DiscoverSouth Georgia Insider
South Georgia Insider
Claim Ownership

South Georgia Insider

Author: Thressea H. Boyd, Host

Subscribed: 3Played: 49
Share

Description

Welcome to the South Georgia Insider Podcast, hosted by Thressea H. Boyd, editor of South Georgia Business Magazine. Join us as we chat with business and civic leaders and community influencers about the exciting—and sometimes challenging things happening throughout South Georgia. Topics range from business and manufacturing to entrepreneurship and rural prosperity, economic development, agriculture, education, healthcare, tourism, and the arts.
28 Episodes
Reverse
The Fall 2021 semester has started, and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College continues its focus on best-serving businesses and industries within an 11-county region. Today's guests are DeAnnia Clements, Wiregrass Tech interim president, and April McDuffie,  interim vice president of Academic Affairs. Enrollment ramped up during the summer, and part of the success is the abundance of programs that fast-track a student's ability to get an education and enter their chosen career field. Building expansion continues on the Valdosta campus, with the Edward and Rhonda Mark Health Sciences Building opening in January 2022.  At the Coffee County campus, a new facility to expand diesel and CDL programs is under construction. Wiregrass Tech has been a regional leader in dual enrollment efforts for several years. Clements explains that with House Bill 444, which went into effect last year, dual enrollment credits are capped at 30 hours, along with other restrictions."We want to make sure the dual enrollment students have the opportunity to take advantage of of the funding allowed through legislation," says Clements, who emphasizes the importance of students taking classes to explore career options.McDuffie explains Wiregrass Tech's adult education classes provide students flexibility to continue working their "day job" while earning college credits at night and online."We are making sure classes are available when they [students] need them," McDuffie says. "We've always had a robust online program, which helped during the pandemic when we had to shut down." With the large number of evening classes offered, Wiregrass Tech continues to recruit part-time instructors. McDuffie encourages professionals to visit Wiregrass Tech's job board to see the complete list. https://www.wiregrass.edu/about/employment"Our instructors work very closely with industries and businesses in their field," McDuffie says. "They have that communication and rapport with them so that we can make sure we are training students for what those employers need."Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.  
SGMC: CEO Ronald Dean

SGMC: CEO Ronald Dean

2021-08-1040:22

South Georgia Medical Center recently released its FY2020 Annual Report that celebrates the hospital's past while looking ahead to a bright future. In this podcast, we talk to SGMC CEO Ronald "Ronnie" Dean, as explains the hospital's strategic priorities outlined in the annual report: Unsurpassed Patient Experience, Unequaled Access to Care, Unimpeachable Credentials, Unmatched Efficiencies.Unsurpassed Patient Experience: "We exist for one reason and one reason only, to take care of patients," Dean says. "When you think about what we do, a lot of people zero in our capabilities to heal, and we provide medical care. But truthfully, we are doing more than that; we are enriching and improving the lives of those we serve."Compassion is essential to SGMC's mission, and Dean says, "Our intent is to make sure everyone feels respected. Treat everyone with dignity and respect regardless of who you are, where you come from, and what your situation is. We believe anyone who walks in our doors, that we need to wrap our arms around them and show them we care." For a majority of patients, the Emergency Room is a primary entry point to the hospital. "Nothing is constant in the ER; it's always changing," Dean says. "The types of patients being treated, the mix of the patients, some really sick, some not as sick as other. But all are there because they feel like they need to be there. That team [ER] is trained to handle all conditions, but sometimes it's not overwhelmed but stressed." SGMC's involvement with the Partnership for Health is an example of improving healthcare access to residents. "They provide that primary care the patient needs to prevent them from having to come to the ER," Dean says. "Then it's to help them finish the healing process when they leave the ER. We are very proud of the Partnership for Health and what they do." Unequaled Access to Care: The term "access" is a buzzword in healthcare today—now more than ever, patients have options."We simply want everyone to be able to access what they need locally," Dean says. "We would rather not have anyone have to travel for something that can be delivered here responsibly. There are some specialties that we will never provide in our community because there are not enough resources to make it happen or demand."  SGMC has recently doubled the number of physicians within their network and tripled the number of access points. Another access to care will come with the residency program.  Mercer University School of Medicine is a partner with SGMC's residency program, which will start next year with selecting the first class of medical residents.Unimpeachable Credentials:  Each year, hospital and healthcare facilities undergo numerous—very rigorous—national accreditations. SGMC continues to receive approval at the highest standards from the top accrediting agencies.Unmatched Efficiencies: During COVID-- hospitals had to "rethink" delivery of care, not just in response to the pandemic but moving forward. "We had to go through problem-solving on a lot of equations, just like a lot of organizations did," Dean says. "We learned a lot about ourselves, and I am very proud of the team, and we didn't miss a beat."Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921 
