Thursday, December 16, 2010

Governor-elect Nathan Deal Shares His Vision for Georgia

Newly elected leader addresses over 700 Georgians at Gwinnett Chamber event

Click here to view the video news release

Duluth, GA- The Gwinnett Chamber, metro Atlanta, and the state of Georgia recently welcomed Governor-elect Nathan Deal to the Georgia Leadership Luncheon Presented by Rocket IT. The first-of-its-kind event was created in an effort to showcase the strategic collaboration between local, regional and statewide entities. Over 700 business and community leaders who were in attendance got the chance to hear Governor-elect Deal's vision and plan for the state of Georgia in 2011 and get an update on the state's efforts in education and workforce development, infrastructure, and small business growth and economic development. The Governor-elect also gave insight on his plans to improve the overall quality of life for Georgia citizens.

"Support from local communities, such as Gwinnett County, is what makes this state a strong and vibrant option for business growth and overall quality of life," said Governor-elect Nathan Deal. "It is through this unified mindset that Georgia will be able to come out of the recession and once again maintain the stability, strength and rapid growth it has witnessed before."

This luncheon marked the beginning of a strong relationship with the governor-elect to support statewide legislative priorities through the Chamber's 2011 public policy initiatives including job creation, education, water and transportation.

"Collaboration at the local, regional and state level is essential in order to grow job opportunities and create wealth in Gwinnett and the state of Georgia," said Jim Maran, president & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber. "This luncheon presented a wonderful opportunity to join forces with Governor-elect Nathan Deal and our statewide partners to achieve the goal that we all share which is the economic success of our state."

As a follow-up to the Georgia Leadership Luncheon, the Gwinnett Chamber along with several statewide partners will present the Georgia Leadership Welcome Reception featuring the new Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Cummiskey on January 18. The Reception will be held at The 1818 Club from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sponsorship opportunities are available and reservations can be made online at The reception will be followed by Gwinnett Day at the Capitol February 23 and the Public Policy Summit in May.

Additional sponsors for the Georgia Leadership Luncheon included Platinum Sponsor Cisco; Gold Sponsors Gwinnett Center, Merrill Lynch- David Cross, and Verizon Wireless; Silver Sponsors Allgood Pest Solutions, Atlanta Gas Light, Enterprise Rent A Car, Gas South, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Power, Russell Landscape Group, Inc.; and Media Sponsor Gwinnett Daily Post.

For more information on the Gwinnett Chamber's Government Relations efforts, visit

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help Gwinnett Become a Certified Work Ready Community

Earn Your Work Ready Certificate on Nov. 18 and 19 at the Gwinnett Chamber

What will you get in return? Employees and job seekers strengthen their resume. Employers boost their bottom line. Gwinnett becomes known as the best workforce in Georgia.

As part of Georgia's Work Ready initiative, if 800 private sector employees or job seekers pass a simple assessment by Dec. 31, Gwinnett will become known as a Certified Work Ready Community, a designation showing we have the talented workforce that business demands and the means to drive economic growth and prosperity. Do your part to assure Gwinnett's quality of life by attracting high paying jobs for our workforce by obtaining a Work Ready Certificate and allowing your employees to do the same.

For your convenience, a Workforce Bus will be at the Gwinnett Chamber Thursday, November 18 and Friday, November 19 with computer stations available for you and your employees to take the Work Ready Assessments. Each assessment takes 45 minutes to complete and can be taken individually or at the same time. There is no charge to take the assessments and all results are confidential, known only by the assessment-taker. Stations will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition, the assessments are available at Gwinnett Technical College anytime. To schedule an assessment to obtain your Work Ready Certification, please go to; click on Quick Links, which is about two-thirds down the page on the right; scroll down to the last option and click on Work Ready Registration; complete the information on that page and select the day that you would like to take the test and click on submit.

For more information, visit For more information on Gwinnett's effort to become a Certified Work Ready Community, contact Gail Macrenaris at 770-232-8803 or

Become Georgia Work Ready...and Open the Door to New Opportunities!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Governor-elect Deal to Give State's Outlook at December 15 Meeting

Duluth, GA- The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will host Governor-elect Nathan Deal at its first-ever Georgia Leadership Luncheon Presented by Rocket IT on December 15 at 11:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Center. Attendees will have the chance to hear the Governor-elect's vision and plan for the state of Georgia in 2011 and get an update on the state's efforts in education and workforce development, infrastructure, and small business growth and economic development. The Governor-elect will also begin laying out his plans to improve the overall quality of life for Georgia citizens.

"Gwinnett County continues to lead metro Atlanta and Georgia in the areas of infrastructure development, quality of life and economic development, through our strong partnership with the State. I look forward to Governor-elect Deal's outlook as he leads Georgia to a strong recovery in 2011," said Jim Maran, president and CEO, Gwinnett Chamber.

Born in Millen, Georgia, Governor-elect Nathan Deal obtained his B.A. from Mercer University and his J.D. from the Mercer School of Law in 1966. After serving two years in the United States Army, Deal settled into private practice, later serving as the assistant district attorney and a juvenile court judge. In 1981, Deal was elected to the Georgia State Senate, where he served for 12 years before being elected as a Democrat to the United States Congress. Deal changed his party affiliation in 1995 and served until his resignation in March 2010. Deal was elected Governor of the state of Georgia on November 2, 2010.

"As we slowly emerge from a devastating recession, the state of Georgia and Gwinnett County are in a transitional time that, for the first time in a while, looks more promising and hopeful," said Maran. "We look forward to working with Governor-elect Deal as we continue to carry out our public policy goals to improve upon the business climate and quality of life by growing job opportunities for the citizens of Gwinnett and the state of Georgia."

Additional sponsors for the Georgia Leadership Luncheon include Media Sponsor Gwinnett Daily Post and Gold Sponsor Merrill Lynch- David Cross. Platinum, gold, silver, and supporting sponsorships are still available. The event is open to the public and the cost to attend is $55 for Chamber members and $65 for non-members. Tables of 10 are available for $500. Advanced registration is required online by visiting the calendar of events page at For more details, contact Abby Wilkerson, program manager, Gwinnett Chamber, at 770-232-2266 or

Monday, November 1, 2010


Excellence Through Innovation Task Force Explores Technology Advancements and Efficiencies to Take Gwinnett County Government to the Next Level

(Duluth, GA., Oct. 28, 2010) – One of the many findings released from Engage Gwinnett's 42-member citizens committee on the future of Gwinnett County in April 2010 was that technological improvement represents the best approach for allowing more to be done with less staff throughout Gwinnett County. As a direct result of this recommendation, the Gwinnett Chamber - in partnership with Gwinnett County - is pleased to announce that the Excellence Through Innovation Task Force held their first official meeting on October 21.

Excellence Through Innovation Task Force Co-Chair and President of Atlanta Education Fund Bill McCargo said that the mission of the Task Force is to identify and recommend approaches that will create additional governmental efficiencies. "This initiative is about taking our county government to the next level and achieving a standard of excellence that we know is within our reach."

