free with registration and light refreshments will be provided.  The Albany event will be held in person, May 10th, at The Candy Room at the Riverfront Resource Center, 125 Pine Ave, Albany, GA 31701.  Registration and networking begin at 4:30, with the simulcast starting promptly at 5:00.  Please register in advance using this link:

Albany Area Chamber celebrates 113th anniversary, accomplishments; points toward future

For Immediate Release

 May 3, 2023


Bárbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700


Albany Area Chamber celebrates 113th anniversary, accomplishments; points toward future

 Albany, GA – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce on May 3 hosted its 113th annual meeting on the Bricks at Thronateeska in downtown Albany under a canopy of celebration, camaraderie and leadership. The event is one of the most important of the year for the Albany Area Chamber and recognizes accomplishments, shares how the Chamber will continue to move businesses forward throughout the year ahead, and shines the light on the Chamber’s most engaged leaders and those who have worked to make a positive impact on Albany and the Albany Area.

The Albany Area Chamber was founded in 1910, when business leaders saw the need for an organization that would represent the interests of job-creating businesses, harness the assets of the community and bring partners together for the economic and social prosperity of Albany and the Albany Area. Its success through more than a century of work lies in the support of its members and investors, strategic partners, dedicated staff, visionary board of directors and the hundreds of volunteers whose commitment to a vibrant Albany is unwavering.

“For 113 years, the Albany Area Chamber has been at the forefront of Albany’s evolution as a regional leader for industry, commerce and connection,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization, and its 501©3 affiliate, the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Through implementation of our future-focused strategic plan, #ImpactABY2023, we continue to accelerate Albany’s economic advancement through promoting business investment and job growth and advocating for pro-business policies such as smart fiscal policy and regulations, workplace diversity, modern infrastructure investments and talent development initiatives and partnerships.”

#ImpactABY2023 leans into impact, value and continuous progress. The plan represents initiatives to drive member, community and regional success, and to become a future-focused chamber with the talent, infrastructure and agility to execute, innovate and succeed. In short: To reach and sustain extraordinary impact and excellence. #ImpactABY2023 changes the Chamber’s how so it continues to achieve its why.The plan directs the organization’s focus to five key areas, each with a program of work and volunteer committee.

Business Development, Innovation & Entrepreneurship. This division strengthens the connective tissue that all businesses need, focusing on advancing innovation and providing new opportunities for peer-to-peer connection. This committee in 2022 helped build a resource guide and network for business start-ups and development; connected to existing and prospective members of the Chamber through the popular Morning, Mix & Mingle; is growing the Ambassador program to increase the Chamber’s boots-on-the-ground presence; and continues to expand the Albany Area Chamber Business Awards to capture and celebrate more of the successes, diversity and innovation of our member organizations.

It’s through this division that the Chamber created a members-only task force to help create its new membership model, which was rolled out in 2022. The new tiered benefits and investment structure allows member businesses to customize their partnership with the Albany Area Chamber though six investment levels specifically designed to support unique business goals, at any stage in a company’s growth. The Business Development, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee is chaired by Taylor Jenkins of Flint Community Bank.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  We believe we are stronger together. We believe that diversity is our strength, good business and a business imperative. We believe in inclusivity and in the equality of opportunity. We believe that together we thrive. – Albany Area Chamber DE&I Impact Statement

This program extends the full scope of the Chamber’s resources and leverages the power of partnerships to advance economic opportunities for all people, to facilitate a more inclusive economy and become a more attractive location for businesses to invest and thrive. Born at this table is a partnership between The ARC of Southwest Georgia and Phoebe Putney Health System that is creating life-changing solutions for people with disabilities. In 2023 the Chamber will release a resource toolkit for employers; help facilitate greater supplier diversity; and curate a directory of diverse-owned Chamber member businesses, from woman- and minority-owned to veteran- and disabled-owned. The DE&I Committee is chaired by Jeretha Peters, chair-elect of the Albany Area Chamber and Wells Fargo’s regional branch manager.

Government Affairs. The Chamber continues to work closely with governmental partners and elected officials to ensure the voices of businesses and the community are heard, and continues to enhance job retention and job creation, and to protect, defend and advance the pro-business policies that support job-creating entities. Through this division, the Chamber developed the non-partisan Albany Area Political Leadership Institute to “build the bench” of public servants equipped to lead in appointed positions or in elected offices. Albany-Dougherty Day in Atlanta and the Washington, DC, Fly In, are signature legislative initiatives of the committee. In 2023, the Chamber led a successful advocacy campaign that resulted in overwhelming voter approval of the eighth special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) and supported development of the Living & Learning Community, a health professionals work force partnership between Phoebe Putney Health System and Albany Technical College.

To exponentially amplify its voice, the Albany Area Chamber banded with the other 10 largest and most influential Chambers outside of Atlanta to create a new public policy group to coordinate, identify common needs and develop strategy and recommendations that focus on anticipated long term economic and policy issues. Organized under the Georgia Chamber, Hub Chamber Council during the 2023 state legislative session led support of housing, licensure and work force-related legislation. The Albany Area Chamber’s Holmes chairs the council through May 2024. The Government Affairs Committee is chaired by Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators.

