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Leader graduates program
Economic Dev. pic
Dawson County graduate at the Nov. 17 ceremony was Shelly Martin, owner of the Law Office of Shelly Martin LLC, pictured with facilitators Niki Knox and Rope Roberts. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

The Board of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development announces the local graduates from the 2009 Region 2 Multi-Day Training Program.


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


The academy provided each of the graduates an opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional and state levels.


Dawson County’s Shelly Martin, owner of the Law Office of Shelly Martin LLC graduated during the Nov. 17 ceremony.


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


The board of directors of the academy consists of 21 members representing public and private economic development organizations and agencies from across Georgia. 


Since its organization, the Academy has provided training for thousands of professional and non-professional economic developers around the state, and since 1998 the academy has been offered annually.


“One of the goals for the multi-day regional academies is to encourage multi-county cooperation,” said Saralyn Stafford, executive director of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development.


“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 added.


Georgia EMC and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the event, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides staff support to this important program. 


The academy’s multi-day program, taught in four days over a four-month period, includes training in the basics of economic and community development, plus specialized segments on business development, tourism product development, downtown development, quality planning, redevelopment, education and other essentials for community success.


In addition, the curriculum features specific leadership skills such as consensus building, ethics in public service, collaborative leadership and other segments needed for effective community leadership in economic development.


Local elected officials receive certification training credits through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association for completion of the program.


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


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