Category Archives: News & Publications

Albany Area Chamber member Thrush Aircraft announces new aircraft, 125 new jobs

June 9, 2022

via Thrush Aircraft 

Thrush Aircraft, LLC
Mark McDonald

Thrush Aircraft announces certification of new aircraft model and corresponding production expansion 

Thrush Aircraft announces new aircraft, 125 new jobs

 ALBANY, GA — Thrush Aircraft, LLC, a leading aerial application aircraft manufacturing company, recently announced it has launched four certification programs for two engine and airframe configurations. These programs will combine their best 500-gallon airframe with additional engine options from Pratt and Whitney (PT6-34AG and PT6-140AG) to create their new 510P2 and 510P2+ aircraft. Both engines are integrated with single and dual cockpit versions of the airframe, historically used for their 510G model. 

The first of four configurations has been granted its Type Certificate from the FAA. The other configurations are planned for certification later this summer. Currently, Thrush has orders in place for 510P2 and 510P2+ models to be delivered to eight different countries. Performance data will be published on both models in June and July. 

Thrush has already established its new production line. By the time the first two type certificates are awarded, Thrush expects to have 12 aircraft completed and ready for delivery (about half -140 powered, half -34 powered). Thrush will hire more than 125 people over the next 12 months to grow its production capacity to meet the increased market demand. Thrush will continue to build and deliver the 710P aircraft, as that production line is not affected by the certification program. 

Mark McDonald, Thrush Aircraft’s CEO, commented, “The new P2 and P2+ deliver increased performance, productivity and reliability to our customers. We are continuing to invest in our production capacity to meet the growing demand for our products and services, and we are grateful for the positive initial feedback and the significant preorders from the marketplace.” 


About Thrush Aircraft 

Thrush Aircraft is preferred by more than 2,200 aircraft owners hard at work in more than 80 countries—trusted by individual owner-operators, large corporate fleet operators, as well as many governments around the world. To learn more about Thrush Aircraft, visit:, or follow the Company on social media at: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube. 

Joey Magaddino has been promoted to Regional President of PeopleSouth Bank

PeoplesSouth Bank, a community bank headquartered in Colquitt, Georgia with thirty-one full service locations in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, is pleased to announce the promotion of Joey Magaddino to Regional President over Albany, Americus, Dawson, and Phenix City, Alabama.  In his new role, he will be instrumental in leading his team to pursue excellence and share our philosophy of striving to maintain an environment where the customer and prospective customer will want to bank for a lifetime.

Joey joined PeoplesSouth Bank five years ago as Albany’s City President.  In this role, he demonstrated successful business development skills and leadership skills which had a profound impact on the reputation and profit for the company.

“Joey is an extremely talented banker with strong values. He will be influential in helping our bank continue to grow and prosper.  Joey’s extensive banking knowledge and his high-quality customer service skills will add value to our customers, employees, and shareholders in the communities we serve.  Promoting Joey to the leadership team is well-deserved.” said Erin Stuckey, PeoplesSouth Bank President

Joey is an Albany native who graduated from Albany High School in 1995.  He then attended The University of Georgia – Terry College of Business where he graduated in 1999.  Joey is also a 2010 alumnus of LSU Graduate School of Banking.  He has also successfully completed Leadership Albany, Leadership Lee, South GeorgiaLEADS, and Georgia Academy for Economic Development.

Joey has served on numerous boards in the community, including Chairman of the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer of the Albany Tech Foundation Board of Trustees, Past President and Chairman of the Artesian City Sertoma Club, Past Vice Chairman of the Community Bankers Association Leadership Division, Past Vice Chairman of the United Way of Southwest Georgia, Past Board Member of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, and Past Board Member of Leadership Albany.  He was also recognized as Sertoman of the Year and was a recipient of the Albany Herald 40 Under 40 of Southwest Georgia.

Joey resides in Lee County with his wife, Jennifer, and two teenage children – daughter, Kameron and son, Alex.

Royce Marlin Cannington, III (Beau) joins PeoplesSouth Bank Board of Directors

PeoplesSouth Bank, a community bank headquartered in Colquitt, Georgia with thirty-one full service locations in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, announced the appointment of Royce Marlin Cannington, III (Beau) to the Bank’s Board of Directors.

