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.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Rachel to Support Gwinnett's Business and Community Leaders by Providing Quality Programs and Services

Duluth, GA – The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has announced the addition of Rachel Bartz as its new programs and events manager. Rachel, who has proven event planning and program management skills, comes to Gwinnett from the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins where she served as event coordinator for the past three years.

As the programs and events manager, Rachel will oversee Drugs Don't Work, Gwinnett's Leadership Organization for Women (GLOW), Human Resource Management Association (HRMA), and Metro Atlanta Council for Entrepreneurship (MACE). Through these programs, Rachel will support the overall mission of the Chamber in creating, promoting, and sustaining a responsible pro-business environment by providing quality programs for Gwinnett County's business and community leaders.

Rachel is enthusiastically charged and has ambitious goals for her involvement with the Chamber.

"In an effort to meet the business and leadership needs of our members, I plan to provide the highest of quality programs and support so that our member businesses can achieve success," Rachel said.

Rachel brings strong operational and management skills to this position. During her tenure at the Museum of Aviation, Rachel coordinated over 2,000 events at the museum ranging from large tradeshows, Hall of Fame banquets, golf tournaments, wedding receptions, and military ceremonies.

Rachel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in public relations and a minor in rhetoric from Georgia College and State University. While in college, Rachel was an active member of the University Student Ambassador Program where she served as vice president and was very involved in Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Greek Panhellenic Board, Dance Marathon Charity and the Orientation Leader Team for new freshman.

"The Gwinnett Chamber is pleased to welcome Rachel Bartz as its newest team member," said Alicia Krogh, director of executive affairs & programs, Gwinnett Chamber. "Rachel, with her event planning knowledge and proven track record of success, will serve Gwinnett's business community well."


Friday, May 21, 2010


Homeowners, Homebuyers, Local Businesses, Construction, Real Estate Markets to be Biggest Winners with Projected $1 Billion Impact

Duluth, GA- Leaders from Georgia's second largest county aren't waiting around for the economy to recover. On the heels of a string of recent economic development successes and announcements, Gwinnett County's public and private sector leaders today launched "Let's Do Business Gwinnett," an unprecedented economic stimulus plan for Gwinnett County designed to assist homeowners, small businesses, and the construction and real estate industries by stabilizing housing prices and stimulating local consumer, business and public sector spending. If successful, Gwinnett County could benefit from a potential economic impact of more than $1 billion to the local economy over the next five years.

At a press conference held in a half vacant new residential development all too familiar in communities across the nation, leaders from the Gwinnett Chamber, the Gwinnett Housing Authority, Gwinnett County and City Governments, Gwinnett County Public Schools and The Impact! Group described the stimulus plan as an unprecedented effort being undertaken by the public and private sectors in Gwinnett County to stabilize housing prices and stimulate consumer, business and public sector spending.

The initiative is focused on two key elements:

Increased Spending on Residential Property and Vacant Lots in Gwinnett

Gwinnett County government, banks, mortgage companies, the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, the Impact! Group, and the Gwinnett Housing Authority have collaborated on a package that essentially "continues" a similar version of the federal homebuyer tax incentives that expired April 30 for homes and lots purchased in Gwinnett County. They include:

  • Approximately $5,000 down payment incentive for new constructed homes priced up to $205,000.
  • Through a coalition of Gwinnett banks (The Brand Banking Co., Independence Bank of GA, Legacy State Bank, Piedmont Bancorp, Gwinnett Community Bank, Quantum Bank), special financing and products are being offered that homebuyer's can't get anywhere else in the market. The program is also open to other banks' participation. These products include:

    • 6.49% financing, on select homes, for borrowers needing time to improve credit.
    • Special low-interest loans for select houses as low as 3.49% for homes purchased in Gwinnett.
  • Encouraging local governments to spur rapid absorption of existing inventory of empty, existing residential lots.

