Education at Wiregrass Tech, startup competition and awards by Guardian Bank, and more! Chamber president Tim Jones invited me to the quarterly luncheon of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, held 18 December 2012 at the Rainwater Conference Center. I counted about 70 people there, and only maybe a dozen were Chamber board and staff, so that was a very well-attended meeting.
“Strong education systems are the heart of economic development.”
He congratulated VSU on the recent football win, as well as the various other local school systems, government bodies, and businesses, and proceeded to give an overview of what Wiregrass Tech is and what it does, which includes everything from automobile repair to computer science; from adult education for high school equivalency to advanced courses, in the eleven counties it serves, through the campuses in Valdosta, Fitzgerald, and Adel, as well as at Moody AFB and online overseas. He noted that changes in the HOPE scholarship and economic improvement had decreased enrollment, but Wiregrass Tech still has a large student body and is adding programs, such as in nursing and respiratory therapy. Plus a 97.5% placement rate.
Also in the plans is an Allied Health Education building 100,000 square foot facility that would cost about $20 million, for which Wiregrass Tech will be approaching the Georgia General Assembly in the next few years. Dr. Perrin invited feedback and requested assistance, both financially and in getting the word out about what Wiregrass Tech can do.
Tim Jones remarked that he was also on the board of the Wiregrass Tech Foundation which was in a fundraising drive, so anybody who wanted to donate could see him. (And it turns out you can also donate online.)
Here’s a video playlist of the entire meeting, followed by a few notes.
Education and startup funding, Chamber quarterly luncheon
Quarterly Luncheon, Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce (VLCoC),
Videos by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 18 December 2012.
Tim Jones recognized outgoing board members
- Teri Lupo (2007-2012, of Georgia Power) former chair, and helped with many things including the tree project, (and Dr. Perrin remarked that she also served on the Wiregrass Tech board)
- Tom Gooding (2005-2012, of Elliott, Blackburn & Gooding) “he was in the chairman’s position during a really tough year”. Actually, the Chamber picked that school “unification” fight, although Tom Gooding did at least say he was in favor of open dialog. And Dr. Ray Perrin helped VSU interim president Dr. Louis Levy defuse that thing.
- Greg Reid (of 2010-2012, of Edward Jones Investments) was not present.
Chamber staff were also videoing and said theirs would be up sometime soon, perhaps delayed by the holidays. I congratulated them on being an organization that did that, and asked if they could convince the County Commission to do the same.