Friday, May 29, 2009

GNB Weekend Update

Welcome to the weekend...Here's the news...

One state hall of fame site should move to Atlanta. At least that's what a middle Georgia businessman recommends. reports that Macon businessman Jim Wells suggested to local urban development officials Thursday that the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame should move to Atlanta. He believes that Macon should focus more on its music heritage, and cites the middle Georgia city's poor history of supporting its sports teams. Wells made the comments in the wake of Georgia Music Hall of Fame executive director Lisa Long briefing local development officials about the dire financial situation the lattter museum was facing. Still, the authority took no action on the matter.

Here are some impact fees that won't make an impact...for now. reports that Dawson County is suspending the impact fees for new construction for at least one year. Officials in the north Georgia mountain county say they're dropping those fees in hopes of bringing new development there. Community development director Lynn Tully says that new housing starts have dropped 30 to 40 percent from previous years...while commercial development has also slowed down.

And seven Georgia banks are under scrutiny from federal regulators. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that the FDIC issued its strongest regulatory rebuke to those banks last month. That's according to an announcement made Friday. The mainly metro Atlanta-based banks entered into cease-and-desist orders with the FDIC. That means they either must start over, or risk failure. The seven orders are the most issued in Georgia since the banking crisis began last year.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GNB Update

One more day until Friday...Here's the news...

A shocking resignation at one of the South's largest banks. reports that Fred Green III resigned as president of Synovus earlier Thursday. Chairman and CEO Richard Anthony takes over as president, according to the company press release. No reason was given for Green's resignation. Late Thursday morning, Synovus stock was trading at more than $3.00 a share. That rose five cents.

The ongoing recession is keeping one Georgia museum empty. The Associated Press reports that the state is looking to turn the former World of Coca-Cola building into a history museum. But continued cuts have put those plans, as the state seeks to balance the budget. It bought the building for $1 million after Coca-Cola moved into its new building in 2007. Still, Georgia officials say that the proposed museum would be a boost for tourism once the economy recovers.

A big problem with bacteria in one of Georgia's rivers. GPB News reports that scientists are urging with the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to take a second look at the water in the Oconee River near Dublin. Last year, scientists visited that river for water samples. They found bloody fish and deformed birds in their previous trip to Laurens County. EPD officials say there's no danger to public health because of the bacteria. But Kim Tyler of Altamaha Riverkeeper disagrees. She says bacteria levels are 40 times higher at the Oconee River than certain portions of the Ocmulgee River. Tyler has sent a letter to the EPD reporting their findings.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GNB Update

It's Wednesday...the middle of the week. Here's the news.

The cutbacks strike again. This time Georgia's state parks are feeling the pinch.

The Associated Press reports that state parks face an upcoming round of budget cuts for this summer. They include a rise in fees, as well as a few sites cutting back their hours of operation. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says the cuts are needed to address an almost 40 percent reduction in state approprations, and a projected loss of revenue totaling close to 25 percent. The DNR also plans to cut more than one-tenth of its workforce due to the cutbacks.

A middle Georgia healthcare facility is feeling the effects of the economic downturn. reports that Houston Healthcare is seeing the effects of the recession in terms of patients using emergency rooms and other related services. In April, emergency room visits were up almost 16 percent at Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins, while similar visits at Perry Hospital rose more than three percent. Additionally, medstop visits increased increased almost 25 percent. But there is some good news. Houston Healthcare CEO Skip Phillips says the facility exceeded expenditures by almost $2 million in April. That gave the system $7 million in positive revenues since the fiscal year began on January 1.

More positive national recognition for a small Georgia city. GPB News reports that Athens was ranked as the fifth-best place to live in the U.S. That's according to the U.S. Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. It gets even better for the northeast Georgia city. Just last month, Forbes magazine ranked Athens seventh in its best cities for jobs rankings.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Wednesday night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

GNB Update

Hope you enjoyed your first day back from a shortened work week...Here's the news...

The so-called "super-speeder" fines won't be imposed until 2010. reports that the fine for drivers that have excessive speed won't go into effect until January 1. Motorists who drive more than 75 miles per hour on two-lane roads, or over 85 mph on any road will pay the price for driving too fast. The state is delaying the implementation of the new fines until early next year because new traffic tickets must be printed. They'll have a box that indicates whether the incident happened, either on a two-lane road or a larger highway. The "super speeder" bill was passed by the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year in hopes of raising money for the state's trauma network.