Military Affairs. The Albany Area Chamber and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany have been allies from the beginning, with the Chamber serving as a primary partner and advocate of the installation and command — from work force to military family friendliness to Congressional allocation of dollars and resources. The Chamber is advocating for $101 million in Congressional appropriations to fund two projects aboard the installation that directly support the Marines Corps’ readiness, and our national — and global — defense. The committee’s initiatives include connecting and celebrating veterans, military personnel and families. The Salty Sandbagger Golf Tournament, established by the committee in 1974 as a camaraderie-building event between the Marines and the Chamber, continues to grow. The Military Affairs Committee is chaired by Col. Dan Gillan (USMC Retired), CEO of the Albany Area YMCA.

Talent, Education and Leadership. Talent and leadership are pillars of strong, thriving communities. This division connects employers, educators and students to help build an aligned and relevant youth and adult work force pipeline that creates opportunities for citizens and employers. The committee connects young professionals to community so they continue choosing Albany, and is expanding the Albany Under 40 program; getting businesses in schools via the Chamber’s Go See Tours; helping educators connect the classroom and the workplace via learning tours at area businesses; and cultivating talent ambassadors who are leading the community in creating a culture of getting involved in the educational network. The Talent Education and Leadership Committee is chaired by Brianna Wilson, owner and CEO of Southern Point Staffing.

At the annual meeting, Holmes shared the Albany Area Chamber Foundation’s strategic direction, which builds on the work of the Chamber’s #ImpactABY2023 strategy. The Chamber Foundation houses new programs and initiatives including the recently released Albany-Dougherty County Works! Talent Development Strategy 2.0; the FLEX ABY youth entrepreneurship program, a partnership between the Chamber Foundation, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and the Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy; and Propel+, the youth development extension of Propel, the Albany Area Chamber’s women at work program. Propel+ aims to build a web that through connection nurtures, provides for and empowers Albany’s female students. The Albany Area Chamber Foundation is chaired by Matt Reed, owner of Georgia CEO and UPS Stores of Albany.

The 2023 event, presented by the city of Albany and Albany Community Together, included the transfer of the chairman’s gavel; the announcement of the 2022 Ambassador of the Year and the 2022 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year; and honored the Chamber’s 2023 Lifetime Service Award recipient.

Lt. Col. Don Gray (USMC Retired), 2022 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors and facilitates director for the City of Albany, formally presented Chandu Kuntawala, program manager at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, as the 2023 Chamber chairman. Wells Fargo wealth advisor and branch manager Jeretha Peters assumes the role of Chamber chair-elect and will take reigns in 2024.

“The annual meeting of the Albany Area Chamber represents the culmination of work completed throughout the last year, and the celebrates the new leadership that will guide the organization throughout the year, said Gray. “I have always taken pride in serving the Albany community and through the chairmanship of the Albany Area Chamber had the opportunity to maximize that passion for service, working side-by-side with other passionate business and community leaders to advance our Albany’s most renowned advocacy organization.”

“The Albany Area Chamber’s work supports one of my passions – education and building our community’s talent,” said Kuntawala, who represents the Chamber on the board of the Commodore Conyers College & Career Academy, which he chairs. “It is an honor and a privilege to work with the Chamber’s Board of Directors, staff and members to strategically move the needle forward on the issues that impact Albany most.”

Patsy Martin, 1991 chair of the Albany Area Chamber, was honored with the Chamber’s prestigious Lifetime Service Award. Martin, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Walden & Kirkland in Albany, ushered in a new era of leadership and vision as the Chamber’s first female chair. She has served this community’s most giving and prestigious organizations; she’s recognized locally and statewide as one of the top performing Realtors, earning award after award; and she created one of Albany’s first female professional networks at a time when women in business leadership was still somewhat novel.

Martez Favis was recognized as the Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year for his work in youth development and community leadership. Favis is assistant principal at Albany Middle School and the 2023 chair of the Leadership Albany Board of Directors.

The Albany Under 40 program is an initiative of the Chamber’s Talent Education and Leadership Committee, and honors 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. Category finalists were selected from within the applicant pool by a volunteer committee, and category winners were announced at the Albany Under 40 reception in December 2022. The AU40 Young Professional of the Year is selected from among category winners.

Amanda Nichols, assistant director of financial aid at Albany State University, was recognized as the 2022 Ambassador of the Year for her volunteer service to the Chamber. Chamber Ambassadors support the organization through event execution,  connecting with new and existing Chamber members, and being an ambassador of the Chamber as a leading business advocacy organization. The Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year award recognizes the Ambassador who has earned the most points for service throughout the previous calendar year, and is an outstanding representative of  the Chamber.

The 113th annual meeting is presented by the City of Albany and Albany Community Together, and further sponsored by Albany Area Primary Health Care, Colony Bank, Feeding the Valley Albany, Fleming & Riles Insurance, Flint Equipment – Ag & Turf, Flint River Entertainment Complex, Invision Technologies, McLendon Acres, MetroPower, Mitchell EMC, MolsonCoors, OneSouth Bank, Pellicano Construction Co., Preventia Security of Albany, The Artesian Alliance and WALB News 10.



About the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

The Albany Area Chamber, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance business success and economic opportunities in Albany and the Albany Area. Learn more at

The Albany Area Chamber Foundation, founded in 1991, is the 501(c)3 affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and advances the Albany Area through leadership, research and action, and leads work force, economic and entrepreneurial initiatives that provide impact beyond the business community’s normal reach.

Albany Area Chamber’s 113th Annual Meeting

The 113th Annual Meeting celebrates accomplishments, shares how the Chamber will continue to move businesses forward throughout the year ahead and shines the light on the Chamber’s most engaged leaders and those who have worked to make a positive impact on Albany and the Albany Area.