Sumter County Chamber of Commerce
409 Elm Avenue
Americus, Georgia
Chamber Weekly Newsletter
Governmental Affairs Hosts Georgia Chamber CEO, Announces Community Leadership Forum

The Governmental Affairs Division of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce announces a new event this year with the First Annual State of the Community Leadership Forum presented by the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, Inc. This inaugural event will be held on Thursday, April 20, at 7:00am.

Hosted by Georgia Southwestern State University, this brand-new event will serve as a public forum for business and industry leaders to hear firsthand the demographic trends, economic development opportunities, and political influences that are shaping our state, region and community here in Sumter County.  

Governmental Affairs Division Chairman and Georgia Power Area Manager, Jem Morris shares the Chamber Board’s enthusiasm for the event, “The Chamber of Commerce is proud to host a State Of The Community breakfast at GSW's Wheatley Center.  Chris Clark, the President & CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, will be our guest speaker. He will focus on the challenges in driving economic growth in our region in the coming decades. We'll have an opportunity to discuss many of the partnerships currently underway that being set up to overcome these challenges."

The event opens at 7:00am with a Coffee & Networking Reception sponsored by AT&T, before the doors open to breakfast and the formal program at 7:30am.  Guests will be joined by Georgia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Clark, who will share highlights of the Chamber’s Georgia 2030 Initiative, and the findings that have direct implications and both policy and programming impacts for South Georgia. 

Following Clark’s remarks, Sumter County’s key leadership will have the opportunity to address how they are engaging around critical issues of local importance in response to those trends happening statewide.  Special guests include Sumter County Administrator Bill Twomey, Americus City Manager Steve Kennedy, and Sumter County Payroll Development Authority Executive Director Barbara Grogan.  Through a moderated discussion, the breakfast will serve as the business community’s first forum in which to better understand local challenges and growth opportunities from the perspective of our own leadership team.  The floor will open to questions from the audience, following their remarks.

The First Annual State of the Community is sure to be an event you won’t want to miss! Please contact the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce to reserve your seat today! Tickets for Chamber members are $20 each, and non-Chamber members can purchase tickets for $25.  Tables can be purchased on a limited, first come basis for a cost of $225 per table.  Any business or organization wishing to purchase a table will be featured as a Gold Table Sponsor in the event program.  Reserve your table sponsorship today!

Please contact the Chamber for further information. Reservations and table sponsorships can be made by phone at 229.924-2646, or by email at .  
Feed My School Program Seeking Sponsors

Feed My School, an agriculture and nutrition program presented by the Education division of the Chamber, is coming back to schools in Sumter County this May and is seeking sponsors! Please contact the Chamber at (229) 924-2646 if you, your business, or organization is interested. Visit their website for more information about the Georgia Department of Agriculture's  Feed My School Week.
Leadership Division Graduates First Class of Leadership Pipeline: Chamber Champions & Advancing Sumter to Celebrate in May!

The Legacy of Leadership Graduation and Reception will be held on Monday, May 8, 2017, at the Rees Park Economic Development Center at 6 pm. This year’s event marks the graduation of the inaugural class of Chamber Champions to utilize the new Youth Leadership in Action curriculum, as developed by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia.  The youth counterpart to the Community Leadership Program (CLP) curriculum taught by the Advancing Sumter Leadership Institute, both programs are designed to enhance individual’s leadership development skills and personal competencies around being an engaged and contributing member of your community—regardless of age. 

The 2017 Class of Chamber Champions represents 10th and 11th grade students from both Southland Academy and Americus-Sumter County High School. Those youth graduating on May are: 

Anjum Alam 
Savanna Banks
Jenna Brown 
Chelby Davis 

Lillian Dickens 

Mikal Douglas 

Tamiya Durham 

Sage Finch 

Jacqueline Granado 

Sydney Hayes 

Kayla Hunter 

De'Shun Iverson 

Bailey James 

Kathleen Kinslow 

Prerana Kumar 

Kaniya Little 

Ryan Mournighan 

Hannah Philpot 

Charlotte Schopen-Davis 

Otis Tookes, III 

Ny'Keria Walker 

Jantz Womack 

Morgan Youngdale

Advancing Sumter is also proud to graduate its newest cohort of adult leadership graduates, who are now trained and certified through the Fanning’s Institute’s curriculum.  Focusing on key content areas such as:  Understanding Diversity, Making Group Decisions, Leading Community Change, Building Communities through Collaboration, among others; Advancing Sumter focuses it’s leadership program not only on the research-based skills building curriculum, but also on core content developed and taught specifically for Sumter County—Local Government and Economic Development.  Each year a unique highlight of the program is the annual poverty simulation exercise. 

We are excited to honor this year’s graduates in collaboration with the Archway Partnership! Congratulations, graduates! Please make your reservations to celebrate the future leaders of our community on May 8th!  To RSVP for the Legacy of Leadership Graduation, please email, or call 229.924.2646.

