Category Archives: Chamber News

Albany hosts 35th annual Georgia Quail Hunt

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 8, 2024

CONTACT

Jay Houston

jhouston@albanyga.com

Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

229.343.3667

 

 

Georgia Chamber hosts business prospects for 35th annual

‘Georgia Quail Hunt’ in Albany

 

Albany, Ga. – This week, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Georgia Quail Hunt in Albany, as business leaders representing state recruitment and expansion prospects joined local and state economic developers and officials, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, to learn about the competitive advantages of doing business in Georgia.

Celebrating its 35th year, the Georgia Quail Hunt stands as the foremost economic development recruitment event in the state. Since 1994, business participants in the Georgia Quail Hunt have contributed billions of dollars to the state’s economy and generated more than 10,000 jobs through corporate establishments or expansions.

“Georgia has solidified its position as the leading state for business, and this occasion provides us with a platform to highlight Georgia’s people and its business-friendly atmosphere,” said Daryl Ingram, the 2024 Georgia Quail Hunt Chairman and Chief External Officer/Senior Vice President of Electric Cities of Georgia. “The economic prosperity we’ve achieved is largely the result of a synergistic partnership between public and private entities, joining forces to create opportunities for thriving businesses and, in turn, fostering prosperous communities. This event exemplifies the collaborative spirit that businesses can anticipate when choosing to establish or expand their operations in Georgia.”

The Albany Area is recognized as one of the world’s premiere destinations for quail hunting, with the industry producing an estimated annual economic impact of more than $145 million. The ongoing recruitment event this week utilizes diverse hunting preserves across Southwest Georgia, centered in Albany. Industry locations in Albany-Dougherty County facilitated through the hunt include Outdoor Network, PowerSports Plus and WebstaurantStore.

“Through the Georgia Quail Hunt we have the opportunity to host business prospects and key decision-makers for a three-day period. This allows them to personally witness the exceptional quality of life and the abundant business prospects available in Albany and Southwest Georgia,” said Jana Dyke, the president and CEO of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission. “The event offers distinctive chances for fostering relationships, a crucial element in the successful project recruitment observed throughout the hunt’s 35-year history.”

Georgia’s strengths in site location encompass a favorable tax environment, a skilled talent pool with accessible training and a robust transportation infrastructure. These attributes, among others, have earned Georgia the prestigious title of the “No. 1 state for business” for an unprecedented 10 consecutive years, as acknowledged by Area Development magazine.

Event organizers say the hunt has been successful in promoting these assets and recruiting businesses to the state.

“For more than 30 years, the Georgia Quail Hunt has helped facilitate the creation of thousands of jobs and billions in investment in Georgia’s economy,” said Chris Clark, president & CEO of the Georgia Chamber. “Hosting the event in Albany provides an incredible opportunity to showcase Southwest Georgia as a premier destination for business, giving guests a first-hand look at the region’s high quality of life and exposing them to local and state leaders who are eager to help them take their business tto the next level. I would like to personally thank the Locate South Georgia, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and all the local volunteers for the incredible partnership and hospitality.”

The Georgia Quail Hunt is sponsored by the Georgia Allies, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Locate South Georgia, along with corporate sponsors Bergara, BPI Outdoors, Glock, Kia Georgia, Molson Coors, PowerSports Plus, Remington Firearms, Taurus Holdings and Trulock Choke Tubes.

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About the Georgia Chamber of Commerce

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is the state’s largest business advocacy organization that focuses on state and federal issues. The Chamber has worked to keep, grow and create jobs to make Georgia a better state for business. The advocacy, policy and thought leadership help ensure Georgia’s economic competitiveness, attract new investments as well as promote growth and prosperity for all businesses.

Chamber’s Albany-Dougherty Day 2024 celebrates community, leadership, partnerships

 

A delegation of community leaders along with Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp celebrated Albany-Dougherty Day at the Capitol on January 29-30. Albany-Dougherty Day is the Albany Area Chamber’s signature state legislative event.

 

January 29-30, 2024

Albany-Dougherty Day 2024: Celebrating Community Leadership, Unity, and Legislative Engagement

Atlanta — Albany-Dougherty Day 2024, hosted in Atlanta Monday and Tuesday by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, culminated as a resounding success, showcasing the collective strength and unity of the Albany community. This signature state legislative event drew a local delegation of nearly 50 private, public and elected partners for a  two-day event program that includes a legislative reception and meetings with legislators at the Georgia State Capitol.

