Washington, D.C. – The South Georgia region is one of five communities across the country named to the 2018 class of Great American Defense Communities, the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) announced with USAA, the initiative’s official sponsor.
The Great American Defense Communities, now in its third year, recognizes military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for service members and military families.
The 2018 class also includes Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor, near Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland; the Greater Fort Knox region in Kentucky; the San Diego region; and Tampa Bay, Fla.
“The men and women who serve our nation deserve our full support whether they are on a mission abroad or on duty at an installation closer to home,” ADC President Bill Parry said. “Communities have found many ways to show service families that they are welcome on both sides of the installation fence, and the Great American Defense Communities program has quickly become an important way to highlight their successes.”
The Great American Defense Communities program is designed to recognize the overall support that communities and regions in the U.S. provide to service members and military families. Communities are chosen through a competitive nomination process based on community building and integration, support and collaboration, educational and employment opportunities, and family support.
“This year’s Great American Defense Communities highlights how important it is to take care of our military communities,” said John Bird, retired Navy vice admiral and senior vice president of Military Affairs at USAA. “As the official sponsor of the Great American Defense Communities program, we are pleased to help recognize these communities’ strong support for the military families they serve, including defending the missions assigned and advocating for additional missions for their region or community.”
Defense communities and regions that are home to active military installations are eligible to apply each year. This year’s selected communities will be honored throughout the year, including at the Defense Communities National Summit in Washington, D.C., in June 2018.
About Great American Defense Communities
The Great American Defense Communities initiative was launched in 2015 in association with the Defense Communities Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
The inaugural class, honored in 2016, included Colorado Springs, Colo.; the Dayton, Ohio, region; the Eglin-Hurlburt, Fla., community; the Flint Hills, Kan., region; the Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., region; Grand Forks, N.D.; Lawton, Okla.; Monterey, Calif.; and South Puget Sound, Wash.
The 2017 class included the Alamo – San Antonio, Texas, region; the Charleston, S.C., region; Christian Co., Ky.; the Fort Hood – Central Texas region; Goldsboro, N.C.; the Hampton Roads, Va., region; Sierra Vista, Ariz.; the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments; and West Valley Partners in Arizona.
ADC builds resilient communities that support America’s military. It is the connection point for leaders from communities, states, the military and industry on community-military issues and installation management to enhance knowledge, information sharing and best practices. With nearly 300 communities, states, regions, and affiliated industry organizations, ADC represents every major defense community/state in the nation.
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 12.3 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.
Renasant Bank and the Chamber presented Jump’n Jacks 4 Kidz with the Small Business of the Month award for November.
Since opening under new ownership in 2013, new owner, James Dominey, began Jump’n Jacks 4 Kidz with only 8 employees in hopes of recreating a fun, safe environment for children to play.
Jump’n Jacks 4 Kidz is constantly making valuable changes to their facility in order to ensure safety of their clients – children and parents. The facitlity has recently undergone changes to their security and policies including entry and exit point alterations and a change to the age range of those that may utilize the bounce houses.
Being named Valdosta Daily Times’ “Best of the Best” four years in a row as the “Best Birthday Party Place”, isn’t just a coincidence. With two party rooms open all weekend long, it isn’t uncommon for Jump’n Jacks to host more than 20 parties on a Saturday.
The facility also hosts a two-hour, after-hours day for children with autism in order to give them time to enjoy the facility in a safe, pressure free environment. Jump’n Jacks’ community involvement goes way beyond Valdosta’s borders, though. “Our facility is open for field trips all week long and has had groups travel from as far as Pearson, Georgia and Madison, Florida to visit us,” said Dominey.
Although Jump’n Jacks 4 Kidz is a child’s paradise, Dominey says that “there is something within these 4 walls for every age.” Jump’n Jacks 4 Kidz is the only facility of its kind that remains open 7 days a week so that parents and their children never miss out on a single day of fun with their bounce houses, arcades, and games.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors held a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 8 to welcome local John Maxwell Team member and trainer, Lynne Brown.