The ongoing economic downturn leads to cutbacks at southwest Georgia colleges & universities. The Albany Herald reports that Albany State University has reacted to the recession in many ways. That includes freezing some vacant positions, as well as restricting travel. But other schools such as Georgia Southwestern State University have managed to avoid major cutbacks so far, as the Americus-based institution has benefited from significant enrollment growth. Still, two-year Abraham Baldwin College of Tifton did make one major cut, as it eliminated its basketball programs last year after more than seven decades.

And one of the blogs in our "blog files" was profiled in Tuesday's Albany Herald. Check out the article about SWGA Politics by clicking here.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good Tuesday night.

Friday, May 22, 2009

GNB Weekend Update

The long holiday weekend has arrived...Here's the news...

Some good economic news for the Chattahoochee Valley. reports that snack food manufacturer Lance, Inc. announced that it's expanding operations at its Columbus plant Friday. The expansion will lead to the creation of 70 jobs. That brings the total number of employees at the Columbus facility to more than 520. Lance officials say they chose Columbus because of the plant's capability to handle increased operations, as well as other factors. The new investment will cost over $10 million, and will result in the creation of a new line of crackers, and boost the production of candy bars in the process. The new operations are expected to start by late fall.

The controversy over a lack of funding continues to linger at Albany State University. The Albany Herald reports that some ASU students want answers as to why lawmakers lost almost $2 million for the funding a new fine arts center on their campus. Former Representative Richard Royal told the Herald that he blames state Representative Winfred Dukes for removing money from the budget. A recent ASU graduate calls the proposed new facility "bait that they hold out to us, and every year they pull it away one more time." In case you missed it, you can read SWGA Politics column on the ASU funding controversy here.

Macon's financial situation goes from bad to worse. reports that officials there reported a drop in sales tax proceeds of more than 40 percent from 2008. That drop follows February collections came almost a third short of the mark set the previous year. The budget by Mayor Robert Reichert called for city employees to go without pay for all nine holidays for fiscal year 2010.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a great holiday weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

GNB Update

Friday is just around the corner...Here's the news...

A lower legal drinking age can lead to a higher amount of unplanned pregnancies...That was the main result of a study conducted by University of Georgia assistant professor Angela Fertig (left) released earlier today. It showed that reducing the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 increased prenatal alcohol consumption by 21 percent among women 18-20 years old. The analysis by Fertig and her team also indicated that a lower legal drinking age led to more unplanned pregnancies. That also increases the chances of poorer health among infants. The results appeared in the May issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

UGA College of Public Health
Professor Angela Fertig (photo
courtesy of the University of

A middle Georgia university teams up with a local hospital to address the nursing shortage. reports that Fort Valley State University joined forces with the Peach County Hospital Authority to develop the new program on Wednesday. Under the deal, FVSU would lease or purchase a portion of the property at Peach Regional Medical Center for the clinical training. The program includes a core nursing curriculum, along with emergency care, operating room, and critical care specialties. The agreement must be approved by the Board of Regents.
Savannah has become "America's Most Mannerly City". The coastal Georgia city took home that award after the rival city of Charleston, South Carolina held that title for the last 12 years. The award was presented to Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson in a ceremony earlier today. The owner of a Charleston-based etiquette school says it was to time to share the award with their Peach State neighbors after so many years after holding the title all to themselves. The survey has lasted for 32 years.
That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

GNB Update

This is the Wednesday edition of GNB Update...Here's the news...

More follow-up on the funding...or lack Albany State University. State Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D-Albany) says that state representative Ed Rynders (R-Leesburg) fought efforts to provide funding for a new fine arts center on the ASU campus. It's an accusation that Rynders denies. But he also told the Albany Herald that he has never opposed any project that could benefit southwest Georgia. SWGA Politics has its take on the Sims/Rynders controversy here.

A middle Georgia businessman is sued by an Atlanta group for millions of dollars. reports that the lawsuit claims Macon businessman Austin Sapp, Jr. defrauded a group of metro Atlanta residents of $5.2 million. The civil lawsuit claims Sapp overstated past income and revenues of the businesses to influence that group to buy them in 2007. The suit filed in Bibb County Superior Court in 2008 says Sapp provided the group with fraudulent written records. That includes false business records and incorrect tax returns. The case could go to trial by this fall.