“The success of Albany-Dougherty Day 2024 is a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of our community, and to our persistence in ensuring we are seen and heard at the Georgia State Capitol,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “This annual event highlights the importance of engaging with our elected officials, reinforces the strength of our local and state partnerships and reflects Albany’s position as a key economic hub supporting Georgia’s unmatched competitiveness.”

The public-private collaboration was underscored by participation from Albany Mayor Bo Dorough, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard, Albany Area Chamber Chair Jeretha Peters and members of their respective bodies. Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and Reps. Gerald Geene, Bill Yearta, Mike Cheokas – members of the Albany Area state legislative delegation – participated in the programs, as did leadership from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

The program commenced Monday with the Albany-Dougherty Day Legislative Reception at the Nathan Deal Judicial Center, home of the Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals. The center’s second-floor terrace, which overlooks Georgia’s Gold Dome, played host to a sunset reception during which local participants mingled with esteemed guests including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp; Lt. Gov. Burt Jones; Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr; Commissioner John King of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety; Commissioner Tyler Harper of the Georgia Department of Agriculture; Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger; and Judge Ken Hodges of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

The attendance of the state’s highest-ranking elected officials and additional leadership from the House of Representatives, Georgia Senate, state agencies and the judiciary emphasized Albany’s role as a key fixture in the state’s political and economic landscape.

“Ensuring our state officials are aware of the policy positions of the Albany Area Chamber and how they impact our member organizations and the region’s economic competitiveness is a core function of the Chamber’s advocacy program,” said Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Division. “Equally important is building and strengthening our relationships with state leadership. Albany-Dougherty Day is a conduit for that.”

Tuesday’s legislative program in the Capitol was marked by a series of engaging discussions with agency leadership and elected officials, providing valuable insights into what’s ahead during the 2024 legislative session. The sessions laid the groundwork for participants to engage in a unique experience with Georgia decision makers playing roles in the issues that matter most to the Chamber and the delegation, including smart fiscal policy, education and talent, defense and military, economic development and health care.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration; Sen. Chuck Payne, chairman of the Senate’s committee on veterans, military and homeland security; Chairman Matt Bonner from the House’s committee on defense and veterans; Commissioner Greg Dozier of the Technical College System of Georgia; and Kristi Birgman, deputy commissioner for global commerce with the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The mid-morning session included a commendation presentation with Kemp and a floor visit to the Georgia Senate, from whose well Holmes brought remarks on behalf of the community and addressed the senatorial body.

The scheduled events of the day came to a close with a “State of Health Policy” panel composed of Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Russel Carlson, Deputy Commissioner Grant Thomas and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dean Burke; Chairman Butch Parrish of the House Special Committee on Healthcare; Chairman Ben Watson of the Senate Health Committee; Caylee Noggle, CEO of the Georgia Hospital Association (GH.A); Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Scott Steiner, chair-elect of GHA.

Amidst the various sessions, Albany-Dougherty leaders actively advocated for legislative priorities crucial to the region’s growth. Notably, discussions emphasized the need for increased state funding to support local initiatives including the establishment of a VECTR (Veterans Education Career Transition Resource) center at Albany Technical College. The proposed $17.4 million center aims to enhance veteran employment opportunities in the area, aligning with broader local and state efforts to support and empower active military, veterans and military families. VECTR Albany is a key priority of Albany Technical College and the Albany Area Chamber.

The Chamber’s government affairs program is sponsored by AB&T, Phoebe Putney Health System, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the City of Albany, Dougherty County, Dougherty County School System, Albany Area Primary Healthcare, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Mclendon Acres, OmniTRAX Industrial Development, AT&T, Horizon Community Solutions, LRA Constructors, Molson Coors, Adams Exterminators and Georgia CEO.  Representatives from sponsoring organizations participated in the program.

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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 www.albanyga.com.

2023-2024 Political Leadership Institute

 ALBANY, GA – January 23, 2024 – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the 2023-2024 Albany Area Political Leadership Institute (PLI), a nonpartisan program dedicated to preparing participants for leadership roles on local boards and in elected office. 

The program, now in its second year, welcomed a diverse group of participants who completed a rigorous application process and were hand-selected for their commitment to public service and community engagement. The program’s January 17 graduation ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of the 2023-2024 PLI cohort, consisting of individuals from throughout Albany and the surrounding area. Participants included Renea Miller, Christopher Harvey, Tameeka Daniels, Martez Favis, Dr. Jennifer Williams, Angela Michele Patterson, Kenyetta Simons, Caleb Clugston, and George Houston. 

