Sumter County Chamber of Commerce
409 Elm Avenue
Americus, Georgia
Chamber Weekly  Newsletter


The Sumter County Development Authority (SCDA) joined with local and state leaders on Monday to host the groundbreaking of Eaton Road.  What began as discussions with Eaton Local Plant Manager Dwight Jones and EHS Manager Craig Wysong culminated in a true partnership collaborating to meet the needs of industry—and to build the necessary infrastructure to support long-term future growth in Sumter County.  Awarded $500,000 by the One Georgia Authority through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the SCDA was able to leverage local support through additional funding provided by the Sumter County Board of Commissioners, the Americus City Council, and with monies invested by the Authority itself.   

Joined by a host of local, regional and statewide dignitaries, the groundbreaking was attended by the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Camilla Knowles, stressing the priority to invest in rural infrastructure as a means to spur local economic development in communities like Americus and Sumter County.  Knowles emphasized the importance of supporting the needs of existing industry while also promoting expansion, “We knew with an existing industry and an active rail crossing it puts a wait time on people getting to work or leaving work or potential safety issues. We wanted to be sure we could address that as well.”   

Understanding the importance of thriving rural communities, adequate infrastructure and creating opportunities for future growth, Commissioner Knowles and her team were essential in securing the funding on a state level.   

Development Authority Chairman Paul Hall opened the ceremony by highlighting all partners who made the road a reality, and more significantly, who understand the value of a community working together for its collective future economic prosperity.  Local partners in the Eaton Road project include: Eaton Corporation, River Valley Regional Commission, Sumter County Board of Commissioners, Americus City Council, Americus-Sumter Airport Authority, Sumter County Payroll Development Authority, Sumter County Public Works, and Hofstadter and Associates. The local team partnered with the State of Georgia, including DCA Commissioner Knowles and State Representatives Ed Rynders and Bill McGowan to make the road a reality.   

Included in the groundbreaking photograph from left to right are State Representative Bill McGowan, District 138; Tom McKenzie, Eaton; Frank Joiner, Americus-Sumter Airport Authority; Councilwoman Lou Chase, City of Americus District 3; Mayor Barry Blount, City of Americus; State Representative Ed Rynders, District 152; Commissioner Camila Knowles, Georgia Department of Community Affairs; Craig Wysong, Eaton; Dwight Jones, Eaton; Rodney Jacobs, Eaton; Peggy Smith, Eaton; Commissioner Clay Jones, Sumter County Board of Commissioners District 1; Chairman Paul Hall, Sumter County Development Authority; Grant Richardson, River Valley Regional Commission; Chad Hofstadter, Hofstadter and Associates; Alex Saratsiotis, Sumter County Development Authority; and Barbara Grogan, SCDA Executive Director. 

Sumter County Partners to Reveal New Brand June 12!

It’s time for a new brand, a new message and a new face of Sumter County! Building on the momentum and partnership of the community’s commitment to One Sumter, the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc., the Americus-Sumter County Tourism Council, Americus Main Street, and the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce are proud to invite the community to join the celebration at the June 12 “Brand Reveal” Reception at the Plains Community Center at 6pm.

Joined by the professional consulting team that has worked collaborative on the effort, the County-wide brand concepts, logo design, colors, tagline, photography and videography will be revealed for tourism, talent attraction, industrial recruitment, and the downtown revitalization efforts of the City of Americus—and the community will be part of the initial unveiling celebration! With surprises in store, the evening is sure to be a night of homegrown entertainment you won’t want to miss!

To help explain the process and what our new brand identity will entail, please see the brief Q&A below:

Are our governments rebranding?

No. The County and respective Cities will still retain their internal logos and identities (e.g., “Shining City on the Hill”) and respective color palettes. However, as an example, the Americus-Sumter Tourism Council will utilize the new brand to better describe the entity’s purpose and, in turn, attract more visitors. 

Why are you rebranding Tourism?

