Category Archives: News & Publications

Georgia’s Opportunity Zones Lunch & Learn

After our previous success in sharing information on the GA Opportunity Zones & Job Tax Credit program with the business owners of Albany, Tracs Group is pleased to be back for another round. Doughtery county’s special designation from the state of Georgia gives businesses in the area the maximum allotment for tax savings. These specific tax credits can be used to increase cash flow within the business as well as eliminate their withholding and state income liability.

Join us for a catered lunch and more information on how your company can take advantage of the tax credits you are entitled to.


To RSVP please use the following link:

Dining at Stonebridge Golf and Country Club


Stonebridge Golf and Country Club is proud to extend this special invitation to the members of our Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. During the month of April, all Chamber members are invited to enjoy dining privileges at Stonebridge. Lunch – Dinner – Sunday Brunch — No membership required — Just call the clubhouse and make your reservation. 229 889-0312 

You will enjoy excellent menus and great service. After you have had a chance to dine with us you may like to become a Dining Member – there is NO initiation fee – Monthly dues are only $60.00 per month. – In addition, Chamber Members will receive the first month dues FREE!! — We invite you to enjoy Stonebridge Your NEW Dining Destination!! 

229-889-0312  | 319 Osprey Ridge Court 

Modern Gas Acquires Knight’s Appliances


April 4, 2019

Local Companies Strategically Align for Future Success in Southwest Georgia (ALBANY, GA) – Modern Gas is excited to announce the acquisition of Knight’s Appliances – one of Albany’s oldest family owned businesses. Chuck Knight and his staff will immediately begin working under the Modern Gas brand. Appliance sales will be located at both Modern Gas, 1335 Hwy 82 West, and Knights Appliances on Slappey until May 1 tentatively, when all sales will be housed in one location at Modern Gas. Modern Gas and Knight’s Appliances are two established local businesses with a family-owned history dating back to the mid-1950s and ’60s respectively. Each company prides itself on superior service, customer satisfaction and top-of-the-line products. With similar retail strategies and customer bases, the merger of Knight’s Appliances and Modern Gas made sense with the future plans of each company. The goal is to continue to capitalize on the extensive customer base of each company, expand product lines and offer local customers the opportunity for top quality service and knowledge that is hard to find in the big box stores and online retailers. “Our desire at Modern Gas is to continue to offer customers the opportunity to the best products on the market today. Whether it is a gas grill or gas-powered clothes dryer, we want southwest Georgia to think “Modern Gas” when shopping for their home. When looking to expand, acquiring Chuck, his team, their knowledge and customer base…it just made sense with our business model. We are excited about the changes ahead for our business and what that means for what we can offer to the community,” says Mark Holloway, President of Modern Gas. “The entire team at Knight’s Appliances is excited to be joining Modern Gas. This change will allow all of us the opportunity to continue working with our loyal customers while helping to grow even more customers for the future,” says Chuck Knight, former President of Knight’s Appliances and new Vice President of Retail Sales, Modern Gas. ABOUT MODERN GAS
Since 1954, Modern Gas has been the premier provider of propane service for both residential homes and commercial businesses in southwest Georgia. Originally family-owned and operated, the company continues to maintain its commitment to high-quality propane service. Additionally, the company has expanded in recent years to include a retail division. This new line of business offers customers an extensive list of items for the home including luxury spas, high-end grills, and products for outdoor living. An avid community supporter, Modern Gas believes in building stronger communities through their extensive partnerships with the local schools systems, non-profit organizations and their annual Rib Showdown event.


Mary Beth Hobby

(229) 420-1723 ext. 10

Lee County High School Distinguished Alumni Nomination



The Lee County High School Distinguished Alumni Committee is pleased to announce that it will be accepting nominations for its 2019 LCHS Distinguished Alumni Award.

The purpose of the Lee County High School Distinguished Alumni Award is to recognize outstanding alumni of Lee County High School who have maintained a high standard of excellence and distinguished themselves through their work, personal accomplishments, or in the lives of others.  These individuals exemplify the ideals of the Lee County School System and the community it serves and should be held as role models for current and future Lee County High School students.

Award Criteria

  • Must be a Lee County High School graduate at least 15 years prior to nomination.
  • Award may be given posthumously.
  • Nominees will have distinguished themselves through their work, personal accomplishments, or in the lives of others and is noted in his/her field of endeavor or recognized for his/her expertise and accomplishments.
  • Nominees must be in good standing in their community, past and present.
  • Nominees will have demonstrated positive leadership and service or contributions to community or society.
  • There will be a maximum of 7 individuals selected each year as Distinguished Alumni.
  • Once a nomination is made it will be reconsidered on an annual basis.

Nomination Process and Timeline

The nomination may be submitted by a friend, family member, or colleague.  All nominations must be postmarked/delivered no later than June 1, 2019 and must be submitted by mail or in person to the Lee County Chamber of Commerce, 100-B Starksville Avenue, North, Leesburg, GA  31763.

