Moving Forward: Region Roundup


Wiregrass Tech honored Sharon and Sidney Morris, left, and Dr. Ed and Rhonda Mark for their continued financial contributions and support

Wiregrass Tech Honors Donors with Naming of Buildings

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College recognized longtime donors Sidney and Sharon Morris by renaming Lowndes Hall in their honor. The Sidney and Sharon Morris Hall, located on the Valdosta Campus of Wiregrass, will continue to house the president’s suite and administrative offices, classrooms and lab space, and the library.

Sidney Morris was a founding member of the Valdosta Technical Institute Foundation in 1988 and continues to serve as a Wiregrass Foundation South Trustee. He has served Wiregrass students for more than 30 years. In 2018, Sidney Morris was recognized as the Technical College System of Georgia Volunteer of the Year.

During a topping off ceremony—which symbolically marks the last steel beam placed in the construction of a building—Anderson also announced that the new health sciences building would be named in honor of Dr. Ed and Rhonda Mark.




Outdoor Network Expands in Albany, 92+ New Jobs

Outdoor Network is expanding its facility in Albany, Georgia, creating more than 90 new jobs

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission has announced the expansion of Outdoor Network (ODN) in Albany, creating nearly $22 million in capital investment and 92 new jobs for the community.

The growth stems from the consolidation and expansion of the company’s existing call center and distribution headquarters in Albany-Dougherty County.

Outdoor Network has emerged as an international powerhouse dealer and distributor of marine and powersports equipment and parts, supplying renowned brands including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, Can-Am, Mercury, Sea-Doo, Evinrude, and OXE Marine Diesel Outboards.

Of the 92 new jobs, 52 will be created at the distribution and call center to be consolidated and expanded on South Slappey Boulevard, on the former site of MacGregor Golf, which has been vacant for more than 20 years. The new manufacturing operation of OXE diesel outboard motors will generate an additional 40 manufacturing jobs.

Outdoor Network is the world’s largest original equipment manufacturer (OEM) distributor of marine and powersports parts and maintains six marine and powersports dealerships across the Southeastern United States, including Powersports Plus in Albany and Boaters World in Lee County. The company has distribution facilities in Georgia and Nevada.

In 2019, ODN became the North American distributor of OXE Marine Outboard Diesel Motors. It will now be the company’s sole manufacturer of 125-200 HP motors, manufactured exclusively in Albany for worldwide distribution.

“At ODN, we are doing our part to bring jobs back to the U.S. with the decision to locate our new manufacturing facility in Albany and produce the complete lineup of 125-through 200-horsepower OXE Diesel Outboard Motors,” says Martin Polo, CEO of Outdoor Network. “We pride ourselves on creating more opportunities for hardworking American families. Since 2012, we have operated in Georgia and have grown our multifaceted enterprise made up of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores, distribution centers, and a call center—all with the help of the community and the Albany-Daugherty Economic Development Commission.”


TLC Associates in Americus, Georgia will create more than 1,000 new jobs

Sumter County Announces TLC Associates, Creating 1,000+ Jobs

TLC Associates, an inbound and outbound call center, is opening a new facility at the Ted Baldwin Business and Technology Park in Americus, Georgia. The center will serve as a centralized office for TLC’s other projects around the country and as a local call center.

The Industrial Drive building was originally constructed as a call center with raised flooring, open and technology areas, and backup systems. Minimal renovations are underway for the company’s arrival.

Rusty Warner, executive director of the Sumter County Development Authority, says, “TLC will create 1,000 new jobs, utilizing both the center and work-from-home models. They are an absolute fit for our community and our building. Meeting with the executives, I know they will do their utmost to benefit both their new employees and our community.”

BandD Foods Opening Eastern U.S. Headquarters in Americus, 100+Jobs

The Georgia Department of Economic Development announced that BandD Foods, a steak, beef, pork, and chicken product supplier, will invest $15 million in opening a food processing and packaging facility in Sumter County, bringing more than 100 jobs to Americus, Georgia. This facility will serve as the company’s Eastern U.S. headquarters and marks the company’s first location outside of Idaho.

When BandD Foods opens its Americus location in 2021, the company will initially hire 100 team members, with positions added in the future. The jobs will range from maintenance technicians to production operators and food safety specialists.

“BandD Foods is a perfect fit for our Americus, Georgia, facility, and community,” says Rusty Warner, executive director of the Sumter County Development Authority. “We have an experienced workforce to fill the positions and will follow the company’s growth as they move forward. BandD Foods chose to invest in us. We will always stand behind them.”


