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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Chairman Nash to Give Community's Outlook at May 18 Joint Meeting

Duluth, GA- The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Quality Growth will be hosting Gwinnett County Board of Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash and the Board of Commissioners for the annual State of the County Address Presented by Gas South on March 18, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Center. Attendees will have the chance to hear the Chairman's vision for the county in 2011.

"Gwinnett County continues to be a leader in infrastructure development, quality of life and economic development. I look forward to Chairman Nash's outlook as she leads Gwinnett to a robust and prosperous 2011," said Michael Paris, president and CEO, Council for Quality Growth.

With the election of Gwinnett's newest leader, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash, come new beginnings and new outlooks for 2011 and 2012. The May 18th annual State of the County Address will offer Gwinnett business and community leaders the opportunity to get to know the newest leader of Gwinnett's local government, Chairman Charlotte Nash.

During her 27-year career with Gwinnett County, Charlotte Nash worked as a Grants Manager/Accountant, Budget Manager, Finance Director/Chief Financial Officer and County Administrator. She managed 24 annual budgets and implemented capital budgeting and long-term financial planning processes. Her leadership was instrumental in gaining the coveted AAA/Aaa ratings from the three major bond rating agencies.

"Gwinnett County is in an exciting time with a future that is promising and hopeful. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is working hard to create and maintain prosperity," said Jim Maran, president and CEO, Gwinnett Chamber.

"We are pleased to welcome and hear Chairman Nash speak at the State of the County Address."

For more information on the State of the County Address, visit


About the Gwinnett Chamber
Named one of the top three metro chambers in the United States by ACCE, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's membership varies from FORTUNE 1,000 companies to innovative startups, and stretches across the Atlanta region, from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to UGA in Athens. Representing more than 7,200 members from more than 2,500 firms, the Gwinnett Chamber is the Southeast's 6th largest chamber and focuses on creating and growing quality job opportunities while enhancing the community's quality of life.

About the Council for Quality Growth
Now in its 26th year, the Council for Quality Growth promotes balanced and responsible growth through the platforms of advocacy, information and education. The Council addresses strategic economic development, planning and infrastructure needs as well as tough quality-of-life issues. The Council is proactively involved in the formulation of policy and legislation critical to economic development and represents its members on local, regional, state and federal issues.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Great American Cleanup: Join the Gwinnett Chamber in Making Gwinnett America’s Greenest and Cleanest Community!

Thousands of citizens will join Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and get in the saddle and "giddy up" to make Gwinnett America's Greenest and Cleanest community. The first step towards achieving this goal is to participate in Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup, the nation's largest community improvement program.

The 2011 Great American Cleanup is reminding families and businesses that a greener and cleaner environment for us all starts in our own back yards. Giddy up for green and get involved! Beginning March 15, any interested local community groups and organizations can look in their own backyards for a project or visit and select a Great American Cleanup activity. All projects must be completed between March 15 and May 15 to compete for cash prizes. Prizes will be awarded based on the biggest transformation and impact on the community.

For more than 30 years, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has inspired the caretakers of our futureby building strategic alliances among citizens, businesses, civic organizations and government that motivate everybody to roll up their sleeves and produce real results on the ground, where it counts.

"Communities that are clean and cared for help deter crime and keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. Our organization is pleased to announce the Gwinnett Chamber as a strategic partner for our program", said Bartow Morgan, chair, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.

"The Gwinnett Chamber is pleased to support this effort," said Jim Maran, president & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. "Green and sustainable communities provide a solid quality of life essential to business growth and recruitment. It is imperative to Gwinnett's long-term stability that we strive toward a greener and cleaner environment."

The Gwinnett Chamber will be participating in the Great American Cleanup by holding an all-day cleanup of Shorty Howell Park in Duluth on Friday, May 13. Chamber members are invited to join the Gwinnett Chamber to "play in the dirt" and give back to the community. Participants only need to bring/wear work clothes and bring garden gloves. The park staff will furnish the rest. There are picnic grounds, so it is encouraged that participants bring their lunch and eat in the pavilion. For more information, contact Pat Brannon at 770-232-88017 or Click here to register online.

In addition to participating in the Gwinnett Chamber's cleanup efforts, Chamber members and local organizations and businesses are encouraged to participate in their own cleanup efforts. A list of project activities can be found at www.

To get more information and download an application packet and report results, interested groups should visit

HOW TO Participate in the Great American Cleanup : Gwinnett Challenge!

The Great American Cleanup is the nation's largest annual community improvement program. Put a paintbrush in your holster, and make a difference in your community. Your work could win you cash prizes!

Take the reins

1. Get in the saddle: Choose at least one activity from the Great American Activity List

2. Head 'em up, move 'em out: Collect volunteers and resources

3. Don't stop kickin' till the clock stops tickin': Conduct your project by May 15, 2011

4. The round-up: Share your results! Submit a post-project summary by May 25, 2011 with 5-10 digital before and after pictures

5. Hi-yo, Silver!: Compete for cash prizes

What projects are elegible?

