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News & Press: Chair's Column

Get Ready for Savannah!

Friday, September 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anna Chafin
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It is hard to believe that it is September already!  Over two-thirds of the year has passed and we are getting ready for fall.  Our GEDA Annual Conference (AC) is less than two weeks away.  I trust that you are making plans to attend this great event at the Hyatt Regency Savannah from September 20-22.  If you have not done so, you can still register.

 Pat Merritt, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Georgia EMC, GEDA Second Vice Chair and 2017 Annual Conference Chair, and her AC committee has put together a great program that should offer something for everyone.   The theme of this year’s AC is “Building on Georgia’s Momentum” with foci on Collaboration, Education, Innovation, Motivation and Elevation.

We’ll hear from some top-notch speakers, including our very own Commissioners Camila Knowles of DCA and Pat Wilson of GDEcD, who will give us their tips on collaboration.  Griff Lynch, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority will tell us about the achievements and assets of this significant economic engine, and transportation partners from the railroads will talk about collaboration and innovation in their industry.  Education is the key to the panel on Wednesday afternoon with Jim Blair of Navigator Consulting and Carter Wood of Ernst & Young giving us the scoop on Foreign Direct Investment and projects and incentives trends. 

A robust Southern breakfast will greet us on Thursday morning.  The Development Authority Executives Committee will caucus on issues of concern, with a facilitated discussion ranging from  PILOT matters, On vs. Off-Digest Assets, GASB 77 feedback, Development Authority controlled property, compliance reporting, and “if I knew then, what I know now” advice to Young Professionals and those new to the profession.  Also on Thursday, Chris Clark, Georgia Chamber CEO, will update us on Georgia 2030.  Then, there will be panels on making your school systems a partner in economic development and on your role in talent development and community innovation.

Headlining Friday morning will be awards and presentations from sporting clays and golf, as well as from the GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) Program and our very first UGA CED (Certified Economic Developer) certification given out.  As is the norm, GEDA will have its business meeting to elect new officers (YAY!) for next year.  We are in for a treat with Jason Stein, Publisher and Editor of Automotive News, who will provide insight about the automotive sector strategy and opportunities for investment in the Southeast U.S.  A tremendous surprise is in store for us on Friday morning as our keynote speaker is Aimee Copeland, who has a moving message to share with us. 

There are fun and educational events planned, too.  The Wednesday opening reception, sponsored by the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) (which will be enough to make dinner for those not going out) is a great time to renew acquaintances and friendships as well as to make new contacts.  Thursday afternoon offers golf across the Savannah River at The Club at Savannah Harbor; sporting clays at the Dorchester Hunting Preserve in Midway; a boat tour of the Savannah River and the Georgia Ports; and Savannah Slow Ride, 100% pedal powered, eco-friendly way to see Savannah.  Thursday evening’s reception will offer a chance for members to reconvene for a drink and some hors d’oeuvres before heading to dinner.

Don’t forget there will be door prizes, coordinated by Mary Ellen McClanahan of GDEcD and Lauren Price of Georgia EMC.  A grand door prize drawing will be held at the end of the AC, so plan to see if you’ll be that lucky winner.

There are still grant monies available through the GEDA Professional Development Committee, chaired by Scott Poag of Williams & Associates in Augusta.  Contact him today to see if you can get a scholarship to attend the AC.

I look forward to seeing you in Savannah.  Don’t forget to register today!

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