The Aiken Chamber MEANS business

Leaders prepare for annual advocacy trip to D.C. 

A vital role of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce is to be an advocate for its members in local, state and federal legislative matters. Simply wading through the bureaucracy and special interests in these centers of power is complicated and daunting. But, combine the strength of our membership and you have a powerful force to push for the issues important to our regional business members.

The Chamber advocates for its members regarding government-related concerns and to address or take action where it is needed on legislative issues. Each year we review specific proposed legislation and policy decisions and make sure our lawmakers know where we stand on these issues.

Part of that advocacy mission includes the annual CSRA Leadership Trip to Washington DC. In its 24th year, the trip is a collaborative effort with the North Augusta, Augusta and Columbia County Chambers of Commerce. Forty community leaders from across the CSRA will travel to the nation's capital October 22-24 to discuss with lawmakers and government officials the issues that impact our region.

The 2019 Aiken contingency will be led by Aiken Chamber Chair Pastor Paul Bush and Aiken Chamber President/CEO, J. David Jameson.

"The CSRA Leadership Trip is a very effective way of informing and educating our legislators on issues important to the vitality of our businesses and our community," Jameson said.

The contingency will meet with senior leadership at the U.S. Department of Energy to discuss issues relevant to the Savannah River Site (see talking points). Individual meetings will be held with South Carolina Senator Graham and Representative Wilson, as well as Georgia Senators Isakson and Perdue and Representatives Hice and Allen. Discussions regarding the New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam, Augusta Regional Airport and Fort Gordon are also on the agenda.

"Members of Congress and agency heads find it impressive that our economic region includes two states, but we still find commonality on vital concerns that affect the half million citizens of our region," said Jameson. 
Key DOE talking points

Excerpts from the White Paper prepared for the 
DOE headquarters meeting 

Aiken's private sector must 
drive economy 

Creating a robust economy takes the combined effort of multiple partners coming together around a common goal. Economic development is the responsibility of every person and organization that calls Aiken home. The City of Aiken, Aiken County, Economic Development Partnership and the Aiken Chamber of Commerce are just a few of the partners. The private sector is another partner.

At the Aiken Chamber's State of Our Community luncheon in August, Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker responded to the question, How can the business community help Aiken County? He replied, "The important thing to remember between Aiken County and the business community is that Aiken County can do a lot to provide a good business friendly environment. Mainly a good solid tax structure that is not onerous, a reasonable regulatory structure, provide infrastructure, provide police support and industrial incentives, but the real work of growing the economy falls to the business community and the private sector so the investments, the job creation and the overall growth of our economy is going to be up to the private sector."

The Aiken Chamber of Commerce concurs with Chairman Bunker.

Aiken is a great place to live, work and play. Growing Aiken's economy does not fall only to the City and County but requires investment and partnerships among all stakeholders to be successful.

Pontoo, Frantz elected to 2020 Chamber board 

The board of directors of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce recently elected its 2022 class. Felecia Pontoo, Mead Hall Episcopal School, and Tim Frantz, AECOM, will begin their first three-year terms in January 2020. Returning for second three-year terms are Dr. Forest Mahan, Aiken Technical College, Karen Poteat, Aiken Active Seniors and Club Thrive, Keyatta Priester, Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Norman Dunagan, Dumpster Depot and Event Services. 
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Felicia Pontoo arrived in Aiken in 2016 and is currently thedirector of admissions and college counselor at Mead Hall Episcopal School.

Prior to this, she was the director of college guidance for 10 years at Montverde Academy, an international boarding school located in Montverde, Florida and before that she was the dean of multicultural affairs and an admissions officer at the Taft School, a boarding school in Watertown, Connecticut.

Pontoo holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Georgetown University, a master's degree in social work from the Atlanta University School of Social Work (Clark Atlanta University) and is currently working on a doctorate degree in education and human services at Nova Southeastern University.

Pontoo is an ambassador for the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, a board member for the Aiken Kiwanis Club, recording secretary of the Aiken Chapter of the Links, Inc., a board member for the Police Athletic League, and serves on the Counselor Advisory Board for Oglethorpe University.

She is happily married to Glenn Pontoo, an educator with Richmond County Board of Education and the proud mother of two daughters, Wendy, a recent graduate of Saint Leo University and Alex, a senior at the University of South Florida, St Petersburg. In her free time, Felicia enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and listening to jazz.

Tim Frantz is the vice president of business operations for AECOM Nuclear & Environmental where he is responsible for managing and directing financial and business management resources including accounting, financial planning and reporting, and business management services. In addition, he is affiliated with several boards at AECOM and other non-profit organizations.

Frantz's career of more than 25 years consists of a unique blend of financial and operational experience having served roles with Fortune 500 companies, such as Motorola and IBM, to smaller, rapid growth ventures in the private sector. In his various roles, Frantz has managed growth initiatives, reduced costs and positioned ventures for profitable sale.

Frantz is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance and has earned an Executive Master of Science in the management of technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in management and international finance from the Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University. He is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant.