We’ve seen the mass number of "help wanted" signs displayed across businesses of all sizes. And, even before the COVID-19 workforce disruption, the need for specifically skilled workers reached critical levels, with 40 percent of U.S. employers unable to meet production demands. Apprenticeships use a  "grow their own" approach.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there have been more than 1.9 million new apprentices since FY 2011, up by 38 % from the previous decade.Today's guests are Nichole Shanks, workforce development manager with Ace Electric, and Jason VanNus, systems coordinator for work-based learning and youth apprenticeship at Lowndes High School.The fall 2019 issue of South Georgia Business Magazine,  "Apprenticeship Programs Are Filling the Workforce Gap," highlights an innovative apprenticeship program between Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Ace Electric, and Lowndes High School.In this podcast, we're going to get an update and dive a little deeper into how apprenticeships can put high school students on the right track toward well-paying careers. "For every one person that enters the skills trade, we are losing three to four every year due to retirement or aging out," says Shanks. "We aren't getting enough young people out of high school interested in the skills trade. We wanted to get involved before they graduated high school.It’s time to re-think the hiring process. "The labor shortage exists with the current avenues. We have to go outside the current avenue to get a new crop of students," VanNus says.He explains that an apprenticeship aligns with the student's curriculum and career goals. "[With an] apprenticeship they are learning how to be productive in the workforce and also specifically identified skills and traits that are going to be in the field they want."The first Lowndes High School and Ace Electric summer apprenticeship program started with nine students, and three are now full-time employees with Ace Electric. As part of a dual enrollment program, the students split time between classes at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and Lowndes High School while also working at Ace Electric.  Georgia is a leader in work-based learning, including HB 402 that encourages companies to provide worked-based learning opportunities for 16-year-olds and older. According to VanNus, the employer can receive up to a 5% discount on worker compensation premiums, depending up the number of students hired.Shanks says the old model wasn't working, "It wasn't working for your local economic development. The students would go away to whatever school and then never come back. Here we are forming relationships and providing employment from a young age. A lot of times, they are going to stay in their local communities and be a productive member of the workforce."Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.   
Today we are talking to Jim Glass, President of Southern Regional Technical College. (SRTC). President Glass officially began his tenure as president at SRTC on July 1, 2019. Offering 130 degree, diploma, and certificate programs, SRTC was formed in 2015 from a merger of the former Moultrie Technical College and Southwest Georgia Technical College. Serving the technical education and training needs within an 11-county service region, SRTC has locations in Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Thomas (main campus), Tift, Turner, and Worth counties."One of the things we will never stray from is our workforce mission," Glass says. "Whether it's a credit course in the form of a degree, diploma or certificate or even through non-credit courses that people can take through our economic development division. We have a free high school equivalency test or English as a second language from our adult education department."SRTC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the same accrediting body that certifies degrees from most colleges in the Southeast, and has 28 general education core classes transferable to colleges and universities within the University System of Georgia. Moving forward with creating apprenticeship programs, Glass says, "Every single day, I have people tell me they need welders, electricians, remote tech, nurses, on and on."A win-win opportunity, SRTC's apprenticeship program gives students valuable work experience and helps businesses meet their workforce demands. Listening to business and community leaders is the focus of SRTC's new Business and Industry Round Table discussions. "One of the things I wanted to do when I became president was to make sure that our development authorities, cities, counties, and chambers knew we wanted to be their partners," Glass says. "It's so important that we maintain great relationships."Glass says the goal is to have round table discussions throughout SRTC's service area.Growth is coming to the Moultrie campus thanks to $2.3 million to plan and design a new technical and industrial building. The funds are part of the state's FY2022 budget and expand space for SRTC's high-demand program.Also, SRTC recently received a $200,000 grant from Coca-Cola Bottling United and Rural Development Partners. The grant funds the Rural Development Partners Community Investment and Coca-Cola Bottling United Scholarship and benefits SRTC's technical and industrial programs, including the popular commercial truck driving program. COVID impacted higher education throughout the past year, especially technical schools where "hand-on" teaching is critical. Like many other schools, SRTC received CARES Act Funds used to support students and improve campus facilities, including repairs and upgrades at its campuses. SRTC's fall semester starts on August 17, visit the SRTC website or call 888.205.3449 for more information. Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.  
