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

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    posted 28 July 2011 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566

    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.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566

    Where do you want to take your business in 2011?

    Where do you want to take your business in 2011?

    Do you have a plan?

    What tools are you going to use to achieve your goals?

    Are you using all the resources available to you? Your Chamber has the answer to all of these questions:

    The Professional Consultants Program- where you can receive a free hour of their expertise through the chamber from more than 30 professionals.

    Are you engaged in your chamber?

    Are you using the chamber’s committees to expand your list of contacts and develop important business relationships?

    Are you using the networking events to meet potential clients? Think about how many new business contacts you can make by using your chamber?

    Are you using the Business One Stop Shop?

    Are you using Chamber event sponsorship opportunities ($50-$1,000s) to elevate the awareness of your company and your brand?

    Have you looked into programs designed to enhance your business like (Fast-Trac-New Ventures or Fast Trac Growth Ventures)?

    The bottom line is you have to focus on one project then move on to other items on your list.

    2011 is a blank slate that you can draft your success on. Take the next step, jump into action to build a better business.

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    posted 27 January 2011 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566

    “Where Did the Day Go!?”

    I used to consider myself a pretty organized person.  For those of you who are familiar with Emergenetics, I am primarily “green”–actually primarily is an understatement , I am over 51% green.  If you are not familiar with my color coding green stands for: Structural–I like precision, practicality and processes, a detailed organized plan is important for me–I like the idea of developing a concrete solution and meeting a clear objective.  I am a planner, an organizer–which means I am list maker and I like to stick to it. Hey, they don’t call me Anal Amy for nothing.


    I can definitely relate...in fact you could just paste my picture right on her face!

    Lately, I feel like I am missing my green and it is making me blue..boo hoo!  I frequently find myself asking “where did this day go” as 5:00p.m. rolls around.  I start my day off with great intentions but by 9:00am the emails are rolling in, the phone is ringing and my “to-do list” just keeps growing without scratching off any of the previous items. 

    Instead of making a call to “whine 1-1″ I have decided to be pro-active and resort to what I do best…making a list… here are my plans to better stay on track during the work day:


    Step 1: Put all your tasks in your calendar. Need to write a monthly report? Block off the time needed in your calendar. Need to research new business prospects? Schedule that time each week. By committing tasks to our calendar, we’re more likely to see them as true appointments that can’t be rescheduled or skipped.

    Step 2:One of the best ways is to eliminate – or at least minimize – your distractions. That means turning off the cell phone, shutting down e-mail and logging off Facebook. Even if you just take a quick look at the latest e-mail message, it’s still eating into your productive time.

    Step 3: Close your door. If you happen to have an office with a door, shut it for an hour or two each day to minimize interruptions. No door? Remember college professors and their “office hours?” Try a similar technique in which your staff or colleagues know you’re available between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. but for the rest of the day you don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s urgent.

    Step 4: Pick two or three items on your to-do list that can be done quickly and knock them out first thing in the morning. That way you have a sense of accomplishment and will feel energized about the rest of the day.

    Step 5: Recharge your batteries. It can be tempting to take your work home in an effort to catch up, but not taking a break can make it even harder to concentrate. Give yourself some time to unwind and chances are you’ll be able to tackle your tasks faster.

    Looking for more ideas to add time to your day? Check out this article from the Harvard Business Review, including tips like asking those around you ways we might be wasting time that we do not notice in ourselves.

    I’d like to hear from you–how do you stay productive and avoid distractions and interruptions at bay?

    (Video) Mike Gaymon CCLD Testimonial — Designing the Future

    “It is not by accident that we end up where we are. It is by design.”

    The Cunningham Center for Leadership Development (CCLD) at Columbus State University are all about designing the future and The Chamber is proud to be a part, in a small way helping to support this great organization.

    To learn more about the CCLD @ CSU and all that they do, visit: http://ccld.colstate.edu/

    ~ The Folks at Chamber

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    posted 18 January 2011 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566

    You gotta have Art

    Uptown Columbus Sculpture Walk

    It’s been over 3 years since the sculptures first arrived on Broadway in UPtown ColumbusGA www.columbusbid.com. Some have gone and have been replaced and some have stayed calling the streets of UPtown home. The sculpture walk has become a destination for visitors, has provided a sense of place for the residents of UPtown and most importantly has become a defining moment for us as a community.

