Posted by Jamie Arkins

Committee Reports

President Will Gruver announced that February is Peace and conflict resolution month. What can you do? 
  • Donate to Second Harvest  $25/1 service credit up to 3 credits (Jan-March) Email to receive credit Deadline March 15th (Link to Donate)
  • Metro needs a GRSP liaison and host - we would share a student with Richmond Hill Rotary Club - please reach out to Jasmine Mills for more information
  • Roastary Committee Members needed- reach out to Jessica Pedigo if you are interested.
  • Annual Service Partner for next year - it's that time again! - Cari Phelps to Chair
  • ROASTARY Annual Oyster Roast on Sunday, March 26, 3:00-6:00 at Coach's Corner - get your tickets here ASAP before they go up in price!
  • Read United (formerly Rotary Read-In) is coming up on Friday, February 24. Sign up to read here.
  • Canned Food Drive competition with Lion's Club: Donate up to $75 by March 15 deadline to America's Second Harvest Food Bank here to receive up to 3 service credits. For every $25 donated, you will receive 1 service credit (up to 3 max). You may donate as much as you wish and every dollar will help us win the contest!  Email to get service credit for your donations. 
  • Preston Johnson Speech Contest (with Woodville-Tompkins Interact Club) - thank you club members Sarah Smith, Cecilia Arango, Will Gruver, Suzanne Kirk, Zerik Samples and Alfred McGuire (principal of Woodville-Tompkins HS) for judging on February 22! First place winner: Syniah Seabrain will receive $750 - Second Place: Serani Hassan will receive $500 
  • 7th and 8th Grade students in the St. Andrews School Interact Club met the Kindergarten class at North Beach to help them do a beach clean up on the afternoon of February 27 as part of their Passport to Knowledge unit on sea turtles.  A beautiful day to join together for service and connection!
MEMBERSHIP: Katie Joyner hosting a meeting on March 1st for new members who have completed all prerequisites for membership. Sponsors and board members are invited also. Our current new member class is: Emily Doherty (Great Oaks Bank), Ashley Harsey (Savannah Ghost Pirates), Jason Usry (WJCL), and Beth Whelan (SCCPSS/Charles Ellis Montessori Academy)
FOUNDATION: Josh Yates presented Lee Beckmann with his first Paul Harris Fellow award. Jeanine Roach received a PHF +1 Award. Thank you for supporting the Rotary Foundation!
LEGACY PROJECT: Please provide your Metro Rotary Legacy Project Suggestions here: Click Here - reach out to John Bennett for more details
  • Tuesday, March 7 - TEDxSavannah: The Power of Community - Brian Judson and Clinton Edminster
  • Tuesday, March 21 - Beach Institute Tour - reach out to George Seaborough for more details
  • Tuesday, March 28 - Social at Edgar's Proof & Provision
  • Aaron Miller (guest of Clint Murphy) - Gallery Stays Luxury Vacation Rentals - had been stationed at Fort Stewart 1999-2004

FEATURED SPEAKER: Courtney Rawlins - President & CEO of the Greater Pooler Chamber of Commerce

Courtney Rawlins hit the ground running when she accepted the top position at the Greater Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce. Pooler has been Courtney's home for 17 years. She deemed her presentation to us as "The State of West Chatham Business." The growth there is not stopping anytime soon.

Growth is occurring in all industries, especially hospitality, hotels and restaurants (Crumble Cookie, Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, etc.), a senior living center, JC Lewis Ford is expanding, Big Shots (similar to Top Golf), and you heard correctly, Dave & Buster's. No sign of Trader Joe's yet. With the Hyundai plants and its subsidiaries coming in 2025, things will grow even more exponentially.

The Pooler Chamber is instituting a forward vision for growth in several key ways: 1. Creating a Member Concierge position to enhance the membership experience, 2. by growing their social media presence and strategy (highlighting events, ribbon cuttings, etc.), 3. through a series of twice monthly digital newsletters (1st week is about chamber business and 3rd week provides resources for member businesses), 4. through fresh marketing campaigns and rebranding that highlight Pooler as a gateway to many surrounding vacation destinations and contribute to the visitor economy (the train is gone!), 5. Travel Guides, and 6. New hotel ad in the Tourism Leadership Council's guide Savannah: A Southern Journey.

Courtney joined the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. She has joined and teamed up with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Sharon Dupont, Director of Visitor Economy, has taken taken her role by storm. The Chamber offers an online membership directory and they provide three core networking events: 1. A.M. Chamber Chats in the mornings (quarterly), 2. BA5's (Business Afterhours) every month for business exposure, connections, and networking, and 3. Knowledge Now Luncheons each month (February - October).

When asked about traffic and water concerns, Courtney advised us to pay close attention to the Pooler Mayoral and City Council campaigns this year. She is also concerned about workforce development and the need for public transportation. One thing is for sure, Courtney will keep her thumb pressed against these issues! 

The Greater Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce goes by the motto "While You Are Working In Your business, We Are Working For Your Business." Join today!