In this episode, we're talking to Betty Morgan, vice president for business development at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce and director of the SEEDS Business Resource Center.Each year the SEEDS Business Resource Center, located in the Chamber's office in Valdosta, provides free assistance to startup businesses, existing and expanding companies in Lowndes County.Morgan explains that the SEEDS Center's mission is to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem and help foster and sustain entrepreneurial development. During COVID, the Chamber became an information conduit as they passed along vital information from local, state, and federal agencies to its members. As the pandemic lockdown continued, Morgan says businesses had various questions, from human resource issues to safety precautions. "I am so amazed at how our businesses pivoted and turned around and started looking at things in a different way," she says. "Out of this, they started curbside pickup, limiting hours when customers could come in by themselves and shop. Everyone was in survival mode.”While starting a business can be challenging, Morgan provides clients with the resources they need to navigate the entrepreneurial journey. Morgan outlined seven steps to business ownership:1. Validate the business idea to see if it's feasible;     2. Write a business plan;3. Decide how you are going to finance your business;4. Determine the legal structure of your business; 5. Register the business with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies and purchase appropriate insurance coverage; 6. Market your business (establish a brand, create a logo, build a website, establish social media, etc.); and  7. Launch your businessIn addition to the SEEDS Business Resource Center, Morgan says there are other valuable resources available in the region, including the UGA Small Development Center (SBDC) at Valdosta State University and the South Georgia SCORE office located in Moultrie. Through the SEEDS Center, new and existing businesses can receive a variety of reports, including demographics, competitor information, sales lists, and traffic counts. The center also sponsors professional classes from human resources to marketing. Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.  
 In this episode, we’re talking to Kristin Hanna, vice president for marketing and development of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.For 76 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta has been fulfilling its mission to enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.The club’s mission spans five locations, including a new $4.5 million facility that opened in Brooks County.More than an afterschool program, the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta operates under three pillars of success: Academics, Character and Leadership, and a Healthy Lifestyle.Academic Success:While serving approximately 1,000 school-aged children at its five locations, the club is focused on making sure the students are up-to-date on their academic curriculum. This is achieved through various programs to help students complete their homework and gain curriculum enrichment. Character and LeadershipMore than academic success, the Boys and Girls is focused on developing confident future leaders for the community. Part of this includes emphasis on strengthening soft skills and workforce skills. Healthy LifestylePartnering with Second Harvest of South Georgia Kid’s Café, children at the Boys and Girls club are provided a hot meal before heading home. Each year, through the Kid’s Café, approximately 140,000 meals are provided to children at the Boys and Girls club.Hanna says all the programs and activities seek to provide children a safe place to learn and grow. Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.         
In this episode of the South Georgia Insider Podcast, we have an all-star lineup with Valdosta Lowndes Parks and Recreation Authority Executive Director George Page and Marketing and Public Relations Director Jessica Catlett.The VLPRA has a mission to provide superior, affordable recreation services and facilities for residents of all ages in Valdosta and Lowndes County.Page, who has served as executive director for ten years, discussed VLPRA expansion in the past decade."One of the things we looked at was our youth sports," Page says. "How can we get more kids involved? We looked at the idea of school-based sports."Opening this year is the North Lowndes Soccer Complex in Hahira, which includes eight soccer fields allowing for soccer and other programs. The Miracle League Complex at Freedom Park features a two-dimensional rubberized field with fully accessible dugouts, a concession stand, and restrooms.  Close to a $7 million project, Page says the majority of funds were raised through donations to the Miracle League of Valdosta. "It's actually the largest Miracle League [field] in the nation, Page says. "It's over two hundred feet long, and also an all rubberized surface, but it's also a multi-use field." Catlett explains, "The Miracle Field is a two-dimensional rubberized field. On a standard baseball field, you have grass, clay, bases, you have things that raise up that make it difficult for a person with a disability to potentially play."The VLPRA also added six new tennis courts at the Harry B. Anderson Tennis Center at McKey, bringing the total to 18 courts.The facility growth has been part of a "build them, and they will come" philosophy to recruit more state, regional, and national tournaments.  "In the past several years, we have been successful in luring tournaments to our community," Page says. "One of the things I was tasked to do was go get as many as you can, whenever you can."VLPRA averages 40 tournaments a year. "We have nice facilities, and they were just sitting on the weekend. Number one, our facilities are for our residents; they take priority over any tournament. We play our regular-season games during the week, and on weekends we bring tournaments to town."Page says the tournament represents millions of dollars in economic impact as upward of 2,000 to 3,000 people stay overnight and eat and shop in local businesses. With more than 40 parks located throughout Lowndes County, VLPRA provides added quality of life benefits for individuals and families. Catlett says part of the VLPRA mission is to provide community events, including Movies in the Park and the annual 4th of July Fireworks celebration. This year, VLPRA added the Flag or Freedom on display from Memorial Day to July 4th. There are 50 flags, one of every state, that line a section of the road through Freedom Park as a temporary memorial. Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.       
