Incoming Chamber president has lofty goals

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012


News Intern

With a new year comes new goals, and the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce is no exception.

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Charles Tyson, the incoming Chamber chairman, said that his first priority is to accomplish the goals mentioned in a “Program of Work for 2012” that was compiled during a retreat with Chamber officers and the board of directors. The program states specific goals for each of the 10 Chamber committees. The committees cover topics the range from agriculture, education and government affairs to small business and tourism.

Current Chamber chairman Ryan Phillips will officially “pass the gavel” to Tyson at the Chamber’s 87th Annual Awards Ceremony and Reception, which will be Thursday, Jan. 26, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center on the campus of Bainbridge College. Tickets to the event are available for purchase at the Chamber office, located at the Earle May Boat Basin Park, for $25 per person. The deadline to purchase tickets is Thursday, Jan. 19.

Tyson, a former Bainbridge City Manager and retired businessman, spoke Monday about some of the detailed goals that he and the Chamber have set for the 2012 business year.

Goals associated with the government affairs committee include to advise and inform the membership on governmental issues. According to the program, one specific issue is the “Transportation Special-purpose Local-option Sales Tax” (TSPLOST) referendum that the committee would like to educate voters on. Some other goals listed for the membership committee were to increase marketing efforts and for the education committee to support GED achievement and to establish a stronger program for the Adult Leadership participants.

Tyson also has some additional initiatives he hopes to get started in Decatur County in the coming year.

“I’d like to see if we couldn’t come up with a plan to attract industry that keeps agriculture products local,” he said.

Tyson said if more industry was available to process the agricultural products already produced in the county, it could mean more jobs for local citizens.

A big event presented each year by the Chamber is River Town Days. This year will feature the band “A1A,” which is recognized as the official Jimmy Buffett cover band. Even Buffett himself has spoken positively of the band’s performances.

“We’re going to have the best River Town Days ever,” Tyson said. “It will have some high quality entertainment we haven’t seen in a while.”

Overall, Tyson hopes to get more people and members involved with the Chamber and hopes that the economy will improve this year for the community.

While reflecting on the past year, current Chamber chairman Ryan Phillips felt like 2011 was an overall good year. Phillips said that the Decatur County Fall Festival & Fair did better in 2011 than in the past five years.

Phillips said he appreciated how a lot of the board of directors were willing to help out this year.

“I do think the business environment was better than in 2010,” Phillips said. “We sold some of the most Bainbridge Bucks ever, which is money that goes straight back into the community.”

Phillips said that one of his main goals, when he started as chairman, was to keep up the same level of excellence that preceded him. He said he hoped to continue to invest in the community and he felt like he accomplished those goals.