• City Slickers Need Forests Too (tree planting and care)

• Giddy-up for Green (beautification)

• Litter, there ain't room in this town for the two of us (litter


• Holler at the Squalor (dumpsite cleanups)

• Graffiti's a Goner (graffiti eradication)

• Recycling Round-up

• Neaten Up Your Neck of the Woods (neighborhood


Take our suggestion, or create your own project. So much to do, so get along lil' doggie!

What groups are eligible?

• Neighborhood or Tenant Associations

• School Groups

• Civic Groups

• Scout Groups

• Athletic Groups

• Churches

What are the prizes?

• Seven $500 cash prizes awarded! (1 in each of 7 categories)

• One winner will be chosen out of each category by a

Selection Committee

• Prizes are awarded based on the biggest transformation and

impact on the community

• Winning entries will be posted on GC&B website


Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Services, Inc.

Connie Wiggins, Executive Director

Phone: 770.822.5187


2011Pinnacle Awards recognize leaders in growth, innovation and community support

The Pinnacle Small Business Awards Presented by Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) are among the Chamber's most prestigious awards. The celebration recognized both emerging companies as well as companies that have exhibited a substantial history as an established business.

Commdex Consulting, LLC Owner Prince Niyyar was awarded the 2011 Overall Gwinnett Small Business Person of the Year Award and was also the winner of Gwinnett's Small Business Person of the Year for the 10 - 99 employee category at the Gwinnett Chamber's Pinnacle Small Business Awards Luncheon on April 29. Additional Small Business Persons of the Year Awards were presented to Mark and Anne Lackey with Atlanta Housing Source at Solid Source Realty for the 1 – 9 employee category and Teddy Russell with Russell Landscape Group, Inc. for the 100+ employee category. Twenty-two additional small businesses were also awarded Pinnacle Awards and named among the prestigious "Pinnacle Top 25" for demonstrating extraordinary growth and contributions to the community.

"These risk-takers, innovators, and givers are the ones who create jobs and provide much-needed services for our community, leading to a better quality of life for everyone," said Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO Jim Maran. "These are the leaders who are laying the foundation for a bright future full of hopes, dreams and opportunities. For this, these small business owners and non-profits deserve to be recognized and celebrated."

The companies honored at the luncheon were selected from hundreds of nominations and from 50 finalists as Gwinnett's Top 25 Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners. Companies were selected based on steady and above average growth and profitability, growth in number of employees, contributions to the community, overcoming adversity, original entrepreneurship and more, as defined by the Small Business Administration for their statewide and national awards. Commdex Consulting, LLC, Atlanta Housing Source at Solid Source Realty, and Russell Landscape Group, Inc. scored the highest combined scores in their respective employee categories.

From those three winners, Commdex Consulting came away with the highest scores overall, winning Gwinnett's Overall Small Business Person of the Year, and will go on to compete as Georgia's Small Business Person of the Year.

The Gwinnett Chamber and Presenting Sponsor AJC also recognized Gwinnett's top non-profit organizations, whose generous and inspiring efforts can be seen and felt throughout Gwinnett. Receiving the Pinnacle Non-Profit Awards are the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia for the top small non-profit category, Annandale Village for the top mid-size nonprofit category, and Hi-Hope Service Center for the top large non-profit category. The non-profits honored at the luncheon were selected based on board of directors strength; staying power; growth in employees/volunteers and budget; innovation of service; response to adversity; and overall contribution to the community.

A new addition to the ceremony, the Pacesetter Award, was presented to Brand Mortgage Group, LLC. In a time of economic uncertainty, the recipient of the first-ever Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Pacesetter Award raced past its competition -- displaying innovative practices and determination. The ability to grow at a record-setting pace while maintaining focus and providing a quality service has allowed this year's pacesetter, Brand Mortgage, to overcome adversity and stand out in a crowd.

The Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners

Commdex Consulting, LLC - Overall Small Business Person of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year (10 - 99 employee category)
Starting with a personal investment of only $2500, Prince Niyyar, owner of Commdex Consulting, LLC has kept his company debt free since its inception in 2001. Commdex – a wireless systems integrator specializing in design and implementation of wireless solutions – is a true American entrepreneurial success story starting with Prince coming to American from his native India with only a few dollars in his pocket. What is truly admirable is his determination in overcoming the challenges of a language barrier, lack of capital and a business network to grow a vibrant business that made the Inc 500 list of "Fastest Growing Companies in the Nation" in 2010.

