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Chamber hires Director of Economic Development
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Betsy McGriff. - photo by For the Dawson County News

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce has hired a director of economic development, chamber President Christie Moore announced on Monday.

Betsy McGriff is stepping into the new role that is a product of the chamber’s multi-year partnership with the Development Authority of Dawson County, which went into effect in May of this year.  

The two groups officially joined forces to help the authority manage day-to-day tasks after former executive director of the authority, Charlie Auvermann, resigned in September 2017.

The new director of economic development is an employee of the chamber of commerce, but the development authority board still has an active role in deciding who serves in the position.

According to a release from the chamber, the goal of the partnership between the chamber and development authority is to promote “better coordinating, planning and supporting quality growth in Dawson County in the coming years.”

McGriff will serve as the point person and coordinator of day-to-day economic development operations in Dawson County.

“Her immediate priorities include continuing to build relationships with elected officials and workforce and development partners throughout the region, determining the best list of target industries for Dawson County and finding new avenues to support existing business and industry,” the release reads.

McGriff most recently served as the University of Georgia faculty Archway Professional in Cairo, Georgia and was responsible for facilitating community initiatives including economic and community development, education for a quality workforce, leadership programming and access to health care, according to the release.

She is a native of Bulloch County and holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, both from Georgia Southern University.

“We are thrilled to have Betsy join our Chamber team,” Moore said. “Her background in strategic planning well positions her to be a tremendous asset to our community, chamber and development authority as we create strategy and goals for economic development in Dawson County.”

Brian Trapnell, chairman of the Development Authority of Dawson County, said the board is excited to welcome McGriff and her family to Dawson County. 

“Betsy’s mix of energy, experience, enthusiasm and talent fit perfectly with who we are and where we’re headed as a community,” Trapnell said. “Her statewide relationships, combined with all of these other attributes, will strengthen our ability to retain our existing business and industry, recruit new ones and continue building a strong workforce with our partners in the community.”

McGriff will officially join the chamber on Aug. 20.

“I am looking forward to my new role in such a dynamic and beautiful part of the state,” McGriff said. “Dawson County is poised for quality growth and I am excited to be part of the process.”

The new relationship has also brought the chamber and the development authority under the same roof.

The chamber office off Ga. 400, which also holds the office of tourism and development, is currently being renovated to accommodate the development authority and its sister authority, the industrial building authority.

The board of commissioners voted July 19 to allocate $14,470 to the development authority for the remodel.

The project was bid out in April and the lowest bidder, AHC Contracting, was selected for the job.

The money for the renovation and move will be taken from the county’s capital improvement account. The board of commissioners also voted in January to allocate $135,000 to the development authority so it could continue to operate for the rest of the year.

McGriff joins Moore, along with Membership Director Melissa Mayton, Director of Operations Brenda Mason, Tourism and Events Director Dustin Heard and Welcome Center Coordinator Kaitlyn Silva at the chamber.

Mandy Power is currently serving as the 2018 chair of the chamber’s board of directors.

Currently sitting on the development authority board are Trapnell along with Mike Ball, Tara Hardwick, Joel Hanner, Calvin Byrd and Tony Passarello. The board meets at 9 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of every other month at Etowah Water and Sewer Authority in Dawsonville.