In addition to the nomination form, it is required that two letters of support of the nominee be included, completed by individuals other than the nominator, and must be included with the nomination form.  Also, a resume of the nominee and supporting documentation should be included with the nomination form.

Nominations will be reviewed by the Distinguished Alumni Committee.  This committee consists of representatives from (1) The Lee County Retired Educators (2) Lee County Family Connection (3) Community-at-large (4) Lee County School System.

Applications are available at the Lee County Chamber of Commerce or Lee County High School front office or online at the Lee County School System website:, the Lee County Panoptic website:, Lee County Family Connection website:, and the Lee County Chamber website:  You can also request an application be emailed to you by contacting Lisa Davis at Bill Turoski at

For further information please contact Lisa Davis with the Lee County Chamber of Commerce at 759-2422, or Bill Turoski with Synovus Bank at 430-7034.

Nomination Packet 2019[1]

Albany Area Chamber nationally honored with 4-Star rating from U.S. Chamber

For Immediate Release


Contact: Bárbara Rivera Holmes

(229) 434-8700


March 21, 2019



Albany Area Chamber nationally honored with 4-Star rating from U.S. Chamber

Prestigious distinction recognizes the Albany Area Chamber in top 3 percent of chambers in country


Albany, Ga.– The United States Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce with 4-Star Accreditation for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community. The Albany Area Chamber has been accredited with the U.S. Chamber since 1997 and previously held 3-Star status.


“Each day, chambers of commerce are working hard to put the American dream within reach of every hardworking business owner,” said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, U.S. Chamber vice president of Federation Relations and Institute for Organization Management.  “The Accreditation designation tells chamber members, as well as the greater business community, that this is an organization that has effective programs, sound finances and is a strong advocate for their interests.”


Accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for their effective organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive Accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, and demonstrate core competencies in nine areas: governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, technology, communications, facilities and benchmarking. This extensive and intensive self-review can take six-nine months to complete.


“To be awarded with 4-star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber is an incredible accomplishment for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, our staff and our volunteers, who work every day to support the membership, stand up for business, build collaborative partnerships and advance economic opportunities for the Albany Area,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “There are more than 7,000 chambers of commerce in the United States; our 4-Star designation puts us in the top 3 percent of chambers across the country and demonstrates excellence in nine core areas ranging from governance and government affairs to finance, communications and technology.I could not be prouder of our organization and of what this designation means for our members and our community.”

The U.S. Chamber recognized with excellence the Albany Area Chamber’s work in a variety of areas, including:

  • its strong government affairs program, through which the chamber has established itself an advocate for the Albany Area business community through its involvement in regional coalitions, policy advocacy and trips to meet with state and federal lawmakers
  • its significant role in business, community and economic recovery and advocacy following the devastating natural disasters of 2017 and 2018
  • its work force development and educational programs and partnerships, including its “Go See” tour of schools and its “Priority One” mentorship initiative
  • its branding and external communications


“I am proud of this community and proud of the great efforts that the Albany Area Chamber has made. To serve as the chairman of the chamber board this year is the very least I could do in light of what this community has given me,” said Scott Tomlinson, CEO of Flint Community Bank and 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber. “This accomplishment just confirms what I already knew concerning the hard, diligent work of our staff and team of volunteers.  This recognition is truly an honor.”


Local chambers are rated Accredited, 3-Stars, 4-Stars, or 5-Stars. The final determination is made by the Accrediting Board, a committee of U.S. Chamber board members.


The 4-Star designation ranks the Albany Area Chamber in the top 180 of the more than 7,000 chambers in the United States.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.





The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, established in 1910, advocates for business success through leadership and economic development. Learn more at

Collegiate Academy of Albany

Dear Fellow Chamber of Commerce Member, As a citizen of the Dougherty County area and businessperson, you know that one of the key components of your future success is the economic viability of the region, which in turn heavily depends on the quality of our workforce. Every business owner in Dougherty County has faced serious challenges in finding and keeping qualified employees. We believe that Albany needs a “shot in the arm” to improve the talent pool in our area.

We’ve founded the Collegiate Academy of Albany (“CAA”) to provide all Albany’s families, without regard to their economic situation and to provide greater opportunities for their children to receive a high-quality, college-prep education. We have applied for a charter from the Georgia Charter Schools Commission; If granted, we will open as a K-3 school in August 2020, growing a grade a year until we’re hopefully educating 1,430 students in grades K-12. There will be no tuition or admission tests as the school will be a public charter school with a statewide attendance zone, funded completely by the state.

We believe that every family, regardless of net worth and income level, deserves the best education possible. As business people, we need our graduates to be ready for college and the workforce, in the hopes that they will remain in our community to make it stronger and more viable.