Atlanta Housing Source at Solid Source Realty - Small Business Person of the Year (1 – 9 employees)
In what most people and news outlets portray as a "bad time for home sales," Atlanta Housing Source at Solid Source Realty continues to excel and perform in the top of their industry with caring service that is second to none. Husband and wife team Mark and Anne Lackey are growing their real estate company in a down market by employing agents with servant hearts enabling them to respond to the many people who are underwater on their mortgages and find solutions for them so that they can move forward with their lives. By serving individuals one at a time, the Lackey's grew their company by an astounding 76.8 percent in 2010.

Russell Landscape Group, Inc. - Small Business Person of the Year (100+ employee category)
Over the past couple of years, the landscape industry was hit with increasingly high gas prices, employment challenges, and traffic issues. With only one operational location in Gwinnett, Russell Landscape Group - a 24 year old family-owned and managed commercial landscape company – was at a crossroads with large expenses in gas and labor sitting in trucks slowly moving through metro Atlanta traffic. While other companies were cutting back expenses, Russell Landscape Group was busy expanding to three different locations in metro Atlanta to reduce gas and labor costs. This strategy was proven successful with revenues over $20 million and listed in the top three landscape companies in metro Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Jodi Pierce, owner of AlphaGraphics, which provides digital and offset printing as well as design services and large format printing, prides herself in working with clients by helping them to understand their job and how to most cost effectively produce the job. By taking the time to teach clients design related issues for the benefits of the client's business and by looking at the client's bottom line on an expense and revenue side, Jodi's company achieved an impressive 20 percent growth rate in 2010.

American Painting & Renovations, Inc.
Almost two decades have passed since Sid Theus began doing business as a small local paint contractor. Since those early days, hard work, a clear vision and planning has allowed American Painting & Renovations – offering a wide variety of renovation services for the multi-family and commercial industries – to grow into a nationally recognized renovation contractor. When most construction companies were closing their doors, American Painting & Renovations' forward thinking, comprehensive planning, innovative cost cutting measures, and aggressive new marketing strategies has allowed the company to weather the economic storm.

ASK Staffing, Inc.
ASK Staffing's belief that innovation happens every day, and even more so in tough times, helped them throough some of the worst years in the history of the staffing industry. Through their belief in innovations and past experiences, ASK Staffing made strategic plans to target government clients. With a handful of current state and local government clients, ASK Staffing assembled a team of experts allowing them to win nine additional state clients and several local government clients. This combined with efforts to position ASK staffing to assist with a few Fortune 500 companies has allowed for ongoing growth even in tough times.

Atlanta Flooring Design Centers, Inc.
Atlanta Flooring Design Centers identified and seized a unique opportunity that presented itself to grow the business in a time when virtually all construction related companies suffered losses. By servicing multiple market segments and developing a flooring and cabinet solution, Atlanta Flooring saw a sales increase of 42 percent and a job growth increase of 44 percent followed by a sales growth of 30 percent and a job growth increase of 18 percent in 2010. With unprecedented growth, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers is looking to continue to grow outside of metro Atlanta as their existing customers demand their service in other markets.

Atlanta Special Events, Inc.
For over 25 years, Lori O'Brien has provided a full-service, one-stop corporate event production company servicing the entire southeast through her company Atlanta Special Events, Inc. She wows her clients through unique events like their "Party in a Parking Lot" that allows companies to hold employee appreciation events during the work day guaranteeing 100 percent participation while still getting in a half day of work. Their unique events combined with their ability to think outside of the box allowed Atlanta Special Events to make it through a few tough years while seeing a profitable 2010 with a growth rate of 43 percent.

Bardi Mechanical/Bardi Heating & Air
Alex Bardi, owner of Bardi Heating & Air will be the first to admit that there's nothing sexy about ducts, filters and sheet metal. All customers really want is a dependable, provider who installs, services and guarantees their work at a fair price. Understanding this, Bardi Heating & Air decided they must be unique in other ways. They found it by partnering with The Tommy Nobis Center in their electronic recycling program. Through their combined efforts Bardi proudly announces that Recycletronics has moved out of the Tommy Nobis headquarters into a 150,000 square foot facility of its own.

Bella Fiore' Salon, LLC
At Bella Fiore' Salon, owners Marla Peoples and Jennifer Sewell work hard to set themselves apart from the competition by giving each of their guests an experience that will make them feel special and appreciated. From greeting each client by name as often as possible when they come in, setting up the salon so that everyone can see what is going on at anytime, to making follow-up calls to each new guest, Bella Fiore creates an experience that makes them stand out earning the salon the Best of Gwinnett in 2009 and 2010 for Best Hair Salon by Gwinnett Magazine.

Cornerstone Financial Partners, LLC
As a financial services company with core values of prudent capital growth and asset protection, Cornerstone Financial Partners, LLC, had a significant challenge of helping clients understand the concerns about stock market at the end of 2007. With a decision of holding cash and not investing, as the year progressed in 2008, Cornerstone's prudence paid off in spades. In March 2009 Cornerstone made another poignant decision to enter the market and as luck would have it, they couldn't have picked a better time. By removing greed from the equation, Cornerstone accomplished prudent growth strategies for their clients while establishing a significant level of trust that will ensure success now and into the future.

