Good morning. I’m earlier than usual, but I hope you can tune in. It’s 8 a.m. instead of 8:30 and I’m filming from my car. Oddly enough this is one of my favorite places to be on a Tuesday morning. Every other week we are invited to Talk 92.1, the Scott James Show, to talk about the Chamber and what it’s doing. That kind of ties in to part 4 of the four prongs of the Chamber which is promoting. We are huge advocates for your business in every avenue of the media, but we wouldn’t be able to do that without our Media Cares Partner and Talk 92.1 is one of those. Our Media Cares Partner is a group of media that gives us in kind sponsorships for advertising. Some of our partners include: Fairway Outdoor, WALB, Talk 92.1, Motion Wave, Fusion Creative Marketing and tons of others. I will be posting a picture today listing our fabulous Media Cares Partners’. We could not do what we do to promote your business without them. I won’t keep you guys, but I want you to tune in to 92.1FM, the Scott James Show, we will have our 2017 board chairman James McGahee as well as our 2016 board chairman Michael Lee on the show. They will fill you in on what’s going on so tune in and enjoy. Have a great day!
Good Morning and Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you guys are having a good week so far. This morning I’m going to talk to you a little bit about part 3 of the 4 prongs of the Chamber. Over the past 2 weeks we’ve talked about the advocacy efforts of the Chamber, building your business through the Chamber and today we’re going to talk about connecting. Connecting is a quintessential part of the Chamber, any good chamber does that for you, but we try to take it to the next level. We offer so many networking events, meetings, and so much more. We offer events such as Business after Hours and Another Cup with the Chamber which can be seen as the morning version of Business after Hours. We also offer the Link and Valdosta Networking Professionals. Valdosta Networking Professionals actually meets noon today at Wooden Nickel Pub. So if you’re looking for a way to connect with professionals in the area, you’re new to the area, or you just haven’t quite figured out the direction you want to go with a business make sure you go hang out with them. Taylor Hutchinson is the chairmen for that organization; they are a great group of people. The Link meets at the Chamber on Thursdays. If you’re interested in either of those groups you can contact Betty Morgan, SEEDS Business Resource Center director. For other Chamber networking opportunities check out our calendar at www.valdostachamber.com. Here you will find tons of things that are offered to you to help you get involved in the community. We have the Chamber Annual Awards coming Feb. 23 and that’s also a great way to network. Tickets are still available for the Chamber Annual Awards and you can contact me if you are interested. So make sure you check out our events and come hang with us. For the most part events are free, but every so often we have an admission fee for things such as the Chamber Annual Awards. So contact me if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you. Have a great day!
If you don’t know me already, I’m Kaitlyn Redish and I’m the Communications Coordinator here at the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and I’m Betty Morgan and I’m the Director of the SEEDS Business Resource Center. So if you’re not a member of the SEEDS Business Resource Center Facebook Page, which you should be, you’re probably not aware that Betty and I are going to start doing some Facebook Live Videos. I’ll be live every Tuesday morning at 8:30 and Ms. Betty will be live every Thursday morning at 8:30 just to give you guys a little bit of insight on the benefits to being a chamber member as well as some tips and tricks on networking and what the SEEDS Business Resource Center can offer you whether you’re a chamber member or not. So join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 and bring your coffee because we love coffee. We also welcome questions and we’ll hopefully be able to get you some answers right away, if not afterwards. So this morning I want to start by telling you a little bit about the Chamber. There are 4 parts to the Chamber: The advocacy, the building, the connecting, and the promoting. We’re going to start today by telling you a little bit about the advocacy efforts. Whether you’re a chamber member or not the Chamber is working for you every single day at the local, state and federal levels as the voice of business for you because obviously you guys are busy as business owners and entrepreneurs. We want to work for you so if you’ll stay tuned and tune in on Tuesdays and Thursdays hopefully we can convince Ms. Myrna, President of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and also a registered lobbyist, to come chat with us. We’ll have her kind of give you guys a feel for what’s going on in the area and how the advocacy efforts can affect you daily so tune in on Thursday right? Absolutely, come join me every Thursday morning at 8:30. We have a great number of resources that we can offer you and if you don’t know about them you don’t know how to use them; so give us a try. Yes, absolutely, we’ll see you Thursday. Have a great day.
