Category Archives: News & Publications

The Artesian Alliance would like you to complete a survey

The Artesian Alliance includes some of the areas most beloved and well used attractions- Chehaw Park & Zoo, Flint RiverQuarium, and Thronateeska Heritage Center. Even so, we feel that the Alliance is only beginning to glimpse its tremendous potential as a community asset. Evaluation and development of a clear path forward is the most effective way of ensuring continued positive progress towards realizing that potential. In other words, the Artesian Alliance needs a strategic plan. The Alliance hired Felis Consulting to begin the strategic planning process in June. The overarching goal is to develop a strategic business and development plan that will guide staff when making decisions and plans for the future of the organizations. It will ensure that those plans are the best options for community interests, animal care, and the mission of each organization.

Input from the public is a critically vital first step in the development of this plan. Your participation in the questionnaire linked below will provide valuable information to the strategic planning process. It will help us understand residents’ and tourists’ likes and dislikes of our current leisure time attractions, and allow you to make suggestions about our future. Feel free to share with others and thank you for your continued support and participation.

Click Here to Complete Survey

We have a new way to collect your feedback for our Master Plan through a unique virtual workshop! Thank you for any feedback you’ve already provided through our previous questionnaire. This is a different survey that dives a little deeper into what you’d like to see at each organization.

Click Here to Complete Virtual Workshop

Password: alliance

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.

 

A Better Way Grocers

A Better Way Grocers mission is to DRIVE food into communities for better health.  As part of an effort to fix food insecurity for low-income communities in Albany and SWGA we use a bus as a, full-service grocery store-on-wheels making several stops  to a number of communities, offering better food options to area residents. Without it, residents were forced to walk, drive long distances to buy fresh groceries or go without.

 

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.

 

xxx

 

Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes

229-434-8700

bholmes@albanyga.com

 

Plasma donations are used to manufacture life-saving medicines!

Plasma donor centers are considered an “essential business,” because the plasma donated at our centers are used to manufacture life-saving medicines. These donations are more crucial than ever to ensure continued supply of these life-saving medicines.

We are taking new precautions within plasma centers to ensure a safe donation and

limit the spread of COVID-19.  Grifols centers are following all guidance from local, state, and federal authorities developed to control the spread of COVID-19.  For instance, we are utilizing more of an appointment system to limit the number of donors in our centers.  We are seating donors in every-other donation bed and reduced the number of seats available in the lobby.  We have enhanced existing cleaning protocols.  We are carefully monitor both donor and employee temperatures before they come into a center.

We are proud that Grifols, our parent company, is leading the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Grifols has begun identifying, screening and selecting volunteer donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma.  Our local Albany, GA facility is one of these donation centers.

The plasma will be used to produce a hyperimmune globulin that could potentially treat the disease

All potential donors must be prescreened. Those interested should visit GRIFOLSPLASMA.COM/EN/ENDCVI9 to find out more about the locations and protocols in place prior to visiting a Grifols plasma center

Here are some requirements to donate plasma:

  1. Interested recovered donors must have a diagnosis made with a test (nasal swab or

blood) and complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms at least 28 days prior to donation;

  1. Or complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation along with a

negative molecular test for COVID-19;

  1. As well as meet our routine eligibility criteria for normal source plasma donation.
  2. A donor must feel healthy, weigh more than 110 pounds and be between the ages of 18 and 69 and live in the local area. Visit grifolsplasma.com for details regarding eligibility.

 

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. 

Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty

As a Grow with Google Partner, The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce would like to invite you to tune in to a special livestream for small businesses: Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty.

Learning objective:

Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, and how to host virtual meetings and events. We’ll also share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small businesses.

The Grow with Google team will be hosting this live, virtual event on May 6, 2020 at 9AM PT / 12PM ET.

Interested in learning about tools like Google My Business, Google Ads, Google Meet, and YouTube? RSVP to tune in today: g.co/grow/smallbizlivestream. In the “how did you hear

about this livestream event” you can let the Google team know that you heard from The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce! You can ask questions live during the event on Twitter by using #smallbizlivestream.

 

 

Chamber, United Way facilitate philanthropy during COVID-19

 

April 13, 2020

United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund Receives Significant Donation from Wildfair Plantation

ALBANY, GA – Wildfair Plantation announced today a $125,000 donation to the United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to help people most affected by the current pandemic.  The donation comes alongside contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals including the Turner Foundation, Betty & Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Garnett Smith Foundation, Truist Foundation, and UPS.

 

“On behalf of the Wildfair family, our businesses and friends, we believe we have greater impact when we work together,” said Joseph Davenport III, owner of Wildfair Plantation, a local hunting preserve. “We stand strong with Albany and are pleased to support the community through the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. We know the Fund’s leadership will ensure that the individuals and organizations that need it most will get support quickly to help weather this storm.”

 

The Southwest Georgia COVID-19 Relief Fund is being managed by the United Way of Southwest Georgia. Local organizations, including the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce are also offering their support and leadership.

 

“This gift by the Davenports and the Wildfair Plantation community is so much more than a charitable donation; it represents a commitment and desire to improve the human welfare of Albany and the Albany Area in a way that will have immediate, significant and lasting impacts,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization. “We are grateful for the relationship with the Davenports and to have facilitated their philanthropy, which we hope will serve as a catalyst for further support and investments for our citizens and our community.”

 

“COVID-19 is a new test of our collective strength and together we will rise,” says Shaunae Motley, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia.  “We are grateful to Joseph and Susan Davenport and the Wildfair family for believing in our mission and choosing us as a vehicle to provide hope and respond to our community’s emergency needs.  So many citizens will be helped through their generous gift.”

 

The Fund is working to quickly address the economic challenges of COVID-19 by rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations in need of funds to meet the immediate needs of individuals affected by the crisis.  The distrubution committe comprised of a cross-section of community leaders is reviewing applications from local nonprofits and organizations seeking funding and expects to distribute the first round of grants beginning April 14.

 

To contribute to the COVID-19 Response Fund, visit unitedwayswga.org/give or text FIGHT COVID to 313131. As funds are distributed, United Way will publish the receiving agencies, along with the help they can provide and contact information on their website.

 

About United Way of Southwest Georgia

 

For over 65 years, United Way of Southwest Georgia has been an innovative force in the community, successfully responding to emerging needs and transforming people’s lives. Today our work is focused on education, financial stability and health – the building blocks for a good life. We invest in quality programs, advocate for better policies, engage people in the community and generate resources.  United Way of Southwest Georgia serves a geographic territory of thirteen counties including: Baker, Calhoun, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Sumter, Terrell, Wilcox and Worth.  To learn more, visit http://www.unitedwayswga.org.