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Clayton Chamber of Commerce looks to boost cooperation

By Justin Boron

The Clayton County Chamber of Commerce used its annual banquet this weekend in College Park as a platform to boost cooperation for economic development in the county's business and government arena, chamber officials said.

With several newly elected officials in attendance, who promised economic development in their campaigns, the chamber sought to capitalize on the renewed interest, said Geoff Fulton, the treasurer for the chamber.

Four out of the five members of the Board of Commissioners showed up to the event, which is an increase from past years, he said.

"It's a little more involvement than we're used to," Fulton said.

Jack Hancock, the chairman of the organization's Board of Director's, has said one of the chamber's initiatives this year is to become the primary point-of-contact for incoming businesses.

With that end in mind, Fulton said Hancock proposed continued cooperation with local government in addition to a chief executive officer roundtable that could be held once a quarter

Pete Meadows, the organization's former chairman, said the meeting exemplified a "renewed sense of purpose" to become the county's hub for new business.

During the ceremony, the chamber also handed out some its annual awards.

It recognized SunTrust Banks, Inc. as the business of the year for its community service.

Lata Chinnan, 53, was given the Athena Award, which amounts to a businesswoman of the year.

She owns New South Package Store in Riverdale.

State Rep. Ron Dodson was given the Carl Rhodenizer Community Service Award.

Margie Woodhurst, 47, of the Derek Campbell Nationwide Insurance Agency in Jonesboro was given the Chairman's award, which is given for volunteer service.