VALDOSTA, GA- The Chamber would like to announce its 2017 Chairman’s Circle Members and thank them for their investment in the Chamber.
“Chairman’s Circle members invest membership dues above-and-beyond regular dues that allow the Chamber to provide above-and-beyond service to all of our members,” explained Chamber president Myrna Ballard. “Our Government Affairs Council could not do the work that it does without this supplemental investment, for example. Neither would several new programs, such as the Valdosta Business & University Alliance, be possible without the additional investment of our Chairman’s Circle members.”
The Chairman’s Circle is the most exclusive membership that the Chamber offers. The Chairman’s Circle is comprised of 12 of the top businesses in Valdosta and provides a foundation that allows the Chamber to be actively involved in the Valdosta-Lowndes area.
The Chairman’s Circle was created in 2013 and businesses like Citizens Community Bank and First State Bank & Trust took part in the founding of the membership level. Joining the two businesses as inaugural businesses are Ameris Bank, Georgia Power, Southeastern Credit Union, Southwest Georgia Bank, Fresh Beginnings/eLead1, SGMC, and Valdosta State University.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce held an unveiling party last night to honor the individuals and companies who supported the Chamber’s “Investing For The Next Century” capital campaign in 2015. The campaign raised nearly $600,000 to make improvements to the Barber House and to help support the SEEDS Business Resource Center.
Guests were treated to a candlelight buffet provided by Covington’s Catering as more than 100 donors toured the house. Carla Penny, Chairman of the Barber Trust Advisory Board, welcomed the group and invited them to witness the improvements and celebratory plaques denoting their investment. Improvements included: newly remodeled bathrooms, a new roof, exterior paint, a new website for the SEEDS Business Resource Center and funds for the Business Incubator Study. Work on the Barber House is fifty percent complete, with more interior work and landscaping left to be done.
In addition to the 69 name plaques, were portraits of two local business leaders. Stifel commissioned a portrait honoring Johnny B. Lastinger, former Executive Vice President of the Chamber and founder of Valdosta Magazine and the W.P. “Billy” Langdale Foundation made a generous donation to the Chamber honoring its namesake. Members of the W.P. Langdale family were present to unveil the portrait, which “will hang in the Barber House as long as it stands,” said James McGahee, Chamber Board member.
The Barber House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public for complimentary tours Monday through Friday.
VALDOSTA, GA – The Valdosta- Lowndes Chamber of Commerce co-hosted the 2016 Meet the Candidates event last night along with the HomeBuilders Association of South Georgia and the Valdosta Board of REALTORS®.
Candidates running for office in the upcoming general election had the opportunity to share their platforms with over 150 in attendance at Mathis City Auditorium. The evening began with a “meet and greet” where voters could pick up t-shirts, yard signs, and other promotional materials for the candidate or candidates of their choice.
Members of the community were encouraged to vote in the upcoming election. Registration was made easy and available, for those not already registered, at the Board of Elections table before and after the program.
Meet The Candidates is sponsored by the Chamber’s President's Partners. Media sponsors include: The Valdosta Daily Times and Talk 92.1.
Please remember, Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, early voting is October 17- November 4, and the last day to register to vote in the November elections is October 11.
VALDOSTA, GA – A small group of entrepreneurs and small business owners from the Valdosta- Lowndes County area met Thursday morning with U.S. Representative Austin Scott at the Chamber of Commerce.
Congressman Scott used this opportunity to listen and discuss how the federal government can further assist the small business owners and entrepreneurs. A recurring theme during the discussion was finances: financing as it applies to employer provided insurance for employees, financing for not for profit businesses, and financing for extended education for small business owners.
Various business sectors were in attendance, bringing to the table for discussion a number of sources on the improvements and concerns of entrepreneurs such as solar energy source manufacturers, non-profit organizations, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, agriculture, architecture and business development and consulting firms. Congressman Scott strongly advocates for small business and understands what business owners put on the line for their businesses every day.
“It’s always great to be in Valdosta and to visit with our local innovators and small business people. Our community is full of entrepreneurs with ambition and ideas that will grow our economy. They just need the federal government to stay out of their way so they can succeed. I will continue to work to reduce burdensome regulations and help create a climate where businesses in the Eighth District, and across the United States, can thrive,” said Congressman Scott.
