MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet for its 157th annual meeting on Thursday.
“We’re trying to celebrate the end of a good year and thank people for the support of the chamber and our community,” said Chairman George Greer.
Hundreds of community leaders came to be a part of that celebration of economic prosperity county-wide going into the new year.
“A little over $700 million in investment. I think we did over 1,000 jobs in 2017, retained 600 jobs in 2017 and added about $40 million of new payroll in Macon-Bibb County,” said Industrial Authority Chairman Robby Fountain
Not to mention, celebrating the success of new programs and partnerships like the one between local businesses and schools.
“The educational community and the private sector have come together to fund the Leader in Me program which is a values program for our elementary and middle school children, and the private sector as contributed $2.1 million to that effort and that’s a real success story for us here,” said Greer.
The man behind the movement, co-chair of the Leader in Me program–Blake Sullivan, was honored for all of his hard work as the chamber’s citizen of the year.
“I’m really excited that I could be apart of that and that I could be a help in raising money to do that,” said Sullivan.
He had no idea about it until he heard his name announced. “I didn’t know I was gonna win. George Greer called me up and said Blake I need you to come to this meeting,” he recalled.
Sullivan was a major player in getting the Leader in Me program in schools across the county.
“It really touched my heart that there’s something really good is happening in our community and to know that generations from now it’s gonna make an impact,” he said.
Leader in Me was originally started as an initiative for elementary and middle schoolers in Bibb County.
After seeing the amazing success it had and decline in behavioral problems, Sullivan and others worked to expand the program to a few high schools in Bibb County.