In the coming months the Task Force, led by Co-Chairs Bill McCargo and Canvas Systems Founder Sean Murphy, will explore the many recommendations made by the Engage Gwinnett volunteer committee to increase effectiveness, efficiency and innovation through technological improvements. The public-private partnership also includes Task Force members Rick Allen, Gwinnett Medical Center; Sylvia Black, Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department; Phil Boudewyns, Gwinnett County Courts; Scott Futrell, Gwinnett County Public Schools; Michael Gerster, WIKA; Marian Lucia, retired from Freddy Mac, John Matelski, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners; Doug Meyer, Sage Software; Jann Moore, Gwinnett Chamber; Cindy Price, AT&T; Richard Steele, Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner's Office; Greg Talsky, Cisco; and Phil Ventimiglia, NCR. The Engage Gwinnett public involvement initiative is a partnership between Gwinnett County government and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. The volunteer committee was formed in the fall of 2009 to study desired public services, revenues, and spending levels for the next five years.

"Through findings uncovered during the intense study conducted by the Engage Gwinnett volunteers, the Excellence Through Innovation Task Force has the opportunity to facilitate in the integration of new technologies that will not only help to make Gwinnett County more efficient, but also help to better serve its customers which are the citizens of Gwinnett County," said Murphy. "It is exciting to see the Engage Gwinnett recommendations come to life. Through the volunteer's specific recommendations to continue with technological improvements, Gwinnett County citizens can expect to see a more efficient government that is a model of excellence and innovation in the use of technology."

Gwinnett County Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Technology Services John Matelski, who will help guide the Task Force through the inner workings of the county's government, said that the Task Force will offer the opportunity to reflect on what they are doing well as a government. "The Task Force will help to identify what we should build on for the future and what we can do better in our technology and business operations."

More information about Engage Gwinnett can be found at

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gwinnett County Public Schools Named Nation's Top School System!

Congratulations to Gwinnett County Public Schools and Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks for winning the nation's top education honor and largest education award in the country, the 2010 Broad Prize for Urban Education!

Broad officials chose Gwinnett County Public Schools as the nation's top urban school system based on student performance over a three-year period. Gwinnett was noted for achieving significant gains between 2005 and 2009.

Among them:

  • The average SAT score of 1526 in 2009 topped state and national averages.
  • Between 2006 and 2009 SAT participation for African-Americans rose by 9 percentage points.
  • Twelve Gwinnett high schools were named Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Schools for performance on exams that prepare students for the rigors of college.

In addition to Supt. Wilbanks unparalleled leadership, the Gwinnett Chamber would especially like to recognize the Gwinnett County Public School System's Board of Education (2010 Chair Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, District III; Vice Chair Dr. Robert McClure, District IV; Carole Boyce, District I; Louise Radloff, District V; and Daniel D. Seckinger, District II), as well as the entire administration, principals, and teachers that achieved such phenomenal success.

Jim Maran
President & CEO
Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce

Finally – a chance to wear those old bridesmaids dresses!

California Dreaming to Host Rally for the Cure Event

California Dreaming will host a Rally for the Cure® 27 Dresses Style Party on October 22 at 7:00 pm at their location on Old Peachtree Road.

The evening's festivities will include a complimentary appetizer buffet with California Dreaming favorites, pink martinis, photographers, and prizes – not to mention the opportunity to wear that old bridesmaid's dress one more time! Guests will receive a goody bag filled with rally items, breast health information and subscriptions to Condé Nast magazines such as SELF, Golf Digest and Bon Appétit.

Rally for the Cure is a grassroots program to spread awareness about breast health and breast cancer in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® through volunteer organized golf, tennis and social events. More than 1.65 million people have participated in Rally for the Cure events across the nation since its inception in 1996. This year marks the premier year California Dreaming has rallied against breast cancer.

"The success of Rally is attributed to volunteer ambassadors like, Meghan Anderson, who have said 'Yes we can have a Rally at our restaurant. It is their enthusiasm, energy and support we value in our commitment to support Susan G. Komen," says Diane Perillo, Program Manager, Rally for the Cure.

Since 1996 Komen has received over $50 million from Rally events to support their mission. Rally for the Cure® is based in Wilton, Connecticut. For further information about the California Dreaming Rally event, contact Meghan Anderson, 770-813-9240 or to host a Rally event of your own call 800.327.6811 or visit the website:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

He runs a hard-nosed defense, conservative offense, and there isn’t a weed to be found in his yard

Gwinnett Tech to Host Vince Dooley Book Signing and Workshops at Fall Plant Sale

Gardening enthusiasts and Bulldog fans alike will want to flock to Gwinnett Technical College on Friday, October 15. The college is hosting several gardening and horticulture events that day including:

Vince Dooley Book Signing – Avid gardener and former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley will be signing and discussing his new book, Vince Dooley's Garden: A Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach at 10:00 a.m. Signing is free and books will be for sale.

Planting Workshops – The Continuing Education Division will host two gardening workshops immediately following Dooley's presentation. The workshops – Kitchen Gardens–Vegetables in the Landscape and Flower Show Blue Ribbons Made Easy – will be held at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., respectively. The registration fee for the workshops is $10 per session.

Fall Plant Sale – The Environmental Horticulture program will host its annual Fall Plant Sale from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Gwinnett Tech Greenhouse, adjacent to Building 600.

Those interested in attending the book signing for Dooley or the gardening classes must register by visiting and selecting the Hobbies and Personal Enrichment class schedule, or by calling 770-995-9697.

Dooley's engagement will be the auditorium of The Busbee Center, Building 700, on the Gwinnett Tech campus, at 5150 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. Please use the north entrance to campus.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Inc.: Creating a Legacy of Success

It seems as if every graduate of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Inc. (GSLT) has a success story to tell. This should come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with the caliber of students selected to take part in the two-year student leadership program for high school juniors and seniors in Gwinnett County Public Schools and Buford City Schools.

Story after story tells of students like Catalina Colvin Kreider, a 2006 graduate of Dacula High School and a 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia, who is now a first-year teacher at Jones Middle School. Kreider's leadership skills are so developed that her principal tapped her to teach the student leadership academy at Jones. There are other stories like that of Collin Jones who graduated from North Gwinnett High School and is currently attending Harvard University. Jones, a religion major and psychology minor, juggles maintaining a 3.79 GPA, conducting tours for the Harvard Tour Company, and interning at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

Additionally, both Kreider and Jones are the only two former GSLT students who have been invited by GSLT Executive Director Nancy Ward to teach alongside renowned leadership gurus from across the nation at the GSLT Summit attended by over 800 students and adults.

The success stories continue with Norcross High School and University of Pennsylvania graduate Lindsay Eierman. With a passion for women's rights, Eierman currently works as an innovation associate for the social enterprise, Source for Change, in India. The rural business process outsourcing organization trains women in technology and employs them for outsourcing services such as data entry and image editing. As the innovation associate, Eierman will work to investigate how and where to replicate their business model.

