Columbia County Chamber Presents the Leadership Executive Forum Class of 2024

Staff Report

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 2024 Leadership Columbia County Executive Forum on January 24-26, sponsored by Queensborough National Bank & Trust, Georgia Power, Blanchard & Calhoun Real Estate and SRP Federal Credit Union. 

The Executive Forum is a three-day, condensed awareness program covering all aspects of the community. The forum targets senior level executives who may not have the time to invest in the Chamber’s traditional nine-month Leadership program. The goals of the program are to give the participants a better understanding of our community, the current state of our economy, government, military, healthcare, education and workforce, and the future plans concerning growth and quality of life across the region. Their spouses are invited to attend as well.

The underlying theme of this year’s executive forum was collaboration in our region.  This was displayed to the class members through a panel discussion led by economic development leaders from three counties who work together to grow business and industry in our area.  Healthcare executives from three major hospitals led a discussion on the common challenges they face in their industry and how, together, they have formed a healthcare leadership forum.  The class learned that the Augusta Junior Achievement Discovery Center was created from a partnership by Columbia County and Richmond County Boards of Education.  During a windshield tour of Fort Eisenhower the class witnessed the alliance between Fort Eisenhower and our community leaders, which has resulted in a $5.4 billion economic windfall for our region. 

This year’s Executive Forum was chaired by Jane Marie Kinsey, Vice President of McKnight Construction, and Tiffany Heitzman, Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Aiken-Augusta.  This program was made possible by contributions from McKnight Construction, Home Builders Association of Aiken-Augusta, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, The Prather Company, Augusta Staffing, Clifton Construction, Herbert Homes, CSRA Alliance for Fort Eisenhower, Association of the United States Army, Development Authority of Columbia County and SPLUNK.

Participants in the 2024 Executive Forum Program include: Sean Barnes, Fort Eisenhower & Cyber Center of Excellence; Davis Beman, Beman Group Real Estate; Doug Burks, Security Onion Solutions; Greg Byrge, Brandon Wilde; Alex Casado, Columbia County Board of Education; Amber Casado, Augusta University; Joanna Conley, Doctors Hospital; Alison Couch, Columbia County Commissioner; Chad Couch, Grass Roots Garden Center; Chad Cousins, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture; Janee Dock, Piedmont Augusta; Amanda Clements Drake, C&C Automotive; Jim Gaine, Spratlin & Son Construction; Erin Gaine, Spratlin & Son Construction; Eric Jenkins, SRP Federal Credit Union; Jay Johnson, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Luv Johnson, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Sherrick Johnson, Augusta Technical College; Malinda Johnson, The Cleveland Group CPAs; Jeffrey Johnston, Jeffrey E. Johnston Attorney at Law; Jeffrey Karafa, Queensborough National Bank & Trust; Stephen King, Georgia Power; Jason LaClair SOFtact Solutions; Donovan Lee-Sin, Augusta National Golf Club; Racquel Lee-Sin, Florida Blue; Brent Robinson, Piedmont Augusta; Chris Senn, Southeastern Development; Jason Stott, Georgia Power; Ralph Turner, Wellstar Health System; Paul Wade, SME CPAs; Mary Ann Wade, Surrey Center Pharmacy; and Dustin Young, Pinnacle Bank.