And from the "Blog Files", Atlanta Unsheltered has an inside look at Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Poythress, and his targeting of Republican "secession candidates". Well worth the read. Also, Peach Pundit weighs in on an unlikely candidate challenging incumbent DuBose Porter for the House District 143 seat.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a great Wednesday night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GNB Update

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of GNB...Here's the news...

Several electric membership corporations say no thanks to a proposed power plant. reports that four EMC's in middle Georgia have pulled out of a deal to build a coal-fired power plant in the region. They represent half the stake in that proposal. The two companies that had the largest stake in the deal--Jackson and GreyStone Power, pulled out, as did smaller companies Excelsior and Diverse Power. The six remaining EMC's, however, say they're moving forward with the Plant Washington project. It's being developed just north of Sandersville, and will cost more than $2 billion.

Some heated debate over lost funding. The Albany Herald reports that state Senator Freddie Powell Sims accused state Representative Ed Rynders of fighting to eliminate funding for Albany State University during the 2009 legislative session. Sims claims the funds were eliminated because she refused to vote for House Speaker Glenn Richardson's GREAT plan in 2008. But Rynders says such a conversation never took place. Sims says that she called the press conference to provide "clarity and transparency" to the issues that affect southwest Georgia.

There's good news for those working in Georgia's biotechnology industry. The Associated Press reports that Governor Sonny Perdue announced plans for the state to start a new "drug discovery" institute on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta earlier today. The governor also announced plans to build a new research center to built next to Georgia Tech's campus. Both announcements were made during the 2009 BIO International conference in Atlanta.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good Tuesday night.

Monday, May 18, 2009

GNB Update

Hope the new work got off to a great start for you...Here's the news...

The struggling economy costs the foundations of the state's flagship university a lot of money. The Associated Press reports that the University of Georgia expects to see cuts in student scholarships, faculty travel, and other programs soon. The cutbacks come after two private foundations supporting the institution lost close to $180 million in assets last year. In June 2008, both the UGA and Arch Foundations combined for a worth of $730 million. That's a reduction of 25 percent of their assets. As a result, UGA provost Arnett Mace says the institution must make the necessary cutbacks to deal with that decrease.

Say goodbye to the Feds looking over Georgia's juvenile justice system. It was released from federal oversight after more than a decade on Monday. Governor Sonny Perdue told the Associated Press that the state has made major improvements since the juvenile justice system came under scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department in 1998. The report back then showed found Georgia's juvenile facilities suffered from problems ranging from overcrowding to abuse of inmates. The state now houses nearly 3,600 children at 29 youth detention centers statewide.

The state's largest road builder takes on an activist role. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Bill Hammack of the C.W. Matthews Contracting Company recently called Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle in 2008 to stop a measure that would have allowed the the state Senate to raise the dollar to ease traffic congestion on state highways. Although Hammack says he made call to Cagle around that time, he claims that it wasn't the main reason for the bill's failure. Matthews hopes to win a huge portion of the $1 billion in upcoming projects paid for by the federal stimulus package.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Monday night.

Friday, May 15, 2009

GNB Weekend Update

The weekend is here...Here's the news...

First, Chrysler. Now, General Motors.

Yesterday, the Chrysler Corporation announced it would close some 800 dealers, including 15 in Georgia. Earlier Friday, GM says it will close 1,100 of its floundering stores across the U.S. But a dealership in Columbus isn't of those, as the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that a local GM dealership there was among those that were spared closure. Also, WABE reports that many of the largest GM dealers in metro Atlanta will stay open. GM will close 1,100 of its franchises by late next year. Both Chrysler and GM officials say that too many dealerships and low sales led to the decision to close those stores.

It's not even finished yet, but a new Macon hotel already has its leaders selected. reports that the new Marriott hotel under construction on Coliseum Drive had a new leadership team picked earlier this week. David Rosenberg was named general manager, while Pat Horan got the nod for the sales director's position. The new hotel is scheduled to be completed by September.

Video cameras will soon be watching the moves everyone makes throughout downtown Albany this summer. The Albany Herald reports that more than $300,000 worth of security cameras will be installed either by late June or early July. At least 16 cameras will be placed in various locations throughout the downtown area. But SWGA Politics believes the installation of the new devices goes too far, saying it's an invasion of one's privacy.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GNB Update

Here's to Thursday...and the news....

