Category Archives: Chamber News

Albany Area Chamber of Commerce earns state accreditation

For Immediate Release

Contact: Reedi Hawkins Mabrey

January 13, 2022

Albany, Ga.The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has been awarded reaccreditation through the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (GACCE) “Georgia Certified Chamber” program.

Chambers must meet standards in organization, service intent and capacity, professional administration, financial management, communications and advocacy in order to achieve the designation. The certification program promotes continuing excellence in the Chamber of Commerce industry and helps to foster a pro-business environment across the state of Georgia.

“Reaccreditation from GACCE serves as a stamp of approval that we’re on the right track, in terms of organizational excellence and service delivery,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s largest business advocacy organization. “The Albany Area Chamber has implemented a three-year strategic plan, ‘#ImpactABY2023,’ which provided many of the directives evaluated in the accreditation process. Through implementing this plan, we have been able to grow as an organization and better serve the Albany Area in our mission to foster an environment for business and community success.”

Out of more than 150 Chambers of Commerce in Georgia, 16 are distinguished as 2021 Georgia Certified Chambers.

The following Chambers of Commerce make up the 2021 class of Georgia Certified Chambers:

  1. Albany Area Chamber of Commerce 
  2. Carroll County Chamber of Commerce  
  3. Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce  
  4. Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
  5. Columbia County Chamber of Commerce
  6. Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce
  7. Douglas County Chamber of Commerce 
  8. Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce 
  9. Effingham County Chamber of Commerce
  10. Fayette Chamber of Commerce  
  11. Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce
  12. Pickens County Chamber of Commerce 
  13. Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce 
  14. Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce 
  15. Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce 
  16. Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce  

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce also holds the distinction of being a nationally accredited chamber through the United States Chamber of Commerce. Of more than 7,000 chambers in the U.S., 200 are nationally accredited, with the Albany Chamber’s 4-star rating landing them in the top tier of chambers of commerce in the country.




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


About the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

GACCE is the professional society of Chamber of Commerce executives and staff in the State of Georgia. The mission of GACCE is to engage, educate, and empower Chamber of Commerce professionals.

Albany Area Chamber Announces 2021 Albany Under 40 Category Winners

Albany Area Chamber President & CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes, left, and Albany Area Chamber Chairman Matt Reed, right, announced Thursday the 2021 Albany Under 40 category winners, pictured here, during an evening awards reception honoring emerging leaders and young professionals representing the area’s diversified talent pool and economy.


December 3, 2021


Albany Area Chamber announces ‘Albany Under 40’ category winners  


Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday recognized the finalists and announced the category winners of the 2021 Albany Under 40 Awards, a program that celebrates 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.


“The Albany Area is home to young leaders who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through their innovation and through their commitment to building a stronger region,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “We’re honored to recognize these diverse, outstanding professionals and proud they’ve chosen to live, work and invest in the Albany Area.”


Category finalists were announced in November and honored at Thursday’s evening awards reception at Pretoria Fields Brewery in downtown Albany. Category winners, selected from among the finalists, were announced at the event:


  • Arts, Entertainment, Culinary Arts, Events, Tourism & Hospitality: Kirstin Collins, American Peanut Shellers Association
  • Civics, Defense, Government & Public Affairs: Ronnie Alvin Pettiford Jr., city of Albany
  • Financial & Insurance Services: Allison Daniels, Marcus, Inman & Daniels Wealth Advisors
  • Innovation & Start-Ups: Maria Carr, Body Perfection Studio
  • Journalism, Marketing & Public Relations: Kori Phillips Foy, WALB News Channel 10
  • Manufacturing, Service Industries, Energy & Architecture: Brandon Senn, Mosquito Source
  • Medicine & Health Care: Cindreka Marshall, The LEGACY Case Management
  • Nonprofit Services: Don R. Johnson, The Challenger League
  • Youth & Education: Dr. Koosh Desai, Medical College of Georgia — Southwest Georgia campus


The 2021 Albany Under 40 is sponsored by Albany Air Conditioning & Heating; Colony Bank; Southern AG Carriers; and Hughey & Neuman.


The 2021 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber 112th annual meeting next spring.






Shop Local, #ShopABY this Small Business Season

There is nothing more convenient than whipping out your phone, typing in a URL (or opening an app), perusing offerings, and hitting a few buttons to buy something…anything…everything. We even get our groceries that way these days. But as convenient as online shopping seems, there are many reasons to shop local.