Christie Moore

Christie Moore to Join Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce as President

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce board of directors has named Christie Moore as its new president, effective January 4, 2021.

Moore comes to the Valdosta-Lowndes County community from Dawsonville, Georgia, where she served as president and chief executive of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, which she has held since 2012. Moore was responsible for business advocacy, tourism marketing, and economic development.

One of Moore’s most notable successes has been implementing research-driven workforce best practices to champion local work-based learning initiatives through collaboration with the local school system, higher education institutions, and local industry leaders.

Under Moore’s guidance, the chamber also successfully advocated for the passage of ESPLOST to fund a college and career academy to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable students in Dawson County. A tireless advocate on behalf of small businesses, Moore led the campaign to reduce impact fees on the commercial sector to make it easier for existing businesses to expand and encourage increased entrepreneurial investment in the community.

Looking to start her tenure as chamber president, Moore says she plans to spend time listening to area business and community leaders. “I want to meet with members and non-members of the chamber, community advocates, regional leaders, and the internal chamber team to learn what the strengths of the chamber are and what opportunities exist for the chamber to help enable businesses, nonprofits, and citizens to thrive.”

Moore is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute of Organization Management and a Georgia Certified Chamber Executive. She is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Zell Miller Leadership Institute, Leadership Dawson, and the Georgia Academy of Economic Development.

The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber has continuously received five-star accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The accreditation program defines excellence standards in chamber planning and performance and shows how they can reach and maintain these standards. It also helps chambers measure achievement while recognizing and encouraging chamber members and staff who meet high standards of operation and who contribute effectively to the good of their chambers and communities.


Jana Dyke

Albany-Dougherty County Economic Development Commission Selects Jana Dyke as President and CEO

The Albany-Dougherty County Economic Development Commission has named Jana Wadkins Dyke, as president and CEO, effective Dec. 1, 2020.

A Southwest Georgia native, Dyke most recently served as executive director of the Waycross-Ware County Development Authority. Previously she was director of Mainstreet and Downtown Development in Sylvester, a realtor for Real Living Realty Advisors in Valdosta, and various roles with the Walton County Chamber of Commerce and Destin Chamber of Commerce, both in Florida.

Dyke started her economic development career more than twenty years ago as vice president of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority in Leesburg.

“South Georgia is home for me,” Dyke says, “I grew up going to school in Lee County and working in this region. Now I want to play a role in sustaining the jobs that are already here as well as be a part of the team that builds a foundation for attracting new investments. The opportunity to lead the organization that serves as the key point of contact for economic development in Albany and Dougherty County is an exciting challenge I look forward to.”

A graduate of Columbia Southern University with a Bachelor of Administration and Management degree, Dyke is currently serving as Georgia’s director for the Southern Economic Development Council, the oldest and largest regional economic development association for professionals in North America.

Brian Marlowe

Brian Marlowe Named Deputy Commissioner of Rural Georgia

Gov. Brian P. Kemp named Tift County Development Authority President and CEO Brian Marlowe as Deputy Commissioner for Rural Georgia. In this role, Marlowe will lead the Governor’s Rural Strike Team.

“It is my honor to name Brian Marlowe as the new Deputy Commissioner for Rural Georgia and leader of the Rural Strike Team,” says Kemp. “With today’s announcement, we are fulfilling another promise from the campaign trail to spur economic growth and opportunity in rural Georgia.”

Marlowe, who has an extensive background in economic development and local government, says, “I am honored to be trusted with such an important responsibility by Gov. Kemp. I’ve spent my professional life working to promote growth and opportunity in Tift County and throughout rural Georgia.”



Darcy Craven

Darcy Craven Becomes New President and CEO at Archbold 

Darcy Craven officially began his tenure as president and CEO at Archbold Medical Center on August 24, 2020, replacing Perry Mustian, who retired after 20 years with Archbold, the last 12 years as president and CEO.

Craven previously served as president of the Northern region for Kaleida Health in Buffalo, New York. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Craven graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor’s degree in medical rehabilitation. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Spring, North Carolina.

He began his career as an occupational therapist and was director of rehabilitation at Mary Black Health System in Spartanburg, South Carolina, before shifting to administrative positions of increasing responsibility at health systems throughout Southeastern U.S. and upstate New York.


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