There's both good and bad news for a southwest Georgia two-year college. The Albany Herald reports that Darton College in Albany broke ground on its new addition to the student center yesterday. The expansion of the 30,000-square foot facility will cost $19 million to complete. Once finished, it will more than double in size to over 60,000 square feet. Meanwhile, Governor Sonny Perdue yesterday vetoed funding that would have allowed Darton College to purchase the current Albany Museum of Art building.

The continued turmoil surrounding the U.S. automobile industry could force some car dealerships in Georgia to close their doors for good. The Associated Press reports that the Chrysler Corporation wants 13 dealerships in the state to go out of business. The company announced the closure of almost 800 stores in a motion prepared in bankruptcy court earlier today. reports that the news of a Milledgeville dealership being among the 13 Georgia dealerships on the closure list came as a surprise, but plans to stay open.

The decision to wear blue jeans proves costly for a suburban Atlanta police chief. Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox suspended Chief Brad Johnson for insubordination. Maddox wanted Johnson to wear a police uniform instead of jeans. That disagreement led to the suspension, only to have it cut in half after an appeal to the city council. Johnson returned to work yesterday. He says he will wear a uniform.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

GNB Update

It's the halfway point of the work week...Here's the news...

Bring back the tax break.

That's what some conservative groups are asking Georgia lawmakers to do. The Associated Press reports that those groups want legislators to override Governor Sonny Perdue's veto of a sweeping tax break when a new session convenes next year. The governor says the struggling economy forced him to veto that measure. Had the measure passed, it would have cut the state's capital gains in half, and given tax breaks to those companies who hired the unemployed. A two-thirds majority by both the Georgia House and Senate is required to override any veto.

Expect furloughs at colleges and universities statewide very soon. Yesterday, the University System of Georgia voted to give presidents at all 35 public colleges and universities to power to furlough all faculty and staff. The new policy allows for up to 10 days of furlough to be required if needed. GPB News reports that lawmakers criticized USG Chancellor Errol B. Davis for avoiding the furloughs earlier this year. The university system is expected to be short by more than 500 million dollars over the next two years.

"Nobody is going to like my budget". Those were the feelings Macon mayor Robert Reichert expressed yesterday, as he unveiled the 2010 fiscal year budget for the middle Georgia city. The proposal calls for 33 vacant positions, as well as 21 days of salary to be cut. Those cuts will come through a combination of furloughs, and an elimination of holiday pay. He hopes that move will help Macon get through the current recession. The proposed budget will total $112 million.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Wednesday night.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

GNB Update

Hope your Tuesday was a very productive one...Here's the news...

Governor Sonny Perdue gets a prestigious seat on a national board. The Associated Press reports that Perdue was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board earlier today. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says that Georgia's governor will serve a three-year term on the board. It oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams. They're designed to show how well students in each state are doing in subjects such as math, history, and the social sciences. The board has 26 members, and is made up of a bi-partisan panel of governors, state lawmakers, school officials, and other citizens.

A changing of the guard at Fort Benning. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that Major General Michael Ferriter will replace Major General Michael Barbero. Barbero has been at the west central Georgia-based fort since last November. The change of command ceremony takes place near the end of June. No word on where Barbero will go next.

And from the "blog files", former Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Maria Saporta writes on whether or not a better quality of life and education warrants a higher tax base in Minnesota, and how Georgia fits into the picture. You can read the article by clicking here.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Tuesday night.

Monday, May 11, 2009

GNB Update

Welcome to Monday...the end of the first day of a new work week...Here's the news...

Here's a good read from Sunday's edition of the Albany Herald. Editor Carlton Fletcher writes that Lee County has experienced significant growth since the 2000 Census, and that it was the third fastest growing county in the state at the time; the only county outside of metro Atlanta to experience such population growth. But Lee County's growth has come at the expense of Dougherty County, as many people cite the school system as a reason for Lee's fast rise, while others blame the growing crime rate in Albany for the latter county's decline population-wise. Still, local insurance agent Rick Muggridge says a regional approach is needed for Lee County to continue its unprecedented growth.

Cell phone customers in middle Georgia get good news. reports that AT&T customers there will soon get the faster-streaming wireless service. It's a service the region has missed out on until now. An AT&T spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the so-called "3G", or third generation wireless service, will be end in place by the end of the year, if not the end of September. In addition to Macon, nearby cities Milledgeville and Warner Robins also will get in on the new "3G" service. Augusta, the Lake Oconee region, and Valdosta will get the new service by the end of this year.