Direct Technologies, Inc.
Owners of Direct Technologies, Inc. David Jacobson and Brett Coltman have seen much success in their 17 year old digital printer and letter shop service provider. One of their most significant accomplishments includes being listed among the 5000 fastest growing private companies in American – as represented by the Inc. 5000 list for four years running. They have achieved growth even when their competitors were closing their doors because of their cost efficiency and quick response.

E2E Resources
Raymer Sale began E2E Resources with one employee and zero dollars in revenue while operating from his bedroom. In the past 18 years, Raymer has grown his insurance agency that provides employee benefits, risk management, personal line, insurance, and human resource services to an organization of 17 full time and part time employees. By making adjustments to protect the company and every employee, E2E survived the economic downturn and is proudly able to make a positive contribution to the local economy while providing a safe and positive work environment.

Everdry Roofing, Inc.
While most companies in Everdry Roofing's industry struggled to keep their doors open, Owner Jamie Scuka expanded her company into commercial roof work, leak protection, and low slope maintenance. In addition to fighting a bad economy, Everydry combated negative press that the roofing industry received in 2010 while maintaining their debt free philosophy in growing their business and commitment to continuing their corporate sponsorship of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Green Financial Resources, LLC
Roger Green, owner of Green Financial Resources, has been building his business one client at a time since 1987. During this time Roger has serviced over 1800 clients as he has no minimum asset requirements and is willing to provide assistance to all who request it. Being a part of one of the leading fields impacted by the recent economic downturn, Green Financial Resources' overall business results remain strong and continue to recover. Roger projected last year that they would pace over $3 million, and they did. Roger is anticipating further growth in 2011 to their highest level in the history of the company.

Gwinnett Foot, Ankle & Leg Center
For over 32 years, Dr. Louis Jimenez has owned and operated Gwinnett Foot, Ankle & Leg Center. With his son and daughter joining the team as podiatrists, they have created a family atmosphere where patients immediately feel welcome. Over 30,000 patients have experienced this personal touch through birthday, thank you, and sympathy cards in addition to the occasional flowers that are sent to patients "just to make their day." Extending their family care through charitable works, the Jimenez family has participated in mission trips to Russia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico where they address severe foot and ankle deformities in children.

HealthCare Partners
After consecutive years of fast growth in a down market where HealthCare Partners focused on metrics and numbers, owners Rutherford and Rhonda Polhill intentionally decided to focus on a "care" message. With help from their executive team HealthCare Partners, which provides qualified physicians and physician extenders, discovered their company's purpose – "We care for you so you can care for others." This philosophy has proved a successful one as Healthcare Partners saw a 24 percent growth rate in 2010.

Lloyd Pro Group, Inc.
James Lloyd, owner of the insurance agency Lloyd Pro Group, proudly boasts that his employees set his company apart from the competition. James proclaims that his employees work hard to make sure that the customer experience is "Raving Fan" worthy. In addition, their partnership with Nationwide further sets themselves apart from the rest by allowing Lloyd Pro Group to deliver the best insurance products for the best price.

McMahan's Sartorial Clothing
McMahan's Sartorial Clothing has over 300 competitors in the state of Georgia, but there are only three tailors in the entire state that hand draw each pattern, hand cut fabric and hand sew each garment. Owner Travis Giles stands out from the rest by offering a truly custom made, hand sewn garment that is the best value in the industry. Because of this, for over nine years Travis has helped business professionals all over Gwinnett and metro Atlanta make a good first impression.

North American Bioproducts Corporation
Founded in 2001 by Kevin Dailey, North American Bioproducts which produces quality fermentation products for fuel, beverage and industrial alcohol producers, has grown from $250,000 in annual sales to $15 million for 2010 with growth projections in excess of 11 percent in 2011. They have extended their product sales to include 10 countries and have grown from one employee to 27 for 2010 with projections of 30 plus employees in 2011. By becoming more than an ordinary vendor and employer, Bioproducts has become a place where employees want to come to work and a value-added business partner that provides a consistent product and industry leading technical services.

Paradigm Security Services, Inc.
Paradigm Security Services mission statement, "Superior Security Services Through Superior Training" has led them to a profitable business of providing professionally trained security officers and patrol services. By going above and beyond the mandatory training required by the state of Georgia and investing in a higher level of personal and professional training, Paradigm is able to provide a superior service at no additional charge to the client.

Prosthetic Care, Inc. or ProCare, a medical practice providing prosthetic devices for upper and lower extremities for amputees, goes above and beyond the call of duty for its patients. One of many examples of their care and compassion is the development of the C.A.R.E. Initiative. Under this program, referring physicians are informed that, whenever possible, ProCare would like to begin seeing patients before the scheduled amputation. This program has resulted in shorter hospital stays and faster rehabilitation saving considerable medical expenses. Through programs like C.A.R.E., has seen a consistent sales growth of over 20 percent for each of the past three year.