As a Robertson Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, Grayson High School graduate Jeremy Knight spent his first summer internship teaching and exploring leadership principles with middle school students. Knight's work does not end with his summer internship, as he is as a counselor for Carolina Kickoff, a summer camp for 150 incoming freshman and a committee chair for the First-Year Focus Council, a committee on the Executive Branch of Student Government.

And then there is Ariel Ford, a 2009 graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School and a sophomore at the University of Florida where she is on a full four-year Gates Millennium Scholarship that will also cover graduate school. During her freshman year, Ford was one of 50 students chosen out of 500 applicants to serve on the Freshman Leadership Council at the University of Florida.

Football fans may be interested in knowing about Drew Butler who is a punter in his junior year for the Georgia Bulldogs. Butler, the son of Kevin and Kathy Butler, led the nation in punting average for the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season. He is also the winner of the 2009 College Football Performance Awards Punter Trophy and the 2009 Ray Guy Award. As well as excelling on the football field, Butler also excels in the classroom making the 2009 Dean's List, the 2008 SEC Academic Roll, and the 2008 Athletic Director's Roll.

Whether breaking records on the football field, teaching future leaders, attending acclaimed universities, fighting for women's rights, volunteering at orphanages in third-world countries, each person's story has a common denominator – they attribute their success to GSLT.

Jeremy Knight credits his ability to receive a scholarship to his involvement with GSLT. "I know that without GSLT, I would not have been awarded the scholarship, which has been life-changing for me."

Like Knight, Ariel Ford gives credit to GSLT for helping her to win a spot on the Freshman Leadership Council at the University of Florida. "Without GLST, I would have never been able to make this council. The competition was stiff, but GSLT truly allowed me to be a stand-out leader."

These stories serve as a reminder that as an investor in GSLT and thus Gwinnett's future leaders, the Gwinnett Chamber is helping to create a legacy of success and leadership for Gwinnett County and beyond. For more information on how you can support and get involved with the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, contact Gail Macrenaris, director of leadership and education, Gwinnett Chamber at 770-232-8803 or


Help Celebrate the Start of their 8th Season in Gwinnett!
GLADIATORS vs. FLORIDA – Saturday, October 23 – 7:05 p.m.

Group Benefits:

  • Great seats, Great Arena. Best available seats at a discount off the gate price in the top minor league arena in the country as voted by
  • Cheer together. Sit together and have fun together in block seating.
  • Your name in lights. Your group's name will be on the Arena video board and we'll make an in-arena PA announcement during the game welcoming your group.
  • Someone in your group will win! There will be a prize raffle for all attendees in your group.
  • Get a deal on Gladiators gear. Each of your group's attendees will get a 10% discount on a merchandise purchase when they attend the game.

Group Tickets: $13 (normal game day walk-up of $18)
Group Name: Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
Group Contact: Vince DaSilva
Gladiators Contact: Jim Hall: (770) 497-5109
Copy and Paste this link to order your Tickets:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Young Professionals of hYPe hit a homerun with their Two Year Anniversary

With all the success that Gwinnett's young professionals have achieved since the inception of hYPe two years ago, one could say that the organization was a homerun for its members and the community. hYPe members celebrated their two-year anniversary on June 18th with hot dogs and cold beverages during a tailgate before a Gwinnett Braves baseball game. The 1,000-member strong organization had reason to celebrate with all that they accomplished in just two years, including holding 40 events, a Web site re-design, the launch of a Facebook page and Twitter account, partnering with multiple non-profit organizations, and developing three "work crews" to promote social networking, career development, and community involvement within the organization.

Abby Wilkerson who works for redpepper and leads hYPe's event management work crew, commented on a defining event that let her know hYPe was on the right track.

"I'm extremely proud that the hYPe leadership team was asked to sit on a panel during the lunch session of the Partnership Gwinnett Summit," said Wilkerson. "To be asked to speak in front of that crowd gave us some credibility and made me feel like we had created something legitimate. Almost like the first time you realize that the adults are taking you seriously."

First recommended in the Partnership Gwinnett Community and Economic Development Strategy, hYPe was developed to establish and cultivate young talent within the community and to build Gwinnett's next generation of community and business leaders. The main goals identified for the organization were to offer members the opportunity to interact on an informal level with business and community leaders; provide opportunity for networking with others of like interest and age on the weekends and weeknights; seek out areas for community involvement; and expose the young professionals in metro Atlanta to the hottest hangouts and cultural-rich attractions in Gwinnett.

With a goal in mind, hYPe's high impact, savvy group of diverse young professionals (ages 21-39) have worked diligently to showcase Gwinnett as a unique, fun, and cool place to work and live by holding events, recruiting new members and supporting the community.

hYPe events
The hYPe Event Management work crew, led by redpepper's Abby Wilkerson, worked hard this year locating venues, planning, volunteering their time and spreading the news about hYPe events. The Event Management work crew successfully held numerous events, with an average attendance of 150 people, throughout Gwinnett, including:

  • hYPe Quarterly event "Games & Gifts" at Dave & Buster's- August 2009
  • Not a Holiday 'Party' Party at The 1818 Club – December 2009
  • Thursday Schmooze Day held at Marlow's Tavern every first Thursday of each month
  • hYPe Two Year Anniversary with the Gwinnett Braves- June 2010

Membership Recruitment
During their first year, hYPe experienced unprecedented growth starting with just 90 members at the Encore Launch event in May 2008 to now over 650 members. Along with enrolling new members, the Membership Recruitment work team, led by Jared Burrell with Grimes Insurance and Financial Services Inc., was also responsible for career development. Thanks to the dedicated members of the membership recruitment work crew hYPe was able to achieve the following:

  • Held lunch and learns with a presentation on being "Healthy Young Professionals in June 2009 and "How to be an excellent Networker" in July 2009
  • Conducted college recruitment at Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Hosted booth at Gwinnett Technical College's "Graduates Networking Session"
  • Recruited over 300 members in one year
  • Held "Finding a Job in a Down Economy & Positioning for a Promotion" seminar on March 30th featuring Bill Mahoney from Career Builder

Community Involvement
Along with social networking and professional development, hYPe members also wanted to give back to the community. Thanks to the Community Involvement work crew, led by Trinity Hundredmark with Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C., many lives were touched by the efforts of hYPe members to give back to community. For each event held, hYPe partnered with a local charity and requested that attendees provide a donation to the specific non-profit. The following charity drives were held at various hYPe events:

  • In December 2009 members participated in a toy drive for the Gwinnett Children's Shelter which helped give hundreds of presents to children in need
  • Partnered with Habitat for Humanity and Clark Howard to build homes for those in need
  • Donated books, paper, pencils, binders, etc to the Lilburn Co-Op at the August 2009 quarterly event
  • Presented hundreds of canned foods and items to the Lilburn Co-Op on November 3rd 2009
  • Volunteered at the SNS Golf Tournament in May 2010
  • Formed team with Gwinnett Chamber Board Members for the Great Days of Services and picked up trash on Highway-316

"hYPe is not only a great way to meet new people, but it's also a great way to get involved in the local community," said Trinity Hundredmark, who works for Andersen, Tate, & Carr and leads hYPe's community involvement work crew. "Most young professionals are coming from college or graduate school where getting involved was easy and sometimes even mandatory. In the real world, getting involved and giving back to the community can be overwhelming at first. Where does one start? hYPe has helped me to find answers to those questions. By always keeping me informed of the latest activities going on in Gwinnett County, I can always find a way to get involved and meet new people."

