Category Archives: Chamber News

Business Expo 2022

Market your business to more than 500 people at this fun-filled bash in the name of business. Generate quality business to business leads, improve your opportunities to achieve and sustain success. All in one place, at one time.

Lunch & Learn: Finance & Budgeting

The September 22 Lunch & Learn will feature information presented by Merit Financial on how to plan for and achieve your business goals through smart financial planning and budgeting. 

[The Albany Area Chamber’s Lunch & Learns are casual educational programs that foster community and support the growth and development of businesses and their teams. The 2022 Lunch & Learn series is presented by Merit Financial Advisors and Webb Properties.]

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Albany Area Chamber, partners urge adoption of SPLOST VIII agreement

August 5, 2022

An open letter re: SPLOST VIII intergovernmental agreement

Commissioners of the City of Albany and of Dougherty County —

The Albany Area Chamber represents the unified interests of the business community.  The Chamber, in concert with strategic partners and community organizations, urgently encourages the city of Albany and Dougherty County to adopt an intergovernmental agreement so as to fully leverage the collections potential of the eighth special-purpose local-option sales tax, a 1 percent levy that is anticipated to generate $100 million in six years.

Without such an accord reached by August 8, the governments risk diminishing the special tax’s collection lifespan and proceeds at great burden to the businesses and citizens of Albany and Dougherty County.

The Albany Area Chamber has historically supported SPLOST, ESPLOST and TSPLOST, and successfully led the voter advocacy efforts that helped get these projects across the finish line.  That’s because we recognize the impact of the projects on our community.  These taxes are indeed special because of their project lists; because they must be approved by the voters; and because they allow for maximum local impact with limited burden on the local taxpayer.  We estimate that nearly 50 percent of the tax collection is from visitors, in essence alleviating residents of Albany and Dougherty County through a significant discount on its investment of much-needed projects and improvements.

Without SPLOST, Albany and Dougherty County could not endure the capital expense of the proposed project list that supports economic development initiatives; infrastructure improvements; downtown revitalization; tourism development; talent development and work force training; and quality of life through arts and culture. Many projects are critical; some, mandatory.  Without SPLOST, taxpayers would be forced to fund these improvements by other means, such as increased property taxes or service rates, a move that no doubt poorly positions the community to attract business investment and work force talent.

This places excessive pressure on a community recovering from COVID losses. On consumers absorbing soaring inflation rates and businesses hampered by historic labor and supply shortages.  On employers and employees positioning themselves to withstand a looming recession.  On a community that, meanwhile, is working swiftly, collaboratively and innovatively to move forward, prosper economically and provide greater opportunities for its residents and its businesses.

We are further extremely concerned that the ongoing disagreements on SPLOST will disillusion voters and create an environment for further low-voter turnout at the November elections and risk the required voter approval of the proposed tax.

Albany and Dougherty County is a strong and vibrant community.  It is one in which people want to live and businesses want to invest.  These should be safeguarded at all costs; they form the foundation for community prosperity.  To protect these and to maximize the power of this special tax, the Albany Area Chamber and partners strongly support the immediate adoption of an intergovernmental agreement that maximizes the potential of SPLOST VIII.




*The Albany Area Chamber encourages Chamber and community members to express their support for an intergovernmental agreement on SPLOST VIII to be reached by August 8.*


Click here to download the template advocacy letter that you can sign and send to your city and county commissioners.


Albany Area Chamber to kick off DE&I programming with PROPEL: A Women in Business Program

Albany, GA  – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, as a component of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, will host an August 24 women in business forum, PROPEL: A Women in Business Program.

PROPEL is designed to connect, engage and inspire women in our community, and provide them with the tools they need to design their future. The August 24 luncheon will feature a moderated Q&A panel with local women in business, and facilitated table conversation for participant connection.

Featured discussion panelists are Brianna Wilson, CEO of Southern Point Staffing; Karen Cohilas, of Karen Cohilas State Farm; Sheri Barlow, CEO of Englewood Health Care; and Staci Willson, creative director at Sunnyland Farms.

“At the Albany Area Chamber, we connect, convene and collaborate; we nurture and provide; and we design the path,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “PROPEL is aimed at designing a path for women in the work force, to better empower them to excel professionally and to be engaged as business leaders.”

The Albany Area Chamber spearheaded a business-led focus group on Diversity Equity and Inclusion beginning in 2020, and has since developed an organizational division based on the initiatives identified by the task force.

The division is represented by the Chamber’s DE&I Committee, chaired by Jeretha Peters, branch manager and first vice president of investments at WellsFargo Advisors in Albany.

“The Chamber’s DE&I Committee increases economic opportunities for businesses and people, and engages more members of the citizenry into the work force,” said Peters. “Women represent an important segment of that citizenry, and the DE&I committee and the new PROPEL program will serve to target this specific sector of the local work force, providing them with the tools needed to advance through the lifecycle of their careers, and ultimately become more effective members of the business community as a whole.”

