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Your opinion: Jan. 27, 2018

Americus remains focused
In early December Barbara Grogan and the Sumter County Chamber and Development Authority invited 10 members of the Georgia Allies to spend a few days in Americus. Established in 1997 as a public-private partnership for economic development, the Georgia Allies have helped to enhance the state’s business climate and maximize long-term prosperity. During our 3-day visit we were afforded the opportunity to meet local leaders such as Judge Peagler, Robert Parks, Paul Hall, Elizabeth Warnock, and Alex Saratsiotis. Additionally, we were also able to experience your unique quality of life, learn more about Georgia Southwestern and South Georgia Technical College, and eat some of the best food in Georgia.
During our time together, we discussed the unique and special assets of your local and regional economy, and how to best leverage those strengths. We discussed strategies to create successful small business startup companies like Thirteenth Colony Distilleries (best bourbon around by the way). Upon deliberating the importance of career skills, leadership training, and the value of regional collaboration, we exchanged ideas regarding worldwide export opportunities to advance your manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
I expressed to local leadership the importance of improving and protecting your special quality of life for future generations, as the most critical aspect of job creation in today’s economic climate is the ability to attract, develop, and retain talent. The Georgia Chamber and the Georgia Allies commend your leadership on their continued effort to retain and employ local college and university graduates, as today’s young workers hold the key to long-term community success.
As Georgia’s economy continues to grow, many rural communities are faced with the challenges of attracting talent and businesses. Although there is no silver bullet, there are simple strategies. While some communities have attempted to become something new and different as opposed to building on their history and past success, Americus has remained focused on revitalization and enhancing the institutions that long ago made you a stand out in rural Georgia.
Thriving communities such as your own will inspire future generations to engage with statewide institutions, and use their networks to tell your story. As a result of your hard work and dedication, future leaders will work to improve healthcare, education, economic prosperity, and will ensure inclusive and diverse leadership at all levels in the community.
With industry experts who are committed to a better quality of life and economic mobility, you have all the ingredients for long term success. As active partners, the Georgia Chamber and the Georgia Allies support you in your pursuit to make Americus and Sumter County a model for a rural renaissance.
Chris Clark
President & CEO
Georgia Chamber of Commerce

New sports editor is a gem
Hello. I am Tiffany Lusane and I would like to say your new sports Editor Ken Gustafson is the gem you all were missing. His articles are superb and he is a nice gentleman in person. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him twice and I even helped him with naming some of the players for him during the basketball games.
He is a highly intelligent and very knowledgeable man who is not lacking in sports history and statistics. He covers the stories as if you were there in person when you read them. I have two players on the basketball team and I have even told several family members who live away to make sure they log on to read the articles. He covers ALL the schools and sports which means he travels a lot! He is a great asset to your company and do not let him get away!
Tiffany Lusane
Americus