For more information on hYPe, visit

Monday, August 16, 2010

AN INTERVIEW WITH… Peter Andruszkiewicz, President of Kaiser Permanente Georgia

Kaiser Permanente is Georgia's largest not-for-profit health plan. With approximately 230,000 members in metro Atlanta and 8.6 million nationwide, Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America's leading health care providers. And its mission is clear: Provide high-quality, affordable health care to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves.

Guided by expert teams of physicians, specialists and health care providers with The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente provides care focused on its members' total health and supported by industry-leading technology and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, as well as state-of-the art delivery. Providing a superior member experience is at the core of the organization's values.

At the helm of Kaiser Permanente Georgia is President Peter Andruszkiewicz. A seasoned health care executive, Andruszkiewicz spent 18 years at CIGNA HealthCare before joining Kaiser Permanente in 2005 as vice president, National Accounts. In 2006, he became senior vice president, Health Plan Operations for regions outside California. He was named President of Kaiser Permanente Georgia in late 2008.

In the local community, Andruszkiewicz serves as chair of the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation board. He also sits on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the Metro Atlanta YMCA. He is a member of the Board of Councilors of The Carter Center and a member of the Buckhead Coalition. He is a graduate of Springfield College in Massachusetts and serves on its board of trustees.

Healthcare is one of five targeted industries in Partnership Gwinnett, the community and economic development initiative led by the Gwinnett Chamber to bring jobs and investment to the Greater Atlanta region. Andruszkiewicz shares Kaiser Permanente's expansion plans in metro Atlanta, which include new medical facilities as well as community involvement initiatives in Gwinnett.

Creating Jobs & Wealth

Q. Kaiser Permanente recently opened a new medical office in Lawrenceville, which was the third office to open this year in the metro Atlanta area. What are some of the factors that have led to these recent expansions in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta?

Our strategy is to provide members with more convenient access to Kaiser Permanente's high quality, coordinated health care system. By locating our new medical offices throughout metro Atlanta all of our members will be within a 20-minute drive of one of our facilities. Since announcing our expansion plans last year, we have opened four new medical offices, bringing our total to 23. Three additional medical offices are scheduled to open in the fall, including our fourth location in Gwinnett County in Snellville. We will add even more new facilities in 2011 as we continue to expand.

Growing Your Business

Q. Partnership Gwinnett research indicated that Gwinnett has significant potential for growth in the healthcare industry. How has Gwinnett's pro-business environment for healthcare businesses helped Kaiser Permanente expand in the local market?

Gwinnett is a thriving area. With an increasing number of our members living and working in Gwinnett, Kaiser Permanente wants to have a strong presence in the community. The tremendous support we have received from across the county has enabled us to expand and provide our members with convenient, high-quality coordinated care in difficult economic times.

Strengthening the Community

Q. As an investor in Partnership Gwinnett, why did Kaiser Permanente choose to support this community and economic development initiative? What are some of the other ways that Kaiser Permanente is involved in the local community?

We want to be a part of the community and we know that what is good for Gwinnett County is also good for Kaiser Permanente. Partnership Gwinnett is a great opportunity to provide support where we know it will have significant impact. We're also proud to sponsor the Gwinnett Chamber Chairman's Club Golf Tournament and the Lawrenceville Music Concert Series.

Kaiser Permanente is Georgia's largest non-profit health plan and one of our core values has always been to improve the health of communities, as well as the health of our members. For 25 years, we have invested millions of dollars back into communities as a part of our Community Benefit program. We partner with local non-profits, universities and local health departments to improve access to health care, train medical professionals and develop programs that promote healthy living. We work to address the root causes of poor health, and provide services to support healthier lifestyles, especially to under -served communities. This year we are investing nearly $30 million dollars in the community.

As part of our community benefit program, over the last two years, we've donated more than $260,000 to Gwinnett County organizations including Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry, AID Gwinnett, the Hope Clinic, the Visiting Nurse Health System, and others.

Celebrate Success at the 2010 Chamber Challenge

The game of golf is a valuable business tool, not only because of the relationships formed and deals made on the course, but because of the many lessons that can be learned and applied to the business world.

As successful business and community leaders and golfers, the first place team at the 2009 Chamber Challenge, Georgia Gwinnett College President Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman, Vice President of Business and Finance Eddie Beauchamp, and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Dr. Gordon Harrison and Gwinnett Medical Center President Philip R. Wolfe share their tips on how to succeed on the golf course and in business.

According to Philip Wolfe, talented people will lead to success. "Whether it's a golf team or a business team, surround yourself with great talent."

Teamwork, talent, dedication, and attention to detail. These principles, according to Dr. Kaufman, facilitate success in business just as they do in golf.

"Avoid the bunkers, stay on the fairway, and learn from your mistakes." According to Eddie Beauchamp, concentrating on these three areas will help you to be successful on and off the course.

Dr. Gordon Harrison says that having team spirit gives the momentum you need to get ahead. "Golf is a great sport for bringing friends and business acquaintances together," said Harrison. "When you are bringing a team together, whether it is for golf or business, being encouraging and motivating can give you the competitive edge you need to win."

Gordon also added that the Chamber Challenge provides the perfect setting for building relationships and perfecting business skills. "It is always exciting and fun to be with the leadership of Gwinnett at this event each year. We are very appreciative of the Chamber's leadership in staging the Chamber Challenge."

The 2010 Chamber Challenge, held at Chateau Élan on October 12, offers the chance to promote your company while enjoying a relaxing day of golf on the fairways of a championship golf course. If golf isn't your game, you can participate in a heart-thumping tennis match and for those looking for a more relaxed setting, you may choose to dine on some down-home barbeque or sample award-winning wines. At the Chamber Challenge, the possibilities are endless when it comes to building strategic business relationships, turning your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality or just enjoying a picturesque day with your fellow colleagues and peers.

The Chamber Challenge is the perfect venue to build relationships with Gwinnett's top business leaders in a spectacular setting ideal for fostering business partnerships. We invite you to join us at the Chamber Challenge as we celebrate Gwinnett's business success while gaining valuable business advice and contacts.

Activities include:
Golf Extravaganza. Tournaments will be offered on all two of Chateau Élan's courses – Woodlands & Legends. Cost is $190/Legends Course and $170/ Woodlands Course per golfer—includes box lunch, drinks during the tournament, and BBQ dinner following event. Shotgun start at 11 a.m. Range opens at 10 a.m.

Tennis Tournament. A great mixed doubles Round Robin will allow for some fun competition among friends at the Chateau Élan Tennis Center. Warm up at noon and the tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $80 per tennis player – includes tournament, box lunch, drinks during event and BBQ dinner following event.

Winery Tours. Enjoy touring the beautiful Chateau Élan winery and tasting their fine wines. Tour and tasting of the winery will start at 2:30 p.m. Cost is $40 per person – includes BBQ dinner following event.