PLI’s goal is simple and local: To build well-equipped candidates for elected office and appointed boards. Throughout the three-session program, held from November 2023 to January 2024, participants delved into essential topics such as “Government 101,” “Issues of Importance,” and “Appointed Boards and Elected Office.” The curriculum, developed by business leaders in Albany, aims to equip participants with foundational knowledge and skills needed for effective public service leadership. Each program session was followed by networking opportunities with community and business leaders, connecting class participants to those serving the community in a variety of ways. 

Graduates of the 2022-2023 program successfully obtained local appointments, and 2023-2024 graduates are well on their way to expand their public service. 

“Participating in the 2023-2024 Political Leadership Institute has been an enlightening journey for me,” said class participant George Houston, organizational development coach at Phoebe 

Putney Memorial Hospital, president of the Lee County Exchange Club and member of the Board of Elections and Registrations for Lee County. “I entered the program with a commitment to community service. Through this experience, I gained wonderful insights into the intricacies of local governance. The program’s comprehensive curriculum and networking opportunities have left me feeling even more encouraged that normal individuals can indeed make a significant difference in shaping the future of the Albany Area. I am grateful for this empowering experience and look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my continued service to the community.” 

Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, expressed the chamber’s commitment to developing local talent for public service leadership. 

“The Political Leadership Institute serves as an innovative platform to nurture public servants and political newcomers, providing them with essential insights into issues and expectations as they consider elected office candidacy or public board positions,” she said. “The Albany Area Chamber aims to engage more people in public service, to prepare business-minded leaders who have an interest in exploring leadership opportunities on appointed boards or elected office, and to help them discover how their experience, skills and talent could address critical policy issues.” 

Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chairman of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Division, emphasized the program’s impact on bridging the gap for political newcomers and those interested in public service. 

This program educates and equips future community leaders on the unique demands of governmental leadership,” he said, “helping potential candidates and board members become more attuned to community needs and prepared to meet those needs through strategic action. 

Applications for the 2024-2025 class will open late summer/early fall. Interested individuals should follow the Chamber at www.albanyga.com and on social media. 

Exciting News: Jeretha Peters Named Chair of Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

 Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to welcome Jeretha Peters as the 2024 chair of its Board of Directors. With a distinguished background as the Branch Manager and First Vice President of Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, Peters brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the business community. 

As we stand at the beginning of a new year, many of us are inspired by the idea of change and the prospect of doing things differently to bring about better results, ” she said. “It is with immense gratitude and honor that I assume the role of chair of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. 

“Margaret Mead once said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.’ These words resonate deeply, not only with me, but within the spirit of the Albany Area Chamber as a collective of dedicated individuals and businesses on a journey to impact Albany positively,” Peters said. “We are not just an organization; we are catalysts for change, working to create a community that benefits us all – changing our world for the better. I am both excited and honored to serve our community through the Albany Area Chamber and invite you to join us as we navigate this journey to create a more thriving and prosperous community.” 

Peters is a longstanding member of the Albany Area Chamber and has served in various capacities. She served as chair-elect in 2023 and held a three-year role as chair of the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, where she spearheaded the area’s first business-led initiative focused on fostering a welcoming environment for all. 

“We look forward to this year under Jeretha’s leadership and her focus of fostering innovation, transforming challenges into opportunities and collaborating with those who share a vision for Albany’s future,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber and its 51c3 affiliate, the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “We believe that together with our members and partners we can turn collective resolve into tangible actions that positively impact our community.” 

Ben Maillette, plant manager of Albany’s Molson Coors brewery, is the 2024 chair-elect and will assume the role of chairman in 2025. Peters was preceded in leadership by Perry Revell, CEO of AB&T; the late Chandu Kuntawala; and Don Gray, facilities manager for the city of Albany. Jeff Wright, managing partner at Draffin & Tucker, serves as the Chamber’s treasurer. 

Peters will address the membership at the Chamber’s 114th annual meeting on April 25. 

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The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance economic opportunities. With a diverse business community in our corner, the Albany Area Chamber works diligently to serve area businesses, develop strategies that help our community prosper and design the path of Albany’s future. Learn more at www.albanyga.com. 

Albany Area Chamber Foundation hosts THRIVE!