Rocket IT
Matt Hyatt started Rocket IT – a full-service technology management and support company - when he just 25 years old. Having just been laid off from another job, having no entrepreneurial experience, and no money in his pockets, Matt relied on his positive attitude to get his idea and company off the ground. This positive attitude has kept Matt's business running for over 16 years and enabled him to embrace change to meet market conditions. Most recently, Rocket IT changed to become a mission critical technology partner with each client contributing to a nearly 14 percent growth rate in 2010.

U.S. GreenSource Corp.
U.S. GreenSource Corporation designs and builds "Solar Hybrid Roofscapes" for Gwinnett's eco-friendly homes. Their product is truly unique compared to asphalt architectural shingles in that their product helps to reduce petroleum consumption and dependency, pollution, household energy costs and homeowner's insurance rates. And to top it off, their products are 100 percent made in America. With just two years under their belt, U.S. GreenSource is leading Gwinnett's future for residential solar roofing systems.

Wealth Horizon, Inc.
When the market is going up, everyone is happy. When the market isn't, Jerri Hewett, owner of Wealth Horizon, Inc., knows that clients' emotions will be at the forefront of conversations. In 2002, Jerri made a key decision that positively affected her company for years to come. Vowing to never go through another downturn like the tech bubble, Jerri established a sell target on each asset that Wealth Horizon buys helping to manage risk by protecting assets during downturns. As a result, clients of Wealth Horizon saw much smaller losses in 2008 relative to market losses and Jerri's company grew revenues by 25 percent from the previous year.

Pacesetter Award

Brand Mortgage
The crash of the financial markets in 2008 could have been a devastating blow to Brand Mortgage. By becoming proactive rather than reactive and implement new systems and work flow procedures to comply with new regulation before they were required by law, Brand Mortgage was able to focus on their business while others were struggling to comply. Also leading to their staggering 101 percent growth in 2009 and 30 percent growth in 2010, Brand Mortgage teamed up with The Impact Group and their local builders to create the Northeast Georgia Downpayment Assistance Program to help buyers with their down payments. This not only helped to grow their business, it also helped local builders sell their inventory in a stagnant market, reducing foreclosures and blight in the community.

The Pinnacle Non-Profit Award Winners

Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia – Top Small Non-profit
In a five year period, the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia – which helps individuals and corporations to successfully achieve their philanthropic goals – has experienced significant growth from $14 million to $31 million in assets. Because of this growth, in 2009 and 2010 over $11.9 million in grants were issued to over 300 non-profit organization and charitable programs working in community services, health and human services, the arts, education and environmental improvements. The Community Foundation knows that the more a society practices philanthropy in any form, whether through personal time or treasure, the more stable and strong the economic climate becomes. The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia is proud to be a vehicle that provides the opportunity to design and shape our community's future.

Annandale Village – Top Mid-size Non-profit
Annandale Village - a private, non-profit organization - has been providing a community for adults with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury for 42 years in Gwinnett County. The quality of their service to the community has been recognized for second year in a row by U.S. News and World Report in their Top 100 Nursing Homes in America. Fundraisers such as the well-known, Jazzy Thing Fundraiser, allows Annandale to receive such recognition by providing funds to face the challenge of economic adversity head on. In addition, unique programs like the Jackson House Day Program, which promotes independence and teaches valuable tools necessary for community development by having Villagers run their own café for other Villagers and staff members, allows Annandale to meet the growing of demand of adults with developmental disabilities while helping them to participate in society as responsible citizens. All of this and more has led to Annandale being the top nursing home in the state of Georgia.

Hi-Hope Service Center – Top Large Non-profit
For over 50 years, Hi-Hope has improved the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Through their weekday programs, supportive employment services and residential group homes, Hi-Hope has increased individuals' opportunities to contribute to their community, whether through working, volunteering or participating in community activities. Without these supports, many individuals would be sitting at home, living in nursing homes or state institutions that deprive them of the rights to be productive, contributing members of their community merely because they have a disability. Despite funding cuts, a diversified funding stream implemented recently has allowed Hi-Hope to create a firm foundation for Hi-Hope to not only survive, but to flourish. A recently established tag line affirms this hope: Hi-Hope Service – 50 years strong and growing.

Additional sponsors include Platinum Sponsors Delta Community Credit Union, IntegriCom, Inc., Moore Stephens Tiller LLC, and Staples; Gold Sponsors Andersen, Tate, & Carr, PC, Brand Mortgage Group, LLC, Smith & Howard, PC, and Tillman Allen Greer, LLC; and Bronze Sponsor Rhodes, Young, Black & Duncan.