Barbecue Mixer. At the end of the day enjoy dinner and networking at the Pavilion and cheer on tournament winners at the awards ceremony. The mixer will run approximately from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Cost is $30 per person – includes BBQ dinner and drinks.

Members who would like to learn more about the Chamber Challenge should contact Alicia Krogh at 770-232-8809 or

Friday, August 6, 2010

AN INTERVIEW WITH…Derek Schwerzler, Stephen Gould Corporation

Stephen Gould Corporation was founded in 1939 on the philosophical ideals and business visions of Stephen Gould and David Golden. They set out to create a corporate environment that would recognize the preeminent role of the customer within the processes of manufacturing and supply structure. Since this time Stephen Gould Corporation has grown to be a half billion dollar business with over 60 locations worldwide, still privately held by the same family. Stephen Gould has been designing and manufacturing a wide variety of packaging and custom kitting solutions for over half a century. They have long been recognized for consulting and implementing various systems of tool control, specialized packaging, distribution and integrated supply throughout the government and private sector.

Stephen Gould is GSA approved and serves a variety of industries from aerospace to retail. Many of our facilities are ISO-9001 certified and our Duluth location is a green facility. Stephen Gould is an industry leader and has won an award for their custom tool kitting solutions for Northrup Grumman.

Derek Schwerzler, who is a Gwinnett Chamber board member and co-chair for the 2010 Membership and Sponsorship Campaign, joined Stephen Gould 10 years ago after graduating from the University of Georgia. He chose Gwinnett County not only as a place to work, but a place to raise his family. His wife Shelly and their son make Duluth their home. Many of Derek's customers are also local Gwinnett businesses.

Derek initially joined the Chamber because he wanted to become more involved with his community and wanted to learn more about the county that he calls home. As it turned out for Derek, the Chamber has turned out to be so much more.

"My business has grown significantly through the business relationships and friendships I've made through the Chamber. Being involved with the Chamber has opened a referral stream I never thought possible," said Derek.

Involvement in the Chamber has also allowed Derek the opportunity to give back to the community in a variety of ways. He currently serves on the Chamber board, the Manufacturing and Logistics Council, the Gwinnett Student Leadership board, and The Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful board. Derek is also very involved with Partnership Gwinnett and a recent graduate of Leadership Gwinnett. And lastly, Derek is serving his community as a Rotarian and serves as President of the Rotary Club of Gwinnett Mosaic.

Creating Jobs & Wealth

Q. As the 2010 Co-Chair of the Chamber's Membership and Sponsorship volunteer-led Campaign, why is it beneficial for business executives to support the Chamber's mission of creating jobs and wealth through the campaign?

The campaign is a way for members of the Chamber to come together and support each other as well as the growth and strength of the Chamber. Through the campaign new members and potential members can see the power of our membership, the quality of referrals and the vast number of educational opportunities offered by the Chamber.

New businesses joining the Chamber are introduced to a multitude of opportunities to help their businesses grow and gain exposure not only in Gwinnett, but worldwide. Members have the opportunity to showcase their products and services through sponsorships, weekly networking events, ads and speaking engagements at Network Gwinnett. The funds raised through our membership campaign have allowed us to offer exceptional educational opportunities to all members.

Growing Your Business
Q. As a business executive, you have been very involved with the Chamber as a Chairman's Club member and have been actively involved in the Chamber's Membership and Sponsorship Campaign and many other chamber programs and events. How has being involved with these programs helped to grow your business?

The Gwinnett Chamber and specifically, the Chairman's Club, has given me the opportunity to speak with leaders in the community who have acted not only as mentors, but have been great referral sources, business partners and friends. Sponsoring events has allowed me to showcase my products and services, raise awareness of Stephen Gould Corporation and support the growth of the Chamber and the community. Through the Chamber, opportunities that would have never come my way with regard to business now occur on a daily basis.

Strengthening the Community

Q. Volunteers who join or start a team with the Campaign will have the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to strengthen the community by providing funds to sustain programs for business development, community improvement and member services. What are some of the other benefits of getting involved with the Campaign?

Being a part of the campaign has allowed me to network with likeminded professionals. It has allowed me to grow professionally as a leader. It has allowed me to build long term relationships and it has nurtured my competitive spirit. The Campaign Reward Sessions in particular are a great opportunity to get to know leaders in the community, learn more about the Chamber and its work, to improve the Gwinnett region, and to have fun! The opportunity to win a trip to Aruba is also a wonderful incentive. I would like to invite all Chamber members to join us in our efforts to help the Gwinnett Chamber become even stronger and more vital for the future.

For more information on Stephen Gould Corporation, contact Derek at 770-364-6202. Visit their Web site at; for industrial visit

Schools’ Success Equals Jobs Success

By: Jim Maran, President & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber

Last year, Gwinnett was the only community in the nation to successfully recruit two Fortune 500 Global Corporate Headquarters in less than 12 months. At the same time Gwinnett was receiving these global business accolades, Gwinnett County Public Schools was named a finalist for the 2009 Broad Prize for Urban Education, marking it as one of the nation's top five districts in improving student achievement for all students (and they're a finalist again this year).

I share this because it demonstrates a direct correlation between the success of business and job creation and the quality of students as they transition from K-12 education to postsecondary pathways and finally enter the workforce. It's also important to note this success does not happen by accident. For years, the Gwinnett Chamber has partnered in numerous ways with our education partners to provide ongoing two-way dialogue so that our teachers, principals and administrators know exactly what our employers need in terms of skills from their future workforce.

In numerous ways, Gwinnett County is the forerunner of what many would call tomorrow's prototypical successful U.S. community. We are home to top Fortune 500 global headquarters and have added more than 7,500 high-wage jobs and more than 130 major relocations and expansions in less than three years, precisely during the time the entire world has suffered from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Gwinnett is now home to one out of every six foreign-based businesses in Georgia, boasts economic development offices in China, and is the only U.S. Chamber to host a staffed office for the South Korean Small and Medium Business Corporation. We are a leader in technology, life science, and green energy clusters. And our entrepreneurial success stories include some of the biggest brands in the country.

This is exactly the business environment we must prepare our children for to ensure their future success in the workforce. Based on our conversations with thousands of employers, small and large, and my own 30-year career as a senior officer with Motorola tasked with opening up operations in Asia, Latin America, and more, I believe many of the strategies behind our local school systems' efforts to instill the critical "21st Century Survival Skills" in our students is the secret to our success. And I'm proud to report that our partners at Gwinnett County Public Schools, Buford City Schools, Gwinnett Tech, Georgia Gwinnett College, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Gwinnett Campus and others are all excelling in this area.

The benefits of a workforce with these skills are also exponential.

Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education once told the State Education Technology Directors Association, "A lot of people think the skills that students need to learn for the workforce and the skills they need to learn to be good citizens are two separate sets. But they're not. What makes a student successful in the global workforce will make a person successful at life."