In this episode of the South Georgia Insider Podcast, we’re talking to Shelley Zorn, executive director of the Thomasville-Thomas Payroll Development Authority. It is a year to celebrate, as annual the Thomasville Rose Show and Festival, Thomasville-Thomas Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary Club of Thomasville reach the 100-year milestone. Zorn says the three centennial events provided a perfect time to launch Imagine Thomasville, a joint marketing effort of the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority (PDA) and Thomasville-Thomas Chamber of Commerce. While using the Imagine Thomasville theme, the PDA and Chamber will retain separate boards of directors and budgets. Marketing efforts include the Let’s Talk Thomasville podcast, which was launched in March, and the Imagine Thomasville newsletter to reach a larger audience.On the economic development side, Zorn says the past two years have been busy for Thomasville and Thomas County, including a new distribution center for Ashley’s Home Furniture (based in Thomasville), Yellow Freight, an Alabama-based trucking company, and Concrete Enterprises.Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.         
In this episode of the South Georgia Insider Podcast, we're talking to Sementha Mathews, executive director of the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta.In painting a broad stroke description of what the arts represent, Mathews says, "Art is an expression of humanity, creative skills, and imagination and so much more."A regional hub for the arts, the Turner Center's formal mission is to provide art programs and events focused on art education, cultural enrichment, and entertainment. The center's popular summer classes, taught by professional artists and trained educators, are designed to enrich a child's creative talents. Throughout the year, the TCA offers various classes for children, including a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta."We want our kids to be imaginative and dream," Mathews says. "It helps them in their learning process. To ask questions and be inquisitive. Art also makes them more observant."Art education enhances problem-solving skills, boosts self-esteem, and reduces stress. "Whether it's beautiful to anyone else or not," she says. "It's the experience that helps you reduce stress. There is something about creating…using all the elements of your body that thrown into the process."Featuring seven galleries, the Turner Center rotates exhibits every six to eight weeks. Currently on display is the annual Spring Into Art exhibit featuring more than 320 original pieces created by regional artists. Admission into the galleries is free and open 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. "Nothing is more satisfying than going into the Turner Center and walking through the seven galleries filled with local and regional art, sometimes it's national and even international art," Mathews says.From Broadway-style shows to local musicians performing in the new Art Park, the TCA provides various live entertainment options.The annual Presenter Series, which was canceled during 2020, is coming back for the 2021-2022 season, with the full schedule expected to be announced in June. "It brings a different type of art that we don't get to see very much here," Mathews says. "Professional performing arts, a little bit of music and dancing. It's captivating, beautiful, and something you can't see unless you fly to New York or a bigger city to get that type of experience."The public is invited to relax and listen to local and regional bands perform during the monthly Music in the Art Park concerts, which take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Friday of the month from March to November. The event also includes a variety of food trucks. Expanding its facilities footprint, the TCA is going from three to five buildings, with the addition of a children's art museum and glassblowing studio.Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.   
