Category Archives: Chamber News

Albany Area Chamber response to COVID-19


March 13, 2020

Leadership, stability critical at this time

The Albany Area Chamber is committed to the success of its members. Business preparedness, fact-based decision and access to resources will minimize disruptions in the wake of COVID-19.


Bárbara Rivera Holmes
President & CEO

We are in an unprecedented time. And it is during difficult times especially that unity, leadership, advocacy and stability are most critical. Throughout our 110-year history, the Albany Area Chamber has provided these pillars of support to you — our members — as your partner in business and community success. We are committed to continuing to provide you with the resources and leadership you have come to expect.

We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation relative to COVID-19 and heeding the expert guidance of our public health partners. As we do so, we are evaluating our upcoming programs and events. In the coming days we will provide you with more information on our immediate plans. Please look for these updates in your inbox, online at and on our social media sites at Facebook and Instagram.

We encourage all businesses to follow the recommendations of the the CDC, and to make rational, fact-based decisions that support and protect your organization and your work force. The Albany Area Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Guide provides useful information and expert guidance for employers.

The times are uncertain; the Albany Area Chamber’s commitment to you is not.



2020 Albany Under 40 nominations open through April 8




March 12, 2020



 Albany Under 40 Nominations Open

Chamber young professionals program celebrates area’s talent


Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce today opened nominations for its 3rd annual Albany Under 40 awards, a program that honors and celebrates the Albany Area’s emerging leaders and professionals. The program recognizes professionals in a variety of industries, each representing a component of the Albany Area’s diversified talentpool 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. “Albany Under 40 celebrates these professionals and promotes the breadth and scope of the talent that helps make the Albany Area a regional leader.”


Individuals may be recognized in 12 categories:  Arts & Entertainment, Culinary Arts, Events, Tourism and Hospitality; Civics, Defense, Government and Public Affairs; Financial and Insurance Services; Innovation and Start- up; Journalism, Marketing, and Public Relations; Legal, Manufacturing, Service Industries, Energy & Architecture; Medicine and Health Care; NonProfit Services; Sports, Wellness & Fitness; Technology; Youth and Education. Nominations are not limited to Albany-Dougherty County residents; the Albany Area Chamber encourages nominations from throughout its regional Albany Area membership service area.


Nominations are accepted electronically via this online form. Nominations must be received by April 8, 2020. Nominees will be notified of their nomination and will receive the application materials. Category finalists and winners will be announced at the Albany Under 40 Awards Reception on August 20, 2020. One overall Albany Under 40 award winner, selected from among the category winners, will be announced at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s 111th annual dinner in January 2021.

Candidates must be under the age of 40 at the time of the award ceremony.

Sponsorship opportunities are available; contact Donna Gray at

For more information, call the Chamber at (229) 434-8700 or visit


Coronavirus: Resources to Prepare Your Business

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce encourages fact-based decision making on the Coronavirus and points to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a primary resource. Now is the time to prepare, not panic.


Below, useful tips and resources to help prepare your organization and teams.

Key considerations from the CDC include:

  • Decide how to handle spikes in potential absenteeism
  • Cross-train employees on essential functions in case of employee absence
  • Determine whether flex working is an option
  • Assess your essential functions and reliance on others – be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations
  • Create an employee communications plan
  • Coordinate with state and local health officials
  • Make a business continuity plan
  • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects regularly

Implement best health practices to prevent/limit workplace exposure:  

  • Avoid close contact.
  • Clean your hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water
  • Stay home if you are a family member is sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose, and avoid touching your eyes, nose
    or mouth.
    Regularly sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects.
  • Practice other good health habits.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

Other areas to monitor:



Communicate with Employees 

Preparing your Workplace 

Pandemic Guidance

Safety and Health Standards, Control & Prevention

Workplace Tips for Employees

Guidance for Employers




About the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Confirmed Cases in the U.S.

World Health Organization Video Explainer

CDC: Frequently Asked Questions

Chamber, EDC to present community-wide workforce development strategic plan


For Immediate Release

Contact: Reedi Hawkins



January 22, 2020


Albany-Dougherty EDC, Chamber to present community-wide workforce development strategic plan

Albany, Ga. – The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC) and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce (AACC) will hold a launch event to present the findings from their joint strategic planning initiative on community-wide workforce development in Albany-Dougherty County. The event is open to the public and will be held on February 18 beginning at 11 a.m. in the Candy Room at the Riverfront Resource Center. At the event, information will be presented as to how community members may support and participate in the implementation of the work force strategy.

