Friday, October 7, 2011

Gwinnett Chamber Recruits New Senior Level Executive

Craig Brown assumes role as new Chief Financial Officer for nationally-recognized Metro Atlanta membership organization

Metro Atlanta, GA – The Gwinnett Chamber recently named Craig Brown as its new Chief Financial Officer. Brown will replace Larry Johnson – former CFO and Sr. Vice President of the Gwinnett Chamber – who is retiring at the end of this year. Brown will manage the comprehensive financial operations of the organization while working with each department to drive smart-solution expense management and enhance and grow the Chamber’s overall bottom line.

“I am very excited to join such a strong, vibrant and financially healthy organization like the Gwinnett Chamber,” said Brown. “In these economic times, it is more important than ever to create and drive innovative financial solutions and I look forward to working with a dedicated team to build on the growth and success that the Chamber has already seen and take it to the next level.”

Brown brings over 20 years of experience in financial management, most recently having worked at Outcomes Health Information Solutions in Alpharetta where he served as the Vice President and Corporate Controller. Having worked in public and private companies where he managed everything from mergers and acquisitions to strategic plans, risk assessment, forecasting and modeling, investor relations, treasury/cash management and more, Brown has successfully achieved high-level goals across eight organizations in his 20+ year financial career.

Jim Maran, President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber and Brown’s reporting manager said, “Craig brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new role with us. He comes highly recommended by many in the community, has delivered a legacy of success in his career and we are excited to have him as part of our team.”

Brown holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Financial Management from Clemson University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He resides with his wife and two children in Duluth, Georgia. For more information on the Chamber’s executive team, visit


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Georgia Power President/CEO Paul Bowers to Speak at Gwinnett Chamber on September 15

Bowers to Give an Update on the Energy Market and Discuss How Georgia Power is Working to Face Future Challenges

Duluth, GA- Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is honored to announce that the CEO of Georgia Power, Paul Bowers will be the guest speaker for the General Membership Meeting Presented by Rocket IT on September 14, 2011 at The 1818 Club from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Chamber members and guests will have the unique opportunity to get an update on the energy market from one of the leaders of the nation’s largest producers of electricity.

“We are excited and honored to have Georgia Power President & CEO Paul Bowers as the keynote speaker for our General Membership Meeting. Mr. Bowers has demonstrated excellent leadership skills in the energy market and is successfully servings thousands of Georgia citizens through his dedication to the nation’s largest producers of electricity,” said Jim Maran, President & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber. “His outstanding background of environmental and economic leadership has benefited local communities and abroad. Our Chamber members will be empowered and inspired by Paul Bowers’ accomplishments.”

Paul Bowers became president and CEO of Georgia Power January 1, 2011. Before becoming CEO of Georgia Power, Paul Bower served with the Southern company for 30 years and has obtained leadership positions such as being the chief financial officer and executive vice president of Southern Company. From 2001 to 2008, he has served as the president of the Southern Company overseeing fossil fuel and hydro generation, fleet operations, research, and environmental affairs. Bowers was named Southern Company’s chief financial officer and chief risk officer, where he directed accounting, finance, tax, investor relations, and treasury and risk management functions. Paul Bowers was recognized as one of the top three CFOs in the utility industry. Bowers serves on the board of Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Department of Economic Development.

General Membership Meetings are held once a month providing an opportunity for Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce members as well as members of the community to stay abreast of important issues in Gwinnett and Metro Atlanta, network with other business professionals and have a chance to listen to renowned speakers from all types of industries.

The cost to attend is $45 for members and $55 for non-Chamber members. Advanced registration is required. Walk-ins at the event are not guaranteed a spot at the luncheon. Register online at


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Congressman Rob Woodall Reveals Plan for Balanced Budget Amendment in Exclusive Interview with the Gwinnett Chamber

Woodall Gives Candid Feedback on Public Policy Issues Affecting Gwinnett Businesses

Gwinnett County, Metro Atlanta, Ga. (September 6, 2011) – The Gwinnett Chamber recently sat down with Congressman Rob Woodall for an exclusive interview on issues affecting Gwinnett businesses including the recent passage of the Budget Control Act. This legislation allows for the historic opportunity to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. Woodall also discussed other key issues including fostering economic growth by removing trade barriers and excessive government regulation that place an undue burden on American businesses.

