By Walter L. Johnson II
Jimmy Wilson is one of many southwest Georgia natives to not only pursue his chosen career close to home, but also make a difference in the community he calls home.
A banker, Wilson is the 2010 Albany Area Chamber of Commerce chairman.
“I have been involved in the banking industry, and the business community in Albany and southwest Georgia all of my banking career,” said Wilson, who graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University in 1979, “and have been in the line of banking ever since I’ve graduated, and I’ve been fortunate in my career to stay home, to stay in southwest Georgia, and further my career.”
As a president at Heritage Bank of the South in Albany, Wilson added, “As part of being in the professional community, and the banking business, you certainly need to be involved in civic organizations, you certainly need to be involved in the community, and what goes on in the community.”
“I have served in various capacities with the Chamber over the years,” continued Wilson. “I served on the board several years ago, and then a few years ago, I was asked to come on the board, not only to come on the board as a member, but also to come in as treasurer, and it’s been a good year, so far. When you come in as treasurer, you kind of move through the chairs, you become vice chairman, (and then) you become chairman. This year is my year to be chairman.”
A ‘DYNAMIC BREATH OF FRESH AIR’
With all of the negative attention surrounding Albany/Dougherty County recently, Wilson wants to do he can to help attract jobs not only to the city and metro area, but southwest Georgia in general.
“The thing that we need to do is point all of the positive things that we have going for us in Albany, Georgia,” explained Wilson, “and certainly we would like (new) industry to create additional jobs in Albany and southwest Georgia, and would it certainly not only help the community, but also the business community.”
With a board of directors that has 35 to 40 members, Albany Area Chamber President and CEO Catherine Glover said that Wilson has brought a fresh new perspective of the organization during his year of service as chairman so far.
“Jimmy has come in with just this dynamic breath of fresh air,” Glover said. “He is an individual who is never short of a smile on his face, he is respected by his peers, and we really love working with him.”
Wilson says serving as the Chamber’s chairman is an honor.
“I just appreciate the opportunity to serve as the 2010 Chairman of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, and certainly I think, not only Albany, but the southwest Georgia community as a region, certainly, has a lot to offer to southwest Georgia,” he said.
A FOCUS ON REGIONALISM
With metro Albany and much of southwest Georgia likely facing a population change based on the results of the 2010 Census, Wilson and Glover say cooperation between other chambers of commerce with the region is critical to fostering any future economic development.
“Jimmy’s vision is not only to work regionally for government affairs, but also to work more closely with the Lee County Chamber of Commerce,” Glover said, “in leveraging each of our individual programs, our staffing capabilities, and our outreach and service to our membership.”
As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, Wilson wants to see the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce to play a greater role in the Albany/Dougherty County business community.
“We want move the chamber forward, as well as continue to be very active in the business community in Albany, Georgia,” he said. “In fact, the chamber wants to be the voice for the business community in Albany, Georgia.”