If you would like more information on Congressman Austin Scott please visit https://austinscott.house.gov/.
Maximilian James Wang, a high school senior at Lowndes High School, has been named the 2016 Region Winner PAGE STAR Student for PAGE STAR Region 10. The announcement was made today by PAGE Director of Human Resources Gayle Wooten. Wang selected Mrs. Jennifer Graybeal, AP microeconomics teacher at Lowndes High School, as his STAR teacher.
The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 58th year, is sponsored, administered and promoted by the PAGE Foundation, the charitable arm of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Other region-level sponsors include the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Price Gilbert, Jr. Charitable Fund. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 25,500 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic achievement. To obtain the 2016 STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
STAR begins each year in participating high schools throughout Georgia 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 titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Region winners compete for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber organizes the Region 10 event in Valdosta, with the help of presenting sponsor, Smith Drug Company.
“We are very proud of Max and Mrs. Graybeal and the academic excellence they exemplify at Lowndes High School,” said Bruce Allred, with director of operations at Smith Drug Company. “They not only represent their school, but they represent our entire community. We are thrilled that their outstanding work has been recognized as part of this prestigious program.”
As a 501(c)(3) organization, the PAGE Foundation supports PAGE, encouraging and receiving charitable gifts that advance the association’s core business and PAGE Foundation programs such as PAGE STAR, PAGE Foundation Scholarships, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades, the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon and PAGE TV. To learn more about the PAGE Foundation and to donate, please visit http://www.pagefoundation.org.
The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), the parent organization of the PAGE Foundation, is a statewide professional association of more than 90,000 teachers, administrators and support personnel. PAGE provides professional learning to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement, while providing the best membership, legislative and legal services and support.
Valdosta, GA – For more than ten years, the Business Plan Competition has granted commendable entrepreneurs $10,000 in start-up capital and thousands of dollars’ worth of in-kind services from Chamber members. The Chamber and Southwest Georgia Bank are thrilled to announce 2016 winner, Thressea Boyd, of THBoyd Communications, LLC.
The Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition began in 2005 with a goal to encourage excellence in the planning stages of new businesses, and to ensure that more of our local businesses succeed.
“Southwest Georgia Bank was proud to be the sponsor of the 2016 Business Plan Competition. This is our third year of sponsorship, and we are proud to announce that we are committed to sponsor the competition through 2020. Small businesses are the core of our community and we are glad to be a partner with the Chamber in this competition,” said Senior Vice President of Southwest Georgia Bank, Jud Moritz.
Winners of the competition must commit to hiring university and technical college graduates in the Valdosta area. The hope of this competition is to create jobs that keep graduates in Valdosta and Lowndes County.
“Participating in the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition provided me with the opportunity to jump-start my business. I relied on the services of both the Small Business Development Center and the Chamber’s SEEDS Business Resource Center in writing my business plan. We are fortunate in this area to have both of these resources available to help small businesses grow and succeed,” said 2016 Winner Thressea Boyd.
The SEEDS Center provides up-to-date information for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, existing businesses or individuals searching for custom market data, industry profiles, demographic reports, competitor information, targeted sales leads and much more. All SEEDS Center Services are free of charge, regardless of Chamber membership.
Though Boyd started her company in 2015, she is no stranger to communications and public relations. She has more than 22 years of experience in the industry, and held a position at VSU for 17 years.
Boyd’s start up, THBoyd Communications, LLC is an agency that provides public relations, marketing, and publication services to businesses, government agencies, associations, and non-profit organizations.
“I believe everyone has a story to tell, and the mission of THBoyd Communications is to help each client communicate their unique story through a variety of traditional and new communication channels,” said Boyd. “I have created the company that I have envisioned. I have found what I love to do, and now I want to help others find their vision and tell their story.”
A primary focus of THBoyd Communications will involve producing a business and culture magazine centered on the South Georgia region. The South Georgia Business + Culture (SGBC) Magazine, comprised of editorial content, will serve to create awareness and synergy among South Georgia’s economic impact, business opportunities, entrepreneurship, research and development, and the vibrant cultural growth of the area.
For more information about the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition, please visit www.seedsbusinessresourcecenter.com.