Originally created 02/11/00

Chamber shows off its success



ATLANTA -- Although the logo of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce prominently features a golf ball atop a tee, there's a lot more to the Augusta area than the Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.

That was the unspoken message on display Thursday at the posh Capital City Club in downtown Atlanta, as Augusta business and political leaders held a luncheon for some of Georgia's top public and private economic development officials.

"I want to thank our allies. You're very important to us," chamber Chairman Bill Thompson told his guests from the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (GITT) and such corporate heavyweights as Georgia Power Co. and Atlanta Gas Light. "We couldn't have had this success without your help."

Mr. Thompson made his remarks after a slide show featuring the region's latest corporate prizes. The diverse mix of new companies included SITEL Technologies, which is expected to bring about 500 jobs to Augusta, and two companies planning to eventually employ about 600 in Burke County, Helmac and Fiamm Technologies.

The fact that Augusta business leaders have joined their counterparts in the suburbs in a regional effort to diversify the local economy wasn't lost on the chamber's guests. Business leaders from Columbia and Burke counties also attended Thursday's luncheon.

"The message that we got today is you've got three counties that are actively working together with one message, and they're having successes in all three counties," said GITT Deputy Commissioner Del Boyette. "This enables us in Atlanta to see what's going on collectively in the region."