Why vote YES??

The Connect River Valley Campaign kicked off in support of the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) this morning.  The T-SPLOST will appear on the July 31st primary ballot.  You may ask yourself why this is so important–well, there are lots of reasons:

For starters, this T-SPLOST means more jobs, safer roads and local control of transportation. This one percent sales tax is expected to generate about $545 million in this area and will fund several projects over the next ten years in the sixteen county River Valley Region. This capital investment is expected to create over 16,000 jobs.  Projects slated for completion with T-SPLOST funds include the widening of SR 1/US 27 from Turnberry Lane in Columbus to State Road 315 in Harris County, as well as intersection improvements along Buena Vista Road, in an area known as the Columbus Spider Web (see the full list of River Valley projects).

The Connect River Valley Campaign is a committee of local residents who have been working to organize a successful effort to pass the referendum.  Lt. Gen. (R) Carmen Cavezza, Ph.D., former City Manger of Columbus and former Commanding General of Fort Benning, serves as co-chair of the campaign along side Betty Jackson, Vice President of Finance at Columbus Technical College.  Billy Blanchard, Regional Chief Executive Office of Synovus and President & C.E.O. of Columbus Bank and Trust is the campaign treasurer.

“T-SPLOST is the best option that we have in being able to meet our transportation needs for the region,” said Cavezza, committee co-chair.

Here are some more quick facts about why voting YES on July 31st is so important…

The Problems

  • Georgia is the third fastest growing state in the nation, but 49th in per capita spending on transportation.
  • Gas tax revenue, our primary source of transportation funding continues to decrease annually
  • Our roads and bridges continue to get older and are in need of repair
  • The Solution

    On July 31st, voters in our region will have the change to vote YES for a better future with more jobs, safe roads and local control.

    ECONOMIC IMPACT--Our River Valley Region’s projected revenue of $594,061,269 would create 16,040 jobs.

    LOCAL IMPACT75% of total revenue raised in the River Valley Region will go toward the regional project lists and 25% will go back to the cities and counties for local transportation projects. 100% of these funds stay in our area.

    LOCAL CONTROL–Every dollar raised in the local regions will be spent on local projects with local oversight. A local citizens’ accountability committee will be appointed in each region to ensure projects are completed on time and on budget.


  • Vote YES on July 31st
  • Encourage friends, family and co-workers to vote YES
  • Contribute to the Campaign
  • Like  Connect River Valley facebook page & share with your friends
  • Share the T-SPLOST videos on your facebook page
  • Speak to Local Groups
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Make phone call prior to election day
  • Put signs in your yard
  • Wear a campaign t-shirt
  • Place a bumper sticker on your vehicle
  • For more information call–706-596-7013, visit our page on Facebook and visit the website

    A Few Thoughts About Economic Development

    I’ve come to enjoy working in Economic Development because I find it to be good and noble work. It supports human dignity by creating an opportunity for good jobs. It fosters the common good of the community.

    And when its benefits and opportunities flow to all, especially those most in need, then economic development is not only good work, but a true ministry.

    We must hold on to that vision and resist the cynicism, negatives and frustrations that can sometimes creep in.

    For more perspective, take a minute, read this piece by Georgia Trend editor Susan Percy:  http://www.georgiatrend.com/business-casual/07_11_bizcas.shtml

    Brian Sillitto-Vice President, Economic Development-Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce-The Valley Partnership

    Two Amazing Feats and a day FULL of fun!

    Food, drink, volunteers, sunshine….an abundance of each came together for the annual Chamber Golf Extravaganza on May 6, 2011 at Maple Ridge Golf Course sponsored by B&B Beverage.  The beautiful weather almost upstaged the golf itself.  Over 250 people attended the event co-chaired by Mike Mayhew of Automated Business Machine and Richie Grantham of Sunshine Banners and Signs.  Every tee was sponsored by a Chamber member and food, prizes and goody’s flooded the course.  

    Jay Buick GMC was the Hole in One sponsor for the  Golf Extravaganza. The tournament produced 2 hole in ones! The chances of getting a hole in one are a 1 in 3,000 chance according to Golf Digest. 

    Brent Wright-Hole in One Winner

    Brent Wright (center) was presented Callaway RAZR X irons by Ronnie Carroll (left) of Jay Buick GMC and Mike Gill golf pro at Maple Ridge Golf Course.

    Brent Wright make a hole in one at the 13th hole of the course and won a set of Callaway RAZR X irons presented to him by Jay Buick GMC.  Brent had a lot of support from the crew at Batson Cook, which sponsored hole 13th with a White Water Rafting themed tent that even included kayakers in the lake! 

     Jason Stansell made a hole in one at the 2nd hole and won a 2011 GMC Terrian from Jay GMC.  Jason received the keys to his new car this week.  When asked how his wife reacted when he told her the news, “She didn’t believe me at first, I had to tell her several times for it to sink in.”  

    Jason Stansell Hole in One Winner

    Jason Stansell receives the keys to his new GMC Terrain from Jay Buick GMC. Pictured left to right: Nolan Pendleton, John Roberts, Mike Gill, Ronnie Carroll, Jason Stansell and Amy Askew

    Jason played on the Colony Bank with team members Nolan Pendleton, John Roberts and Brian Williams. Needless to say, the Colony Bank team also walked away the over all winners of the tournament and 2nd place went to Mid-South Metals. 

    Carmike Cinemas was named the overall best decorated tee recognition and Hartin Electric won 2nd place. 

