Southwest Georgia Honors 40 Under Forty Recipients

Lauren D. Collins

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Southwest Georgia was celebrated Thursday as its most promising young business leaders gathered to be honored at the eighth annual 40 Under Forty luncheon. This event is hosted by The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce as well as The Albany Herald. It serves to promote inspiring leaders within the community by recognizing them for their success and encouraging them to be involved with making Southwest Georgia a better place. Each year The Albany Herald serves as a conduit to the selection process by providing a committee with applications from which to choose from. In addition, each awarded recipient is expected to nominate someone with similar criteria to replace them the following year.

Remarks were made by Bárbara Rivera Holmes, interim president and CEO of the Albany Chamber of Commerce, “Determination, innovation, leadership—these are traits necessary for professional success. This year’s 40 Under Forty recipients exemplify these characteristics. We’re so proud of them and of their positive impact on their work places, our community and region.” Holmes also took a moment to recognize and thank the event’s sponsors, AB&T Trust and Investments, Draffin and Tucker, Heritage Bank, Pfizer, Proctor and Gamble, and SB&T.

Ken Boler, general manager of The Albany Herald, also congratulated the recipients, “You guys are changing things in this community. We have a lot riding on you, your companies have a lot riding on you, and I just personally want to say thank you. With reward comes a lot of responsibility. We need you to continue to do what you do…volunteer in the community, continue to push us forward and lift us up.”

The nature of the event continually focuses on a positive community outlook. The presence of these exemplary young professionals in the community present the hope and promise that Southwest Georgia will continue to be led into a promising future. As Boler stated, “Forty people…all over Southwest Georgia is strong. Matched with the forty we had last year, and the forty the year before that, and the forty that’s coming behind you, that is a really good story to tell. Twenty-one years in the military tells me…that’s a swat team, that’s an element that we can go to war with around Southwest Georgia to do some good.”

With the same encouraging frame of mind, Bárbara Holmes also took the opportunity to invite those present to be a part of a program offered by The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce entitled, “Leadership Development”. Holmes explained that, “Along with mentor-ship the curriculum will provide a genuine and detailed focus on several key leadership skills such as effective delegation, understanding your leadership style, visioning and strategic planning, effective networking, political savvy, influence and negotiation, image and media.” This program is yet another way in which the Chamber is endeavoring to develop and improve local business.

The event was held in the Creekside Education Center located within Chehaw Park, which is available for private or public events as well as corporate events and conferences. Each recipient was recognized individually and given a plaque to honor the occasion. This year, 32 young professionals received the prestigious recognition.

This year’s 40 Under Forty includes, Egbert Julian Bacon, Jr., Valerie Bowron, Clifton Bush, Abbey Carter, Kimberly Carter, Jessica Castle, Matt Dalrymple, Deondra Dukes, James Harrison Edge, Chiquita Michelle Greene, Kimberly Guthrie, Courtland Drew Harris, Chase Harvard, Reedi Hawkins, Shalonda A. Heard, Erin Jakia Hutchins, Erica Jackson, Jasmine Jackson, April Suzanne James, V’Ashley Floyd Joyner, Melissa Kennedy, Jeremy McKinley, Kyle Wilder Nichols, Alan Parhams, Demetria Redding, Heather Brooks Shivers, Teresa Smith, William A. Usher, Dorian Williams, MHA, Sherry Nicole Willis Williams, Nicki Wilson, and Joycelyn Williams Yates.