Though the “Wish You Were Here” tagline and logo was a nice generic direction to go in, the Tourism Department recognized the need to zero in on coming up with a community identity. We were looking for something to be proud of – and something that would help us tell a story. The new logo, which will be revealed on June 12th will usher in a new era for Americus & Sumter County Tourism.

Who is paying for this? Isn’t it expensive?

Yes, rebranding is very expensive. That’s why Americus-Sumter County Tourism Director, Nicole Kirksey met with the One Sumter Foundation to see if they could leverage and utilize joint resources. One Sumter Executive Director Mary Beth Bass and Kirskey met on several occasions and realized there was a crossover goal for both of their organizations. Instead of duplicating efforts, they banded together to achieve the same goal: To create an identity that makes Americus & Sumter County the best place to live, work, play & visit! One Sumter set aside specific dollars for Marketing & Communications. With Kirksey’s help, the Marketing & Communications Strategy Team had several companies come in and showcase their skills. Once the consulting team was selected, a joint presentation was made to the One Sumter Board of Directors. From there, the money was allocated to pay for the rebranding efforts. Supplemental funds for additional resources and collateral were also leveraged through the City of Americus.

What will the City of Americus fund?

The money in the City’s marketing budget will go to unveil the new brand through advertising, collateral, placement in area and statewide publications, and other promotional items (mugs, T-shirts, postcards, stationary, business cards, etc.).

How long will this brand last?

Luckily, the new brand is set to be with us for at least the next decade, if not longer. We believe the momentum and excitement around this will make all the difference in helping share the message to both our internal and external stakeholders for years to come!

We heard there were other groups rebranding? Will it clash?

Yes, others are rebranding their entities, but, no, it will not clash. Americus Main Street, Americus-Sumter Tourism, One Sumter, and the Chamber of Commerce are all cobranding together! Though our logos will be technically different, they will complement one another and create a sense of consistency through a comprehensive brand “family. This is HUGE for our community; and essential to how we are perceived professionally by our peer and aspirational communities in the region and the State.  It will also help as local entities recruit employees, students and industrial prospects to have a consistent and powerful message to represent Sumter County.

Why not change the internal brand for the County and local municipalities?

That’s certainly a great idea! However, that needs to come from local elected officials and their respective management team(s). The great news is that through these initial efforts, Arnett Muldrow & Associates have already set aside ideas if we get to the point that we would like to rebrand further, which can be added to this consistent “look” and message community-wide. However, rebranding a County or City can be even more expensive as you consider all areas in which a County or municipal brand might exist (i.e., water tower, employee uniforms, signage, etc.).  With those things in mind, those rebranding efforts are likely a more long-term strategy, which will need to be addressed carefully and budgeted for accordingly.

For more information about Brand Reveal Reception & Celebration, please contact Executive Director Mary Beth Bass at, or at 229.815.1669; or Tourism Director Nicole Kirksey at, or at 229.928.6059, x. 254. 

Sumter County Development Authority Awards Industry Innovation and Community Partnerships 

The Sumter County Development Authority recently hosted the annual Business and Industry Appreciation Reception, awarding industry innovation and community partnerships. This year's event was held at the Spec Building in the Ted Baldwin Business and Technology Park. 

In selecting the award recipients, the Development Authority considers factors such as exports, innovative practices, partnerships, and community sustainability. These traits signify the strength and tenacity of the businesses to not only be productive, but also value the importance of a thriving community with jobs for citizens. Each year, the following categories are awarded to nominated area business and industry:

Excellence in Exports
Industry Innovators
Partners in Progress
Sustainable Sumter

The annual awards are created by Mobile Glassblowing Studios as an interpretation of the Development Authority's logo. Their ingenuity and willingness to create unique works of art to support community efforts are the hallmark of their recognition as the 2017 recipient of the Partners in Progress award. Authority Chairman Paul Hall congratulated Mobile Glassblowing Studios stating, "A manufacturer which opened its doors in 2015, the Studio has evolved, grown, and continues to exhibit community partnership on a daily basis...  Mobile Glassblowing Studios readily raises its hand and says yes, how can we partner, how can we share.”  The award was presented to Chuck Wells and Phil Vinson of MGBS for their many accomplishments and community partnerships during 2016. 

