Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring at Last, Spring at Last!

By: Brian D. Anderson Sr.
President & CEO
Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce

Although it snowed briefly this week and the temperature was in the 30s on Monday, spring is in the air. If my ten spring seasons have taught me anything about Dalton, it is that when the buttercups and Cherry Trees bloom, spring is here. I absolutely love traveling on College drive and seeing the beautiful little yellow blooms along the front of Dalton State College. I also love it when the time changes and it stays daylight longer. Those walking, running, and pushing baby strollers are motivating for all of us who have neglected exercise longer than we should have.

I also feel we are entering a “spring” season economically. Mother Nature has dealt us a cold, wet, dreary winter. Our economic winter has been just as cold and dreary. And, we still have a long way to go. But I firmly believe recent positive reports on our economy are the Cherry tree blossoms and buttercups blooms that we so desperately seek. It isn’t eighty degrees and the flowers are not in full bloom yet. But our economy is like my Zoysia lawn, I am beginning to see the emerging green shoots beneath the old brown blades.

And as we all begin to make preparation for the coming outbreak of blooms and greening, we spread pre-emergence and weed killer on our lawns. We fertilize our plants. And we put out new pine straw or mulch. In short we get outside and prepare our “outside” living / work areas that beautify our homes and businesses. We improve that which has been dormant during the cold and wet winter.

Your economic development team is also preparing for our economic spring. We are researching those growth companies within our targeted industries that we feel could be a good fit for investing in our community and who are poised for expansion. We will package a marketing campaign to “sell” them on the reasons they should consider investing here. We are researching areas needing redevelopment and the tools that are at our disposal for implementing good value added redevelopment at these sites. We are working in a variety of areas to acknowledge and understand the vision that our local leaders have painted for us.

Economic development is like a garden, it has many varieties of fruitful and productive plants that add to its vitality and beauty. Our local economy also possesses many varieties of productive and fruitful entities. Our garden blooms from carpet manufacturers, automobile parts manufacturers, and chemical companies. Our economy is equally nourished by the hundreds or thousands of small businesses – realtors, law firms, banks, retailers, florists, car dealers, doctors and dentists, etc. Your economic development team has to be knowledgeable about all of these. Armed with this knowledge, we can better prepare plans and programs to enable these economic entities to flourish.

I consider myself blessed to be on such a diverse and talented economic team. Your Chamber of Commerce works intricately with the Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Dalton Development Authority, the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority, the Northwest Georgia Convention and Trade Center, the cities of Dalton, Tunnel Hill, and Varnell, and Whitfield County. When you add the staff of all these entities and the volunteer board members and supporters, you quickly realize our economic development team is large, energized, passionate, and most of all talented.

In spite of the long economic winter that we have endured, and in spite of the many obstacles still facing us, I see our community as that bed of tulips planted last fall – soon we will enjoy the beauty and joy that the blooms will give due the vibrant growth that good soil, water, and sunshine bring about. Our economic garden is ready to bloom because of the preparation and hard work given by so many and for so long.

Thank you for welcoming me and my family to this awesome community. You have no idea how blessed we feel to be a part of this community. Dalton has blessed us in ways we could not have imagined. Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of the extraordinary Chamber team and the community’s economic development team. It is truly humbling to think each of us can be a part of our community’s next economic revival.

As we head toward Easter enjoying the beauty this season of resurrection brings us, be mindful how blessed we are. Recommit to giving what you can to the resurgence we all desire for our community. We have all benefitted from the sacrifices of those that have gone before us, and it is now our time to do our part!

God bless each and all - Happy Easter!

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