In person is the way to go this Small Business Season. We’ll explain why.

Our Favorite Reasons to Shop Local During Small Business Season

Yes, online shopping is convenient. You don’t have to change out of your PJs and it’s always open. But in the t-chart of holiday shopping options, there are a lot of reasons to shop local.

Here are a few of our favorites:

You’re supporting your neighbors.

When you support Small Business Season and shop local, you are supporting your neighbors and they are more likely, in turn, to keep the money you spent with them local as well (for every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local).

You are able to get in-person advice.

Not sure of the right size, color, or other option? Maybe you want to buy something but don’t know what else you need to make that purchase complete (like buying a fishing rod without any hooks or lures). An in-person shopping experience can help you straighten out the choices. Small business owners offer complete information and suggestions and you can ask questions about those suggestions. Doing that via chat online can be cumbersome and delayed as they are answering questions from several other shoppers at the same time.

You know what you’re getting.

Have you ever ordered something online only to be disappointed when it arrives? Maybe it’s smaller than you thought or the color is just too much. Online images can be very hard to discern. (Remember that dress a few years back? What color was that any way?) If you don’t read the description carefully, your item may be smaller (or larger) than expected and may not include things you had assumed came with it. Even when you do read the description, some items are sized differently or have unexpected variations. Don’t even get us started on what happens then.

For every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local.

Local yields easier returns.

Even though you have a clear understanding of what you’re buying when you buy in person, sometimes you need to return your purchase. When you do, it’s easier to do it locally than to send something back to an online store. Between paying for shipping to going to the post office and insuring it, bringing it back to a local business is generally easier than online returns.

Satisfaction guaranteed.

If you’re not satisfied with what you purchased, but it’s not something you can bring back (like a service or a food item), you know how to get in touch with the local provider. Some online sellers make it impossible to speak to a human. Try arguing your point with AI that uses keywords and automated language responses. Talking to the local business owner is much easier and they may be able to suggest something that is more along the lines of what you’re looking for.

Local shopping becomes an experience.

Yes, online shopping is quick, but you also have no memory of doing it. This can lead to overbuying. How many times during the holiday do you come home to find a package on your door step and you can’t remember what you purchased? You’ll remember when you go out. Plus, when you shop in-person or local, you can invite friends, family, or just make a pleasurable outing for yourself. This creates appealing memories of a wonderful seasonal experience.

It brings on the holiday spirit.

When you are out among the sounds and smells of the holiday, it brightens your mood. Who doesn’t love sparkling lights, glitter, snow (real or fake), and all of the happy tunes of the season? It’s hard to get those same smiles shopping online.

You may miss the best things when you only go online.

When you shop online, you do a few searches for things you are looking for. You are less apt to stumble across the perfect gift or item because you are on a targeted mission and only see what the online store presents. When you’re shopping in person, there are a lot of serendipitous moments where something catches your eye and you walk out knowing you found a treasure.

You meet and interact with people.

When you shop in-person, you meet and interact with people. We have been sequestered long enough. There’s something to be said from those chance meetings that occur when walking around town. Who knows–you could meet your next business partner or a former friend. From the warm smile of the business owner to a suggestion, compliment, or affirmation you receive from a fellow shopper, there are many times when these sorts of introductions can be very helpful.

You’ll receive better reviews.

Sure, online reviews are helpful but so are reviews from people around you. Plus, people you meet in person who are commenting on what you’re buying have a personal connection. They are vouching for the item or dish face-to-face. If you have questions about what they’re saying, you can ask. Online reviews are one-sided with very little chance for follow-up from the original poster.

No worries about delivery this small business season when shopping local.

With ports backed up and short-staffing throughout the supply chain, there’s a lot of talk about potential delivery delays this holiday. If you shop in-person, you won’t need to worry about this.

In-person shopping is perfect for procrastinators.

Sure, there are some online mega retailers who can get an item to you same day depending on where you live, but most times–especially as we get closer to the actual holiday–your best bet for last-minute gifts is a local shop. If you’re a procrastinator, feel free to take this reason to shop local as permission. You’ll feel less stressed about waiting , plus you won’t be depending on someone else’s delivery schedule.

Displays help you visualize.

Store displays are better than “you might also like” options in online stores. After all, the online suggestions are based on the buying patterns of others or using products the online retailer links together. Store displays are created (and stores are arranged) to help you find what you need and want. Collections are curated with the shopper in mind. You may find a lot of treasurers browsing that way.

Window shopping can lead to ideas.

