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Leadership programs focus on personal and professional development in the new year

Thursday, March 31, 2022

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The Chamber’s three leadership programs – Excellence, Edge and Equip – each continued their focus on personal and professional development in the new year.

The Chamber’s Excellence in Leadership program’s January meeting was postponed to February 1st where Decatur Baptist Church hosted the Community Action Poverty Simulation facilitated by Leadership Greater Huntsville. The exercise promotes a greater understanding of poverty. During the simulation, participants role-play the lives of low-income families from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self sufficiency on Social Security.

Excellence in Leadership met for Creating Opportunity on Feb.17th which began with a panel discussion from a Rock Star Economic Development panel. They were able to tour GE Appliances then back to Community Action Partnership of North Alabama for lunch with John Joseph of the E-Center. On March 8-9, Excellence in Leadership travelled to Montgomery with an agenda that covered everything from the Equal Justice Initiative to meeting with the legislative delegation. Graduation will be held at the Small Business Awards Luncheon on May 10. Excellence in Leadership is presented by Nucor Steel Decatur. Gold Sponsors are City of Decatur, Shawn D. Garth, Realtor, Lifepoint Church and Supporting Sponsors Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Decatur Morgan Hospital, Larry Waye-Decatur Baptist Church and TVW Electrical Supplies, Inc.

The Chamber started the Equip Student Leadership program for Spring 2022 for Decatur City, Hartselle City and Morgan County School Systems. The program exposes eighth grade students to environments in the skilled trades as career options following their completion of high school. The Equip Leadership program met on February 17 at the Cook Museum of Natural Science where they learned career and financial education skills to help prepare them for a successful future. Taylor Simmons with Horizon Point Consulting, Inc. focused on how to fill out job applications, do mock interviews and discussed career opportunities. After lunch, Kaeshier Fernandez with Redstone Federal Credit Union played the game of Life to teach the students how to budget, spend responsibly and make smart money choices.

The Equip students met on February 24 for an Industry and Utilities Day. The group met at Community Action of North Alabama for breakfast and began the day first stopping at GE Appliances, a Haier company. The students toured the GE Decatur plant and were able to see and discuss different career pathways with workers. They then headed to the Decatur Utilities main office. The students heard from workers in gas and wastewater operations, gas and water engineers, electric operations, and electrical engineering, IT/GIS along with administrative and HR jobs. It was a great discussion about the careers Decatur Utilities offers such as designing and GPS, line workers, technology, and research.

On March 24, the students started the day in the Contractor Service & Fabrication Inc Boardroom by welcoming Presenting Sponsor Nucor Steel Decatur’s, Landon Allen, who spoke to the students about career opportunities with Nucor. Allen is a Metallurgist Engineer with Nucor. He specializes in transforming metals such as steel and aluminum into creating them to useful materials needed for specific jobs. He also talked to the students about the Nucor Technical Academy which allows students to get trained and get an education all while getting paid. The academy is in Tuscaloosa and once the students graduate, they will have a job waiting on them with Nucor. Then the group loaded the bus and headed to Vulcan Materials Company for a tour of the rock quarry. Cody Graves, Plant Manager, was their tour guide for the day. The students heard how important the quarry is to infrastructure, including everyday life such as our roads, schools, and houses. The students were able to see heavy machine operators in action loading rock that will be used for all types of infrastructure. Equip is made possible by presenting sponsor Nucor Steel Decatur.

Edge Student Leadership met on January 13th for Economic Development Day starting the day off with Jeremy Nails of Morgan County Economic Development Association on the process of maintaining a prosperous economic development schedule for our community and played a fun economic development game. They then toured YKTA. The day ended with Taylor Simmons of Horizon Point Consulting offering interview tips and the pros and cons of social media.

In February, the Edge class spent their day focusing on “then and now” in our community. Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Mayor Tab Bowling started the day at the Chamber speaking with the group about each of their roles in local government, what each is responsible for, how they collaborate on economic and community development projects, and their own personal leadership styles. Students went on to tour the Old State Bank and then hopped on the bus for a tour of Old Town Decatur with David Breland, historic preservation commission program coordinator for the City of Decatur. The next stop was the Morgan County Archives with John Allison. They then toured the Alabama Center for the Arts with Jennifer Bunnell. Lunch was at Decatur County Club with Laura Ritch, who worked with the group to discuss dinner and business etiquette, appropriate attire in casual and professional environments, and other soft skill training.

Edge Student Leadership left for Montgomery on March 9th with a mirror of the Excellence schedule minus the Equal Justice Initiative and add Rosa Parks Museum. Edge Student Leadership graduation is Sunday, April 24, 2022. Edge is presented by Nucor Steel Decatur. Gold Sponsors are Joe Wheeler EMC and the Morgan County Commission.

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The Chamber thanks its Strategic Partners for their support.

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