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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - S. Main, workforce, master plan top retreat

Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - S. Main, workforce, master plan top retreat

Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - S. Main, workforce, master plan top retreat

DeWayne Grice


        Even though the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority of Bulloch County are separate entities, they share a similar mission of being both an advocate and a catalyst for the business community.
        From a small locally owned business on Main Street to large industries, their constituency is diverse and their mission is vital. Annually they join forces and pull together political, business and civic leaders for a Community Leadership Conference. The two-day event is a success because local leaders are willing to give up a weekend to come together to share ideas, learn what others are doing and help cast a vision to continue moving our community forward.
         This year was no exception as Phyllis Thompson, president of the Chamber and Benjy Thompson, CEO of the Development Authority of Bulloch County and their staffs, brought the community together for the 23rd time.
        Phyllis Thompson explained the conference this year had three areas of focus: workforce development, South Main revitalization and the consideration of the development of a community master plan.
        Benjy Thompson underlined the need to have a plan in place for South Main from an industrial prospects perspective.
        "Any time we bring a prospect in with limited familiarity with the community, it is important for us to show our best face," he said. "The corridor from I-16 to our downtown is one of the more obvious ways that people get introduced to Statesboro. It is important that we feel good about that. There are days that we don't."
        He went on to say that the momentum with this project is "another example of how we are all in this (recruiting industry) together."
        All things being equal often the quality of life can be the tie breaker.
        "The kinds of industry we would like to have come here appreciate a community that pays attention to its front porch," Benjy said.
        Al Hodge, president and CEO of the Greater Rome Chamber, led a discussion on the development of a master plan for Rome. He explained why they thought it was necessary, how they got started and the positive impact it has had on the community.
        Many organizations and entities in our community have their own master plan, but currently there is not a community wide master plan.
        Both Thompsons agreed that the most well received part of the weekend was the workforce panel. The panel included human resources representatives from H.A. Sack, Viracon and Briggs and Stratton.
        "It was very enlightening to have them share the workforce needs from a H.R. perspective." Phyllis Thompson said.
        With the B.O.E. recently completing a strategic plan Benjy Thompson added that, "it is important to get the leaders attention and give the BOE additional confidence that what they are doing is the right thing and will be good for the community."
        Phyllis Thompson summed up the weekend by explaining, "the real value of the conference is creating a venue for honest, open and constructive collaboration."
        Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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