And from the "blog files", one blog has moved to a new location. SWGA Politics can now be found online by going to

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Monday night.

Friday, May 8, 2009

GNB Weekend Update

The weekend has arrived...Here's the news...

Commissioners in one middle Georgia county have some tough decisions to make in the coming weeks. reports that Bibb County commissioners must find about $15 million to balance the next fiscal year's budget. Bibb County finance director Deborah Martin says she is projecting around $81 million for fiscal year 2010, but cautions that there's $96 million in funding requests that must be used. Commission chairman Sam Hart must decide what's needed and what's not before July 1.

Georgia's largest bank must raise more than $2 billion...and fast. That's according to federal regulators. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta-based Sun Trust Bank must raise at least $2.2 billion to cover any potential losses if the recession continues. The company has less than 30 days to develop a plan to bolster its capital cushion. It also has until early November to carry that plan out. Yesterday, the federal government conducted a stress test on the nation's biggest banks to see how they would do during a recession. Regulators say that Sun Trust could lose almost $12 billion in 2009 and 2010 should the economic downturn take a turn for the worse.

Teachers not under contract in one metro Atlanta county could soon get good news. The Fayette Daily News reports at least 17 teachers without a contract in Fayette County could get to teach students under a new "Resident Teacher" program. That plan was unveiled during a school board there earlier this week. Those teachers would be placed at one of 17 schools within the county, and be used as an "on site resident teacher". Under the plan, though, such teachers would work the standard 180 days during the school year, without benefits.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

GNB Update

Thursday has come and gone...Here's the news...

Officials from Lee County paid a visit to Governor Sonny Perdue on Tuesday. They met with the governor to convince him to allocate $2 million for the construction of a new library in the southern portion of the southwest Georgia county. District 152 state representative Ed Rynders tells the Albany Herald that he set up the meeting with Governor Perdue so that he and local officials could update him on the proposal. Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy, though, says he's cautiously optimistic that the governor would keep his word on keeping the funding for the new library in the fiscal year 2010 budget. Perdue will sign off on the new state budget next week.

Expect more cases of the H1N1 virus in Georgia. That's according to state health officials.

The Albany Herald reports in its Thursday edition that a 13-year-old boy from Henry County had tested positive for the virus yesterday. That brought the total number of likely cases in Georgia to four, including two military cases based in Augusta. State officials are also waiting for confirmation on a case in Clayton County. For more information on the H1N1 virus, visit this website by clicking here.

Sea turtles were discovered on Sea Island earlier this week. Georgia Public Broadcasting reports that the first nest of the season was found Monday. The Savannah Morning News also reports that the nest carried a leatherback turtle that was bigger than loggerhead. State wildlife officials will run daily patrols during the early weeks of the 2009 season.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

GNB Update

Hope your Wednesday went well...Here's the news...

Some heated debate about funding...or lack Albany...

The Albany Herald reported in today's edition that state representative Winfred Dukes (D-Albany) confronted his lobbyist over how close to two million dollars in funding for a new fine arts center at Albany State University was stripped from the budget for fiscal year 2010. Meanwhile, ASU President Dr. Everette Freeman told the Herald that he's optimistic that lawmakers will get the funding approved next year, in spite of his disappointment of them being denied this year.

More background: SWGA Politics has more on the ASU funding controversy here.

The Georgia Public Service Commission has a new chairman. It elected Stan Wise to a two-year term at the commission's top spot yesterday. He'll serve his fourth term starting July 1st. Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald earned the nod for vice chairman. Wise replaces former chairman Doug Everett.

Many roads throughout Georgia will soon get some much-needed improvements. That's thanks to the federal stimulus package. Governor Sonny Perdue yesterday certified 51 road projects statewide for the federal funding. He tells the Associated Press that those projects include some needed bridge repairs, and another critical piece of the "Fall Line Freeway". To date, Perdue has certified more than 100 projects. That represents 95 percent of the funds that need to be spent by the end of June.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good Wednesday night.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

GNB Update

Here's to Tuesday...And here's the news...

