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Jeffers to lead SCVB
Screven Chamber looking for new executive director
W Heidi Jeffers1
Heidi Jeffers recently announced her resignation from the Screven County Chamber of Commerce to become executive director of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau. - photo by Special

      SYLVANIA - The turn of the new year also marked a new career move for Screven County's Chamber of Commerce executive director, Heidi Jeffers.
      Jeffers recently announced her resignation to become executive director of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
      Jeffers began a career with Ogeechee Railway Company in 1988, serving in several positions, including marketing, general manager, and assistant to the vice president and president of the company.
      She transitioned into her career with the Chamber in 2001 when she became the director of economic development at the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber, later taking her role as executive director at the Screven Co. Chamber in 2008.
Jeffers referred to her time with the Screven Chamber as "an honor" and "an enjoyable and fulfilling position" and one in which she received great support from the community, government officials, and boards.
      "The news of her resignation is incredibly bittersweet for those of us who have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work with Heidi over the last two years," said Tripp Sheppard, executive board member of the Chamber, in a letter to the Screven County Board of Directors.
      Jeffers has played an integral role in pushing the community above and beyond what was expected, Sheppard said.
But the loss of Jeffers' talents and contribution in Screven will be found in Bulloch.
      She comes to the Visitors Bureau with experience and knowledge, said David Ball, the Bureau's board chairman.
      As executive director of the Visitors Bureau, Jeffers will work in a position that Ball calls "the arm of helping Statesboro thrive."
      "She knows many of the people in the area, as well as the economic development needs of the community," he said.
      As an entity that works in conjunction with Georgia Southern University, the Averitt Center, the Recreation Department, and the Downtown Development Authority, Ball said the Bureau works to promote businesses in the area and help Statesboro's entrepreneurs.
      Since the hotel business alone is a $10 million industry in Statesboro, Ball said it is important that the Visitors Bureau maintain a crucial role in bringing people in to fill the hotels for various events, such as the Special Olympics or baseball tournaments, among many others.
      An average football game, for example, can have an economic impact of approximately $250,000 for Statesboro businesses, he said.
      The bureau receives its funding from a 5 percent sales tax which is added to the cost of a hotel stay, said Ball.
      The money helps the bureau promote hotels, restaurants, and other community businesses, in turn, boosting the economy, he said.
      A marketing agent for Statesboro-Ball said this is the major role Jeffers will play for the Bureau and the community.
      "Jeffers is just the person to pull the community together through area projects in her new role as director of the Bureau," he said.
      In the wake of budget cuts in every direction, Ball said the executive director position has been open for about eight months. When funding was recently restored, so was the position.
      The Screven Chamber's board of directors named Brook Lariscy Lawn as interim director, who will lead the Chamber through the transitional period up to the hiring of a new executive director.
      Lawn, a former native of Screven Co. who recently moved back to her hometown, was formerly the Recognition and Reward-Incentive/Event Manager and Senior Vice President of Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina.
      "I have every confidence that our Chamber will continue to operate in a positive and productive manner," said Sheppard.
      Thanks to Jeffers, he said, the Screven County Chamber of Commerce is a strong and exceptionally viable organization that should remain that way in the foreseeable future.


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