Albany – The Albany Area Chamber Foundation Thursday hosted its inaugural and highly

successful THRIVE program, a dynamic talent development initiative aimed at preparing

students for the professional world. THRIVE empowers students with a range of employability

skills crucial for success in the workplace. Through engaging sessions and interactive activities,

students gain insights into effective communication, networking and professional growth.

For the Thursday event, held at Albany Technical College, the Albany Area Chamber

Foundation partnered with the Dougherty County School System and local employers to present

skills training, business connections and local opportunities to students with disabilities who will

seek employment after graduation.

“The No. 1 growth inhibitor for our employers is talent – work force – and it’s a challenge faced

by employers across the country. In Albany, the business community is working closely with our

educational partners to design a modern, adaptive talent pipeline that is sustainable and relevant

to our marketplace,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area

Chamber and the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Through programs such as THRIVE,

we’re in the schools working one-on-one with students on the key employability skills that the

workplace demands and connecting students to local employers. We want all members of our

community to have opportunities to thrive.”

The Chamber Foundation, the 501©3 affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, leads

the community’s comprehensive work force efforts via the Albany-Dougherty Talent Strategy

2.0, a public-private effort in which strategic partners, employers and educators participate.

Other Chamber Foundation talent development programs include PROPEL+, targeted at female

high school students, and implementation of the U.S. Chamber’s Talent Pipeline Management

framework. The Chamber Foundation’s efforts amplify the primary business organization’s

programs in the areas of talent and innovation and are a direct response to employer and

community needs.

“There’s significant demand for this programming – we hear it from the students, from the

educators and from the employers,” Holmes said. “We’re encouraged by feedback from the

students and our partners about the impact of our work force programs and look forward to

scaling this work to continue building our community’s talent infrastructure.”

Representatives from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the Albany Area YMCA and Albany

Technical College participated in Thursday’s program, sharing with students the diversity of

available jobs at their organizations, the skills required for those jobs and training pathways to

obtain those skills.

During THRIVE students practiced their public speaking skills through mock interviews with

volunteers from businesses who offered valuable feedback and guidance to the students. While

students were taking turns participating in the one-on-interviews, other students were practicing

networking with peers and adults as they answered ice-breaker prompts facilitated by community

volunteers.

The program also featured a unique segment highlighting appropriate professional attire where

business community members served as models, showcasing the “DOs” and “DON’Ts” of

dressing for success in the workplace.

“This event will help these students have more confidence, flexibility and adaptability with

individuals that they don’t know in speaking with them and sharing information about

themselves,” said Gordina Porter, director of the Exceptional Students Program (ESP) at the

Dougherty County School System. “It was a great event.”

October 2023 Business After Hours hosted by the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready to Mix It Up at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s October Business After Hours! Join us for a thrilling evening sponsored by the Albany Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at the unsinkable Albany State University on October 10 at Eula Lovett Hall starting at 5:00 PM.
It’s HOMECOMING WEEK for the Rams so that makes this an event you absolutely won’t want to miss! Expect an electrifying atmosphere with the ASU March Rams Show Band setting the stage for an immaculate evening of networking and celebration. The vibes will be nothing short of extraordinary.
Don’t leave home without your business card! You’ll want them for a chance to win our $100 cash prize, graciously sponsored by The UPS Stores of Albany, and other prizes.
Business After Hours extends a warm welcome to all. Feel free to bring along a friend or colleague to share in the fun! After all, who says networking can’t be an absolute blast?
We can’t wait to see you there as we celebrate Albany State University’s homecoming and take business networking to the next level.
Please take a moment to register for this remarkable evening here:
https://bit.ly/BAHatASU2023

Applications open for 2023-2024 Albany Area Political Leadership Institute

Applications open for 2023-2024 Albany Area Political Leadership Institute

Albany Area Chamber program aims to build next-gen public leaders

Albany – Applications are now open for the 2023-2024 class of the Albany Area Political Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan political leadership program aimed at equipping participants for leadership on local boards and in elected office.

The focus of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce program is simple: To build local candidates.

“Through the Political Leadership Institute, the Albany Area Chamber aims to engage more people in public service, to prepare business-minded leaders who have an interest in exploring leadership opportunities on appointed boards or elected office, and to help them discover how their experience, skills and talent could address critical policy issues,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “Ultimately, we are building the next generation of public leaders.”