Speaking to the Budget Control Act, Congressman Woodall made this comment, “I knew this was something we could use as a tool. For the first time in American history, we tied a debt ceiling increase to a dollar for dollar reduction in spending. I think that’s something that is going to stick with America.”

“The Budget Control Act not only puts a cap on future spending, it puts a Balanced Budget Amendment back on the table for the first time in fifteen years—and we will do it before the year’s end,” continued Congressman Woodall. “A Balanced Budget Amendment will be a huge-game changer for this country. However, my colleagues and I cannot do it alone. A Balanced Budget Amendment requires the full support of the American people in order to pass it in Congress with a two thirds majority and be sent to the States for ratification. Voters must rally and call on their leaders to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.”

Conducting the interview, Jann Moore, Senior Director of Public Policy and Education at the Gwinnett Chamber, also discussed other important issues with Congressman Woodall, which include removing trade barriers and excessive regulation of American businesses. On trade barriers, Congressman Woodall commented on the need to remove the barriers that make American companies want to relocate overseas. He then called on local business owners themselves to help make a difference.

“Local chambers are perfectly placed to bring rifle shot ideas,” said Congressman Woodall. “Your members are going to know more about their business than we ever will. We need these experts to bring their ideas to the forefront.”

Encouraging local business owners to get involved, Moore reiterated the importance of contacting your Senators and Representatives on business issues that matter, “Whether it is on the Balanced Budget Amendment, regulations that hinder your ability to do business or trade barriers, let your voice be heard.”

There are numerous opportunities for involvement in the Gwinnett Chamber’s Public Policy efforts. For more information, contact Jann Moore, Senior Director of Public Policy and Education, Gwinnett Chamber, at 678-672-2555 or

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gwinnett Chamber Kicks Off 27th Class of Leadership Gwinnett

Class to Be Led by New Leadership and Education Director Lisa Zaken

Duluth, GA- The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce recently kicked off the 27th class of Leadership Gwinnett which will train Gwinnett’s newest leaders in the business, civic, and cultural communities from August 2011 – May 2012. From the nearly 800 nominations received each year for the nine-month experience, Leadership Gwinnett alumni selected the final group of 40 based on work experience, accomplishments, community involvement, education and other information from their individual applications. The program year is comprised of two overnight retreats, seven one-day symposia covering world class community, infrastructure, economics, education, health & human services, justice and regional relations, as well as monthly study groups and other activities.

“Choosing the class requires balancing the occupations, qualifications and commitment of the candidates to insure a representation that reflects a cross section of the county. The caliber of these applicants makes selection more difficult. Since the class size is limited to 40, many excellent candidates are not chosen on their first nomination. For this reason, we strongly encourage candidates to apply again if not selected,” said Jann Moore, sr. director, public policy and education, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

“Leadership Gwinnett has been a tremendous success for our county. Since the program’s inception in 1985, over 800 alumni have taken their places in our community as decision makers and role models. Leadership graduates can be found in every aspect of Gwinnett business, civic and cultural life,” said Jim Maran, president and CEO, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s Leadership Gwinnett Class will be led by the Gwinnett Chamber’s new Leadership and Education Director, Lisa Zaken. A 2005 graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, Zaken has devoted many volunteer hours to the Leadership Gwinnett program, including serving as the alumni chair of the communications committee since 2008. Lisa was also the event organizer for the Leadership Gwinnett World Class Community Committee in 2007, co-chair of the Education Day committee in 2006, as well as event organizer for the Education Day Committee in 2005. Zaken was instrumental in the success of the Leadership Gwinnett 25th Anniversary Party last year.

