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Economy focus of regional summit
Lanier Tech site of event Thursday
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Forsyth County News

Want to attend?

• The Region 2 meeting of the Governor’s Competitiveness Initiative on Thursday is free and open to the public, but attendees must register in advance online at

• The meeting will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. and continue until 2:30 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break at 11:30 a.m., in the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, 7745 Majors Road.

Have ideas on how to bring new business to Georgia?

Gov. Nathan Deal wants to hear them.

As part of the governor’s Competitiveness Initiative, the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center will play host to a regional economic development meeting Thursday.

The initiative was begun earlier this year as a way to bring together government leaders and the business community to develop a long-term strategy for economic development.

The public is invited to attend Thursday’s meeting, which will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. and continue until 2:30 p.m.

Those wishing to attend are asked to register online prior to the event.

Suzanne Browne, with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said about 100 people have signed up so far.

“It looks like we’re going to have a good crowd,” she said.

The meeting will include Forsyth and 12 other northeast Georgia counties: Dawson, Hall, Lumpkin, Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White.

Browne said local government leaders from throughout the region have been invited to attend.

“And information went out to all the economic development groups like chambers of commerce, inviting their business communities,” Browne said.

Local chamber officials look forward to being hosts.

“First of all, these other counties will get to see our facilities in Forsyth,” said Jason Mock, director of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s small business services center. “And secondly, it will be good to come together as a region to talk about the issues that affect all of us.

“The No. 1 issue in the news right now is the economy and jobs, and we’re trying to get something going that will get us close to where we were in 2006 and 2007.”

Thursday’s meeting, which Browne said will be similar to a town hall gathering with facilitators leading discussions in small groups, is one of many being held across the state.

The meeting will also feature several speakers. Among them: Russell Vandiver, president of Lanier Technical College; Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; and Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

A final report of the Competitiveness Initiative steering committee, including input from all the regional meetings, will be presented to the governor later this fall.