Pecan exporter and local grower, Horne Farms, Inc. was recognized as this year's recipient of Excellence in Exports. Acknowledging a Sumter County Farmgate Value of over $1oo million, the pecan industry alone represents $7 million of that amount. The Development Authority is proud to award Horne Farms for their dedicated work to growing a quality pecan and being a multi-generational family business in Sumter County. 

Considering a company’s creativity and flexibility in the workplace, or innovations in responding to industry needs with product development, this year's Industry Innovators award was presented to Thirteenth Colony Distilleries. Development Authority board member Bill Harris, Sr., explains their success, "...Producing only the highest quality, handcrafted spirits to ensure the Southern tradition of pride in their products... What began as a journey to make spirits as gifts for friends and families has evolved into an innovative distillery in downtown Americus.  Their saying, 'Made by friends for friends', is not just a saying, but guides everything they do and tells their story.” 

The Sustainable Sumter award was unique this year in that two of our local businesses were recognized for their contributions to Sumter County--Georgia Power Company and Sumter EMC. Board Member Alex Saratsiotis summed up the essential nature of their impact saying, "They touch all of us, at home, work, in everything we do, ensuring all 33,000 of us have power to turn on the lights, TV's, and every mobile device imaginable.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg as to the resources they share with us.  From resource teams who assist with retail and industry recruitment, prospect meetings and support, community and economic development guidance and data research, to their local people... They are team players, and citizens where they serve, for over 80 years in Sumter County." A special thank you of appreciation was given to each company's linemen and their families, in recognition of Lineman Appreciation Month.

The Ted Baldwin Industrial Park is home to the Concentra Solutions and PharmaCentra contact center, H2O Sports Manufacturing, TCI Powder Coatings, Golden Gourmet, and Southern Wholesale Glass. For more information, please contact the Sumter County Development Authority at 229-924-2646

We've Got Your Summer Plans Covered!
Save the Date!

The One Sumter Economic Development Foundation announces:

Americus-Sumter County Branding Unveil - June 12, 2017

Where: Plains Community Center
When: 6 PM

Stay tuned, more details about these events to follow!
Join us for a homegrown Independence Day!
Plains, Trains, and Fireworks

July 1, 2017
7:00 PM 
Fireworks to blow at 9:30 PM

Ride over on the Sam Shortline and join us in the City of Plains for the second annual street dance and fireworks show! This is one event that you and your family won't want to miss! 
DeSoto Fireworks Show

July 4, 2017
9:00 PM

The City of DeSoto will be sponsoring a fireworks show and refreshments on July 4th at the ballpark in DeSoto (old Southeast School.) Bring your lawn-chairs to kick back and enjoy the show!

2017 Crisp Motorsports Racing Schedule

June 3 – Southern Pro Am Trucks Series presented by McCorkle Drilling Inc. plus All Local Classes including Legends & Bandoleros from Atlanta Motor Speedway

June 24 – All Local Classes including Legends & Bandoleros from Atlanta Motor Speedway (Regional Qualifier)

July 8 – Pro Late Models presented by Lyle Farms plus All Local Classes including Legends & Bandoleros from Atlanta Motor Speedway

July 22 – All Local Classes including Legends & Bandoleros from Atlanta Motor Speedway

August 5 – Southern Pro Am Truck Series presented by K & M Auto Parts plus All Local Classes

August 19 – Pro Late Models presented by Sunbelt Ford of Cordele plus All Local Classes

September 2 – Southern Super Series 125 presented by Lyle Farms plus All Local Classes

For more information or how you and your company can get involved, please contact:  

Wayne Lyle:  229-938-1262 or 229-853-3113 
Robert Cripe: 229-938-8814
Taking Care of Business
growing your business is our business

Take a look at these business resources!
In the world we live in today, it's hard to know who or what to trust anymore. Even the largest of businesses are making headlines of falling victim to online hackers. We want to ensure your business stays clear of even the smallest of scams, and that's why we're hosting a cybersecurity webinar on Wednesday, May 24, from 9 to 10:00 AM.

