December 31, 2010 will mark an official end to an era of leadership in our business community. Development Authority of Bulloch County executive director and Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce president Peggy Chapman is slated to retire after 20 years of service in those two positions.
This column isn't the proper forum to honor Chapman's many contributions over the last two decades as that will be done in a longer piece in December. However, I do want to talk about the new leadership structure that is being enacted which will go into effect this coming January.
Whereas Chapman filled both positions, there will now be two separate employees hired. According to Chapman, the position of CEO of the Development Authority of Bulloch County is being created, and that person will also serve as the CEO of the Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce. A separate president of the Statesboro Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce is being hired by the CEO and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
The Development Authority will continue to be housed in the offices of the Chamber of Commerce and its executive director position eliminated. Chapman said the two organizations will continue to work together through a contract agreement.
"Both positions require a lot of work, and really are two separate full-time jobs," she said. "To continue to operate in the manner that we have in the past would be a disservice to both organizations. The caliber of staff that we have here has allowed us to operate both entities under the leadership of one individual all of these years. It is time for a change."
I have been told that the Development Authority is nearing a decision as to whom it is going to hire for the CEO position, and will be making that decision at its board meeting today. As far as the president position for the Chamber is concerned, the search and application process is ongoing.
Bulloch County manager Tom Couch is optimistic about the new changes.
"Bulloch County gives $200,000 to the Authority each year to support its operations," he said. "If the new structure works the way it is intended to, it will bring us into a more competitive position to improve the economic prospects for the county."
Couch is very conscious of the continuing increase in effort of our neighboring counties to land new industry.
"If you look around, you can see that Bryan, Effingham, and Chatham are really 'getting after it' where economic development is concerned," he said. "We would be remiss if we didn't put our best foot forward. Our community has endless possibilities, and we really need to sell that message in the best way that we can."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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