In this episode of the South Georgia Insider Podcast, we're talking to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. The term "baptism by fire" is probably the best way to describe Matheson's first year in office. Before his official swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 9, 2020, Matheson met with residents concerned with a massive wastewater spill, which happened in early December. A topic of concern for decades, the City of Valdosta has invested millions of dollars toward sewer rehabilitation projects and new construction. Matheson says the wastewater infrastructure represents an "all-in commitment" from the city and represents an economic advantage in recruiting new industries. On March 13, as the emergence of COVID-19 began to sweep across the U.S., Matheson recalls being notified that the school systems were shutting down in response to Gov. Brian Kemp's declaring a public health emergency.  As the statewide shutdown coincided with the annual Azalea Festival, Matheson says he had concerns and met with festival organizers. One of Valdosta's signature events, the Azalea Festival, located in Drexel Park, draws between 20,000 to 30,000 people.  The decision to cancel was not easy. "We made the right decision that night," he says. "A year removed, and with eyes wide open and people starting to get vaccinated, I am glad we held it this year."Matheson is working with city council members and local leaders on various projects. On March 19 and 20, the City of Valdosta completed its 2021 Annual Strategic Initiatives Summit, and Matheson says it was a chance to get together and remind everyone that "we are all on the same page.""We are moving the city forward in a very fiscally responsible manner," he says. At the top of the list are infrastructure and transportation projects, including a possible second water treatment plant in the city's south end.Since taking office, Matheson has been advocating for a reliable, cost-efficient transit system. "It was my platform when I ran [for mayor], and I wanted to do it responsibly." The City of Valdosta launched its In-Demand public transit system on April 27 to provide Valdosta residents with convenient and affordable public transportation options.Downtown revitalization continues with the construction of an amphitheater across from City Hall. A two-phase project, with an open area for people to bring their chairs and blankets. Construction has started and is expected to be completed by mid-October. The second phase will include a water feature and space and utilities for food trucks. All aboard! Matheson is working toward bringing a passenger train to downtown Valdosta. While still in the planning stage, Matheson says there are public/private partnership opportunities, and he believes the project will create significant revitalization and become a regional tourism draw. Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.   
In this episode of the South Georgia Insider Podcast, we’re talking to Christie Moore, president and CEO of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber. Moore shares her newcomer’s view of Valdosta and Lowndes County, how the Chamber is helping businesses post-pandemic, and the importance of the Chamber’s mission to advocate, build, and connect.Less than six months on the job, Moore is still learning about the Valdosta and Lowndes County community. “Valdosta is a big, small town and everyone knows each other, which attracted us here,” says Moore, who moved to Lowndes County with her husband, Michael Moore. As the community begins to emerge from the pandemic's disruptions, she says the Chamber is committed to helping businesses re-think their operating models. “I don’t think there is a business in Valdosta or Lowndes who will tell you they are doing things exactly the same before the pandemic. I honestly don’t think any of us will go back [to normal]. As terrible as COVID was, we can take lessons from it.”  Realizing that not all members fit in the “same box,” Moore says the Chamber must implement programs that meet businesses where they are and provide for their current needs. “As we move forward, we have to think about how to engage all the different sectors,” she says. “In Valdosta and Lowndes County, we have a huge variety and diversity of our economy…not just retail and manufacturing,”A significant shift across all businesses is the workforce. “One thing we have learned is that ‘work’ looks different during the pandemic.”Either working from home or being an “essential worker,” the Chamber is focused on helping all businesses meet diverse employment challenges. “We hear our businesses loud and clear that the biggest issue is having the workers fulfill their needs,” she says. “The Chamber can encourage and support businesses and be the leader for helping institute best practices. We can be that research partner and information partner. I find that businesses know their industry really, really well, sometimes they need that extra help to know how to pivot and change.”As part of its workforce mission, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber is partnering with the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority, Wiregrass Technical College, and Georgia Power to host a Workforce Solutions Summit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Tuesday, June 9, at Rainwater Conference Center. According to Moore, the summit provides an opportunity to gain feedback from business leaders and provide information about existing programs and options that all businesses can utilize to foster their workforce pipeline. Still learning about the community, Moore says, “It’s like I am drinking out of a firehose. What I love about the Chamber world is I’ve never had two days just alike.”Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.    
