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Chamber’s Leadership Programs Meet in New Year

Excellence in Leadership – the Chamber’s flagship leader development program for professionals – met in February for a Poverty Simulation facilitated by Leadership Greater Huntsville at First Baptist Church Decatur. The class was assigned a family situation, given a scenario of a certain economic situation and had to interact with volunteers to learn how to prioritize topics like healthcare, childcare, education, rent and other real-world issues for working families. The class walked away a little more empathetic and knowledgeable about what the community offers those in need.

Also in February, the class focused the importance of economic development to our community. The class began their day with a discussion featuring Decatur Morgan County Tourism President/CEO Danielle Gibson and Marley Schmid from the Morgan County Economic Development Association. The class then watched a short film called TVA Town that explains how Decatur became a hub for industry along the Tennessee River. After playing an economic development game, the group toured GE Appliances, a Haier company. It’s the largest single site employer in Morgan County producing more than a million refrigerators annually. During lunch, the group heard from Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center ( E-Center) Executive Director John Joseph and Donna Whitten provided a tour of the facility.

In March, Excellence in Leadership and Edge Student Leadership programs had a great time on our 2024 Montgomery Public Policy Trip on March 19 - 20. They were able to meet with our local delegation, hear from Director of the Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation Nick Moore and tour the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum. They also had the opportunity to sing at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church with tour guide Wanda Battle. Excellence in Leadership is presented by Nucor Steel Decatur and Gold Sponsors are the City of Decatur, Durbin Leadership, LLC and Shawn D. Garth, Realtor.

To kick off the new year, the Chamber's Edge Student Leadership class – comprised of 36 sophomores and juniors from across Morgan County – met in January to learn about economic development in Decatur-Morgan County. The day kicked off with Marley Schmid from the Morgan County Economic Development Association explaining the organization's role in recruiting industry to our area. The group then visited United Launch Alliance in Decatur to learn about the company's contribution to space transportation and its impact on the local economy. After lunch at Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corporation, students played a game of Jeopardy to learn about the role utilities play in our economy. At the end of the day, Taylor Simmons with Horizon Point Consulting, Inc. worked with the class on improving their interpersonal and job interview skills.

In February, the class gathered for Decatur Now and Then Day. Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Mayor Tab Bowling started the day by speaking to the group about each of their roles in local government. The group then toured the Old State Bank, the Alabama Center for the Arts and took a bus tour of historic Decatur with historian Judge David Breland. Lunch at Burningtree Country Club was not just a lunch as usual but a chance for Laura Ritch to share invaluable tips on dinner and business etiquette. Andrew Calvert from Redstone Federal Credit Union played a game to teach the students how to make smart money choices. Thank you to presenting sponsor Nucor Steel Decatur, LLC and gold sponsors Hubbard & Drake General - Mechanical Contractors, Inc, Joe Wheeler EMC and the Morgan County Commission.

The Chamber's Equip Student Leadership program kicked off the 2024 spring semester in February at the Cook Museum of Natural Science. Twenty-six 8th graders from schools across Morgan County learned skills to help prepare them for a successful future. Taylor Simmons with Horizon Point Consulting focused on employability skills which included completing job applications and practicing mock interviews. After lunch, Andrew Calvert with Redstone Federal Credit Union played the game of life with the students to teach them how to budget and make smart money choices.

In March, the class met for Industry Day. Their first stop was United Launch Alliance in Decatur where students learned about rockets ULA has built and launched which include the Atlas V, Delta II, Delta IV and the Vulcan. The students got an up-close look at the processes the rockets undergo before being shipped out of the facility and eventually launched into space. Their next stop was GE Appliances, a Haier company in Decatur. The students toured the manufacturing lines and were able to see and discuss different career pathways offered at the facility. 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 and Gold Sponsor 3M.



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