“Our Commitment to Albany and every market we serve starts with proven leaders who know the region and embrace our southern values and customer service oriented community banking approach.  Beau is an exceptional addition to our board on both fronts.  We are thrilled to have someone of his caliber and reputation on board to help establish our presence and have an immediate impact in the market.” said Caleb Stuckey, PeoplesSouth Bank President

Royce Marlin Cannington, III (Beau) grew up in Iron City, Georgia and attended Southwest Georgia Academy (SGA). After graduating from SGA, Beau then attended Presbyterian College (PC) and graduated summa cum laude with honors in Biology in 1999. After PC, Beau was accepted into medical school at Mercer University School of Medicine where he earned his medical doctorate and graduated in 2004. After obtaining his MD, Beau attended the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville for radiology residency and completed an extra year at UF specializing in musculoskeletal radiology. Upon graduating from the University of Florida in 2010, Beau joined South Georgia Radiology Associates where he has been a partner since 2011.

Beau is married to Erin M. Cannington, MD who practices allergy and immunology in Albany, Georgia. They have two children (Cole and Caroline) and enjoy playing and watching sports, hunting, fishing, traveling, and watching UGA play football on Saturdays in the fall.

Albany to host New Georgia Economy Tour in partnership with Georgia Chamber

April 28, 2022

Albany, GA  – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce will host an economic forecasting seminar in partnership with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as part of the statewide organization’s 2022 New Georgia Economy Tour. Presented by Wells Fargo, the New Georgia Economy Tour will gather input and data from all regions of the state to prepare a planning strategy for the future. The Region 10 event will be held in Albany on May 12 at Albany State University.

“The Albany Area Chamber is the leading advocacy organization for the Albany Area and its business community,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, President & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “The New Georgia Economy tour provides valuable information to assist our organization and our community in continuing to be at the forefront of economic trends in order to proactively plan for the future. We appreciate the Georgia Chamber’s commitment to ensure the voice of rural Georgia is heard and reflected.”

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education will be on hand for the event, with its president, Dana Rickman, presenting alongside Georgia Chamber CEO Chris Clark, followed by a panel discussion covering the economics of education.

“Our goal with the tour is to listen and collect information from hardworking Georgians that can help us plan a more resilient economy,” said Clark. “In 2016, we conducted a similar tour that identified key trends Georgia would face in the coming years. With the onset of COVID-19, factors that were to evolve over 10 years, rapidly took shape in 2020, demanding a re-evaluation of what we would need to consider in our planning for the next decade. This strategy will deliver some of those answers and help us prepare for the future.”

The regional event provides content specific to Georgia’s Region 10, comprised of Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole,Terrell, Thomas and Worth counties.

The event will take place on ASU’s East Campus, in the C.W. Grant Student Union, 100 Dennis Drive. Check-in begins at 7:30 am and the program begins at 8 am. Breakfast and coffee will be provided. To register for the May 12 event, click here.

Albany Area Chamber’s 112th annual meeting celebrates wins, sets course for future

Albany, GA – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce tonight hosted its 112th annual meeting on the Bricks at Thronateeska in downtown Albany. The event is one of the most important of the year for the Albany Area Chamber and 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.

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 112 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 largest business advocacy organization, and its 501©3 affiliate, the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. Through implementation of our future-focused strategic plan, #ImpactABY2023, we will continue to accelerate Albany’s economic advancement through promoting business investment and job growth by advocating for pro-business policies such as workplace diversity, modern infrastructure investments and work force development initiatives and partnerships.”

#ImpactABY2023 leans into impact, value and constant progress, and represents a range of programmatic and operational improvements across the organization to impact 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 how so that we may continue to achieve the why.

The strategic plan directs the Chamber’s focus to five key areas, each represented by a division with a strategic program of work, volunteer-led by a member of the Chamber’s Executive Committee.

