Regional Economic Development Examined in Bryan and Effingham Counties During the Fourth Session of Leadership Southeast Georgia 2022 

Regional Economic Development Examined in Bryan and Effingham Counties During the Fourth Session of Leadership Southeast Georgia 2022 

The professional development and leadership program participants focused on the effects of infrastructure, nonprofit organizations and poverty.

(BRYAN COUNTY, Ga.) Leadership Southeast Georgia, a professional development and leadership program throughout 10 coastal counties, continued its 2022 programming in Bryan and Effingham counties. LSEGA is a five-month course of ongoing personal and professional growth to build connections and learn collaboration skills that empower the participants to improve the region. The session four agenda focused on how infrastructure lures organizations to Southeast Georgia, the nonprofit perspective of economic development, and the realities of poverty statistics. Program Managers, Jessica Hood, Vice President, Effingham County Industrial Development Authority and Justin Farquhar, Vice President, Development Authority of Bryan County, developed and lead the session.

“A modern and highly-functional infrastructure is essential to bring businesses to the region,” said LSEGA Board Chair Jared Downs. “Understanding how to achieve and maintain that is vitally important for growth in Southeast Georgia. We learned a lot about how to continue to expand economic opportunity here.”

Class members also reviewed how non-profit organizations see and promote economic development, as well as the effects of poverty in the area. In all LSEGA sessions, participants examine leadership styles and best practices in the organizations they meet with and visit. During this session, there was a specific emphasis on tips and strategies to improve business writing.

The first day began with a trip to Effingham College & Career Academy. Craig Lesser, managing partner at The Pendleton Group, presented an “Overview of Economic Development,” explaining how various authorities work together for the betterment of the region. The LSEGA class then participated in an immersive exercise, examining the site selection factors that impact a company’s decision to locate in the region.

Next, the group briefly toured the Georgia International Trade Center in Rincon before stopping at QuickStart Advanced Manufacturing Center in Pooler. A lunchtime labor panel, “Regional Workforce Outlook and Initiatives,” was held, followed by a tour of QuickStart. Next, a visit to Caesarstone in Midway included a tour and remarks from General Manager Yossi Binyamin on why the business chose to relocate to the region.

Day two began early with a discussion of the I-16 Joint Development Authority and other infrastructure projects of regional significance. This was followed by a business writing workshop and a presentation on non-traditional economic development. Before adjourning, participants received an update on the recent Bryan County tornado from Freddy Howell of Bryan County Emergency Services.

Other speakers during the two-day session included Chance Raehn of Chesterfield, Maria Whitfield of DRT-Pinova, Stacy Watson of Georgia Ports Authority, Brent Stubbs of Savannah Technical College, Susan Williams of Georgia Quick Start, Brian Wiederhold of Pacific Cycle, Justin Farquhar of Development Authority of Bryan County, Brandt Herndon of Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, Ben Taylor of Bryan County, Ralph Forbes of Thomas & Hutton, Amy Condon of The Refinery Writing Studio, Suzanne Kirk of Employee Development Strategies, Erin Phillips of City of Springfield, Kathryn Johnson of Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce, Christy Sherman of the Richmond Hill Convention and Visitors Bureau and Glenn Newsome of Georgia Hi-Lo Trail.

“It was our pleasure to host Leadership Southeast Georgia in Effingham County,” says Brandt Herndon, CEO of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.  “We were happy to work with our partners in Bryan County to showcase the economic opportunities that we have in our communities, and to give a first-hand account on how economic development works at the community level.”

Sponsors for the overall 2022 program include Evans General ContractorsMorgan Corp.Georgia Southern UniversitySavannah/Hilton Head International AirportM.E. Sack EngineeringGeorgia PowerSack Construction and Maintenance, and Gulfstream Aerospace.

Sponsors of this fourth session include Effingham County Industrial Development AuthorityEffingham College & Career AcademyGray Pannell & WoodwardDevelopment Authority of Bryan CountyEffingham County Chamber of CommercePlanters Broadband CooperativeBryan County Board of CommissionersChesterfieldCoastal Electric CooperativeThe Fortune ImageEffingham County Board of CommissionersBroe Real Estate GroupCarlson & Co.C&H Precision Weapons and Carellas Murphy Law.


To learn more about the LSEGA program, visit

Leadership Southeast Georgia is a five-month, region-wide program designed to equip, empower and connect community leaders to most effectively advance positive growth and improve the quality of life in the southeast Georgia region. The executive board and program participants represent a variety of industries across Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties. From February through June, the class spends two to three days a month traveling to surrounding counties exploring regional issues such as healthcare, education, natural resources, economic development and transportation. For more information, visit

Cynthia Cradduck, Managing Partner of Cecilia Russo Marketing

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