For more information on the Pinnacle Small Business Awards, visit


About the Gwinnett Chamber
Named one of the top three metro chambers in the United States by ACCE, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's membership varies from FORTUNE 1,000 companies to innovative startups, and stretches across the Atlanta region, from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to UGA in Athens. Representing more than 7,200 members from more than 2,500 firms, the Gwinnett Chamber is the Southeast's 6th largest chamber and focuses on creating and growing quality job opportunities while enhancing the community's quality of life.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Gwinnett's Public Safety Professionals Receive Top Honors for Bravery at March 25 Ceremony

Duluth, GA- To recognize Gwinnett's public safety professionals for helping to strengthen our community, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Presenting Sponsors Mobile Communications of Gwinnett and Motorola presented the sixth annual Valor Awards on March 25, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. at the Atlanta Marriott – Gwinnett Place. The keynote speaker at the event was Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Kelvin Cochran.

This special reception honored those in public safety by presenting awards to the men and women who have given the most to protect and serve the citizens of Gwinnett. There were six different award categories including the Medal of Valor Award, Lifesaving Award, Public Safety Person of the Year, Public Safety Unit of the Year, Communications Person of the Year and Medal of Merit.

"It is because of the heroic and courageous efforts of Gwinnett's public safety professionals that we are able to live, work and play in a safe community," said Abby Wilkerson, program manager, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

The Medal of Merit is awarded to an outstanding public safety program for the community which included personal time given both on and off the job. Battalion Chief Eddie Myers' Gwinnett Fire FLAME Program was awarded the Medal of Merit. Firefighters Lunch and Mentoring Experience (FLAME) is a successful mentoring program started by Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services' Battalion Chief Eddie Myers. His vision was to have firefighters spend their lunchtime weekly with a youth who needs an adult who will take special interest in their development. The firefighters are a friend, a guide and a support to at-risk youth. Since the program's inception in early 2009, 30 elementary schools across Gwinnett have benefited from their relationship with their firefighter mentor. Most importantly, FLAME participants have consistently exhibited dramatic improvement in school attendance and personal development, including bolstered self-esteem and sense of discipline.

The Lifesaving Award, given to the public safety person/unit in recognition of acts taken in a life-threatening situation where an individual's life is in jeopardy was awarded to Gwinnett County Firefighter Dan Rimmer. In December of 2010, Rimmer was off duty and participating in a local 5k run. A race participant had just completed the run when he collapsed. Rimmer quickly rushed to the man's side and immediately ordered the activation of EMS and called for an automatic external defibrillator (AED). By the time the medic unit had arrived on scene the patient experienced a return of spontaneous pulse and respirations from the CPR and shock administered by Rimmer. Due to the quick response and smart judgment and decision, paired with the good sense of the local church to have purchased an AED, the patient is alive and well today.

The Communications Person/Public Safety Person/Unit of the Year is awarded to those who have performed their job with exceptional skill, expertise, innovation and results.

The Communications Person of the Year was awarded to Communications Officers Lauren Sullins and Daphne Vernold. On February 1, 2010, Lauren received a phone call from a female who was crying and stated that she had a gun and wanted to commit suicide. When Lauren asked the female for her location, she stated that she didn't know where she was located. For over an hour Lauren remained in contact with the female through dropped phone calls, long silences and many emotions eventually getting the female to reveal that she was in a restroom at Lake Lanier near Cumming. Not only did Lauren, remain in contact with the female, she also kept the female from harming herself or anyone else with the gun. With the assistance of Communications Officer Daphne Vernold, the female's subscriber information was obtained from the cell phone company and officers from Hall and Forsyth County were contacted. With Lauren's perseverance and determination to locate the female caller and with Daphne's assistance, the female was located and the situation was safely resolved.

The Public Safety Person of the Year was given to Detective Dennis Hennelly and Sergeant Edward Restrepo with the Gwinnett County Police (Criminal Investigations). Detective Hennelly and Sergeant Restrepo were the first police officers to respond to a fatal shooting of a 13 year old boy at a Lawrenceville apartment complex. Detectives and crime scene personnel located very little evidence at the crime scene; however, Detective Hennelly and Sergeant Restrepo were determined to pursue any and all leads. After deciding to focus their attention on residents of one particular unit in the apartment complex who had multiple run-ins with the law, the officers began to listen to hour after hour of jail phone calls whenever any of the friends or associates of that apartment unit were in custody. Through these phone calls, the officers learned of a very large drug dealing inside Gwinnett County and obtained a confession from the shooter. This was a case that could have easily gone unsolved had it not been for the persistence and tenacity of Detective Hennelly and Sergeant Restrepo. Both officers are to be commended for the work they did on this case and the outstanding work they do each and every day.