The role of educators – and our role as the business community – is to make sure tomorrow's graduates have solid foundations to excel in the 21st century job market. Doing so makes them not only a better future employee or employer, but a better citizen whose impact could change the course of history.

Membership & Sponsorship Campaign: Don’t Let What Happens at the Chamber Stay at the Chamber

With over 250 events each year designed to help local businesses grow their networks and leadership skills while also cutting expenses and business costs, "don't let what happens at the Chamber, stay at the Chamber." This is what the casino-themed 2010 Membership and Sponsorship Campaign, kicking off on August 12 at the Gwinnett Chamber to achieve our goal of $715,000, will encourage team members to do during this year's campaign. The Gwinnett Chamber invites you to become a part of the Campaign and "go all in" to help spread awareness about the Chamber and to raise the funds to sustain programs for business development, community improvement and member services.

Those participating in the campaign are invited to attend the Kick-off Celebration, held on August 12 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. for Casino Night, where guests will enjoy free martinis, hors d'oeuvres, and prizes. The campaign, which will encourage participants to "Go all in" and "Not let what happens at the Chamber, stay at the Chamber," will run from August 2010 to January 2011 generating new members, programs and event sponsorships, selling advertisements in Chamber publications and raising awareness of the Gwinnett Chamber throughout the region.

The campaign will be carried out by Campaign Co-Chairs Derek Schwerzler with Stephen Gould Corporation and David Seago with Georgia Power, five vice chairs, 25+ corporate teams, 150+ team members; Gwinnett Chamber Board of Directors and Chamber staff. The volunteers are responsible for selling memberships, sponsorships and securing budget trades.

The campaign will continue through the fall at Reward Sessions held every other Thursday at various locations around the county, until the Victory Celebration in January 2011. These sessions will celebrate successes, pay out top cash incentives, and recognize the top producers. When the winning hands are revealed, the volunteers who generate $11,000 or more will celebrate their victory at the winner's table with the grand prize, which is a trip to Aruba.

"The Chamber's drive for memberships and sponsorships is so much more than just a campaign," said Campaign Co-Chair Derek Schwerzler. "In addition to supporting the growth and strength of the Chamber, the Campaign is a way for Chamber members to come together and support each other."

As a past winner of the victory trip, Schwerzler also noted that the trip to Aruba is a wonderful incentive. "The fun atmosphere and the trip incentive makes the Campaign that much more worthwhile for Chamber members," said Schwerzler.

Volunteers, like Sherwood McDuffie with SunTrust Bank, Laurie Garrard with Office Creations, Inc., Brad Carr with Andersen, Tate, & Carr, PC, Dorsey Grist with United Community Bank, Matt Hyatt with Rocket IT and Andrea Wehrmann with Gwinnett Medical Center will be working hard not only to win at trip to Aruba, but to raise the funds to sustain programs for business development, community improvement and member services.

In addition to raising funds for the Chamber, the Campaign also provides volunteers an opportunity to grow professionally, expand business and community contacts, and help the Gwinnett Chamber become even stronger and more vital for business in the future.

"The 2010 Membership and Sponsorship Campaign is an opportunity to be a part of something big," said 2010 Co-Chair David Seago. "By participating in the Campaign, you will have the opportunity to meet the region's top business leaders who are volunteering their efforts to advance the Chamber's mission and goals by raising funds to sustain vital chamber programs for business development, community improvement and member services."

"Go all in!," join a team today and learn how you can help your community while earning cash incentives and/or a trip to Aruba. In addition, to heighten your company's exposure during the campaign, you can also sponsor a campaign reward session or donate gifts to be used as door prizes for the volunteers. For more information, please contact Donna McBee at or 770-232-8810.

BIG Expo and Job Fair to Showcase Gwinnett’s Top Small Businesses

Gwinnett County is home to some of the best and brightest small businesses and entrepreneurs. This thriving entrepreneurial climate has made the area a regional leader in business development. With its location, infrastructure, workforce, school systems, and exceptional quality of life, it is no surprise that more than 30,000 small businesses call Gwinnett home.

Helping businesses succeed is the business of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and when Gwinnett was named an "Entrepreneurial Friendly Community" by the Governor, the state identified the Gwinnett Chamber as the "one-stop shop" for starting and growing a business in Gwinnett.

From answering questions and providing a host of useful information to promoting growth in the county, there are people working everyday to help make Gwinnett a place where businesses thrive and success lives.

The 2010 BIG Expo and Job Fair held on August 19th is one of many ways the Gwinnett Chamber helps Gwinnett's small business and entrepreneurs to succeed. As the largest Chamber-sponsored business-to-business tradeshow and job fair of its kind in Georgia, the BIG Expo will showcase Gwinnett's top small business and entrepreneurs.

BIG Expo and Job Fair Presenting Sponsor Gwinnett Medical Center's President & CEO Phil Wolfe commented that as the leading hospital system in the region, they are proud to be serving as the presenting sponsor for the BIG Expo & Job Fair allowing Gwinnett Medical Center the opportunity to showcase this strong amenity for Gwinnett's small businesses and entrepreneurs.

"Gwinnett Medical Center is transforming healthcare in Gwinnett County and beyond by providing the highest quality care available," said Wolfe. "This quality healthcare is one of the many reasons why Gwinnett has an influx of businesses and entrepreneurs choosing to operate in Gwinnett."

After selling out last year, this year's show has expanded to feature more than 230 companies that will showcase everything today's business decision-maker needs to be successful in Gwinnett and around the globe. Gwinnett's top businesses will be looking for the best new employees. With the support of Presenting Sponsor Gwinnett Medical Center, this one-day event keeps participants on the competitive edge with networking and educational opportunities sure to make a positive difference in any business' bottom line.

Attendees will benefit from the best competitive shopping experience for their business and learn from some of the region's hottest business experts and authors. And best of all it's free and open to everyone.

Exhibit: An ideal way for Gwinnett companies to gain exposure for their company, exhibitors will have the unique opportunity to showcase their business to more than 7,500 potential clients and employees in special exhibition sections including technology, healthcare, education, hospitality, international, general business, and more.

Job Fair: Gwinnett's top companies will be in attendance to recruit qualified candidates for entry-level to upper-management positions. The BIG Expo gives recruiters and job seekers the perfect opportunity to connect.

Membership Luncheon: The day kicks off with a special General Membership Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. featuring Steve Penley, artist of the famous Ronald Reagan piece and author of "The Reconstruction of America."

Educational Solutions: Throughout the day, a series of seminars focus on the many aspects of doing business. In today's fast-paced competitive world, excellent business and personal skills are essential for survival. Learn proven strategies that will help you perform better on a daily basis by attending one or more of these interesting seminars.

Business After Hours: Held on the Exhibit Hall floor from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., this Business After Hours, sponsored by Proof of the Pudding, is one you do not want to miss. It's free, so come out, eat, drink and do business after hours.

Representing Gwinnett Medical Center at the BIG Expo & Job Fair, Gwinnett Medical Center Spokeswoman Andrea Wehrmann commented that as the presenting sponsor for the past three years, Gwinnett Medical Center is truly a testament for how a Gwinnett business is able to effectively promote community outreach, network and showcase their quality products and services to the business community face-to-face at the BIG Expo.

