The chamber of commerce and convention and visitor’s bureau have been combined as a unified organization.
At a called meeting of the Banks County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Development Authority Chairman Scott Ledford announced that the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) have united under one leadership.
“This is a huge, huge day for us,” Ledford said. “We will all be working from the same playbook.”
Ledford announced the merger at the monthly chamber breakfast meeting on Thursday, also.
Bonnie Johnson will serve as president of the unified organization and Sherry Ward will serve as executive director, Ledford stated.
Ledford reported that the BOC, development authority, chamber board and CVB board have been working together to make this merger possible.
“You are going to see a yield from your investment,” Ledford said.
Commissioner Ernest Rogers said, “I want to personally thank all of you for working together on this.”
In a press release presented on Monday, Ledford said, “As far as the development authority, we are so pleased to have the chamber and CVB come together. Separately, the organizations have realized many achievements, but together we feel that they can do so much more for our community and especially for our business community. There are still many details to work out, but this is the first step.”
BOC chairman Milton Dalton shares Ledford’s optimism for the unified chamber/CVB.
“The commissioners are all in agreement that a unified chamber/CVB is best for Banks County at this time,” he said. “I think this is the best way to move our county forward in planning for the future.”
Johnson said: “I love Banks County and have gladly given of my time and services to make it a better place for all of us. I’m really excited to be a part of the chamber/CVB organization and to be involved in this partnership with the development authority, commissioners, chamber and CVB. By working together along with our members and volunteers, we will thrive and make this partnership a success for Banks County.”
Ward said, “I’m really excited about all of the possibilities of the chamber/CVB organization. And, I’m looking forward to working will all the members on projects, such as Leadership Banks, the camera-ready program, special events and fund raisers, as well as our tourism program of work.”
Johnson and Ward have submitted an organizational structure draft to the development authority and commissioners for their review. Once the structure is approved, the chamber/CVB will move forward in determining its program of work, establish volunteer committees, and launch a membership drive for the new organization, the newsletter states.
“Mrs. Johnson and I know that it will take hard work ironing out some of the details, but once that is complete, we feel that this organization will definitely do its part in ‘Building a Better Banks’,” Ward said.
Ledford said Ward’s salary will remain the same as she is currently getting paid by the CVB and Johnson’s work is on a volunteer basis.
“Within the next week, we should be increasing Sherry’s salary since she is taking on the chamber duties also,” Ledford said.
Ledford reported that the development authority would meet with the chamber and CVB boards in the next week to iron out the details of the salary.
“We are waiting on the contracts to come back to us from the county attorney (Randall Frost). So there is really no need to discuss this (salary) now,” Ledford said.