The John Maxwell Team is a company assists in training people that are interested in growth, communication, and leadership. They provide services such as coach training, speaker training, sales training, as well as marketing & social media training.
“We offer an exclusive, interactive Communication & Leadership assessment that opens communication, reveals strengths & gaps and raises overall awareness in the organization,” said Lynne Brown, executive director of the local John Maxwell Team.
This team is different than other similar services because they customize trainings based on the needs of the organization based on company assessment.
The goal is to create a leadership culture that can produce an environment that encourages growth as well as building trust, accountability, and results. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” said Brown.
According to Brown, “Joining the Chamber has been a game changer. It has positioned me to amplify my business. One is too small of a number to achieve greatness; now I have an additional team of support.”
For more information regarding The John Maxwell Team or the services that Brown offers, please call 850-464-1350.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors honored Langdale Place as the Leading Business of the Week for November 13, 2017.
Langdale Place is an independent living facility that gives their residents, whom are active and want to live independent lifestyles, a chance at independency through a homelike atmosphere. The ambiance provided at Langdale place is inviting while also providing residents with a sense of security.
The goal for the team at Langdale Place is to keep their residents from having to go to nursing facilities that will give them less activity and independency. “I absolutely love my residents,” said Langdale Place Executive Director, Jan Brice. “We are here for them but they give back to me in so many ways.”
Langdale Place gives their residents the best homelike experience that they can through fun and interactive activities as well as attentive and caring service provided to residents. “I also have the best staff one could possibly wish for and we all work very hard to make Langdale Place a positive working environment,” said Brice. According to Brice, the facility has also recently undergone a complete renovation of furnishings around the building that residents are responding well to.
For more information about Langdale Place or to set up a tour of the facility, call 229-247-4300 or visit them at 2720 Windemere Drive in Valdosta.
The Leading Business of the Week program is designed to recognize members who have partnered with the Chamber for at least five years. The 2016 Leading Business of the Week program is proudly sponsored by Ashley’s Business Solutions. For more information, visit www.ValdostaChamber.com/Leading-Business-of-the-Week.
Valdosta, GA—Monica McKenzie has been chosen to represent Wiregrass Georgia Technical College as the 2018 Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Student of the Year. EAGLE is a statewide program that recognizes and rewards excellence among students enrolled in adult education programs. The award was announced on November 9 at a reception sponsored by the Valdosta Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce and Smith Drug Company. This was the 21st annual event to honor an adult education student from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
The EAGLE Award program is a vital component of the Certified Literate Community Program of Georgia, an umbrella organization that brings all sectors of a community together with literacy providers to map out the best use of resources already available. It also seeks to acquire the additional resources necessary to meet local literacy needs.
Anthony will attend the Georgia EAGLE Leadership Institute March 12-14, 2018 in Atlanta. The Leadership Institute recognizes and honors those students who have demonstrated superior achievement in adult education classes and programs. The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) through its Office of Adult Education (OAE) sponsors the annual EAGLE Leadership Institute. The finalists including the winner are April Core (Lowndes County) nominated by Adann-Kennn Alexxandar, Breanna Davis (Ben Hill County) nominated by Krista Spires, Theda Lewis (Irwin County) nominated by Lethia Kittrell, and Monica McKenzie (Lowndes County) nominated by Adann-Kennn Alexxandar. John Timmons, General Manager of Smith Drug Company presented Monica with the award and Breanna Davis as the runner-up.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors honored Waller Heating & Air Conditioning Co. as Leading Business of the Week for November 6, 2017.
In 1963, Waller Heating & Air Conditioning Co. began with only four employees and has grown to employ approximately 50 employees today.
Waller Heating & Air Conditioning Co. has been recognized by the Trane Co. as a recipient for the Top 10 Dealer in the Southeast and they work hard to provide the highest level of customer service to their customers by keeping up with the latest technology and energy efficient products that their vendors have to offer. Services are not limited to either residential or commercial, but instead work to service both.