The Public Safety Unit of the Year Award was given to the Gwinnett County Sheriff Department's Sex Offender Registry. The Sex Offender Registry Unit consists of Lt. Jeremy Brown, Sergeant Michael Oakes, Corporal Sheila Thomas, and Deputy Bobby Chapman, and one civilian employee, Casey Duffield, who handles the majority of the administrative duties. These five employees of the Gwinnett County Sheriff Department are responsible for enforcing the Sex Offender Registry laws in Gwinnett County. Those assigned to this unit must become an expert at answering questions about the law, and be able to discuss it in laymen's terms with the public. In addition, the sex offender laws in Georgia are very complex and are constantly changing requiring the deputies to learn new procedures on a constant basis. Their hard work and dedication keeps the citizens of Gwinnett County safer and more informed than they otherwise would be from child predators and sexually violent offenders.

The Silver Medal of Valor, the second highest award for bravery and heroism, is awarded in situations when a public safety official/unit knowingly exposes himself/herself/themselves to great personal risk in the performance of an official act. The Silver Medal of Valor was awarded to Officer J. Bailey and Officer D. Mitchem with the Gwinnett County Police (South Precinct). On July 12, 2010, Officers Bailey and Mitchem responded to a residential fire on Stone Mountain Hwy. The officers arrived to the house that was consumed by heavy smoke and large flames before the Gwinnett County Fire Department. The homeowner advised the officers that her husband was still trapped inside the house and was unable to escape because he was disabled. The officers made the decision to enter the house to rescue the disabled and elderly man. After locating the elderly man sitting in a chair, the officers pulled him to safety. By the time the officers reached the porch, it was on fire and the victim had to be taken to the yard for safety. The officers made it out safely just at the roof started to collapse. Officer Bailey and Mitchem's valiant display of teamwork saved a man's life and are to be commended for their bravery, professionalism and willingness to go above the call of duty.

The Gold Medal of Valor, the highest award for bravery and heroism, is awarded in cases in which the public safety official/unit knowingly placed his/her/their life/lives in peril of death or serious bodily harm while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. The Gold Medal of Valor was awarded to Master Patrolman Bobby Johnson with the Duluth Police Department. On Saturday, November 20, 2010, officers were dispatched to a call of domestic dispute from a caller who heard yelling and glass breaking from a nearby residence. Several officers rushed to the scene, although nothing could have prepared them for what they saw next or the danger they were about to be in. As Officers Baker, Parrish and Johnson approached the house, they noticed thick smoke billowing from the windows and a distraught man holding a limp woman in his arms in the front lawn. The officers also saw two small children in the front yard, unharmed and unaware of the gravity of this situation. When the officers asked the man if there was anyone in the house, the husband frantically said his 10-month old boy was still inside. As the fire department had not yet arrived, the officers quickly sprung into action first approaching the front door which proved impassable which led them to the side of the house where Officers Baker and Johnson climbed on a very small ledge discovering the baby through a window. Officers Parrish and Baker were able to hold Officer Johnson up to the window to reach through the smoke and grab the baby. After rescuing the lifeless baby that Officer Johnson described as being hot to the touch and covered in soot, Officer Baker began giving the baby chest compressions and continued to do so in the ambulance that awaited them. Sadly, the baby lost his battle against the fire and smoke.

"Officers aren't expected to fight fires or pull people out of burning building. They don't have the equipment, training or experience to deal with it," said Duluth Police Department Lt. Jackie Hood who nominated Officer Johnson. "These officers went above and beyond the call of duty, without regard for their personal safety to save a small baby's life. For that, they make us proud. For that we call them heroes."

Monday, February 28, 2011


Mayor Reed will discuss Regional Cooperation on Water and Transportation at March 2nd Gwinnett Chamber Luncheon

Duluth, GA- In a continued effort to support strategic collaboration for business growth from local to international, the Gwinnett Chamber, Presenting Sponsor Rocket IT, and several partners will host Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at the March 2nd General Membership Meeting at Gwinnett Center. Mayor Reed will present "Regionalism in Motion", focusing on key issues, including water and transportation.

"As we continue to grow and develop our regional efforts with the ultimate goal of bringing high-wage jobs and a strong business community to Gwinnett and metro Atlanta, reaching across borders and working with leaders like Mayor Reed to find solutions to our most pressing issues is key to our future's success," said Jim Maran, president & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber.

Mayor Reed was inaugurated as the City of Atlanta's 59th Mayor on January 4, 2010. Since taking office, Mayor Reed has worked to improve public safety, create new opportunities for the City's youth, restore fiscal stability to the City and provide faster and more efficient customer service to residents. Prior to his election, Mayor Reed established a track record of leadership during his 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was first elected in 1998 as a state representative and served two terms. From 2002-2009, he served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

"A strong relationship between the City of Atlanta and successful communities like Gwinnett is vital to solving regional issues such as water and transportation," said Mayor Reed. "These strategic partnerships will help us create a stronger future for business and economic development in Atlanta, Gwinnett and throughout the metropolitan area."