The strategic planning initiative kicked off in May 2019, with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG) facilitating the process.

Throughout the discovery process, CVIOG met with community members, employers, job seekers, students and educational institutions to gain a holistic understanding of the workforce climate in Albany-Dougherty County. A steering committee of local stakeholders, working with CVIOG, guided the plan’s development, identifying priorities and strategic actions after reviewing significant qualitative and quantitative information. The February 18 plan presentation will syndicate that information into an all-encompassing strategic proposal designed to focus and bolster resources necessary to develop, attract, and retain talent in the area for industry and commerce.

“As the center for business and culture in Southwest Georgia, it’s vital that Albany-Dougherty County be adequately prepared for the coming trends in workforce development in order to lead the region into the next era of economic and community development,” said ADEDC President Justin Strickland. “The extensive research conducted through this planning process has resulted in the necessary directives to accomplish that goal.”

As a component of the long-term strategic plan, various stake-holding leaders volunteered to spearhead specific initiatives through the oversight of working groups.

“Representing the interests of hundreds of Southwest Georgia businesses and industries, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the ADEDC, saw it uniquely fit to lead the initiative to conduct a comprehensive strategic plan on workforce development, as workforce needs consistently top the list of challenges to all businesses,” said Albany Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes. “The Albany Area Chamber, as well as our member organizations, is committed to the long-term initiatives that strengthen Albany’s position as the driver of our region’s growth. Talent creation and retention are foundational to broad-based prosperity, and this plan will ensure these pieces fit into the framework of success for Albany and Southwest Georgia.”

The public event will begin with the strategic plan presentation at 11 a.m., with lunch to follow. Pre-registration is required here or by calling the Albany Area Chamber at 229.434.8700.


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.

About the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce

Since 1910, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has advocated for business success through leadership and economic development.

About the Carl Vinson Institute of Government

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government is a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit that provides customized assistance, applied research and professional development to help state and local governments operate more effectively and deliver improved service to the public.

Small Business Forum with the Georgians First Commission


For Immediate Release

December 11, 2019

Media Contact:

Bárbara Rivera Holmes



Albany Area Chamber to host Gov. Kemp, Small Business Forum

 Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce will host Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp as part of its 2ndannual Governor’s Dinner December 17 in Albany at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The event, which is sold out, is the governor’s first major event in Albany since taking office in January 2019.

“Supporting small businesses and supporting rural Georgia are two of Gov. Kemp’s primary initiatives, and both are critical for Georgia’s continue economic expansion and for maintaining Georgia’s standing as the best state in the country for business,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. “Albany and the Albany Area are assets to the state – economically, culturally and environmentally. We are encouraged by Gov. Kemp’s recognition of this and by his efforts to lend attention and provide resources to the challenges and opportunities faced by small businsses and by rural communities.”

The Governor’s Dinner, which starts with a 6 p.m. reception, is presented by Colony Bank, Georgia’s 8th largest publicly traded bank and the largest community bank outside of Atlanta. The event is further sponsored by the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the Albany State University Foundation and Flint Equipment Co.

Also on December 17, the Albany Area Chamber and the Georgians First Commission will host a regional small business forum aimed at creating a direct line of communication between small businesses and the Governor’s Office. The Georgians First Commission is Kemp’s initiative to secure Georgia’s designation as the best sate in the nation for small business.

“The Georgians First Commission is excited to visit Albany and the community of Southwest Georgia for our upcoming business meeting” said Scott Hilton, executive director of the Governor’s Office.  “Governor Brian Kemp is focused on helping small businesses by reducing burdensome regulations that hinder innovation and growth in our state.  We look forward to hearing directly from business owners on how we can cut, streamline and improve government for all citizens.”

Small businesses are encouraged to attend the 9 a.m. forum, held at the Albany Welcome Center, 112 N. Front St. in downtown Albany. The event is free but pre-registration is required. Registration is available or by calling the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce at 229.434.8700.