Frantz resides in Aiken with his wife, Lela, 2 dogs, and 2 horses enjoying all that the Best Small Town in the South has to offer.

New Aiken Chamber member, Gold Ivy Realty, celebrated the opening of its new office space located at 963 Dougherty Rd. There to support President/Broker Karen Clayton as she cuts the ribbon were Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, Aiken Chamber Board Chair Pastor Paul Bush, Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker, members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team, Gold Ivy Realty staff and family members. To learn more about their properties and listings, visit, or call their office number: (803)-649-0100.

Nuclear Care Partners celebrated its new location with a ribbon cutting and a barbeque. Pictured from left to right are Community Outreach Manager Nichole Williams, Clinical Assistant Amber Bragg, Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Administrator Katie Goff, Clinical Director Devin Hodnett, Aiken County Chairman Gary Bunker, and Community Outreach Manager Amanda Rhoden. They are joined by Aiken Chamber ambassadors Emily Murphy - Atlantic Broadband and Woody Malone - Meybohm Real Estate. To learn more about their services, call (803) 560-0100 or visit their at: 

Solo Vino Wine Parlor is open for business. Located at 200 Park Ave., SW (on the corner of Park Ave. and Newberry St.), guests can enjoy the tastes of Tuscany and experience Aiken's only community table. On hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony were Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson, Solo Vino Wine Parlor Owners Lou Guisto and Stephanie Sheridan, and Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon. They are joined by members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team and the rest of their welcoming staff. Visit them on Facebook to view their hours and delectable menus:

Sprint Foods held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its brand-new location at 1020 Laurens St., NW. Pictured front and center are Sprint Foods Owner Andy Jones and Aiken Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. They are joined by Aiken Chamber board members, members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team, and the rest of the Sprint Foods friendly staff. Learn how you can become a  Sprint Super Saver today:
Upcoming Events   
October 4                     
Newberry Hall
Sponsored by:  Aiken Regional Medical Centers
7:30 to 9 a.m.

October 16                  
Location: TBD
8:30 to 10 a.m.
October 17                   
Third Thursday
Sponsored by: Colony at South Park
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
October 24                   
Sponsored by: Aiken Professional Association
5 to 7 p.m.
November 1                 
Newberry Hall
Sponsored by: Alison South Marketing Group
7:30 to 9 a.m.
Visit to register for events.    


Aiken Newcomers' Club
- Club (nonprofit)
Welcoming all women regardless of how long they've lived in Aiken to join our club for friendships, participating in meetings, luncheons, fun activities and community service.
P.O. Box 5002
Aiken, SC 29804
Contact: Christina Losch
Phone: (610) 360-2575

Mengel Financial Group - Insurance
Providing companies voluntary benefits solutions for their workforce, helping them attract and retain talent at no additional cost to the employer.
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: John Shafer
Phone: (843) 637-9983

Mobile Mentors - Technology Consultant
Service based business that makes technology easy for businesses and residents.
Waynesboro, GA 30830
Contact: Christopher Crozier
Phone: (706) 871-4458
Nuclear Care Partners - Home Health Care (DOL Provider)
Provides superior home care services exclusively to former Department of Energy workers who have been diagnosed with work related illnesses and consequently qualify for no-cost in-home medical benefits.
1908 A Pawnee St.
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Amanda Rhoden
Phone: (803) 560-0100

Rush Truck Center - Automotive Commercial Sales
Nation's largest provider of premium products and services for the commercial vehicle market. Offering the largest inventory in North American, our dealerships feature state-of-the-art service facilities and equipment.
2925 Gun Club Road
Augusta, GA 30907
Contact: Julia Quick
Phone: (866) 826-2424 (SHOP AIKEN, LLC)
- Retail
An online market place for Aiken's small businesses. We are bringing awareness and online shopping to Aiken's mom-and-pop shops. Join us on our mission to build a stronger community by encouraging people to shop locally.
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Alexandria Williams
Phone: (803) 226-4171

Solo Vino Wine Parlor
- Restaurant
Old European style corner wine parlor and bistro, serving lunch and dinner, featuring fresh seasonal food, made to order, (no fryers, no freezers). Seating on intimate couches or at dining tables, including Aiken's first community table. Retail wine sales, wine club memberships offering discounts, weekly wine tastings, nightly wine specials.
200 Park Ave. SW
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Stephanie Sheridan
Phone: (803) 262-5335 

Tall Pines STEM Academy
- School
Training tomorrow's leaders today. We are a public charter middle school that prepare students to succeed in whatever field they choose. Our experiential approach lets each child learn and grow in personal, fun ways.
82 Camp Long Road
Aiken, SC 29805
Contact: Brad Siedschlag
Phone: (803) 502-1692

Thrive at Augusta
- Assisted Living Community
Innovative senior living community, 61 suites dedicated to assisted living and 24 suites dedicated to memory care. Thrive at Augusta offers all-inclusive care in an upscale modern environment.
309 Furys Ferry Road
Martinez, GA 30907
Contact: Sharon Norsworthy
Phone: (706) 955-2275