    Everyone in attendance walked away a winner with new business contacts, opportunities and exposure that you cannot get anywhere else.  Thanks to all the sponsors and to the committee members—events like this are not successful without the support of all that contribute! 

    Carmike Cinemas walked away 1st place winner of the tent decoration competition with their "Pirates" theme


    Thank You Eagle, Tee and Beverage Station Sponsors! 

     #1   B&B Beverage (GRAND SPONSOR) 

    #2   Jay Buick GMC (Hole in One) 

    #3   Manpower & MasterKleen 

    #4   Servpro 

    #5   Coleman American Allied Movers 

    #6   2WR (Eagle Sponsor) 

    #7   Sunshine Banners & Safetec Security 

    #8   Naartjie 

    #9  Southeast Restoration Group 

    #10   Loco’s 

    #11   Hartin Electric (Eagle Sponsor) 

    #12     Townplace Suites, Springhill Suites Residence Inn & Fairfield Inn 

    #13   Batson-Cook 

    #14   Carmike Cinemas (Eagle Sponsor) 

    #15  Suntrust 

    #16   Independence Place 

    #17   Verge Pipe Media (Eagle Sponsor) 

    #18   Callaway Gardens 

     Thank You Beverage Station Sponsors! 

    Columbus Community Bank        


    ATC Associates 

     Thank You Driving Range Sponsor! 


    Thank you Potty Break Sponsor! 

    Paws Humane 

    Thank You Event Donors!

    4th Avenue Car Wash

    5 Star Food Service

    Allstate-The Askew Agency


    B&B Beverage


    Burger King

    Burt’s Butcher Shop

    Callaway Gardens


    Columbus Regional Healthcare System, Inc.

    Cott Beverages

    Country’s Barbeque

    Dr. Scuba



    Northwest Exterminating

    Phenix Foods

    PMB Broadcasting


    Sun Ray Cleaners

    Sweetbriar SmokeShop

    Team Realtree

    Troy University

    A Very Special Thank You to Our Golf Committee and Our Volunteers! 


    Mike Mayhew, Automated Business Machines & Richie Grantham, Sunshine Banners and Signs 

    Committee Members 

    Rebecca Gaston, Batson Cook 

    Trammell Coleman, The Overby Company

    Patrick Deal, Columbus Communications 

    Diane Edwards, Hartin Electric 

    Bob Kramer, Skanska 

    Dewey McCabe, Southeast Restoration Group 

    Alan Scoggins, Skanska

    To View More Pictures from the event visit our Facebook Fan Page or search IamtheChamber

    It’s All About Me

    Is Generation Y (aka Millennials,  Generation Next, etc.)  too self-absorbed?  The answer is yes, according to a Harvard Business Review blog it’s our most perilous trait.

    According to the author, young folks spend too much time talking about themselves and how they plan to save the world.  He even points to a study that found college students in this decade are more narcissistic than Gen X and baby boomers and that even a “healthy sense of self-esteem” isn’t necessarily a competitive edge.

    Initially in reading the article I was offended.  But in thinking about it, on some level there may be some truth to this.  Much of us (Generation Y) grew up encouraged to do anything or be anything we set our minds to.  We received “participation” certificates, ribbons, public recognition as  a way to strengthen self-confidence.  Has what many might label  “encouragement”  created a generation of narcissistic young professionals? Yet where would some of us be had we not received that little extra push or that “you can do it” nudge?

    Before you respond, I encourage you to take a look at the Greater Columbus Young Professionals Program.  This group is strong willed, passionate and determined to carry on the leadership legacy that this community is known for.  They are PROUD of themselves, their accomplishments and the community in which they live, work and play.

    I am curious, as an OP, MP, EP (Old Professional, Mature Professional, Established Professional) what your view on Generation Y is?  Too self-absorbed?



    This post was written by: Amy Askew aaskew@columbusgachamber.com

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    posted 10 March 2011 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.

    Are We Going to the Dogs?

    If you’ve ever traveled around Bibb City, specifically down Hemlock Drive, you’ll notice that there’s a park in this area. Thanks to some great developers, Bibb City is starting to look like it’s coming back alive. It’s a beautiful drive back through this area, the old oak trees that hang over the streets, and the river walk is just within reach. All in all, it’s a nice quiet setting. But, I digress.

    It’s time for ColumbusGA to have a dog park. Hemlock Park in Bibb City (or Village Bibb as some locals are now calling it)  is a perfect location. It certainly has the space, there’s ample parking at Comer Auditorium. Parks and Recreation are already maintaining this area, it just needs some fencing and some, well, doggone amenities for our four legged family members.

    Fort Worth, TX has a great dog park, Fort Woof, www.fortwoof.org,  it even elects a mayor every two years.  Proceeds from the mayoral race and other events go to the maintenance of the park.

    Fort Woof Dog Park, Fort Worth, TX

    Sasha, Mayor Fort Woof, being sworn in

    Why have a dog park? This is what Fort Woof says about that question:

  • Your dog can run free!
  • Your dog can learn how to interact with other dogs.
  • You can mingle with other dog enthusiasts.
  • Your dog can mingle with other dog enthusiasts
  • With some well written rules, great private support, and really active volunteers the Fort Woof Dog Park has been successful. ColumbusGA could certainly emulate this and have a wonderful place for all dog lovers to visit.  Since the Chamber’s visit to Fort Worth, TX in 2008, many people have stated that we need a dog park, in fact, Columbus could handle several parks within our city. It just takes leadership and someone with a passion for dogs. Are you that person? Is Columbus ready to make this happen? “Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?”  ~Robert Brault,

    posted 9 February 2011 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
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