When you shop in-person around the holidays you’ll be treated to beautiful window and decoration displays. These could inspire your holiday home décor or help you figure out something for your hard-to-buy-for aunt. A display may also draw you into trying a new business that you hadn’t noticed before. There are so many serendipitous possibilities when shopping in-person this Small Business Season.

You could find your next job.

If you shop in-person, you’ll quickly realize how many businesses are hiring. Who knows. You might decide to work at your favorite shop over the holidays.

One’s couch has never been the setting for a Hallmark holiday movie but Main Street certainly has.

And we all love those movies, don’t we?

We aren’t telling you to never shop online again. Online shopping is simply too convenient and there are many times when you can get things delivered online faster than you are able to clear your schedule and shop in-person. There are also many local sellers that have an online presence so you can buy online and still “shop local.”

Still, there are several reasons to shop local, including the ability to spread some holiday cheer to your local businesses this Small Business Season.

Those business owners would just love to see your smiling face and the serious ones of Mr. Jackson, Hamilton, and Washington.

This Small Business Season, let’s give local and small businesses something to be thankful for.

Let’s give them the gift of our support. Need local ideas? Visit our online member directory at

Albany Area Chamber announces 2021 Albany Under 40 category finalists

November 9, 2021

Albany Area Chamber announces 2021 ‘Albany Under 40’ category finalists


Albany, Ga.– The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today announced the category finalists of the 2021 Albany Under 40 awards, a program that honors and celebrates 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.


“Talent is the most important factor for businesses, and the Albany Area is home to talented young professionals who are making their mark through excellence in their professions, through innovation and through their commitment to building a stronger Albany Area,” Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization. “We’re honored to recognize these outstanding professionals who have chosen to live, work and invest in Albany and the Albany Area.”

Nominations for Albany Under 40 were sought from the public. Category finalists were considered from among the nominees who applied, and were selected, following selections criteria, by a panel of volunteer judges: Sheri Barlow, Englewood Health Care; Victoria Gatsby-Green Brackins, Turner Job Corps; Blake Cook, The Levee Studios and Do Process; Harry Day, Flint River Entertainment Complex; Pamela Green-Jackson, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany; Brad McEwen, AB&T; Shaunea Motley, United Way of Southwest Georgia; Daniel Stone, Synovus; Juwan Wilson, Mars Wrigley Confectionary.

Category finalists will be recognized at the Albany Under 40 awards reception on December 2. Category winners, selected from among the category finalists, will be announced at the event. The 2020 Albany Under 40 Young Professional of the Year, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber’s 112th annual meeting, in 2022.

Registrations for the Albany Under 40 awards reception can be made at

View the 2021 Albany Under 40 category finalists here.


Albany Area Chamber Announces Winners of its 2021 Business Awards

November 5, 2021

Albany Area Chamber Announces Winners of its 2021 Business Awards


Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce honored local organizations Thursday evening when it recognized the finalists and announced the winners of its 2021 Albany Area Chamber Business Awards, which celebrates memberorganizations that are making strides, demonstrating a unique vision and establishing best practices.

The business awards encompass the small business of the year award, the nonprofit of the year award and the new “Uniquely Albany” award.

“The Albany Area Chamber Business Awards celebrates excellence and shines the spotlight on our community and our member organizations — on their success, their innovation, their talent, their contributions, their impact,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s largest business advocacy organization. “We’re honored to recognize these outstanding organizations and honored that they’ve chosen Albany.”

The 2021 Small Business of the Year award was presented to Q’s Cakes & More.

Q’s Cakes and More was founded out of a deep love for real food, food that is fresh, authentic and made the old fashion way. Quintetta Hall had more than 20 years of baking experience when she decided to start her own business. She was a baker by default. Her family always had big gatherings to which everyone would bring food, but there were never any sweets. Her grandmother taught her how to bake and after her grandmother passed, Hall became the baker of the family. Q’s Cakes was born in 2014 as a home-based business on Gillionville Road. Just one year in, the business suffered a devastating fire; she lost everything. After much deliberation Quinetta began again from “scratch.” Hall is now located in the heart of Albany’s retail district and employing 15 people — has blossomed into a thriving restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating; space for families and parties; cooking classes; and a personalized vending machine that’s satisfying her customers’ sweet tooths 24/7.  

The 2021 Nonprofit of the Year award was presented to the Lily Pad SANE Center.

