Andrea Schruijer’s Opportunity —John S. Quarterman

Here’s my op-ed in the VDT today. -jsq
Welcome Andrea Shuijer Schruijer to a great opportunity as the new Executive Director of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA)!

For a year I’ve been asking for a list of jobs attracted by the Authority. We welcome your marketing expertise so we’ll know the Authority’s successes!

We welcome your communications expertise to inform the community affected by the process of bringing new jobs. VLCIA could publish its agendas, minutes, and videos of its meetings, events, and new jobs on its web pages, and facebook, maybe even twitter.

We welcome your stewardship of the Authority’s $3 million/year in taxes. Maybe some

of the 577 acres of mostly unused land VLCIA bought with $15 million in bonds could be sold, since many of the lots are too small to trade to incoming industries.

Perhaps you would agree that marketing includes knowing what to reject, such as a private prison boondoggle that won’t save the taxpayers money and will not attract the knowledge-based jobs we want here.

You could help lead the region in the fastest growing industry in the world. With two solar PV manufacturers in Georgia plus south Georgia sun, rooftop solar can bring jobs from delivery, to installation, to architects, to professors to study renewable energy throughout the region.

The community wants to help you with market research! For example, the biomass protesters have compiled a mass of current research that goes far beyond state and federal regulations; information that could lend the Authority some real authority.

The Chamber of Commerce could help hold real forums with actual pro and con discussion among people of differing opinions. How about a forum on the private prison? Or on what kinds of jobs we want around here, anyway?

The Authority has been good at making agreements with businesses. You can help it get better at fulfilling this charter agreement with its own people:

“This act, being for the purpose of developing and promoting the public good and the welfare of the County of Lowndes and the City of Valdosta and their inhabitants, shall be liberally construed to effect the purposes hereof.”

We welcome your stewardship beyond jobs, to clean air and water, to create jobs for people here now and for generations to come.

You have a great opportunity to bring vision that can attract jobs we can all be proud of.

Welcome aboard!

John S. Quarterman is a Lowndes County resident

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