Please share the attached link with your employees and ask them to spread the word. We need a strong show of support for our school in the community and need your help to make it happen. Please ask every employee to go online to and sign this petition so we may be granted our charter. We would also appreciate you writing a letter of support. Please send the letter to Also, if you have any questions or wish us to attend an employee meeting to answer any questions, please let us know at and we will be in touch shortly.

Our community has so much to gain with the success of this school. Please join us in giving our kids greater opportunities to a high quality, public education.

Collegiate Academy of Albany[1]


Chamber CEO: TSPLOST supports critical transportation improvements

Lagging investment crippling local and national transportation infrastructure. TSPLOST provides local funding mechanism.


By Bárbara Rivera Holmes

Barbara Rivera Holmes

President & CEO

Albany Area Chamber of Commerce


When it comes to moving people or goods, transportation is key.


Transportation is simply defined as transporting someone or something, or the process of being transported. That action or process is facilitated by many factors, including quality roads, roadway signage, efficient intersections and sidewalks. Without maintenance of these factors, the “someone or something” can’t be transported or the efficiency of the transport is significantly diminished. This hurts commerce, and when commerce suffers, so do people and economies.



Now during early voting and on March 19, voters in Albany and Dougherty County can vote to invest in safe and efficient transportation, enhancing the health of our economy and the quality of life for our residents. From roadway improvements to sidewalks, the project list for the $80 million Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) addresses needs that are critical to economic growth.


TSPLOST allows voters to dedicate a 1 percent sales tax for special transportation projects. That 1 percent sales tax would be applied to all goods and services that are taxable; it is an equitable consumption tax shared by all who make purchases in Albany and Dougherty County. TSPLOST is estimated to generate $80 million in revenue during its five-year life cycle. Of that $80 million, nearly half could be generated by out-of-town visitors to the community, diminishing by nearly 50 percent the contribution to be made by local residents and business owners. Full benefit at nearly half the cost.


Areas of needed improvements that are supported by TSPLOST include:



The single largest allocation of TSPLOST funds includes road resurfacing and associated infrastructure for roads in poor/very poor condition, preventing the continued structural deterioration of more than 250 miles of roads in Albany and Dougherty County.



TSPLOST allocates funds to intersection upgrades and road improvements to ease traffic congestion and improve safety. Funds are also dedicated to roadway widenings that impact traffic congestion and safety.



Sidewalk installation and improvements are included in TSPLOST project list. This includes installation of concrete sidewalks to enhance pedestrian safety near schools and other heavily traveled areas where sidewalks are lacking.


Years ago, “All Roads Lead to Albany” was a popular Chamber campaign touting the roadway infrastructure of Albany and Dougherty County. The campaign was effective; the community’s four-lane highway connectivity, interior road grid, quality of roads and accessibility to interstates has proved a selling point for manufacturing, distribution and logistics companies that have relocated or expanded locations to Albany and Dougherty County.


Today, the narrative behind “All Roads Lead to Albany” remains a relevant selling point. But those roads, through years and years of increasing wear and tear, are in need of maintenance that far exceeds the available funding.


Nationally, the situation is alarmingly similar. The American Association of Civil Engineers (AACE) gave the American transportation infrastructure a grade of D+ and estimated a $2 trillion infrastructure gap, including investments for surface transportation such as bridges and roadways. According to a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, AACE estimates that four in 10 American roads are in poor to mediocre condition and that by 2025, our nation’s failing infrastructure systems will have cost American businesses $7 trillion.


“Moreover,” the article stated, “roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately a third of traffic fatalities, according to national transportation research group TRIP, while motor vehicle crashes in which roadways were a likely contributing factor cost American motorists $101.1 billion per year


“In large part,” the U.S. Chamber concluded, “our country’s failing infrastructure is due to lagging investment. While population, road congestion and maintenance backlogs have ballooned, investment into maintaining, repairing and upgrading our critical infrastructure systems has slipped.


“You don’t have to be a civil engineer to know that our nation’s infrastructure is falling apart,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue. “All you have to do is leave your house. The evidence is everywhere – and affects everyone.”


Communities close to Albany and Dougherty County, and cities and counties throughout Georgia, are addressing chronic transportation funding gaps through the passage of TSPLOST. If voters in Albany and Dougherty County do not pass the referendum, the needs will continue to go unmet, creating a more challenging and costlier situation for local residents and business owners. These challenges will ultimately need a solution, and without other funding mechanisms that help offset the local investment, residents and business owners in Albany and Dougherty County will, at some point and in some way, likely assume the full expense of updating the community’s transportation infrastructure and assets.


Understanding the need for adequate transportation infrastructure for the economic health of our community and the quality of life of our citizens, the Albany Area Chamber supports passage of TSPLOST and encourages residents of Albany and Dougherty County to “VOTE YES TO TSPLOST” now during early voting or on March 19.


Bárbara Rivera Holmes is president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for business success through leadership and economic development.