In this episode, we are talking to Dr. Tina Anderson as she trades in her hectic schedule as president of Wiregrass Tech for a more relaxed unscheduled life of retirement.Anderson shares some highlights from her past eight years as Wiregrass Tech’s president and her plans for retirement—which will include motorcycle rides with her husband, Tony, and spending time with the couple’s beloved dachshunds, Buddy Wilson and Harley Davidson.“We are in the business of changing lives,” Anderson shares, a mantra that has carried through her tenure and the work that Wiregrass has completed. At the top of the list is workforce development. As part of her “Talks with Tina,” Anderson meets directly with industry and business leaders to discover their workforce needs. She considers these conversations the “starting point” in making sure Wiregrass Tech students are skilled and ready to enter the workforce. Wiregrass Tech has been a leader in expanding the workforce pipeline through dual enrollment and apprenticeship programs. Anderson says dual enrollment provides a “taste of college life” while students continue to have a high school support system.In 2019, Wiregrass Tech had Georgia’s highest dual enrollment rate. More than earning a paycheck, Wiregrass Tech’s apprenticeship program is helping high school students build successful careers. Under Anderson’s leadership, Wiregrass Tech reached many achievements, including having its Associate of Science in Nursing (RN) program named the No. 1 program in Georgia.  Another source of pride is Wiregrass Tech’s SkillsUSA team, which has received multiple state and national awards, including being one of the top chapters in the nation two years in a row.You can read more about Anderson’s contributions to South Georgia in the spring issue of South Georgia Business + Magazine. Sign-up to receive a complimentary subscription (print or digital) at https://sgamag.com/index.php/subscribe/Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Follow us on:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazineInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/  
 In this episode, Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber, shared the good, bad, and encouraging. Reflecting on a pre-COVID business climate to how Georgia is moving to a "reimagined economy."Managing through 2020 to the "bigger picture" of economic recovery, Clarks shares what businesses—small and large—need to do to rebound.The year 2020, wasn’t all doom and gloom, a bit of good news, Georgia had a 40 percent increase in new businesses relocating to the state during the pandemic. COVID was a "wake-up" call on several issues, including broadband access. Clark says Georgia has several projects in the pipeline to increase internet access throughout the state, especially rural communities.  Clark encourages small businesses to embrace the "digital presence," which includes digital currency. For small businesses to survive, he suggests small companies develop a hybrid model of bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce.  By 2025: 27% of all retail sales in the U.S. will be e-commerceBy 2030: 33% of all retail will be e-commerceBy 2040: 95% of all retail sale will happen onlineThe pandemic brought a year of disruptions, and moving forward, businesses need to plan in place for the next disruption and multiple revenue streams. Clark states that by 2030, 42% of all business revenue that exists today will be lost to disruptions.What will Georgia’s economy look like in ten to twenty years? To answer that question, the Georgia Chamber is launching its Reimagined New Georgia Economy Tour. The series of virtual and safe in-person planning sessions will gather input and data from all communities across the state to prepare future planning strategies. April 15: Virtual (Region 9)April 22: Virtual (Region 10)April 29: Virtual (Region 9)May 5: South Georgia Tech, Cordele (Region 8)May 5: Chehaw Creekside Education Center, Albany (Region 10)May 6: Downtown Courtyard, Thomasville (Region 10)May 24: Dublin-Lauren Chamber (Region 9)May 27: Virtual (Region 11)Register for the events: https://www.gachamber.com/reimaginedtour/ Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921 South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Follow us on:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/    
In this episode, we welcome Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and Lowndes County Manager Paige Dukes.With a population of approximately 117,000, Lowndes County includes Dasher, Hahira, Valdosta (county seat), Lake Park, and Remerton. Taking a look in the rearview mirror, Slaughter and Dukes provide insight on how Lowndes County successfully navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic.A strong emergency operation plan was crucial throughout the pandemic.Recognizing the pandemic was more than a health crisis, county officials managed the impact (short- and long-term) of education, mental health, and the economy.All Lowndes County employees were deemed "essential" and work, while sometimes adjusted, continued. Moving forward, Slaughter and Dukes shared updates on current and future projects, including:Work is underway on renovations of the Lowndes County Courthouse. The historic building will house a regional tourism and welcome center and become an integral part of Downtown Valdosta's growth. Various infrastructure projects, including widening of Val Del Road to meet future transportation needs.The county is moving toward establishing more infrastructure to attract industry growth within the unincorporated areas.The new Griner Park on Ashley Street is almost completed and will provide much-needed green space and meet parking demands within the Downtown Valdosta perimeter.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown BroadcastingThanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting. Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge -- at sgamag.com Follow us on:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/   