Leaders believe the short and long-term result will be an increased demand for Gwinnett properties resulting in a reduction of empty lots, distressed properties, and available homes with limited buyers. The move should also stabilize lot and home values; increase consumer spending and jobs for the residential home industry (construction, sales, financing); increase home values; and lower taxes through increased tax digest for city, county, and school services.

"Three years ago anyone who wanted to buy a house could do so, but today there are people who would like to own and can afford a home but cannot get qualified because of the tight credit markets," says 2010 Gwinnett Chamber Chairman and The Brand Banking Company CEO Bartow Morgan. "We have too much of a supply of residential lots in Gwinnett County and until the supply is gone all home prices will remain depressed. Our ultimate goal through these residential stimulus measures is to help stabilize and increase house values for all homeowners."

Increased Private and Public Sector Spending in Gwinnett

The second component of the plan is a campaign in response to the estimated $20 million in daily business that is being lost to companies outside of Gwinnett specifically, but also Metro Atlanta. The campaign exists to encourage all Gwinnett businesses and local governments to consider buying from Gwinnett businesses before buying outside the county and region. Under the new program, participating companies can go to and pledge to examine their books and work to shift a portion of their out-of-Gwinnett spending back to Gwinnett.

According to similar programs in comparable counties/regions, if the "Let's Do Business Gwinnett" program can achieve a five percent shift in purchasing, that could mean as much as approximately $1 million each day or $365 million each year that will impact Gwinnett County's economy. As this money moves through the community it 'multiplies' and would also result in significant job growth.

"The impact—at only five percent—would be overwhelming and enrich our tax base while improving public services, streets, schools, parks and playgrounds, expanding business, attracting businesses, and creating jobs," says Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO Jim Maran. "We hope to improve the bottom line for Gwinnett's businesses by encouraging local businesses and 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."

"When communities and neighbors work together for the common good, everybody wins – local businesses, employees, citizens and County government. I encourage all Gwinnett citizens to make a conscious effort to do business locally," says Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister.

The long-term overall impact could be significant and far-reaching. Leaders say if all of the predicted benefits are realized, Gwinnett County could potentially see more than $1 billion in economic impact and significant job growth created over the next five years through these actions.

To learn more, visit


Monday, May 10, 2010

Network Gwinnett: What Networking is All About

Most people think networking is all about collecting as many business cards and meeting as many people as possible at any given business event. This couldn't be farther from the truth according to a few of the Gwinnett Chamber's expert networkers and frequent attendees of the Chamber's signature networking event, Network Gwinnett.

Network Gwinnett is a networking group of Gwinnett Chamber members designed to build relationships, support professional development, and develop lead-generating affiliations. This is the perfect opportunity to work with like-minded professionals who wish to grow their business and their network by meeting new people in new industries.

With a little bit of practice and the right frame of mind, networking can become a fun way to form new relationships and develop professionally and personally while growing your business. Whether you are new to networking or need a refresher course, the following tips will help networking become a successful business tactic for you:

1. Be a good listener. Martin Birkbeck with American Family Insurance says that too many people look at networking as part of the presentation portion of the sales cycle. "Networking is part of the prospecting process. When you are networking you should be prospecting for clients, referral sources, vendors and suppliers," says Martin. "The key to making that process a successful one is to be a good listener. By being a good listener it will help you identify and prequalify the right people to spend time with. Listening also allows you to connect people looking to achieve similar objectives. By actively seeking to connect people you will also be strengthening your role as someone with whom people want to network."

2. Don't approach your introduction as a pitch. Kathy Smart with International Business Academies of Learning says that by telling people what you do most of the time shuts people down right away. Instead, Kathy recommends sharing what you want people to know most about YOU and not WHAT you do but who you are as a person. Kathy says to approach your introduction not as a pitch – people want to buy but don't want to be sold. "By sharing what your customers enjoy about doing business with you will leave the audience wanting more or at least with a clear impression of who you are as a person and what value you offer to a potential customer," says Kathy. "This will open the door for more customers and good referrals in the future."

