By Jason A. Smith
The Henry County Chamber of Commerce will officially welcome a new chairman to lead its board of directors.
Taylor Rice will take over the role Saturday, during a ceremony at Eagle's Landing Country Club in Stockbridge.
Rice has been a partner in the Moye's Pharmacy retail chain since 2004. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, the Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, and the South College School of Pharmacy in Savannah.
He became interim chairman of the board after the resignation of former chairman, State Rep. Andy Welch.
Rice said he is looking forward to following in Welch's footsteps. He will serve as the chamber chairman for a one-year term.
"Since taking over for Andy, I've been able to get a head start as a business leader and a community member," said Rice, 33, of Locust Grove. "We want to help maintain the momentum in a positive way for Henry County, as we emerge from an economic downturn."
Welch began serving on the Chamber's Executive Committee in 2007, and was chairman from January 2010, to June 2010.
Welch said he is looking forward to "passing the gavel" to Rice.
"Taylor was the chairman-elect, and he took over the role of interim chairman in June," said Welch. "So, the Chamber is going to have the benefit of his expertise and leadership for an additional year. It's been a delightful experience, and an honor to serve on the Executive Committee. The members and volunteers at the Chamber make being the chairman a very easy job -- and a very fruitful job."
Rice served on the One Henry Economic Development Task Force in 2009, and was the Chamber's vice chairman for Cultural and Economic Development from 2009, to 2010.
He said he and his fellow Chamber members have already begun working with county leaders, on an initiative called "Ready by 21."
The "far-reaching" endeavor, Rice said, focuses on creating jobs, as well improving education and transportation, locally.
"What we aim to do is marry the public and private sectors, by bringing together the business community, the government community and the residential community, to achieve a set of common goals," he explained. "Those goals pertain to several areas, the most important of which is education. One of those goals is to obtain a 100-percent [high school] graduation rate in Henry County."
Rice and his wife, Rebecca, have two children -- a 3-year-old son, Phoenix, and a 4-month-old daughter, Emma Kate.