"This is more than an advertisement can buy you," said Wehrmann. "This is a chance not only for consumers to learn about the products and services in their backyard but a chance for your business to be part of the largest networking playing field during 2010."

As a past participant in the Expo Wehrmann conveyed that the overall atmosphere of the Expo when you walk through the doors is immediate high energy and business savvy enthusiasm. "This is the networking event of the year for local businesses and something you don't want to miss," said Wehrmann. "Please come join us at the 2010 BIG Expo, we look forward to seeing you there!"

For more information on the 2010 BIG Expo and Job Fair, visit

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gwinnett Chamber Announces 26th Class of Leadership Gwinnett

Leadership Gwinnett Class to Begin in August 2010

Duluth, GA- The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 26th class of Leadership Gwinnett beginning in August 2010. From the nearly 800 nominations received each year for the nine-month experience, Leadership Gwinnett alumni selected the final group of 36 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 36, many excellent candidates are not chosen on their first nomination. For this reason, we strongly encourage candidates to apply again if not selected," said Gail Macrenaris, director of leadership 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.

The 2010 – 2011 Leadership Gwinnett Class includes:

Barbara Bender, Hamilton Financial, CPA

Jody Campbell, Webb, Tanner, Powell, Mertz & Wilson, LLP

Dave Donnelly, Cardiovascular Group, PC

Samantha Dunn, Gwinnett Braves

Rich Edinger, Clark Patterson, Lee

Cheryl Fleetwood, New Mercies Christian Church

Inman Houston, Lawrenceville First Baptist Church

Amy Hutchins, Georgia Power Company

Matt Hyatt, Rocket IT

Asif Jessani, Complete Computer Solutions

Mark Landtroop, Margaret Will Holt Elementary School

Lanier Levett, Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Home & Crematory

Nick Masino, Gwinnett Chamber

Randy Meacham, Gwinnett Municipal Association

Suzanne Molock, Gwinnett Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Holly Moore, Growing Leaders

Spencer Murphy, BB&T

Bill Myers, Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services

Laine Nowell, Wachovia

Kevin O'Brien, Ameriprise Financial

Letycia Pastrana, Gwinnett Village Community Alliance

Kenneth Poe, Gwinnet County Human Resources Department

Ginger Powell, Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation

James Rayford, Gwinnett County Public Schools

Jon Richards, Site ROI, Inc.

Bill Rosenberg

Tom Savage, Gwinnett County Police Department

Victoria Seals, Gwinnett Technical College

Rebecca Spitler, Management Consulting

Charles Swain, Colliers Spectrum Cauble Management

Katie Sweeney, Gwinnett Federal Credit Union

Donald Swift, Andersen, Tate & Carr, PC

Victor Sze, Raymond James

Gwen Tatum, Shiloh High School

Regina Vella, Georgia Gwinnett College

Glen Williams, i9Sports


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Congratulations Gwinnett Medical Center!

As a proud supporter and friend of Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC), the Gwinnett Chamber would like to congratulate GMC on the groundbreaking of their Open Heart Center. Please join the Gwinnett Chamber in celebrating the new facility and its services that will save countless lives in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta by viewing GMC Foundation's video and sharing it with your friends and family. To view the video, visit, and click play on the "Boom Boom Heart" video.

Gwinnett Medical Center Breaks Ground for Open Heart Center

Lawrenceville, GA - Gwinnett Medical Center recently broke ground for its Heart & Vascular Center, which is slated to open in early 2012. More than 300 members of the community attended a groundbreaking celebration which featured presentations by Charles Bannister, Chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and Philip Wolfe, GMC's president and chief executive officer.

Thanks to an incredible outpouring of community support, GMC secured approval from the State to launch its open heart program in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett is the largest county in the nation without an open heart surgery program, causing hundreds of residents to have to travel outside of the area to receive vital cardiac care.

"As strong as we believed our application to the state was, we knew that we couldn't bring this vital service to Gwinnett without proving that this community not only needed, but demanded that Gwinnett Medical Center be able to offer comprehensive cardiac services that a community of this size requires," said Wolfe. "Now we can truly say that open heart is in our hands."

A dedicated 40,000 square foot facility is in development. This $33 million investment will ensure that the people of Gwinnett County have access to a complete range of cardiac services.

"This will be a state-of-the-art center, infusing the latest technologies," said Manfred Sandler, MD, director of cardiology at GMC. "For the professionals who will work here, it will be a dream. Physicians and staff have been involved in the planning and design process, and the result is the creation of facilities that are optimally configured - providing the best possible environment to focus on the task at hand."

While open heart surgery has been the focal point of the project, the program does encompass other advanced cardiovascular services, including coronary angioplasty and stenting procedures. These new services add to a well-respected cardiac program that includes an accredited chest pain center in the emergency department, a cardiac wellness program certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and a full range of cardiac diagnostic services.

The GMC Foundation is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $8 million to assist in funding the Heart & Vascular Center project. In honor of the groundbreaking, the Foundation created a video showcasing donors, associates and community leaders celebrating GMC's new Heart and Vascular Center.

"We hope the video will create awareness of GMC and the services provided at both hospitals, showcasing the excellent care provided by our system and the passion behind the bricks and mortar," said Jason Chandler, president of the GMC Foundation.

For information about making a donation to the Foundation or to view the video, visit

Friday, June 11, 2010

Get Face-to-Face with Your Customers at the BIG Expo & Job Fair

Companies looking for the perfect place to find leads, begin building strong business relationships and to close deals can look no further than the upcoming 2010 BIG Expo and Job Fair Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center on August 19 at the Gwinnett Center. Face-to-face is the best way to explain comprehensive information, to qualify leads and to clear up questions that might otherwise become insurmountable objections. After all, how many businesses have you sold without meeting the investor face-to-face?

According to a Forbes Insights study, "Business Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face," business executives overwhelmingly prefer face-to-face meetings with more than eight out of 10 saying they like in-person contact over virtual. The Forbes Insight study further revealed that those who prefer face-to-face meeting agree that they help build stronger, more meaningful relationships and give the ability to "read" another person along with greater social interaction.

"Our visitors are looking for a business opportunity. The Expo gives you the chance to sell them yours," said Melissa Britt, program & events manager, Gwinnett Chamber. The Expo is the perfect marketing channel for organizations offering business opportunities, franchises, licenses, advice or support services and investment opportunities.

Britt recommends that after purchasing a booth to start spreading the word about your participation in the Expo. "To achieve maximum results in terms of sales and business growth at the Expo, it is highly recommended for companies to begin preshow promotion as soon as possible," says Britt. "Most importantly make sure that your own customers know that you will be exhibiting."

By purchasing a booth for as little as $320, research has shown you are likely to generate 20 to 30 solid leads and display your product or service to more than 500 qualified prospects each hour.

For more information on purchasing a booth at the 2010BIG Expo and Job Fair, visit

Partnership Gwinnett Summit: Strong Vitals. Healthy Outlook.

