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January 17, 2014

Lanier-Lakeland Chamber celebrates successful year

LAKELAND — At the Lakeland-Lanier Chamber of Commerce annual banquet Thursday night, chamber members were encouraged to reflect on the past and look toward the future, with outgoing 2013 Chamber Chair Cindy Pullen turning over the reins to 2014 Chamber Chair Chris Burns.

In her after-dinner speech, Pullen looked at what 2013 meant to the Chamber.

“2013 was another successful transition year for the Chamber,” said

Pullen.

The year saw Chamber membership climb to more than 110 as the Chamber welcomed six more area businesses, as well as four so far in the new year.

Highway 37 was named an official Agricultural Tourism Trail last year as Lakeland and Lanier worked to bring more agri-tourism through the area.

The Chamber hosted several events throughout the last year, including the Flatlanders Fall Frolic, the Lighting of Lakeland and the Milltown Mural Motorcade.

QR codes were added to six of the murals in Downtown Lakeland, letting visitors scan them and listen to the history behind the mural on their smart phones.

Lanier also became a partner of the South Georgia Military Affairs Council and took steps to begin restoration on the home of former Georgia Gov. E.D. Rivers.

Pullen honored members of the Chamber, awarding Marta Hardy with the Volunteer of the Year Award, Randy and Lori Rogers with Business of the Year for Mozzarella Momma's, and presenting Lanier Animal Protection and Support with the Community Service Award.

And as for the future, Burns was full of optimism for Lanier.

“We're in a position ... to take advantage of the economy when it does take off,” said Burns.

Burns pointed to the rise in agri-tourism in the area as a cause for optimism, while encouraging Chamber members to continue promoting agri-tourism, as well as the importance of Moody Air Force Base for the region.

Burns also talked about new businesses coming to town in the new year, including a downtown brewpub scheduled to open in the first half of 2014.

Guest speaker Tina Anderson, Georgia Wiregrass Technical College president, encouraged the crowd to adapt to the modern age while working to fill what Anderson called “a chasm of leadership.”

“You'll hold as many as 20 different jobs in your career,” said Anderson. “Our parents held one, maybe two.”

Anderson urged the crowd to be mobile, to be brave but humble, to avoid those who bring you down while learning from those around you, to pray, to concentrate, to not settle for a good solution when there's a best solution.

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