Chamber set to 'Get Connected'

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its 101st year with new board leadership and a stronger sense of purpose.

The chamber held its annual meeting Thursday evening at the conference center of the Hilton Garden Inn -- at which time Jimmy Wilson officially passed the board chairman's gavel over to Judy Randle, owner of Central Monitoring.

"I can tell you that Judy has already hit the ground running, so watch out," Wilson said of his successor at the event. "I have been honored to serve with you."

There were volunteer awards handed out at the dinner to various figures throughout the community, including Jane Willson, Leland Burkart, Bobby McKinney as well as several representatives of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission.

There was one other honor given to a former CEO of the chamber -- Lamar Clifton, an Albany native and one of the people instrumental in bringing the Miller Brewing Co. to the Good Life City.

In addition to giving him a plaque, chamber officials announced that they are currently in the process of having one of the meeting rooms at the downtown office on Broad Avenue officially named for Clifton in his honor.

"I loved it," Clifton said of the recognition. "I've tried hard, and I'm very proud to be honored by the chamber."

The room, also known as "Meeting Room B," will soon have a portrait of Clifton hanging on the wall.

Going into its second century of service to the community, the chamber is aiming to "Get Connected."

The first segment of the annual meeting's program was "Wine & Wii," after which the dinner and program began.

The connection theme is something Randle said she expects to take very seriously during her tenure as board chair.

"We recognize that if we can connect, we can build bridges," she said. "As a chamber, we are progressive. We have to be open-minded and aware.

"I'm honored to serve as your chairman."

In lieu of a speaker, a Nintendo Wii tournament took place at the end of Thursday's event. Electronic items were given out as prizes following the contest.