“I look forward to supporting the mission of Leadership Gwinnett – to educate, equip, and engage leaders to serve and strengthen Gwinnett County and the region,” said Zaken. “I am excited about working with the 2011-2012 class who represent a new set of modern leaders affecting positive change in Gwinnett and the region for decades to come.”
The 2011 – 2012 Leadership Gwinnett Class includes:

Ruth Bettandorff, University of Georgia, Gwinnett Campus
Susan Boland Butts, Hi-Hope Service Center, Inc.
Joy Bolt, Georgia Gwinnett College
Kyle Bowen, Development Planning & Engineering, Inc.
Cliff Bray, Westbrook, McGrath, Bridges, Orth & Bray
Melissa Burton, Annandale Village
Kevin Carmichael, Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Brian Carmony, Andersen Tate & Carr, P.C.
Jackson Chang, Golden Seed International Group
Jay Dennard, Gwinnett Medical Center
Samuel Donley, Fifth Third Bank
Dick Goodman, Suwanee City Council
Kristen Griffin, Merial
Stephanie Hills, Cisco Systems, Inc.
Beth Hilscher, Beth S. Hilscher, P.C.
Tom Jackson, Eastside Medical Center
Debbie Kalec, RBC Bank
Laurie Ann Kimbrell, American Red Cross
Dan Kniffen, Drew, Eckl & Farnham
Chris Earnest, E2E Benefit Services, Inc.
Greg Lahatte, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Tim Le, Exit Realty Platinum
P. K. Martin, Hood Insurance Agency, Inc.
Molly McAuliffe, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
David McNeill, 4th Strand LLC
Steve Moyers, Gwinnett Technical College
Ron Osterloh, Pond & Company
Jaye Peabody, Covenant Counseling & Family Resource Center
Stephen Pereira, Thompson & Sweeney, P.C.
John Reidy, O’Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc.
Ken Rutherford, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
Ed Shaddix, North Gwinnett High School
Kelly Sloan, Georgia United Credit Union
Anne Soutter, Primerica
Richard Steele, Gwinnett County Office of the Tax Commissioner
Alex Villasana, Christos Community Church
Kendra Washington-Bass, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Mark Willis, Georgia School Boards Association
Lisa Winton, Winton Machine Company
Latabia Woodward, Southern Company

Leadership Gwinnett Sustaining Partners, whose generous financial support helps to make the program possible, include Andersen, Tate & Carr, PC; Brand Banking Company, Brand Mortgage Group, Cisco, Georgia Gwinnett College, Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation, Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, King & Spalding, and McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Regional Transportation Projects to Transform Mobility for Metro Atlanta Receives Historic Approval

Gwinnett Chamber Applauds Efforts of Atlanta Regional Transportation Leaders

The Gwinnett Chamber is pleased to report that the Executive Committee of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable made history on Monday reaching a unanimous agreement on a draft list of transportation projects that will help to create jobs, increase quality of life, and give valued time back to citizens across the metro Atlanta region. The five-member committee - including mayors and county commissioners from across the Atlanta region - voted to approve a $6.14 billion draft list of transportation projects to be potentially funded by a penny sales tax to come before voters next year.

Gwinnett was well-represented during the process by Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash and City of Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson who received valuable input from Gwinnett County Transportation Director Brian Allen allowing for the needs of Gwinnett County to be met while keeping the best interest of the region in mind.

"Reaching a unanimous agreement on a draft transportation list is a huge positive step showcasing the solidarity of the region. The efforts of the elected officials involved in the process from the 10 county region who worked to select a list of projects with the greatest impact should be applauded and recognized," said Jim Maran, president & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber. "Realizing that residents don't stay within the boundaries of their respective counties, this effort will bring in a new era of transportation that will benefit the entire region."