The program, now in its second year, was developed by business leaders in Albany. Participants from the previous program are now serving on local boards and making an impact via their public service.

“This program educates and equips future community leaders on the unique demands of governmental leadership, helping potential candidates and board members become more attuned to community needs and prepared to meet those needs through strategic action,” said Bridges Sinyard, vice president of Adams Exterminators and chairman of the Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs Division.

The three-session program is suited for anyone interested in serving on appointed boards or in elected office. Participants will get a primer on government, opportunities for service, campaigning for office and what Albany needs from its appointed and elected officials. The program features exclusive networking opportunities for class members to build relationships with each other and with community leaders. A limited number of applicants will be competitively chosen by a selection committee. Participants represent a diverse range of business expertise, backgrounds and community involvement.

Class sessions will run from November 2023 to January 2024 and will cover topics including “Government 101,” “Issues of Importance” and “Appointed Boards and Elected Office.”

There is no commitment to run for office. The program cost is $150 to participants, which includes all three sessions, related materials and meals. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Friday, October 13. Participants may apply at bit.ly/PoliticalLeadership2023.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance economic opportunities and a thriving community. With a diverse business community in our corner, the Albany Area Chamber works diligently to serve area businesses, develop strategies that help our community prosper and design the path of Albany’s future. Learn more at www.albanyga.com. s

The Albany Area Chamber Foundation, founded in 1991, leads talent, economic, innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives that provide impact beyond the business community’s normal reach. The Albany Area Chamber Foundation is the 501(c)3 affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at albanyga.com.

Mars Wrigley and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce unveil new COMBOS® sign at manufacturing site

Albany, Georgia – Mars Wrigley, with the support of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, unveiled a new sign at the company’s Albany facility, proudly showcasing the site’s COMBOS® line and celebrating Mars Wrigley’s continued commitment to Albany. The occasion was celebrated with an Albany Area Chamber ribbon cutting.

COMBOS, the ultimate-stuffed snack, is produced only in Albany by Mars Wrigley at its site on Oakridge Drive, since 1978. Popular flavors include Pizzeria Pretzel and Cheddar Cheese Cracker. The new sign features Mars and COMBOS logos and the tagline, “We Make A Great COMBO.”

“Albany and Mars absolutely make a great combo, in more ways than one. We’re grateful for Mars’ continued investment in Albany and for its support of programs and initiatives that make a broad social and economic impact on our community,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albay Area Chamber, the region’s leading business organization. “Mars has been part of the community for decades and Albany being the sole manufacturing home of COMBOS speaks to Albany’s advantages with respect to transportation and logistics infrastructure, work force, business climate and community relationships.”

Albany’s Mars Wrigley facility is part of Mars Incorporated, a global, family-owned business that believes “the world we want tomorrow starts with the business we do today.” That ethos resonates with the local facility, whose commitment to community is demonstrated in support of programs including the FLEX ABY youth entrepreneurial competition, the COMBOS Marathon and Half Marathon and the comprehensive Albany-Dougherty Works! Talent Strategy 2.0, managed by the Albany Area Chamber Foundation.

“We are so proud of this site, the product we produce, and being an employer of choice in Albany,” said Kristen Murray, Albany Site Director, Mars Wrigley. “Worldwide, we are the only facility in the world that is producing COMBOS. We are committed to growing this brand, growing this site, and being a good partner with the community.”

Learn more about the COMBOS story and heritage at www.combos.com.

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Photo Caption:
Albany Chamber members and team members from Mars gather to celebrate the unveiling of the new sign.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1910, is leading a multi-year strategic effort to advance economic opportunities and a thriving community. With a diverse business community in our corner, the Albany Area Chamber works diligently to serve area businesses, develop strategies that help our community prosper and design the path of Albany’s future. Learn more at www.albanyga.com

About Mars, Incorporated

 Mars, Incorporated is driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. As a global, family-owned business, Mars is transforming, innovating, and evolving to make a positive impact on the world.  Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of quality snacking, food, and pet care products and services, we employ 140,000+ dedicated Associates. With more than $47 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world’s best-loved brands including Ben’s Original™, CESAR®, Cocoavia®, DOVE®, EXTRA®, KIND®, M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, and WHISKAS®. We are creating A Better World for Pets through our global network of pet hospitals and diagnostic services – including AniCura, BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, Linnaeus and VCA™ – using cutting edge technology to develop breakthrough programs in genetic health screening and DNA testing.