The Lily Pad SANE Center provides 24-hour services in Albany and Dougherty County and 19 counties throughout Southwest Georgia for victims of sexual assault, child abuse, neglect and deprivation, as well as children in foster care.  The Lily Pad serves the immediate primary needs of the clients including crisis intervention, forensic interviews and safe, compassionate forensic medical evaluation and evidence collection.  A case management approach is used for all clients to ensure that appropriate services are available, to include counseling/therapy for up to 24 months.  The Lily Pad collaborates with local, state, and national resources; provides a safe haven for victims of sexual assault and their families in the immediate aftermath of an assault; and educates all stakeholders of the local community regarding sexual assault and child abuse and neglect.  As a non-profit organization, the Lily Pad never charges victims for services.

In 2020, the Firefly House and Oak House Child Advocacy Centers at Lily Pad conducted more than 400 forensic interviews. Children interviews were alleged victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse or witness to the abuse of another child.

The 2021 Uniquely Albany Award was presented to Mars Wrigley Confectionary.

Mars Wrigley Confectionary has been making products in Albany for 57 years and today is the sole producer of COMBOS, baked, bite-size crackers, pretzels or tortillas jam packed with cheese-filled deliciousness. Anyone in the world who experiences the product experiences Albany, and that’s because this product is #MadeInAlbanyGA — and only Albany. COMBOS are Uniquely Albany.

 Albany’s Mars site employs 215 local people; participates in the city of Albany’s annual Christmas parade; and is the presenting sponsor of the popular Snickers Marathon and Half Marathon. Mars regularly donates to local schools and Mars associates volunteer in local reading programs. During the pandemic, Mars spread cheer by donating thousands of cases of COMBOS to our health care heroes.

The 2021 Albany Area Chamber Business Awards were sponsored by Flint Equipment Co.; Phoebe Putney Health System; Colony Bank; Mitchell EMC; Renasant Bank; and CTSI.



SWGA Regional Job Fair to connect employers, job seekers throughout region


October 12, 2021


Southwest Georgia Regional Job Fair to connect employers and job seekers throughout region

Albany, Ga. – To connect Southwest Georgia residents with career opportunities throughout the region, the

Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce are joining forces with the Flint River Entertainment Complex to lead a regional career placement initiative by hosting the Southwest Georgia Regional Job Fair on November 9 at the Albany Civic Center from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

The job fair will feature regional employers seeking candidates for current job vacancies. Employer booths are $50 for a 10×10 booth which includes a table, two chairs, piping and draping, with an additional $25 for power connection. All employers interested in participating can register at

“Southwest Georgia is ripe with qualified, hardworking talent, looking for the next right step in their career,” said ADEDC President and CEO Jana Dyke. “Similarly, we have many employers with available positions across a wide variety of industry sectors. In order to bridge this gap between talent and opportunity, we are coming together with our local and reginal partners to produce the ultimate job-placement event in the Southwest Georgia Regional Job Fair.”

Job seekers attending the event will get an opportunity to speak with prospective employers in the financial services, health care, hospitality, non-profit, government and manufacturing sectors, to name only a few. Individuals attending the fair in hopes of securing employment should come professionally dressed with printed copies of a current resume, and be prepared for on-the-spot interviews.

“For almost a century, Georgia Power has been helping hometowns across the state grow and prosper. A huge part of that work is supporting initiatives like this job fair, connecting companies with local talent. Full employee parking lots make us proud, and I am proud to support those efforts and this region of the state,” said Scott Purvis, Georgia Power Community and Economic Development Manager for the southern region.

For job seekers interested in attending the job fair, but who have limited transportation, the Albany Transit System has partnered with organizers to offer FREE bus fares for those traveling to the event.

The event is free to attendants, and registration is not required.

In addition to local partners, the event is sponsored and hosted in partnership by Georgia Power, Georgia

EMC, Camilla Chamber of Commerce, Imagine Thomasville, Lee County Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell County Development Authority, Sumter County Development Authority, Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce, and Terrell County Board of Commissioners.


About the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission    

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is a public-private partnership whose mission is to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention and expansion of industry for Albany-Dougherty County. To learn more, visit

About the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau works with first class accommodations, award winning attractions and the finest restaurants in Southwest Georgia to promote Albany as a destination travel spot. Visitors can experience the great outdoors, walk through history, and spoil themselves with true southern hospitality in Southwest Georgia. For more information, visit

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

Albany Area Chamber-led delegation advocates in DC



Big issues were on the table with federal leaders during Albany Area Chamber’s Washington, DC, Fly In, an annual legislative event.


