Leadership Southeast Georgia, a professional development and leadership program throughout 10 coastal counties, continued its 2023 programming with a visit to Bulloch County.
The 29 members of the Class of 2023 is made up of regional leaders from business, professional and civic organizations, who participate in a five-month program.
The focus for the third session of the program centered on education and workforce development factors impacting the region and the introduction to agriculture and its impact on the area’s economy.
“Diversity and inclusion have never been more important, so education and workforce development are timely topics to explore now,” said Suzanne Kirk, LSEGA facilitator. “Since farming is such a major driver in Georgia’s economy, the impact is felt throughout the region.”
The class was provided with an overview of different educational settings, methods and outcomes. They also explored Southeast Georgia’s plentiful agribusinesses, including their economic development factors and the impact of natural disasters.
Day one began on the campus of Georgia Southern University with a welcome from Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar and Bulloch County Commission Chair Roy Thompson. The session started with a discussion on literacy programs in Bulloch County led by the school system’s executive director of Program Improvement, Dr. Julie Chance. This was followed by Bethany Gilliam, Bulloch County Career Technical Agricultural Education director.
Following lunch, sponsored by Synovus Bank, the group headed to Ogeechee Technical College for a walking tour of their robotics lab and industrial maintenance and agribusiness departments. OTC Vice President for Technology and Institutional Support Jeff Davis hosted.
The class ended day one with a Presidential Roundtable featuring Jan Moore, vice president for Economic Development of Ogeechee Tech; Dr. David Schecter, president of East Georgia State College; and Dr. Kyle Marrero, president of Georgia Southern.
The second day of the LSEGA session started with “Inclusive Excellence: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in our Communities and Workplaces,” presented by Dr. TaJuan Wilson, Managing Associate at Diversified Search Group.
The class toured the Ogeechee Peanut Plant in Brooklet, led by plant manager David Rushing. Next, the group traveled to Kairos Farms, also in Brooklet, and met with owner David Cromley to discuss the realities of today’s agriculture business.
Other speakers during the two-day session included Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson, Keely Fennell of The Blue Mile Project and Darin Van Tassell of Tormenta FC.
The LSEGA 2023 overall program sponsors include Evans General Contractors, Georgia Power, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia Southern University, M.E. Sack Engineering, Gulfstream, HARCO Construction, The Sack Company, Sterling Seacrest Partners, Thomas & Hutton, International Paper, Hunter Maclean, Colony Bank, Hussey Gay Bell, Comcast, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Visit Savannah, Chick-fil-A Hinesville, Southeastern Bank and Rhowe Design + Build.