Education, Talent and Leadership. Working to identify, engage, develop and advance talent and leaders in our community. This division connects employers and educators to ensure businesses have the work force they need, and students of all ages have opportunities right here in Albany; connects young professionals and immerses them in our community so they continue to choose Albany; has expanded our Albany Under 40 program; is working to increase third-grade literacy rates; and is playing a role in supporting the unique talent needs of our health care employers.

Government Affairs and Advocacy. The Chamber continues to work closely with our governmental partners and our elected officials to ensure the voices of our businesses and our community are heard, and continue to work 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 is developing a non-partisan political leadership institute to “build the bench” of public servants who want to improve the community by serving in appointed positions or in elected offices.

To exponentially expand our voice, the 11 largest and most influential Chambers outside of Atlanta — the Albany Area Chamber among them — partnered 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, the group this year led support of work force-related legislation and House Bill 1064, which eliminates the state income tax for military retirees, which was recently signed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This program extends the full scope of our resources and leverages the power of partnerships to advance economic opportunities for all people. After much work throughout 2021 by our DE&I Working Group and adoption of recommendations by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, this year the Chamber is implementing the region’s first business-led DE&I initiative to facilitate a more inclusive economy and become a more attractive location for businesses to invest and thrive.

Military Affairs. The Albany Area Chamber and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany have been partners 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. Just this week, the Chamber submitted a $101 million appropriations request to Congress to fund two projects aboard the installation that directly support the Marines Corps’ readiness, and our national — and global — defense.

Business, 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 is helping build a resource guide and network for business start-ups and development, and is expanding the Albany Area Chamber Business Awards to capture and celebrate more of the unique talent, success, diversity and innovation of  member businesses.

It’s through this division through which the Chamber created a members-only task force to help create our new membership model, which will roll out this year. The newly-designed tiered benefits and investment structure allows member businesses to customize their partnership with the Albany Area Chamber though investment levels specifically designed to support unique business goals, at any stage in a company’s growth.

The 2022 event, presented by Colony Bank and Procter & Gamble, included the transfer of the chairman’s gavel; the announcement of the 2022 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year; and honored the Chamber’s 2022 Lifetime Service Award recipient.

Matt Reed, 2021 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber Board of Directors, and owner of Georgia CEO and The UPS Stores at 2021 N. Slappey Blvd. and 2800 Old Dawson Road in Albany, formally presented City of Albany facilities director and retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Don Gray as the organization’s 2022 chairman. As is precedent, Reed assumes a new role as chair of the Board of Directors of the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. Chandu Kuntawalla, program manager at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, assumes the role of chair-elect, and will take reigns in 2023.

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

“Over the last year, the Albany Area Chamber, and through it, the Albany community, has continued to distinguish itself as innovative, effective and resilient,” Reed said. “It’s been an honor to serve as chairman during this unique and challenging time, and to have the opportunity to represent the community in this capacity.”

The Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year was announced as Dr. Koosh Desai, originally nominated for the awards in the “Youth & Education” category, for his work with the Medical College of Georgia’s Albany-based Southwest Campus.

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 2021. The AU40 Young Professional of the Year is selected from among category winners.

Sonny Deriso, 1990 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber, was honored with the Chamber’s prestigious Lifetime Service Award.

Deriso practiced law with Albany’s Divine, Wilkin, Deriso, Raulerson & Fields from 1972-1991 before assuming the role of president and CEO of Security Bank and Trust Co. of Albany, a role he held from 1991-1997, and subsequently served as the bank’s chairman until 2006.

Deriso is a staunch community advocate, having served on a vast variety of local and state boards, and has stood alongside the Chamber in its mission to foster and further the economic prosperity of the Albany Area. Deriso was most recently chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, a partner of the Albany Area Chamber and Georgia’s leading statewide business advocate.

The 112th annual meeting is further sponsored by the Artesian Alliance; the City of Albany; Turner Job Corps; Flint AG; Molson Coors; Draffin and Tucker; Georgia Power; Jim Boyd Construction; Marcus, Inman and Daniels; Mars Wrigley; Mitchell EMC; Southern Point Staffing; WebstaurantStore; Georgia CEO; the UPS Store and Albany Area Primary Healthcare.


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