Branding Initiative Kicks-Off!
One Sumter’s Marketing & Communications Branding Initiative is currently underway. As a part of this initiative, a branding team – Arnett Muldrow & Associates -  is in town all week and will be conducting a series of  roundtables and public forums to get your input and help ‘brand’ Sumter County. We need YOUR help!

Your input is vital to the development of our community's brand and future planning. The full schedule of branding meetings are listed below for your reference. Please come out and get involved!

For more information, please contact 229.924.2646 or
  Tuesday, April 18, 2017

8:00am – Agriculture                                                                                           
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
9:30am – Merchants & Restaurants                                                                    
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
11:00am – Americus Main Street Board                                                     
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
12:30pm – Leadership                                                                                  
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
2:00pm – Tourism & Arts                                                                                 
     Plains Community Center, 106 Main Street, Plains GA
3:30pm – Youth/College Students                                                                        
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
5:30pm – Public Forum/Input Meeting,                                                       
     Booger Bottom, 3077 Lamar Road, Cobb, GA 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

8:00am – Young Professionals                                                                            
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
9:30am – Public Forum/Input Meeting                                                       
     Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, 409 Elm Avenue, Americus, GA
11:00am – Public Forum/Input Meeting                                                      
     Village Hall, Andersonville, GA
Nominations Open for Business and Industry Excellence

The Sumter County Payroll Development Authority will host its annual Business and Industry Appreciation Reception on Tuesday, April 25, at 6pm at the Sumter County Spec Building in the Ted Baldwin Business & Technology Park in recognition of Georgia Manufacturers’ Week. 

As we look to honor our local industry partners, we need your support in making sure Sumter County’s outstanding businesses are recognized for their innovation and commitment to Sumter County and our workforce.  At the event, awards will be given in the following categories:  Excellence in Exports, Industry Innovators, Sustainable Sumter, and Partners in Progress. 

The 2016 Award Winners were:  Agrium (Exellence in Exports), Triwood (Industry Innovators), PharmaCentra & Concentra Solutions (Sustainable Sumter), and IMERYS (Partners in Progress). 

Please click here or on the image below to download the application. We encourage you to nominate your business or others in the community, who represent Sumter County both here at home and in the global marketplace.  

Nominations are due to the Payroll Development Authority by Wednesday, April 19, at 5pm. For further questions about the Business and Industry Appreciation Reception, or the industry awards, please contact PDA Executive Director Barbara Grogan at 229.924.2646, or at

Taking Care of Business
growing your business is our business

Take a look at these business resources!
Understanding The New I-9 Form & Immigration Compliance
Tuesday, April 18, 2017     |     9:00-10:00 a.m.

Many employers see Form I-9 as a simple and routine part of the hiring process- until they undergo a federal audit and are hit with major fines for unintentional mistakes. USCIS reports that 76% of paper I-9 Forms contain an error that could result in a fine.  The introduction of a new Form I-9, and an anticipated increase in workplace inspections creates a situation that could have costly ramifications for employers.

The new version of the Form I-9, which went into effect January 22, 2017, contains many changes, including new features, instructions and requirements. Join  Yane P. McKenzie , Associate at Troutman Sanders LLP, on April 18, 2017 as she discusses key changes and provides practical tips on completing the new Form I-9 so employers can minimize the number of technical and substantive I-9 violations.

We will also discuss the Trump administration's focus on immigration reform and anticipated changes in enforcement of I-9 and E-Verify compliance. This webinar will provide answers to common questions, such as: How does this impact employers? Will this administration increase the number of I-9 audits? What companies or industries might be at risk?

Registration includes the webinar and recording, a week of access to the Georgia HR Library and one hour of SHRM/HRCI credit. 

Click HERE to register!

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.
Calling All Chamber 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:
Education Division Meeting - April 19, 12pm, Rees Park
State of the Community Leadership Forum - April 20, 7am, GSW
Membership Division Meeting - April 24, 12pm, Rees Park
Business Development Division Meeting - April 26, 9am, Phoebe Sumter
Leadership Development Division Meeting - May 1, 12pm, Rees Park
Special Events Division Meeting - May 4, 5:30pm, Rees Park
Membership Division Meeting - May 8, 12pm, Rees Park
PDA Monthly Meeting - May 8, 4pm, Rees Park
Legacy of Leadership Graduation and Reception - May 8, 6:30pm, Rees Park
Governmental Affairs Division Meeting - May 11, 9am, Georgia Power
Click on the swoosh for a full listing of our calendar events.
To add an event to our calendar, Chamber members may submit requests to for full access to your members-only page. If you are not a Chamber member, you may submit your community events  here .
To purchase a discount card, stop by the Chamber or contact a Board Member.

The mission of the Sumter County Chamber is providing opportunities and support for the growth and prosperity of local business and industry. 
Stay Connected!