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Bass is new executive director, One Sumter

AMERICUS — The Board of Directors for the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation Inc. announces the appointment of Mary Beth Bass as the Foundation’s new executive director. A native of Sumter County, Bass brings a statewide perspective to the position, having worked in community and economic development around the state over the last 13 years.
One Sumter Chairman Ted McMillan shared the Board’s support for the new director, “Mary Beth is a great addition to the vision we have created with One Sumter. Her experience in working in communities around the state and in building strong community collaborations and partnerships is exactly what is needed to make One Sumter a success.”
Barbara Grogan, executive drector of the Americus-Sumter County Payroll Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce echoes McMillan’s enthusiasm.
“Having worked with Mary Beth in the past, I am excited to see the strengths and skillsets she brings to the table help bring One Sumter into fruition. As we transition into the implementation phase of One Sumter, her ability to see and think strategically will be an asset to the foundation already laid by so many of our strong community partners and stakeholders,” Grogan said.
Bass most recently served as a faculty member at the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development managing a statewide leadership initiative called GeorgiaLEADS.  GeorgiaLEADS is a partnership between the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development to build and enhance leadership development pipelines across the state of Georgia. A pilot project launched by the Georgia Chamber to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a way for corporate and philanthropic organizations around Georgia to give back to the communities that have contributed to their success, LEADS is designed to assist communities and regions throughout the state in developing unique, comprehensive and robust leadership solutions to each area’s specific growth challenges. Bass’ role in this initiative was to design and develop the rollout and implementation of LEADS within the nine pilot communities and two multi-county regions around the State. This experience greatly prepared her for the opportunity to launch the implementation of One Sumter in her hometown — also a GeorgiaLEADS community.
Bass said, “I am excited to be returning home to my roots, and to be able to leverage what I’ve learned and seen around the state here in my hometown.”
With a strong background in community planning, strategic visioning, and economic development, Bass believes partnerships and collaboration are key components to a community’s growth strategy.
She continued, “The business community of Sumter County, as well as the public sector, are to be commended for their vision and foresight in establishing a vehicle for community growth and collaboration through One Sumter. It was the vision of a One Sumter that really compelled me to want to become a part of such an exciting initiative.”
Prior to her work with the Fanning Institute, Bass served as the Economic Development director for the City of Perry, joining the City in 2012. Working with community entities to develop and implement a strategic vision for the City of Perry in terms of economic development, she served as the liaison between the City and its economic development partners throughout Houston County.
A previous Archway Professional in both Glynn and Pulaski counties with UGA’s Archway Partnership, Bass also worked with the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center, and has extensive experience in housing and neighborhood redevelopment, land use planning, historic preservation, and grant-writing.  She began her career in public service as the Main Street director for the City of Thomaston.
Bass holds a master of public administration with a concentration in urban management and policy from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and an AB in political science from the University of Georgia.
One Sumter, a partnership between the Sumter County Payroll Development Authority and the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing and supporting the community’s economic development efforts. With four interrelated components of economic development, workforce development, communication and marketing, and transportation; One Sumter’s Business Action Plan is designed to accelerate economic growth and community vitality throughout Sumter County. Bass, and the One Sumter board of directors, will begin working with community members and stakeholders in 2016 to implement the goals of the plan. One Sumter is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.
For more information about One Sumter and its initiatives, or to contribute through volunteerism or financially, contact Bass at 229-815-1669, or at marybeth@onesumter.org; or visit www.onesumter.org.