There are new two cases of the swine flu today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that one of those cases involves a 3-year-old, and a 36-year-old pregnant woman from DeKalb County. On Monday, a 14-year-old student from Eagles Landing Christian Academy in Henry County contracted the "H1N1 virus". Today's developments bring the number of confirmed cases in Georgia to four. That includes the Kentucky woman hospitalized in LaGrange since late last week.

One of the world's leading doughnut producers could soon come to southwest Georgia. The Albany Herald reports that representatives with Dunkin' Donuts are considering bringing a franchise to Albany. Helping its cause is the potential sale of a new shopping center in the northwest corner of that city. If it does a place a shop in Albany, Dunkin' Donuts would face a formidable from Krispy Kreme, which has been the dominant doughnut manufacturer in the South for more than 70 years.

More jobs will soon come to the Vidalia Onion region. Chicken of the Sea International announced Monday that it plans to open a plant in Lyons. The company will invest more than $20 million in a 200,000-square foot facility, and will result in the creation of more than 200 jobs. Chicken of the Sea officials say operations are expected to begin this fall.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Enjoy your Tuesday night.

GNB Q&A with Elizabeth Spear of Third Wave Advertising, Macon

Photo caption: Elizabeth Spear
Courtesy of Third Wave Advertising, Macon

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of interviews of leading professionals in business, economic development, industry, politics, and other fields.

Elizabeth Spear of Third Wave Advertising in Macon recently won the "Rising Star" Award from the American Advertising Federation of Central Georgia. That award was given out on March 7, 2009. Here are the questions GNB asked Ms. Spear in this exclusive interview.

Georgia News Beat: What led you to pursue a career in advertising?

Elizabeth Spear: I grew up in a very creative, yet structured, environment. My mother is an artist and my father is in sales management. I wanted a career that would balance my need for creativity with the structure I craved. Advertising was the perfect mix of both worlds. There are rules to live by, but you always have the ability to think outside the box.

GNB: You've been with Third Wave Digital for about three years. What is it like working in a market such as middle Georgia ?

ES: The Middle Georgia market is always changing and thriving. I love this area’s ability to grow and adapt. There is always something new to do, to see and to advertise! The size, for me, is just right. The area itself is not too large, or too small. We have a great mix of businesses in the area that are constantly marketing to their demographic audience. You can properly evaluate a marketer’s effectiveness because we have the tools available to us (because we’re not too small) and because we don’t carry the hectic lifestyle of a larger city. Marketer’s can target their audience and know they have reached them (because we’re not too big).

GNB: You're responsible for website sales at Third Wave, and Internet advertising has been on the rise for at least the last five years. What do you like most about the position?

ES: I love finding a solution for a client that I know will work. I refuse to stand behind, pitch or otherwise support an inferior product. I don’t mind going to a potential client and saying “We are the best in the market” because it is what I believe. My passion for my work shows in my presentations and the energy is tangible in the room. I love turning a skeptic into a believer! With a gorgeous looking and user-friendly website from Third Wave coupled with our innate ability to market your web presence, your business is going to succeed online. That’s the confidence I have in our product and that is exactly what we deliver.

We have been in the internet marketing game since it started. It began with search engine optimization (in which we are unbeatable) and we’re seeing a growing trend to advertise online as well. We have recommended for a few years now that our clients’ marketing budgets include money for online advertising. It is the way of the future and a fabulous place to target even more individuals. When your budget is tight, it is an especially great medium and well worth the money you put into it. The variety of services and solutions that I have at my fingertips is a great tool in finding that perfect solutions for clients.

GNB: When you're not working, you're heavily involved in the middle Georgia community. What you like the most about those organizations?

ES: I am a passionate person (if you can’t already tell) and I like partnering with passionate organizations. Since moving to Macon over three years ago, I have grown to call it my home. I am excited about creating a better community for myself and my peers where we can live and succeed. The Chambers of Commerce play a huge roll in that success, both professionally and socially. I get a thrill out of watching new businesses at their ribbon cuttings. The Young Professionals’ Network, sponsored by the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, has opened my eyes to the vibrant social life that is available to me through building relationships with other professionals my age. The American Advertising Federation, Central Georgia Chapter, has been a great outlet for building relationships and gathering knowledge that is pertinent to my career field. The Central Georgia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is such a fabulous organization! I love that 75% of everything I raise will stay here in my community to help fellow community members lead healthier, happier lives. My most recent endeavor, the marketing committee for Bragg Jam, a local music festival, has been awesome. I get to combine two things I love: music and marketing! I strive to make this community a better place by working with all of these organizations.

