B U S I N E S S + C U LT U R E 47 Amy Carter Her roots run deep within South Georgia, a graduate of Valdosta State University and former teacher at Lowndes High School, Amy Carter is now serving as the deputy commissioner for the Rural Georgia Initiative, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In her new position, Carter will assist rural Georgia communities in becoming more competitive for economic development projects and identify new strategies for attracting jobs and investment opportunities. Carter has been an advocate for rural issues for many years, from 2006 to 2017, Carter served as State Representative for District 175, which includes Brooks County and parts of Lowndes and Thomas counties. Jerry Connell Stan Crance When he is not helping recruit and retain new industries in Lowndes County, Stan Crance, existing industry coordinator with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority, is supporting numerous civic organizations. As president of Leadership Lowndes, which has been in existence for 30 years, Crance is working with members of the organization’s board of directors to develop a strategic plan. He also serves on the board for the Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta and the Valdosta Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Citizen’s Advisory Committee. An active supporter of Valdosta’s downtown development, Crance is co-owner of Art and Soul, a family-owned business that includes his sister Rylin Crane, and parents Wade and Angela Crance. A champion for tourism within South Georgia, Jerry Connell was instrumental in the development of Georgia Grown Trail 37, the state’s first official agritourism highway. The success of Trail 37 has served as a model for creating other trails that promote Georgia’s agritourism industry. Under Connell’s leadership the Georgia Grown Trail 37 Association received the Bill Hardman Tourism Champion-Product Development Award in 2015. After retiring from his official duties as president of the Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce, Connell continues to serve Cook County and the region in various capacities including as a member of the Adel-Cook County Tourism Authority and Downtown Adel Development Authority. J o h n C r a w f o r d Stan C r a n c e Jerry Conne l l John Crawford John Crawford is leading Valdosta State University’s effort to provide more scholarship opportunities for students seeking a college degree. Valdosta State’s first comprehensive capital campaign, Invest. Ignite. Inspire: The Campaign for Valdosta State University has surpassed its goal of $53,250,000 more than a year ahead of schedule. Crawford credits the University Advancement team in helping exceed the campaign’s goal. The financial impact of the campaign will allow Valdosta State to double the number of scholarships that have been awarded in the past five years. Last year, the Valdosta State University Foundation provided $1.1 million in student scholarships. In addition to the scholarships, campaign funds established the Terry Center for Experiential Learning. Through the center, Valdosta State students will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by applying lessons from the classroom within communities in Valdosta State’s 41-county service area. TEAM SOUTH GEORGIA Amy Carter