With over 130 relocations and expansions accounting for over 7,500 jobs and over $360 million in capital investment since Partnership Gwinnett's inception, it is clear that the Gwinnett Chamber understands the essentials keeping its community vitals strong and what it takes to drive a healthy community and economic development initiative to promote jobs and wealth for Gwinnett and the Greater Atlanta community. On August 24th, T-Mobile will present the Partnership Gwinnett Summit where guests will learn about the key elements of a successful community and economic development plan – economic diversification and wealth creation, education and workforce excellence, quality of life enhancements, and marketing and outreach – and how Gwinnett is progressing in these areas.

"Gwinnett has become a powerhouse community for proactive economic development in metro Atlanta," commented Nick Masino, vice president of economic development, Gwinnett Chamber. "The Summit captures our collective success and drives our vision for the future, while providing an opportunity to recognize and thank all of those who make Partnership Gwinnett metro Atlanta's leader in community and economic development collaboration."

The Partnership Gwinnett Summit, which is an annual event, provides a unique opportunity to meet with leaders from both the public and private sectors guiding the economic and community development of Gwinnett. Panel presentations and discussions featuring leading local and state experts will address overall economic viability of Gwinnett County along with special sessions on workforce development, public policy, business recruitment strategy and more.

"Partnership Gwinnett provides a vehicle for affecting positive change in Gwinnett and the surrounding region while marketing to the world all that Gwinnett has to offer," said Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister. "As other companies around the country and the world think about where they want to be in the 21st century, you'd better believe Gwinnett County is higher on their lists than ever before."

Partnership Gwinnett unveils its annual report at the Summit every year touting the community's achievements in business development, education and workforce, quality of life and marketing.

Some of this year's highlights will include:

  • The relocation of two large corporate headquarters in less than a year with Asbury Automotive and NCR
  • Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation was recognized as the number one park agency in the nation receiving the coveted Grand Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management from the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration
  • The launch of a regional comprehensive entrepreneurial development initiative, the Metro Atlanta Council for Entrepreneurship, attracting more than 380 small businesses to the program. Its goals are to identify, enable and promote all innovative, high-growth, high-impact companies and to foster and accelerate the region's entrepreneurial culture
  • After three years of coming close to achieving the top legislative priority, transportation, for the Gwinnett Chamber/Partnership Gwinnett Legislative Agenda, the Georgia General
  • Assembly voted to allow referendums throughout the state on transportation funding. The historical legislation, recently signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue, creates 12 regional districts across the state (including Gwinnett in the ARC region). "Regional roundtables" comprised of local elected officials (Chairs and a Mayor from each county) will develop a project list to be voted on by citizens in the 2012 general primary and be funded by a one penny sales tax.

Commenting on the Partnership Gwinnett Summit, Ann Brooks, spokesperson, T-Mobile, said that they are thrilled to be partnering again with the Gwinnett Chamber in presenting the Summit. "Wireless technology is an integral part of the 21st century and economic development," said Brooks. "We are looking forward to highlighting wireless as an essential element of economic development to Gwinnett and metro Atlanta's leaders at the Partnership Gwinnett Summit."

With the support of investors and partners, like you, we are connecting Gwinnett with the world and creating an even higher standard of excellence than ever before! With more than 200 business, community and elected leaders, the Partnership Gwinnett Summit on August 24th from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Gwinnett Technical College, is the perfect opportunity to get involved and build connections to strengthen your organization. For sponsorship and registration information, contact Lindsay Myers at 678-957-4944 or

Let’s Do Business Gwinnett

By: Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO Jim Maran

There is an estimated $20 million dollars in daily business that is currently being lost to companies outside of Gwinnett specifically, but also Metro Atlanta.

Our ultimate goal for the "Let's Do Business Gwinnett" Economic Stimulus Plan is to change that statistic by affecting a shift in local business-to-business and government-to-business purchasing so that five percent of the amount now spent outside the Gwinnett area is returned to our local community.

According to similar programs in comparable counties/regions, if we can achieve just a five percent shift in purchasing, that could mean as much as $1 million dollars each day or $365 million dollars each year that will impact our local economy. That's more than $1.8 billion dollars pumped back into our local economy in five years.

We'll do this by increasing public awareness about the advantages of buying from local businesses and promoting area businesses.

We hope to not only improve the bottom line for these businesses, but also improve the local economy overall and create a sustainable future for our community.

We are asking businesses and local governments to take a look at their purchasing habits and seek out-of-area purchases they could potentially bring back into the local area. Doing so makes our community and region a better place to live by creating a stronger economy for our businesses.

Here's how it works. We've created a simple five step plan that anyone can use to make it happen. First, go to and visit the "Do It Ourself" page.

Step One… Agree to Participate:
Commit to review your company's out-of-area spending and consider, where possible, to return a portion to Gwinnett County. Fill out the online form.

Step Two… Hit the Books:
Pinpoint dollars your company sends out of our area and look for a niche. It might be products, services, consumables like office supplies or printed materials, or items unique to your business.

Step Three… Check for Partners:
Use our directory of Pledged Companies or use the Gwinnett Chamber's online directory to find companies in the Gwinnett and Metro Atlanta area offering anything you need, or call us directly for assistance: 770-232-3000. We'll help you find a partner. Or two, or three…

Step Four… "Let's Do Business"
If you can get it locally, and it meets your needs, your standards, your price, why not buy here? Companies in Gwinnett County may not have everything you need, but they might have some of it. Contact them and start doing business today.

Step Five...Tell Us:
Get some recognition for your hard work. Tell us how you were able to identify out of the area purchases, to bring back to the Gwinnett County. Or tell us how you were able to help a company bring back dollars to our region by providing a new service or product to meet their needs. Tell us when you had to hire a new employee because of a new customer. Submit your story online.

That's it. Simple. Direct. But impactful. Again, if we can achieve just a five percent shift in purchasing, that could be $1 million each day or more than $1.8 billion dollars pumped back into our local economy in five years.

As this money moves through the community it 'multiplies' and could result in significant job growth jobs. The impact—at only five percent—would be overwhelming.

In closing, this campaign enriches our tax base and boosts sales tax revenue while improving public services, streets, schools, parks and playgrounds, expanding business, attracting businesses, and creating jobs. Ultimately that means lower taxes for everyone without jeopardizing important services.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Chamber gives back! Join us on June 4th at an all-day clean-up of McDaniel Farm Park

Join Us!
The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Network Gwinnett invite you to join us at
The Chamber Gives Back!

An all-day clean-up of McDaniel Farm Park, a 130-acre park located at 3251 McDaniel Road, Duluth 30096, near Old Norcross Road and Gwinnett Place Mall. You only need to bring/wear work clothes and bring garden gloves. The park staff will furnish all other equipment. There are picnic grounds, so you are welcome to bring your lunch and eat in the pavilion.

When: June 4, 2010, 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Come whenever you can during this time

Where: 3251 McDaniel Road, Duluth 30096

What: Clean up, paint up, and fix up

Why: An opportunity to give back to the community

For more information, contact Pat Brannon - or (770) 232-8817.

Click here to download the flyer.