GNB: Where do see yourself going in five years? 10 years?

ES: No one can predict the future, but I know what I want for myself. First and foremost, I want to be happy with whatever I am doing. I am confident that I will continue working with non-profit organizations in the area. I look forward to growing the budding social relationships I have currently into lasting friendship that I see growing stronger over the next ten years. Professionally, I would like to open my own company; an advertising and marketing firm with a strong focus on client relations and ethics. Bart Campione, President of Third Wave Advertising, has been a great mentor over the last three years. I admire the fact that he opened his own company and is successful. I want the same thing for myself. Success and happiness is all I can ask for.

GNB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

ES: I couldn’t be successful in my job without the support from the Third Wave team, my family (Thanks Mom) and my friends. A wise person once told me that if your professional life and social life aren’t in balance, you won’t find happiness. I took that to heart and believe I am where I am supposed to be right now, both professionally and socially.

More information:

American Advertising Federation of Central Georgia:

Third Wave Advertising:

Monday, May 4, 2009

GNB EXTRA--Breaking News on the H1N1 Virus

There's now a second case of the "H1N1" virus, formerly know as the "swine flu", in Georgia.

Earlier today, the Georgia Department of Human Resources announced that a 14-year-old private school student from Henry County contracted the disease. Last week, a Kentucky woman became ill from the H1N1 virus during a visit to LaGrange. The Eagles Landing Christian Academy in Henry County will have classes suspended for the next two weeks to minizime the spread of the flu. DHR officials have also announced that it's conducting tests for more potential cases in three other metro Atlanta counties.


Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

WXIA-TV Atlanta

Click here for last Thursday's special report on the H1N1 virus.

Other resources

CDC H1N1 virus page:

Georgia Division of Public Health:

H1N1 Flu Update on Twitter:

WXIA-TV Atlanta:

GNB Update

Monday's starting to wind down...Here's the news...

The race for Georgia governor has turned into a big "Deal", literally. Late last week, 66-year-old Nathan Deal became the latest Republican to announce his/her intentions to run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He announced his candidacy before more than 500 supporters in Gainesville on Friday. Deal cited his leadership during his nine-term run in Congress as the main reason he's running for governor. He joins an already crowded field for the Republican nomination. That list includes Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Secretary of State Karen Handel, state senator Eric Johnson, and state representative Austin Scott.

More information on Nathan Deal: Click here.

The Atlanta Hawks are moving on round two of the NBA playoffs. They won their first playoff series in a decade after downing the Miami Heat 91-78 in Game 7 on Sunday. The Hawks last won a "best of seven" postseason series in 1999. They'll face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road Tuesday night.

And a former sportscasting legend gets top honors. Former University of Georgia football radio play-by-play announcer Larry Munson will be inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in North Carolina tonight. He won't be able to attend the ceremonies, but will provide a prepared speech by video. Munson did the play-by-play for UGA games from 1966 until health problems forced him to retire last season.

That's the news. GNB is online at, and on Twitter at Have a good Monday night.

Friday, May 1, 2009

GNB Weekend Update

The weekend has arrived...Here's the news...

Georgia's governor picks the site of one of the state's most popular peach orchards to sign a food safety bill. Governor Sonny Perdue signed Senate Bill 80 into law on Friday. The measure requires food companies to report any food-related illnesses to state officials. Not doing so could lead to felony charge. The new law also requires companies to conduct testing for food-borne diseases such as salmonella. The recent discovery of salmonella poisoning at the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely led to the eventual passage of the bill.

A strong estimate on the swine flu from leaders in a middle Georgia county. WMAZ-TV in Macon reports that Houston County officials predict that a pandemic flu outbreak could infect as many as 37,000 residents in the area. Of that group, more than half would require medical attention. Houston residents can call 211 or a special toll-free number for more information on the H1N1 virus.

More information: North Central Health District-Georgia website

Students and teachers alike in Clayton County are breathing a sigh of relief this weekend. The Clayton County school system on Friday regained its accreditation status from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). But it will remain on probation for the next two years, as school officials must continue to work with SACS on issues such as leadership and governance. Clayton must report to SACS every six months on the school system's progress. In 2008, Clayton County became the first school system in the U.S. to lose accreditation in almost 40 years.

That's the news. GNB is available online at, and on Twitter at Have a good weekend.