“Every day is a new and exciting day,” said Bill Slaughter, CEO and co-owner of Waller Heating & Air Conditioning Co. “It’s a unique blend of family and friends that plays a huge part in our success.” Slaughter also mentioned during the Leading Business presentation that the company is currently a second generation business and will soon extend to the third generation.
According to Slaughter, “The Chamber is the catalyst that holds our community’s business leaders together and keeps everyone focused on current and important issues.”
For more information about Waller Heating & Air Conditioning Co. or to set up an appointment, you can contact their offices at 229-244-1200.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors honored The Pool Store as Leading Business for the week of October 23.
The Pool Store has grown over the years from two employees to thirty employees since joining the Chamber in 1985.
The Pool Store doesn’t just offer customers above-ground or in-ground pools, their store also sales furniture to complement the new pool area, PlayNation Play Systems for kids, spas, and poolside grills. The Pool Store also assists customers in making their pools environmentally friendly by using less energy.
They have experienced, trained pool technicians to help customers with services such as weekly pool cleanings and pool or spa maintenance.
The Pool Store works to bring awareness to pool safety and enjoyment to all Lowndes County and City of Valdosta residents and will be launching a National Pool Safety campaign in 2018.
According to Amy and Daren Stecz, owners of The Pool Store, “The Chamber’s influence in our community brings a very positive view of Valdosta/Lowndes County and its businesses.”
For more information about The Pool Store, call (229) 247-6440 or visit them at 3363 North Valdosta Road in Valdosta.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors honored Steeda Autosports as this week's Leading Business of the Week.
For 30 years, Steeda Autosports has been one of the only performance aftermarket companies that designs, engineers and manufactures their own parts in house. Everything made by the company is done right here in Valdosta.
Steeda Autosports is looking to expand their welding and CNC departments in the future. “We are on the cutting edge of the performance aftermarket; constantly developing new products that keep our customers in the winner’s circle,” Scott Boda, plant manager of Steeda Autosports, said.
On Oct. 21 Steeda Autosports will be hosting their annual Pony War’s, a drag race and car show event, at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
Steeda Autosports is located at 2019 Steeda Way in Valdosta or can be contacted by calling
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors honored Express Employment Professionals as this week’s Leading Business.
Express Employment Professionals is one of the top staffing companies in the United States and Canada and their goal is to help people find jobs and provide workforce solutions to businesses.
The company recognizing the difficulty to get jobs and dedicates their time to help hardworking people and businesses succeed by bringing together talent and opportunity that both can benefit from.
As part of a national franchise, Express Employment Professionals has a goal of finding work for one million people annually across the United States, Canada, and South Africa. “Our staff is honored to be part of this great endeavor and we work hard every day to help Express reach the one million goal,” said Tripp and Jenny Templeton, owners of Express Employment Professionals.
Express Employment Professionals offers a wide range of positions to their clients such as professional, commercial, and administrative positions.
“At the end of the day, it is about getting people back into the workforce, which equates to helping people provide food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their family,” said Templeton. “And, that leads to a stronger community.”
For more informationabout Express Employment Professionals, call (229) 293-0030 or visit them at 1712 Gornto Road in Valdosta.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Chamber Ambassadors recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Living Bridges Ministry.
Living Bridges Ministry is comprised of several churches in the area whose main goal is to serve those in need in the Valdosta community through different community service projects.
Living Bridges Ministry is always looking for volunteers to help them in serving and supporting the community. They are welcoming youth and adult volunteers interested in helping run programs, such as 2018 Kids’ Connection, a summer Vacation Bible School on Saturdays.
They also welcome donations like paper plates, computer paper, gently used clothing, groceries, and water bottles.
For more information about Living Bridges Ministry, call 229-234-7427 or visit their website, www.livingbridgesministry.org.