    Uptown Columbus Sculpture Walk

     Public art, such as the sculpture walk, is how we as a community become connected one to  another. It can interpret the world around us and the world in which we live. There’s something about looking at a piece of art that reminds us of times gone by or one that represents how proud we are that we live in this place called ColumbusGA. In short, public art is a historical record of our community.

    For the past several years the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce has made Public Art one of its key topics during its Annual Inter-City Leadership conferences.  Examples were the trips to Fort Worth,TX, Tampa, FL, Mobile, AL and most recently Raleigh, NC.  Each of these cities have wonderful pieces of art, but what makes each of them stand out as being very different than ColumbusGA is their Public Art Ordinance. 

    Parking Garage, Kansas City, MO

    Lewis St. Bridge, Wichita, KS

    Why do we need a Public Art Ordinance? An ordinance would provide a tool for setting a  “public art vision” for ColumbusGa as well as identify other areas of the city that would be appropriate for public art. Having an ordinance would provide the means for a dedicated funding source through a percent for art by being identified in a capital project or through construction credits of a new or renovated building project. Just imagine if one of our many bridges crossing the Chattahoochee included sculptures like the one shown here in Wichita, KS. or our parking garages looked this one in Kansas City, MO. 

    Public art defines a city. There are too many cities to list whereby a single piece of art is the magnet that attracts tourists. ColumbusGA needs be among that list.  ColumbusGA needs art in all areas of our city and not just downtown or in front of the museum.  It is known that public spaces that include  public art are more welcoming and pleasing to residents and visitors, but there needs to be oversight so that excellence in design and selection is maintained. Currently, anyone could erect anything and call it art.  Remember the fiasco with the art piece that was to be placed in front of the main library? Let’s not go there again.

    The time has come for our city to adopt an ordinance. Public art will become increasingly important to our city’s growth and identity as it prepares for BRAC and the White Water project.  Let’s move forward. Join the Chamber in making this happen. 

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    posted 29 December 2010 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566

    Businesses! RSVP for Jan 2011 Now for ColumbusGA Chamber 2010 Annual Meeting

    Join us Jan. 7th for the Stake Holder meeting to hear Maj. Gen, Bob Brown Commanding General, Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, talk about leadership and impact of BRAC growth on the region.

    RSVP Now! Registration Form

    • See who wins the Jim Woodruff, Jr. Memorial Award, “The hall of fame of Columbus leadership.”
    • Meet the winner of the JR Allen Award.
    • See who will be the first to receive the new Chairman’s Award for distinguished service to the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

    Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce 2010 Annual Stakeholder’s Meeting
    WHERE: RiverCenter for Performing Arts (Columbus, Georgia)
    WHEN: January 7th, 2011 10.30am-Noon

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    posted 15 December 2010 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566

    Reasons You Should Be Concerned About the Chronic Homeless in ColumbusGA

    The reasons are:

     This group consumes a disproportionate amount of costly resources: 10% of the homeless population consumes over 50% of the resources. www.usich.gov

    Chronic homelessness has a visible impact on your community’s safety and attractiveness

    Effective new technologies exist to engage and house this population

    Addressing the needs of this group will free up resources for other homeless groups, including youth & famillies

    This group is in great need of assisitance & social services

    It is a finite problem that can be fixed

    The Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce has been the driving force in developing a task force to create a 10-year plan to address the homeless plight in ColumbusGa. City Manager, Isaiah Hugley, solicted the help of the Cunningham Center for Leadership to be the facilitator of the task force. After 18 months,    The 10 Year Plan to Eradicate Homelessness was unanimously adopted by the ColumbusGA City Council at the December 14, 2010 meeting.  To review the plan go to http://ccld.colstate.edu/pdf/3rd_Draft-10_Year_Homelessness_Plan.pdf

    Why is this important to our city?  The ColumbusGA Homeless Task Force says it like this:

     Homelessness is costly.

    It takes a huge toll on people’s lives.

    It is far less expensive to provide housing than it is to provide emergency response services.

    And it’s far more humane.

    What do you think? Can we really eradicate homelessness in ColumbusGA?

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    posted 6 December 2010 : Contact the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce for assistance.
    º Join Us Today » Request a free Business Analysis Assessment.
    º Or Call Us @ 706.327.1566
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