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Officials complete training
Course addresses economic development
GAED Graduation 2009 006
Forsyth County graduates from a recent Georgia Academy for Economic Development program included Vanessa Bernstein, Patrick Bell, Pam Bowman, Charlie Laughinghouse and Kristen Morrissey. They are flanked here by facilitators Niki Knox, left, and Rope Roberts, right. - photo by Submitted photo

Five people from Forsyth County recently graduated from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development's 2009 Region 2 multi-day training program.

Graduates honored at the Nov. 17 ceremony included:

* Forsyth County Commissioner Patrick Bell

* Vanessa Bernstein with Forsyth County's planning and development department

* Pam Bowman of PB Consulting Services

* Charlie Laughinghouse, chairman of the Forsyth County commission

* Kristen Morrissey of the Caney Creek Homeowners Association

The multi-day program, taught in four days over a four-month period, offers participants an opportunity to learn about the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional and state levels.

Participants represented a number of professional and non-professional economic development fields, including elected officials, business leaders, educators and social service providers from 13 counties in North Georgia.  

Created in 1993 by then-Gov. Zell Miller’s Development Council, the academy assembles a cross-section of economic development professionals and resources in all 12 service delivery regions in Georgia.  

Offered annually since 1998, it has provided training for thousands of professional and non-professional economic developers around the state.

Saralyn Stafford, executive director, said one of the goals of the academy is to "encourage multi-county cooperation."

“Many times the participants discover the issues facing their community are the same as those facing other communities in their region, and can then combine limited resources to address the issue,” she said.

The next Region 2 Georgia Academy for Economic Development will begin in August.  

For more information, contact Kathy Papa at (770) 965-8561 or