September 23, 2021


Albany-Dougherty Leaders Meet with Congressional Delegation

Albany Area Chamber-led program advocates in nation’s capital


Albany – Big issues were on the table this week as business and community leaders led by the Albany Area Chamber met with federal partners as part of the Chamber’s Washington, DC, Fly In, an annual legislative event that advocates for policies, regulations and initiatives that advance the community and economic opportunities and that support Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.


During the two-day event leaders met with the Albany Area Congressional delegation — U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop; U.S. Rep. Austin Scott; U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff; and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock — and the Pentagon-based leadership of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command, strengthening the community-corps relationship, showcasing the local partnerships, synergies and relationships that support mission readiness and future capabilities.


“Through vision and action Albany has positioned itself as a leader in collaborative partnerships, resiliency and innovation. This week’s meetings with our Congressional delegation and Marine Corps leadership reinforce the commitment of the Albany Area Chamber and of Albany and Dougherty County to working on tough issues and to working together at all levels,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization. “We’re communicating and advocating in real time on that which impacts Albany’s competitiveness — from business regulations, pandemic recovery and the nation’s health and labor crisis to broadband expansion, infrastructure improvements and modernization initiatives that support Marine Corps mission readiness.”


The local delegation, which included private and public sector leadership, also met with senior leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussing immigration policy; work force; diversity, equity and inclusion; child care tax credits; and other federal policies and regulations that impact businesses.


“We’re stronger together, and we thank our local partners for engaging in this meaningful work and presenting a united force to our leaders in Washington,” said Matt Reed, 2021 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber.


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, both of which are vital to the Marine Corps’ readiness.  The Fly In’s meeting with U.S. Marine Corps leadership at the Pentagon — which included Lt. Gen. Edward D. Banta, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics; Steven Morani, acting assistant secretary for of defense for sustainment; and Maj. Gen. David Maxwell, the Marine Corp’s vice director for 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 centralized communications systems, smart warehousing, talent acquisition, health care, additive manufacturing, and advanced weapons systems maintenance, storage and sustainment. Maj. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commanding general of LOGCOM, and Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of MCLB Albany, participated in the discussions.


“The base and command are leading innovators within the Corps and the broader U.S. Department of Defense. Ongoing investments are critical to modernize our facilities, our capabilities and our Marines and ensure mission readiness,” said Don Gray, vice chair of the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee and 2022 chairman of the Albany Area Chamber.


“I’m very pleased with the value of the Chamber’s DC Fly In and the work that we were able to accomplish.  We were able to interact with Marine leadership at the Pentagon, understand our base’s needs for the future,” said Christopher S. Cohilas, chairman of the Dougherty County Commission. “We were then able to directly advocate with our Congressmen and Senators not only regarding our base’s needs, but further in distinguishing why MCLB-Albany is the most efficient DOD installation and why its practices and partnerships within the community should be mirrored by other installations around the country.”


The Albany Area Chamber’s Government Affairs program, of which the DC Fly In is one component, is sponsored by AB&T; Albany Area Primary Health Care; the Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission; Albany Technical College; the city of Albany; Dougherty County; the Dougherty County School System; Georgia CEO; LRA Constructors; and Phoebe.


The Albany Area Chamber is represented in Washington, D.C., by Cornerstone Government Affairs.



Albany Area Chamber recognizes 2021 STAR students, teachers

May 7, 2021


Albany Area Chamber

Recognizes 2021 STAR students and teachers


Albany – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce this week recognized Dougherty County students and educators as part of the PAGE STAR program that recognizes academic achievement and performance on the SAT.

“Education transforms lives and communities, providing opportunities for personal success, economic empowerment and economic development. We have incredible talent in Albany and Dougherty County, and we’re honored to shine a light on our STAR students and teachers,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, the local STAR program sponsor and a key player in strengthening the talent pipeline that creates opportunities for students, job seekers and employers. “I’m so proud of our STAR students and their STAR teachers.”

The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program is sponsored, administered and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and the PAGE Foundation. Since its inception in 1958, the STAR program has honored nearly 27,000 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. High school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average to qualify for STAR nomination.

The recognitions include the school specific STAR students from throughout Dougherty County and the countywide STAR student, selected from among the school specific honorees.