Listen and learn from cybersecurity expert, Craig Battleman with IBM Security, as he breaks down what the current cybersecurity landscape means for your small business, and what steps you should be taking now to protect your business and your customers. 

We'll also cover the following:
  • The current cyber threat landscape
  • Steps your business can take to establish your security posture
  • IBM's integrated security immune system- analytics and real-time defenses
  • Security solutions that can start small and evolve with your business
  • Best practices for addressing and mitigating cybersecurity issues that may occur

One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking this will never happen to us. Take steps towards securing your small business by registering today.

As a Federation Member, the cost of your registration is at the discounted rate of  $35 . You can also view the webinar series at participating local chambers. Event details vary by location, so please click on the Chamber name for more information, or contact your chamber directly if you have any questions.
2017 Digital Education Series Presenting Sponsor
How to Get The Most Out of The New LinkedIn

  In Albany, GA

Thursday, May 25, 2017 – 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Are you maximizing your potential on the professional social networking site, LinkedIn?While LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social networking sites, many people are not taking full advantage of what the site has to offer. Learn from Linkedin expert and SBDC Business Consultant, Peter Williams, as he presents his national program teaching easy to follow steps to build influence, promote business expertise , and maximize effective networking. This class is designed to teach business owners and key managers how they can leverage their personal networks and maximize influence in their market to grow business. 

Key Takeaways Will Include:
  • Understand how to use LinkedIn as a networking tool
  • Learn to build a profile that really showcases your abilities
  • Use your expertise to establishing credibility in your field
  • Learn to maximize your reach using people you already know
  • Understand how to use the influence you create
For more information on  the content of this class contact Nathan Arnold at or call 229-420-1144.

In Albany, GA
Thursday, May 25, 2017 – 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM 
$49 for this session 

  Register  HERE
Georgia Employers' Association Hosting Upcoming Workshop

Today’s workplace can be complicated, and if you’re looking for answers, we know just the place to find them! Join the Georgia Employers’ Association on June 22, 2017, from 9 am to 3 pm at the Galleria Marriott, as they host ‘Understanding Best Practices for Today’s Workplace.’ 

This full-day, informative workshop will address and provide clear answers for today’s important workplace issues such as: 
  • Trends in workplace and employee safety
  • What to do in the event of an active shooter
  • Possible effects of political unrest and protests in the workplace
  • Managing the use of social media by employees at work
Space is limited so reserve your spot as soon as possible! For more information, click  here .
ChamberMaster Allows Direct Benefits to Our Members!

We have some great new website features coming up - and they're all for YOU and your business!  

If you are a Chamber member business who has
  • Employment availability
  • Upcoming events
  • Press releases
  • Great sales
  • And other promotional opportunities
Then, look no further than the Chamber's website ! As a benefit to our members, each Chamber member now has their own "members-only" portal with full access to their business' page on our website. 

Already included in your membership benefits, you can now post about upcoming events, contact other Chamber members, advertise job opportunities, promote sales and promotions, and more through our website. Let us help you get the most out of your Chamber membership!

Email today to request your members-only access portal and start putting YOUR member benefits to work!
Upcoming Events

Community Clean Up Day - May 20, Americus City Hall, 9 AM
Plains Presidential Auction - May 20, Plains
Lenny's Market Grand Opening - May 23, Downtown Americus, 5 PM
RVRC Legislative Luncheon, May 24, 10:30 AM
Memorial Day Farm Fest - May 27, Strange Farms
Business Development Division Meeting - May 31, Phoebe Sumter, 9 AM
Click on the swoosh for a full listing of our calendar events.
To add an event to our community calendar, Chamber members may submit their requests to for full access to your members-only page. If you are not a chamber member, you may submit your community events here.
Click the 2017 Discount Card to view all discounts!
To purchase a Discount Card, stop by the Chamber or contact a Board Member.
"Engaged Business, Thriving Community"

The mission of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce is to provide opportunities and support for the growth and prosperity of local business and industry.
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