Additional sponsors for the March 2nd General Membership Meeting include Media Sponsor Gwinnett Daily Post and Gold Sponsors Comcast and Gwinnett Center. Platinum, gold, silver, and supporting sponsorships are still available. The event is open to the public and the cost to attend is $45 for Chamber members and $55 for non-members. Tables of 10 are available for $450. Advanced registration is required online by visiting the calendar of events page at For more details, contact Rachel Jeffers, program manager, Gwinnett Chamber, at 770-232-8816 or

Friday, January 28, 2011

Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Get Your Shoes Shined & Repaired at the Gwinnett Chamber

First impressions are critical in the business world. For this reason, the Gwinnett Chamber wants to help you put your best foot forward. Mr. Lawrence Hardnett is available for shoe shines at the Gwinnett Chamber on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. In addition, drop offs for shoe shines and repairs may be made at the Chamber front desk during non-service hours.

Prices include:
$6 shine
$8 spit shine
$8 boot shine
$8.50 clean & shine golf shoes
$8 clean & shine two-tones (other than golf shoes)
$10 ladies heels
$17 rubber heels
$45 half sole & heels
$60 full sole & heels
$10 clean/shampoo suede shoes
$12 dye leather shoes

For additional services and prices contact Mr. Hardnett at 678-887-9162.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Gwinnett's State Delegation members provide statewide leadership

News from Gwinnett Chamber Public Policy

Sen. Don Balfour chosen as chairman of the Rules Committee by Senate Committee on Assignments. He will also serve on Appropriations, Health and Human Services, Insurance, and Reapportionment.This will be Sen. Balfour's ninth year to serve as Rules Chairman and his 19th year as a state senator. He is the longest serving Republican in the State Senate.

Sen. Fran Millar has been appointed Chairman of the Senate Education Committeeby the Senate Committee on Assignments. Sen. Millar will also serve on the Health and Human Services, Government Oversight, Retirement, and Economic Development committees.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Join us in congratulating the following honorees at the 63rd Annual Dinner! And the winners are...

Celebrating Gwinnett's Success
Become Part of One of the Most Talked About Events of the Year!

Friday, February 4, 2011
Cocktails at 6 p.m.
Dinner and Program at 7:30 p.m.
The Gwinnett Center, Tommy P. Hughes Ballroom
6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth 30097

Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center

This black-tie-optional spectacular is more than a celebration of Gwinnett Chamber stewardship for the county's success. It's an awe-inspiring sensation recognizing the accomplishments of 2010 and anticipating the wonders to come in 2011. Be a part of Gwinnett's finest who attend this event to celebrate the people of Gwinnett who have made significant contributions to enhance our quality of life.

In an effort to further recognize Gwinnett's outstanding citizens and organizations, the Gwinnett Chamber would like to announce the winners of the 63rd Annual Dinner Awards. These awards honor those who have made significant contributions to enhance our quality of life, make Gwinnett a better place to live, and improve education, medical and public service communities.

And the winners are...

Citizen of the Year
David Seago - Georgia Power

Public Service Award
Georgia State Senator Don Balfour

Dr. Robert McClure, M.D. - Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery
Gwinnett County Board of Education, District IV Representative and 2010 Vice Chairman

Tammy Shumate - Corporate Development, Brand Mortgage

Rep Melvin Everson - Workforce Development Director for the State of Georgia
Former State Representative

Nancy A. Ward - Gwinnett County Public Schools, Staff Development
Executive Director Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Inc.

Hudgens Award
Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation

R. Wayne Shackelford Legacy Award
Forrest L. Adair, II

Sponsorship & Ticket Opportunities:

Diamond Award Sponsor at $7,500 -Three available - one each for Public Service, Humanitarian and Citizen of the Year Awards

  • Recognition in Chamber FOCUS newsletter
  • Logo recognition in program
  • Company representative to welcome attendees at reception
  • ten (10) complimentary seats at the dinner
  • Thirty (30) complimentary drink tickets

Platinum Sponsors at $3,000 - Multiple available

  • Recognition in Chamber FOCUS newsletter
  • Logo recognition in program
  • Verbal recognition during event
  • Six (6) complimentary seats at the dinner

Gold Sponsors at $2,500 - Multiple available

  • Recognition in Chamber FOCUS newsletter
  • Logo recognition in program
  • Verbal recognition during event
  • Four (4) complimentary seats at the dinner

Silver Sponsors at $2,000 - Multiple available

  • Recognition in Chamber FOCUS newsletter
  • Logo recognition in program
  • Verbal recognition during event
  • Two (2) complimentary seats at the dinner

Individual Pricing

  • Individual Seats - $150 per person
  • Table(s) of 10 - $1,500 per table

Full table requests receive preferential seating. Less than full tables will be assigned as received. Tickets will be assigned upon receipt of remittance and mailed the week of the event. Register online at Reservations due by 1/28/11 (no refunds after this date).

For more information please contact Rachel at 770-232-8816 or, or visit