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Chamber’s Three Leadership Development Programs Meet in Nov. and Dec.

The Chamber’s three leadership development programs – Excellence, Edge and Equip – continued to meet throughout the fall and into the winter, reaching halfway points in each while continuing to develop the next generation of leaders in Decatur-Morgan County.

Excellence in Leadership – the Chamber’s flagship leader development program for professionals – met in November to learn about the impact of education in our community. The group started the morning at our State of Education Forum where they heard from local educators. Following the breakfast, they traveled to Morgan County Schools Technology Park where Dr. Jeremy Childers shared each program offered along with the many awards the students have won through local, state and national competitions. This was also the perfect opportunity to hear from the Decatur-Morgan CEO students about their upcoming project. After lunch, Angie Cushing and Sarah Wood of Decatur City Schools Career Academies showed the group the medical program which will soon move to a new building that’s almost complete. They wrapped up at the culinary program where students prepared a delicious Bananas Foster. The day ended with a guided tour of the Alabama Center for the Arts with Jennifer Bunnell. The ACA offers classes in painting, pottery, theater and music and the students are looking forward to the new dorms under construction just a few blocks away.

In December, our Excellence in Leadership class met for Law & Order Day. Starting the day at the Morgan County Courthouse, the class heard brief presentations from our area judges and officials where they shared the type of work they do and the cases they cover. The group then traveled to the City of Decatur Fire and Police Training Center in Flint to hear from Decatur Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Ashley England and Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion about their work and training to serve the community. The time with Chief Pinion also included a Taser target demonstration on how the non-lethal technology is used. After lunch, the group participated in a mock trial exercise where class members played roles including judges, witnesses, attorneys and jury members under the direction of Morgan County District Judge Shelly Waters. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Nucor Steel Decatur and Gold Sponsors The City of Decatur, Realtor Shawn Garth and Lifepoint Church.

In November, our Edge Student Leadership class – comprised of more than 30 sophomores and juniors from across Morgan County – focused on the role our judicial and criminal justice systems play in our community. Starting the day at the Morgan County Courthouse, the class heard brief presentations from our area judges and justice officials, where they shared the type of work they do and the cases they cover. Morgan County Circuit Judges Stephen Brown, Charles Elliott, Jennifer Howell; Morgan County District Judges Brent Craig and Shelly Waters; Probate Judge Greg Cain; Morgan County Assistant District Attorney Courtney Shellack; and Morgan County Circuit Court Clerk Chris Priest each answered questions from the students. A tour of the Morgan County Jail is always in order to make the students aware of “where they don’t want to be”. Lunch, sponsored by Marco’s Pizza, was next along with a quick spin around the Emergency Management Agency office. It was then time for the mock trial exercise – an annual highlight for the class. Students played the roles of judges, jury, prosecution and defense teams, witnesses and the accused under the supervision of Morgan County District Judge Shelly Waters. The Chamber is thankful to Tina Gibson for coordinating Law and Order Day and to all the participants that made it a success.

In December, our Edge Student Leadership class met for Health and Education Day beginning with a tour of Calhoun Community College. They visited the Health Sciences building, Advanced Technology Center and ended the tour at the Multi-Media Center. Decatur Morgan Hospital provided lunch where students heard from employees on their love for their job and different volunteer opportunities within the hospital. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Nucor Steel Decatur and to our Gold Sponsors Joe Wheeler EMC and the Morgan County Commission.

The November gathering of Equip Student Leadership – a career development program for 8th grade students from across Morgan County – focused on learning about local industries. They started the day in the Contractor Service & Fabrication, Inc. boardroom discussing Nucor’s Technical Academy. The academy allows students to receive hands-on training while getting an associate degree. They then toured Turner Industries, the largest privately owned pipe fabricator in the country, where the students learned about services the company provides and discussed construction career paths.

Our 8th grade Equip Student Leadership class met again in November for Industry and Utilities Day. Their first stop was GE Appliances, a Haier company, for a tour of the Decatur plant. They were able to see and discuss different career pathways with employees. Next on the agenda was Decatur Utilities where several employees shared about their jobs and education journey.

Our Equip Student Leadership class met in December for their last session. The first stop was Valley Rubber in Falkville where they were able to tour the facility and learn about blasting, painting, welding and mold maintenance. After lunch, representatives from the Morgan County Sheriff's Office visited the Chamber to talk about peer pressure, drugs and how they protect our community. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the dangers of hanging with the wrong crowd. The students also received a certificate of completion. The goal of the five-month program is to help 8th graders with leadership training, career development and to show them opportunities that require less than a four-year degree. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Nucor Steel Decatur.



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