Videos: New name, new member @ VLCIA 2014-07-15

They’re aiming at 20 August 2014 for a meeting with local educational and business leaders. After mulling it over for more than two years, VLCIA waited until somebody in Atlanta told them to, and finally added a trading name of Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority (VLDA), which two board members immediately said wrong. Still, much actual thought, discussion, investigation and potential courses of action was presented, especially in the Executive Director’s Report and in the answers to Alvin Payton’s questions.

Only three board members attended VLCIA’s first meeting in its new office near the hospital: Roy Copeland, Vice-Chairman Jerry Jennett (presiding), and new member Georgia Power VP Terri Lupo, who was just appointed to VLCIA by the Lowndes County Commission. They did not have the expected officer nominating committee report, because Chairman Mary Gooding and Tom Call were not there; they barely had a quorum with 3 out of 5 board members. Also attending were Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle, and Valdosta City Council Alvin Payton. All three spoke in Citizens To Be Heard, as did I, delivering the traditional welcome gift.

This move uptown leaves their old building to Sabal Trail and its proposed fracked methane pipeline. Has VLCIA ever developed an opinion on that boondoggle?

Here’s the agenda, with links to the videos, followed by a video playlist.

Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 5:30 p.m.
Industrial Authority Conference Room
103 Roosevelt Drive
Monthly Meeting Agenda

General Business



Financial --Tom Davis

Video. Under budget on almost everything, by record amounts. That’s good, but nobody would begrudge the budget if they brought in more jobs.

Public Relations & Marketing Update-Meghan Duke

Public Relations --Meghan Duke

Video. Change of address on materials. Marketing plan for upcoming year.

Project Report-Allan Ricketts

Project Report --Alan Ricketts

Video. Maroon in-progress, Royal new, with additional information provided to GA Economic Development Dept.

Existing Industry-Allan Ricketts

Building Committee Update

“This is where we are.” Two big screens displayed Project Critical Path. Ribbon cutting ceremony 11AM the next morning. (I didn’t go, but the VDT did.) Under budget about a thousand dollars. They never did say who they bought it from.

VLCIA Officer Nominating Committee Update

Executive Director’s Report- Andrea Schruijer

Executive Director's Report- Andrea Schruijer


  • Board Planning Session Update — May 20-21, 2014

    Held 20-21 May 2014 in Atlanta, at Georgia Power Resource Center, Syntergy Building, partnership with Georgia Department of Economic Development. “All economic activities that take place throughout the state of Georgia are consolidated there.” And I thought Georgia Power only owned the legislature….

    Valdosta City Council Alvin Payton came in about this time.

    She said VLCIA was already good at getting into the funnel for selection for project, and went to learn how not to get eliminated, fix “fatal flaws”, etc. Valdosta Mayor and others have asked for a similar discussion locally, involving education and business leaders. Aiming at 20 August 2014.

    She said they were told it was very rare for an entire area’s leadership to go to Atlanta and have this kind of meeting.

    Discussion of hospital and other local assets, such as Wiregrass Tech, as in telling the workforce story.

    Talked with JoAnne Lewis, Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority about their experiences over past 30 years. Holding buildings on their balance sheet helped recruit more businesses. Attracted people into the community to see it. Also a lot of expansions, which is also what we see locally.

    Not seeing a lot of new projects is typical throughout south Georgia. “The activity for new in the southern part of Georgia is just now what we’re used to seeing.” “What we do see are not the large projects we want to see.” Mostly requests for information for projects with 25 jobs each, high capital investment, 40-70,000 square feet. Buildings available don’t match requests “we don’t have that infrastructure in place”. Hm, so empty industrial parks maybe aren’t the solution?

    Problem is getting people to come look. Tire-kicking: after 3 or 4 times, most businesses want to be in largest population center, which is Atlanta.

    Still have to recruit expansions, just like new industries. They may be considering Jacksonville. Dupont, for example.

  • Proposed Budget Review
  • Proposed VLCIA Name Change

    VLCIA name came up in Atlanta. Several other orgs had Industrial in their name and all changed to Development. Want to “accurately portray what we’re doing here”. Trading registration. She said it wrong to start with, but as attorney Gupton reminded her, the new name is Valdosta-Lowndes Develpment Authority (VLDA). with no City and no County in the name. Roy Copeland made the motion, and also got it wrong, just as people erroneously refer to Lowndes High School as Lowndes County High School, which hasn’t existed since 1966, the year it merged with Hahira High School to form Lowndes High School. constitutional name is still VLCIA.

Attorney Report

Attorney Report --J. Stephen Gupton


  1. Business locating in Hahira Industrial Park.
  2. Valdosta has asked for help expanding sewer line.
  3. Treadway documents finalized. Across the road from Miller Industrial Park.

Citizens to Be Heard

  • What is the perception of the educational level of the workforce? –Valdosta City Council Alvin Payton. What is the perception of the educational level of the workforce? --Alvin Payton

    Video. “It’s the makeup of the workforce” said Andrea Schruijer. As in skillsets to match the inquiring potential businesses. And associate degrees, more than certificates. They look on websites for how many graduated each year. She said that could be a “fatal flaw” and they (including the heads of VSU and Wiregrass Tech) were trying to recognize such things and do something about it. For example, students who started welding certificate at Wiregrass Tech and got a job instead because welding is in demand.

    He also wanted to know about high school dropout rate. She agreed that had an effect: fewer bachelors and associate degrees, nd where were dropouts going instead.

  • Building says a lot –County Chairman Bill Slaughter Building says a lot --Bill Slaughter

    Video. He thanked Terri Lupo for being willing to serve and complimented the building as a sign that they were serious about economic development.

  • I’m in favor of the spec buildings –Valdosta Mayor John Gayle I'm in favor of spec buildings --John Gayle

    Video. He said he’d seen examples in Vidalia’s county (Toombs County). And “I’m very complimentary of this facility.”

  • Traditional welcome gift –John S. Quarterman Traditional welcome gift --John S. Quarterman

    Video. Andrea Schruijer, remembering when I gave her the same gift, caught on as I carried a paper bag to give to Terri Lupo, who remarked “She didn’t prep me.” When she looked inside the bag, she said, “Thank you very much. My husband says I can eat my weight in okra.”

    I also suggested SolarTown for their new name, but they stuck with the one they just picked.

Adjourn General Meeting Into Executive Session

They didn’t have an executive session.

Adjourn Executive Session into General Meeting

Adjourn General Meeting

Mission of the Valdosta Lowndes County Industrial Authority
“Create an environment to attract new industry and promote the growth of existing industry to drive job creation and capital investment.”

Here’s a video playlist: Video.

Videos: New name, new member
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Tom Call, Roy Copeland, Mary Gooding, Chairman, Jerry Jennett, Terri Lupo, Andrea Schruijer, Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton, Attorney, Tom Davis, CPA, Allan Ricketts, Project Manager,S. Meghan Duke, Public Relations & Marketing Manager, Lu Williams, Operations Manager,
Videos by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 15 July 2014.