The list - containing road, interchange improvement, bus, rail and bicycle path projects - must be approved by the full 21-member roundtable by October 15 and submitted to the Georgia Department of Transportation. Until then, residents of all 10 counties in the Atlanta region will have the opportunity to provide continued input to the final project list through a series of public meetings planned throughout the Atlanta region. Gwinnett residents are encouraged to attend the county's scheduled meeting on Monday, September 26 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

In addition, the Gwinnett Chamber will host a "State of Transportation" forum on November 2 offering the chance to learn more about the future of mobility in metro Atlanta. In the meantime, more information on the Transportation Investment Act, including the approved constrained project list, can found at

Gwinnett Chamber Business Expo Showcases Business and Job Growth

Trade Show Exceeds Expectations with Attendance and More Than 150 Exhibitors


Duluth, GA - From educational seminars to one-on-one meetings at the Job Fair to a sold out General Membership Luncheon featuring Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, the 2011 Gwinnett Business Expo & Job Fair Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center demonstrated once again the regional collaboration and leadership that Gwinnett has become known for in Metro Atlanta and why Gwinnett is leading the way in business growth and job creation. The Business Expo and Job Fair, held on August 18, 2011 at the Convention Center at Gwinnett Center, had a record attendance in the thousands and featured a variety of attractions designed to keep businesses abreast of the newest products and services in the Gwinnett business market from more than 150 exhibitors.

"I am pleased to provide Georgia citizens with the highest quality of legal representation as we uphold the laws and Constitution of Georgia," said Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. "The Office of the Attorney General is a leader in helping the state government to operate openly, affording local communities like Gwinnett an optimal business environment and a superior quality of life."

The Expo, like the Gwinnett Chamber, focuses on growing businesses throughout Gwinnett County and Metro Atlanta. Programs such as the Expo help to create a pro-business environment for companies looking to grow and expand in Gwinnett resulting in more quality jobs and a better quality of life.

"The Business Expo & Job Fair does a fantastic job of showcasing the internal collaboration of business, education, and government along with the regional mindset that Gwinnett has become known for in Metro Atlanta," said Jim Maran, president & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber. "The business activity shown today is second to none giving a feel for Gwinnett's vibrant economy and its thriving business and economic environment."

Over 150 business exhibitors who help to make up Gwinnett's thriving business environment participated in this year's expo where they had the opportunity to cultivate new business and network with fellow business professionals. "The high-energy environment combined with unparalleled B2B face-to-face time made for a great day of generating quality leads and networking," said Michael Baldwin, sales manager of business accounts, Charter Business.

As a testament to the more than 12,000 jobs created since the launch of the award-winning community and economic development initiative, Partnership Gwinnet, the Job Fair featured over 35 exhibitors who were actively looking for qualified talent to fill open positions. "The Job Fair presented Mobile Communications with a unique opportunity to meet with a host of skilled candidates all in one day," said Cathy Nichols, president, Mobile Communications. "Events such as the Chamber's Job Fair helps our company to continue its path of success."

In addition to Presenting Sponsor Gwinnett Medical Center, sponsors include Silent Auction Sponsor: Delta Community Credit Union; Media Sponsor: Gwinnett Daily Post; Platinum Sponsors AT&T Real Yellow Pages, Talk 920, and Mundo Hispanico; Gold Sponsors Gwinnett Center, Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, Proof of the Pudding, Staples, Toshiba; and Silver Sponsors Allgood Pest Solutions, Beyond Signs, Charter Business, DeVry University, Purchasing Alliance Solutions, and The Sign Stop.

For more information on the Business Expo & Job Fair visit In addition, for more information on Gwinnett's record-breaking business growth and job creation activity and the continuation of the award-winning community and economic development initiative, Partnership Gwinnett, register for the Partnership Gwinnett Summit on August 26 at

Thursday, May 19, 2011



11Alive is coming to a town near you! 11Alive News Today will broadcast their WHERE U LIVE Tour from downtown Lawrenceville Friday morning on the grounds of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse.


Come out and meet the Jill Becker, Karyn Greer, Chesley McNeil, Donna Lowry and the morning crew at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse.


Friday's edition of 11Alive News Today will feature special stories about the City of Lawrenceville and the people who live there.


WHAT: 11Alive News Today Visits Where U Live - Lawrenceville

WHO: Jill Becker, Karyn Greer, Chesley McNeil and the morning show team

WHEN: Friday, May 20; 4:30 a.m. until 7 a.m.

WHERE: Historic Gwinnett Courthouse