The DE&I Committee is comprised of Albany Area Chamber members who are invested in advancing Albany as a regional leader for industry and business by expanding access and inclusion in the business community through intentional efforts that ensure the best utilization of the regional labor pool.

Southern Point Staffing CEO Brianna Wilson is an active member of the committee and will also serve as a panelist at the upcoming PROPEL event. Wilson leads the Chamber’s Business Development & Investor Engagement Committee, which is also supporting PROPEL.

“As a professional in the staffing and recruitment industry, I can speak to the importance of empowering women to be successful in their careers,” Wilson said. “COVID has resulted in a significant portion of women exiting the work force, and it’s vital that we take steps to re-introduce and re-equip women to contribute and succeed professionally.”

The PROPEL program kicks off with the August 24 event at the Dougherty County Northwest Library Event Space and is open to members and prospects of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

See here for registration details.

PROPEL: A Women in Business program

PROPEL is an Albany Area Chamber Women in Business program that connects, engages and inspires women in our community, and provides them with the tools they need to design their future.

Our August 24 luncheon will feature a moderated Q&A panel with local women in business, and facilitated table conversation for connection.
Pack value into your Chamber investment and extend your marketing reach through sponsorship and spotlight branding. Opportunities for this event are available at

Albany Area Chamber hosts Military Affairs Rise N Shine breakfast, honors Marines and Sailors

Albany, GA  – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today hosted its 2022 Military Affairs Rise N Shine, a breakfast program recognizing the partnership and impact of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Marine Corps Logistics Command and highlighting key operations and successes of the instillation. During the event, Marines and Sailors were honored for outstanding achievement.

“MCLB Albany is one of our region’s largest employers and is Georgia’s only Marine Corps installation. It plays a crucial role in supporting our economy and our national defense,” said Barbara Rivera Holmes, President & CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “We’re proud to have our Albany Area workforce engaged as a vital component in driving the innovation of the U.S. Marine Corps that is enhancing the overall global readiness of our military.”

During a panel discussion led by Holmes, Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, and Col. Kirk Spangenberg, commanding officer of Marine Depot Maintenance Command at Marine Corps Logistics Command, spoke about MCLB Albany and Logistics Command as a national leader in innovation; their role within the USMC’s strategic direction; and the base’s distinction in becoming the first instillation in the U.S. Department of Defense to achieve “net zero” energy consumption. Beyond efficiency, net zero is an energy security priority of the defense department.

During the event, the Albany Area Chamber recognized five outstanding Marines and Sailors who were honored by their commands for their exemplary work ethic and leadership. Award recipients were: Sgt. Justin Reyna, recognized as the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter; Lance Cpl. Christopher Montano, recognized as Marine Corps Logistics Base Marine of the Quarter; Hospital Corpsman Second Class Dillon Leggett, recognized as the Navy Medicine Readiness Training Unit’s Sailor of the Quarter; Hospitalman Mikel Benn, recognized as the Navy Medicine Readiness Training Unit’s Blue Jacket of the Quarter; and Sgt. Emily Bowman, recognized by Marine Corps Logistics Command for Superior Achievement.

The event was presented by Albany Air Conditioning & Heating, A. West Enterprises and NEOS Technologies; and further supported by Molson Coors, Albany Technical College, Georgia Power, Mitchell EMC and Albany State University.

The Military Affairs Rise N Shine is a function of the Albany Area Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, chaired by Albany YMCA CEO Dan Gillian, USMC Retired. This is the first edition in a series of Rise N Shine programs  hosted by the Albany Area Chamber, with future events to be announced at

Lunch & Learn – Cyber Security

If you think you’re too small to get noticed, you’re wrong.

Hackers and scammers go after all kinds of businesses and organizations – big and small – with constantly changing methods. Protecting your computers is more than just installing an antivirus and trusting it to work. It is essential to stay on op of emerging techniques in the digital security world. 

Attendants of the July 26 Cyber Security Lunch & Learn, led by Chamber member CTSI, will learn basic knowledge on how to protect yourself and your business from cyber threat, including:

  • Best practices for password policies
  • How to recognize phishing attempts and deceptive links
  • Potential risks of accessing storage devices such as foreign USB drives and unproven network locations
  • Modern virus protection and emerging viral trends and technology


When: July 26, 2022
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Albany Welcome Center
112 N Front St, Albany, GA 31701

Military Affairs Rise N Shine Breakfast

Join the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce as it honors military personnel and hears important updates from Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, and Maj. Gen. , commanding general of Marine Corps Logistics Command.


When: Wednesday July 27,2022
7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Where: Albany State University
West Campus – Book Store Event Space
2400 Gillionville Road

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. 

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.