Welcome to South Georgia Insider. Did your 2020 vacation plans get sidelined due to COVID-19 restrictions?  If you are still unsure about making travel plans--either internationally or domestically--using a travel consultant can provide some peace of mind. In this episode, we're talking to Claire Walton, a travel advisor for Palm Travel Group. As a travel advisor, Claire gives her clients “one-on-one” guidance in making travel arrangements. Check-out Claire’s Q&A “Vacation 2021: Start Planning Now” on the South Georgia Business Magazine website. Contact Claire Walton229-469-6302claire@palmtravelgroup.comfacebook.com/palmtravelgroupgaSubscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting. Follow us on:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/   
Focus: Berrien County

Focus: Berrien County

2021-03-0826:54

Welcome to South Georgia Insider. To say the year 2020 was “unusual” would be an understatement. As COVID-19 swept through our state, our country, and the world, we often found rural communities were hit the hardest. For our listeners, let’s first paint the picture of Georgia’s rural communities:26 percent of Georgian residents live outside urban cities including Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus, and Macon.120 of Georgia’s 159 counties are considered rural Agriculture is predominately the primary industry ($74 billion impacts in the state)  Today, we are talking to Lisa Smart, executive director of the Berrien Chamber of Commerce and Berrien County Economic Development Authority. Lisa wears multiple hats as she works to keep businesses of all sizes growing while at the same time working to recruit new industries and jobs.With a population of about 19,000, Berrien County includes four municipalities Nashville (county seat), Alapaha, Enigma, and Ray City. Agriculture is the most significant economic driver, and Chaparral Boats is the largest employer. When COVID-19 hit, the Berrien-Nashville Chamber of Commerce became the communication facilitators.  One area of industry growth was with Chaparral Boats that has actually thrived during the pandemic. People that would normally spend money on vacations purchased boats and other recreational vehicles. Within the agriculture sector, locally owned Danforth Family Farms, a multi-generational farming family, was impacted by the supply chain shut-down. With limited retail outlets for their fresh pork products, the company started selling direct to the consumers at the weekly farmers market. The success of direct retail sales led to the opening of a brick-and-mortar business in downtown Nashville.  To assist small businesses as they navigated through the initial impact of COVID-19, the Berrien Chamber started using its business improvements grants to purchase items to safely remain open.  Shoppes on Davis, which includes various pop-up vendors, started offering Hero Baskets. People could call the shop and give a price they wanted to spend, and Shoppes on Davis personnel would create the baskets and deliver. Smart says while 2020 was difficult, lessons learned include gaining more reliance on each other and getting back “to their roots.”  Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.  Follow us on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/  
To say COVID was a disruption in 2020 is an understatement. Nonprofits were at the forefront of relief efforts as they continued to serve the most vulnerable and underserved people in their communities. In this episode, we are talking to Michael Smith, executive director of the Greater Valdosta United Way, and Caroline Horne, executive director of the Colquitt County United Way. COVID-19 brought challenges·       Food distribution, especially school children·       Helping families that are having difficulty paying rent and utilities·       Nonprofit agencies stepped up·       Brought attention to lack of broadband in rural communities ·       Fundraising efforts were derailed, nonprofits had to find new ways to raise money·       Volunteer opportunities were hinderedJoin us next time as we continue to highlight why South Georgia is a great place to live, work, and play.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.  Follow us on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/ 
 We can't talk about workforce development in South Georgia without discussing Wiregrass Georgia Technical College— one of 22 colleges within the Technical College System of Georgia, with 88 campuses and more than 600 program options.Today we welcome Crissy Staley, executive director of fundraising for Wiregrass Tech. Crissy is the former executive director at the Berrien County Development Authority and Nashville-Berrien Chamber of Commerce. In this episode, we discussed:·      A couple of foundation wins, including the Sidney and Sharon Morris Hall's naming, formerly Lowndes Hall. Wiregrass Tech is naming its new Health Science building (under construction) in honor of Dr. Ed and Rhonda Mark. ·      Wiregrass Tech's Associate of Science in Nursing (RN) program was named the No. 1 in Georgia among other technical colleges and four-year colleges and universities. The ranking is based on the students' National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) pass rates.Wiregrass Tech's workforce development is a significant economic engine, representing a $159.6 million annual economic impact within an 11-county service area.  WGTC activities and its students support 1 out of every 39 jobs in the service region. Wiregrass Tech alumni represent a $128.5 million annual economic impact in the region. Join us next time as we continue to highlight why South Georgia is a great place to live, work, and play.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting. Follow us on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/       