3. Attend a variety of events to meet a variety of people. Although Network Gwinnett is a great place to start, Ann LaFavor with LaFavor, Etc. recommends attending a variety of Gwinnett Chamber events to give you an advantage over competitors. "Every meeting is an opportunity to get your business increased visibility," says Ann. "For example, a cleaning service may feel the Chamber's Gwinnett Technology Forum isn't for them, but by attending the Tech Forum they will be in the room with up to 100 businesses that more than likely need cleaning services. When you attend the Tech Forum you will meet a different target market other than the ones you interact with at Network Gwinnett."

4. Sometimes less is more. Al Brown with Group, LLC has a memorable analogy to help in networking situations. "Do not act like a DOG, jumping on everyone in the room. Instead, talk and listen to individuals and think about how you might be able to help them. Spend more time talking about their business than yours. Act like a CAT and select a few people to talk with at events. If you go to a meeting with 100 people, plan to talk to only six to eight new people per hour."

5. Be worth recommending. Melanie Morgan with advises to spend much of your networking time learning about others and trying to connect good people together. "At the same time, be worth recommending by always striving to do your best work honorably. This winning combination will grow your business and your life," says Melanie.

Try out these networking tips at Network Gwinnett, held at the Gwinnett Chamber every Thursday from 7:30 am – 9 am and Friday from 10:30 am – noon. Members of the Chamber can expose their business to over 150 businesses each week at no cost.

Each Network Gwinnett meeting begins with a seven-minute presentation from a member. The presentation schedule rotates among members who are active in Network Gwinnett and have attended for at least three months. Ambassadors act as facilitators for the meetings.

After the presentation, each participant will be given the opportunity to introduce him or herself and their business to the group. Depending on the size of the group, introductions range from 20-45 seconds. After the introductions, participants will then state what a good "lead" is for them. After everyone has been introduced, the attendees will then report on how many leads were passed, works in progress and sales closed from the previous week's activities. There is also ample time to meet and greet before and after the meetings.

For information on how Network Gwinnett can help to market your business, contact Gwinnett Chamber Senior Manager of Membership Services, Kim Jones at 770-232-8805 or

Sustainability Summit: Better Practices, Better Business, Better Bottom Line

In this economic downturn, cutting costs can be crucial, now more than ever. One way to reduce costs, while impacting the greater good, is through sustainability. On May 11th, the Chamber's Economic Development Council will present the Second Annual Sustainability Summit, held at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., where participants can learn how sustainability through energy efficiency can make economic sense and improve companies' bottom lines.

Greater Atlanta's top sustainability experts will be speaking at the forum including Tom LaForge, director of knowledge and insights, The Coca Cola Company; Dennis Baxter, support services, Gwinnett County; Connie Wiggins, Director, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful; Dan Loudermilk, sustainable systems engineer, GA-DNR; Bradley Griffin, VP-Operations, Russell Landscape Group Inc.; and Dennis Daniel, director of facilities and global securities, Merial. Southface Executive Director and Co-Founder, Dennis Creech will provide the keynote luncheon address.

Commenting on what participants will learn from the speakers, Lauren Salas, business development manager, Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, said that attendees will be the first to hear about the growing Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability movement (LOHAS) and how Gwinnett County continues to take the lead on becoming more sustainable.

"Business leaders will also share how sustainability through energy efficiency, landfill avoidance and water conservation can make economic sense and improve companies' bottom line," said Salas. "Participants will leave the forum with the knowledge of how other companies have implemented successful sustainability policies as well as an understanding of how their own company can use these same best practices to become more sustainable."

For more information and to register for the Second Annual Sustainability Summit, visit Participants holding a Georgia real estate license will receive four (4) CEU credits for attending this event. Display tables are available for purchase at this event. For more information, contact Lindsay Myers at 678-957-4944 or The event is sponsored by Platinum Sponsor: One Sugarloaf Centre and Gold BOMA-Atlanta, Jackson EMC, and California Pizza Kitchen and Silver sponsors Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, Allgood Pest Solutions, Georgia Power, Swedish American Chamber of Commerce-Georgia.