This past Tuesday, October 17th, was a very busy day for the citizens of La-Grange and Troup County. Besides government meetings, community events, and the seeming all around speed up of time as the holidays approach, there is a lot happening here in town. With so many developments and projects currently happening everywhere across the board, sometimes things can be lost and we forget to slow down, enjoying certain parts of life. Fortunately, the LaGrange/Troup County Chamber of Commerce is here to help with that each month with their Early Bird Breakfast, bringing together different members of the community for some food and a presentation. This past Tuesday was a special one, with the Chief Administrative Officer of KIA, Stuart Countess, providing the program.
Before the presentation, there were some other things to touch on at the meeting. That morning the group celebrated “Made in Troup County” with a focus on manufacturing. Currently, there are more than 17,000 jobs in manufacturing plants in all three cities in Troup County, one third of all local jobs. Over the next 10 years, over 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will have to be filled across the U.S. With Georgia once again being selected as the best state in which to do business, Troup County is quickly becoming the cutting edge in innovation, education, and technology to help fill this need. That morning, several individuals that worked for manufacturing firms were recognized and urged to continue their push in these endeavors. Local government also plays a huge role in the further development of these job opportunities and education. The group was urged that morning to vote yes on the upcoming SPLOST on the November 7th ballot. In addition, several local candidates for public office were in attendance as well. The current Mayor of LaGrange Jim Thornton and City Council candidates Jim Arrington and Chuck Pitts were on hand. Representing Hogansville that morning were Mayor Bill Stankiewicz and City Council Candidate Marichal Price. From West Point, acting Mayor Steve Trammel and Mayoral Candidate Deedee Williams were present. These seats and many others are up for election this November.
In the summer of last year, Stuart Countess was named Chief Administrative Officer for KMMG here in West Point. Previously, he served KIA in the role of Vice President of Quality and has a long, distinguished career in the automotive world. That morning, he touched on several different aspects and current focuses of KMMG. One thing that was discussed was the aid that KIA will be providing to hurricane victims. Back in September it was announced that the plant would donate $100,000 to hurricane relief through the American Red Cross. Countess also touched on the company’s recent slow down and their remaining dedication to all employees, stating that none of their employees will lose work during the downturn. Countess also fielded a question or two from the audience.
The Chamber Breakfast will return next month but the Chamber continues to be hard at work until then, preparing for the busy holiday season. For a list of all their upcoming events, check out their community events calendar via their website.