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Leadership SE Ga. class stops in Statesboro
Focus on agriculture, education
DeWayne Grice

Leadership Southeast Georgia selected Bulloch County to host 27 leaders from across the region participating in the 2018 Leadership class.

Those of us lucky enough to choose Bulloch County as home understand what a special blessing it is to live and work here. However, it is when others seek out our community to spend time here learning why our county is one of America’s best, is when you realize just how special this place truly is.

That is exactly what occurred when Leadership Southeast Georgia selected Bulloch County to host 27 leaders from across the region participating in the 2018 Leadership class. The two-day visit focused on agriculture and education began Thursday and continues Friday.

My wife, Lori Grice, a local photographer and business owner and Kendria Lee, Georgia Southern University, both graduates of the Leadership Southeast Georgia program, have been working for almost a year to plan and coordinate the visit. The two-day visit is jam packed with a highlights of what makes our community so incredible.

“Kendria and I have been so thrilled with how business, community and university leaders have stepped up to support this visit in extraordinary ways,” Lori Grice said. “We are rolling out the “Blue Carpet” to this impressive group of leaders in creative and exciting ways thanks to our sponsor’s contributions. Our hope is that they will leave here knowing that what makes our community truly unique are the Bulloch Countians who make a life and a living here.”

The class was welcomed to town with a police escort provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Motorcycle Escort Team. Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar, Bulloch County Chairman Roy Thompson and Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce President Phyllis Thompson opened the program with remarks. 

The 2018 class spent the morning learning about the Blue Mile and America’s Best Community Competition. State Rep. Jan Tankersley addressed the group to share how the partnership with the state accelerated our success in the ABC competition that resulted in earning a $1 million award.

Leadership Southeast Gerogia
The Leadership Southeast Georgia Class of 2018 made a stop in Statesboro for a two-day class Thursday and Friday. The class is shown inside Paulson Stadium. - photo by FRANK FORTUNE/special

Thursday afternoon, the group toured Georgia Southern University and met with President Jamie Herbert, GSU Eagles head football Coach Chad Lunsford and State Sen. Jack Hill before heading out to Hunter Cattle to learn more about agritourism.

Thursday evening featured a “Georgia Grown” dinner prepared by Chef Holly Chute, executive chef for the Georgia Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development at the Barn at Olde Homeplace. The keynote address was delivered by Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black.

Friday, the group will be hosted by AgSouth Farm Credit in their new operations center. They will hear from a variety of speakers including Ag South CEO Pat Calhoun, Molly Bickerton, director of admissions for Ogeechee Technical College, and Scott Shelar, CEO of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia.

Four Bulloch County leaders are part of the 2018 Leadership class:

Jason Boyles, City of Statesboro

Keely Fennell, NeSmith Construction and Land Development

Tal Johnson, Dabbs, Hickman, Hill & Cannon, LLP and Seth Roesel, TQ Constructors, Inc.

Seth Roesel, TQ Constructors, Inc.

The five-month program is designed to grow and inspire engaged community leaders to improve the overall quality of life in our area and to inspire regionalism.

DeWayne Grice is business editor for the Statesboro Herald. He may be reached at

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