In this episode, we talk with Rep. John LaHood, District 175, who was first elected to the  Georgia House in a special election in February 2018. He has served on numerous committees, including Health & Human Services, Human Relations & Aging, Game, Fish & Parks, and Information and Audits. When he's not busy attending to Georgia's legislative matters, LaHood is serving as owner and president of Fellowship Home. In this episode, we discuss the 2020 vision, what happened when Georgia's legislative session was temporarily suspended in March due to COVID-19, and what happened when they returned several months later. Then a look forward at this year's session: What has COVID-19 shed light on, and how have state priorities shifted.2020 SessionAs a member of the Human Relations & Aging Committee, LaHood worked on several issues dealing with senior care reform. Based on the findings from an AJC seven-part investigative report on senior living facilities in Georgia.  After returning to the State Capitol, LaHood said COVID-19's response was a top priority. LaHood said, "A crisis like this pandemic accelerates the inevitable." Some of those issues include broadband and healthcare." LaHood said balancing the budget was another big concern. At the start of the 2020 session, Gov. Kemp was asking state agencies for 4 percent cuts. Due to COVID, the state legislators discussed possible 14 percent cuts and ended with about 9 percent state cuts. 2021 Legislative SessionReturning to the 2021 Legislative Session, LaHood said the "hot topics" will include: budget, election reform, and broadband.LaHood talked about population shifts (in response to the 2020 Census) and anticipated Georgia would lose some legislative voice as redistricting occurs. Join us next time as we continue to highlight why South Georgia is a great place to live, work, and play.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can listen to live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday on Talk 92.1 http://talk921.com/ or through the TuneIn app https://tunein.com/radio/Talk-921South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting. Follow us on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthGeorgiaMagazine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southgeorgiamagazine/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthGAMag LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15187535/admin/      
In this episode, we sit down with Andrea Schruijer, executive director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority and chair for Locate South Georgia.Even with COVID-19, some tremendous economic development projects are happening across Georgia, including multiple industry announcements in South Georgia. For the seventh consecutive year, Georgia has been recognized as the “Top State for Doing Business” by Area Development, an executive publication that weighed 13 different factors to make this determination.  Schruijer explains Locate South Georgia’s regional approach to economic development. Representing 20 counties, Locate South Georgia markets the region to site selectors and works to keep local, state, and federal legislators informed about the region's economic needs.“What are some of the opportunities we have here in South Georgia, and also what are some of our obstacles for growth. Having a unified message from Locate South Georgia to those leaders in the legislators has been very helpful,” says Schruijer.What You’ll Discover in this EpisodeHow educational partners play an essential role in industry recruitment Workforce numbers pull from multiple counties2019 was a banner year for industry announcements in South Georgia2020 has proven to be another booming year for South Georgia’s industry growthCOVID-19 has placed a spotlight on the importance of the manufacturing industry, including some needed adjustments More automation implemented in the futureStarting to see a strong economy coming back to South GeorgiaImportance of speculative (spec) buildings in recruiting industry prospectsEconomic growth comes from expansion projects, including 80 percent of Georgia’s job growth from existing industries Locate South GeorgiaLast year 79 percent of the Georgia Department Economic of Development projects were outside the metro-Atlanta areaCOVID-19 created a more cohesive approach for regional marketing Importance of tourism in the overall economic development effortsWorking together to tell a bigger and better storyCreating an inventory of tourism/leisure activitiesEconomic development is more than jobs and capital investment, it’s also about tourism “getting people to stay and spend their dollar”Telling South Georgia’s story: “When we all work together, we have a bigger and better story that we can tell.” In closing, Schruijer says,  “Economic development has changed to what communities can do to encourage people and businesses to want to risk spending their capital in your community. It’s not just from a business perspective but also from an individual perspective. Creating an environment for people to want to spend their money in your area.” Join us next time as we continue to highlight why South Georgia is a great place to live, work, and play.Subscribe to the South Georgia Business Magazine and South Georgia Insider (monthly e-newsletter), both available at no charge.Thanks to our sponsor Smalltown Broadcasting and WDDQ, home of the Scott James Matheson Show, where you can  listen to live from 6
loading
Comments 
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store