The 2021 school specific STAR students and teachers are: Frank Faison Middleton of Deerfield-Windsor School, and teacher Alee Miller of Deerfield; Drew Anthony Reich of Deerfield-Windsor School, and teacher Janet Guiellebeau of Deerfield; Davon Davis of Dougherty Comprehensive High School, and teacher Jasamine Dixon of Dougherty; Li’Trell Dante’ Stamper of Monroe Comprehensive High School, and teacher Tracy Stolze of Monroe; Ashlynn Dapper of Sherwood Christian Academy, and teacher James Byrd of Sherwood;  Brystan Thomas Carthon of Westover Comprehensive High School, and teacher Cory Moore of Westover.

Middleton and Reich, who tied as Deerfield-Windsor School’s STAR students, are the overall countywide STAR students who will represent Dougherty County in the regional competition.

STAR begins each year in participating Georgia high schools when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system recognition as the top STAR Student, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners contend for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. STAR Teachers continue on with their STAR Students at every level of the program.

PAGE and the PAGE Foundation honor outstanding students and educators and encourage academic excellence through competitive academic programs such as PAGE STAR, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.

View STAR student and teacher photos here.


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

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators is a statewide professional association of more than 95,000 educators, administrators and support personnel. PAGE provides professional learning to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement while providing the best in membership, legal services and legislative support.

Albany Area Chamber Foundation donates to Albany Crime Stoppers as part of public safety efforts



March 24, 2021


Albany, Ga. — The Albany Area Chamber Foundation, a 501©3 affiliate of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, today presented Albany Crime Stoppers with a nearly $13,000 contribution as part of the business advocacy organization’s ongoing public safety efforts.

“The Albany Area Chamber and its Foundation have engaged in discussions with businesses, local officials, law enforcement and judicial partners to explore how the business community can partner and make an impact in crime and public safety,” said Perry Revell, chairman if the Albany Area Chamber Foundation Board of Directors and immediate past president of the Albany Area Chamber. “Beyond our foundational work to support business growth and a healthy and prosperous community, we identified Albany Crime Stoppers as an opportunity.”

Albany Crime Stoppers is a local community action program that encourages citizens who see something to say something and provides cash rewards to anonymous callers for information leading to arrest and conviction.

In 2020, the Chamber engaged public officials in ongoing conversations about crime.

“The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, the region’s leading business advocate, represents the unified interests and concerns of Albany and Albany Area businesses of all sizes and sectors. Collectively, the business community is increasingly and urgently concerned about crime in our community, its impact to safety and its impact on the economy,” the organization stated in an October 14, 2020, letter to officials. “The business community believes in actionable solutions. We believe in partnership and in collaboration. As such, we seek to engage with you in a transparent discussion around crime in Albany, and together work to address this issue. We recognize that, as with many other complex issues, progress can be advanced through the commitment of stakeholders who share a common goal.”

The impact of crime, both real and perceived, is broad — from citizen pride, population growth and access to talent; to business investment and business success; to tourism and travel; and internal and external perception.

“We must create and sustain a community in which businesses want to invest and people want to live. A safe environment for families, for visitors and for businesses is crucial to that goal and central for Albany’s growth and prosperity,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and the Albany Area Chamber Foundation. “Business involvement and collaborative partnerships are powerful tools. We’re grateful to our Albany Area Chamber businesses whose investment supports Albany Crime Stoppers and whose leadership enables so much of the work in which we’re collectively engaged.”

The $12,850 contribution from the Albany Area Chamber Foundation was complemented by a $5,000 contribution from Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards, with whom the Chamber is working.

“Albany Crime Stoppers is a powerful community-based crime solving program that is committed to increasing the safety of our citizens and partners on this effort with media organizations, police departments and other law enforcement agencies,” said Judy Randle, chair of the Albany Crime Stoppers Board of Directors. “The contributions from the business community through the Albany Area Chamber Foundation and from District Attorney Greg Edwards are a much-needed boost and will extend our efforts to provide anonymous rewards for tips that lead to criminal arrests.”

The Albany Area Chamber Foundation’s donation was made possible through the support of Albany Area Chamber member businesses: Albany Sunbelt Ford-Lincoln of Albany; Brad Lanier Oil Co.; Colony Bank; Dougherty, Duggan, Hart & Tiernan Insurors; Fleming & Riles Insurance; Flint Community Bank; Gardner Willis Sweat Plaire & Wilson; Jim Boyd Construction; Maple Hill Landfill; Oxford Construction; Paragon Foods; Phoebe Putney Health System; Southern AG Carriers; Watson Spence; and Worldwide Equipment.