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Coweta County Leaders Graduate from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development

Coweta County Leaders Graduate from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development

November 20, 2019

The Board of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development announces Coweta County graduates from the 2019 Region 4 Multi-Day Traning Program. Class participants represented a number of professional and non-professional economic development fields, including elected officials, public servants, business leaders, educators, and social service providers from 10 counties in west central Georgia. The Academy provided each of the graduates an opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional and state levels.

Coweta County graduates at the November 12, 2019 ceremony included:

  • Scott Berta, Managing Partner, Tree Protection Supply
  • Blue Cole, Mayor, Town of Sharpsburg
  • Ashley Copeland, Communications Manager, City of Newnan
  • Cynthia Culbreath, A Wonderful Change
  • Cynthia Jenkins, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Newnan
  • Michael Lear, Chief Marketing Officer, The Southern Credit Union
  • Norman Lundin, Board Member, Coweta County Development Authority
  • Susan Kraut, Newnan-Coweta Chamber, Director of Strategy and Communications
  • Anissa Patton, Esq., Anissa R. Patton, Attorney at Law
  • Abby Smith, Communication Specialist, Newnan-Coweta Chamber

Created in 1993, the Academy assembles a cross section of economic developement professionals and resources to provide this training in all twelve service delivery regions in Georgia. The Board of Directors of the Academy represent public and private economic development organizations and agencies from across Georgia. Since its organization, the Academy has provided training for thousands of professional and non-professional economic developers around the state, and since 1998 the Academy has been offered annually in all twelve regions of the state. Georgia EMC and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the program, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides staff support to this important program.

Georgia EMC's Vice President, Community and Economic Development (CED), Pat N. Merritt, CEcD says, "Our Community Development team is proud to partner with and provide facilitation and presentation services on behalf of Georgia's electric membership cooperatives. Involved since its inception, the team's work with the Academy graduates has enhanced levels of leadership capacity and community development preparedness for continued economic development progress throughout the Region." In Region 4, CED cooperative members are Caroll EMC. Central Georgia EMC, Coweta-Fayette EMC, Diverse Power, Southern Rivers EMC, Upson EMC.

"Georgia Power continues to play a major role in the State's economic development. The Academy participants build relationships, share best practices, and learn about important issues and challenges facing our communities. We're proud to be a partner in this important effort, preparing our leaders for continued economic growth throughout the state," says Georgia Power Company Community Development Manager Kristy Rachal.

"One of the goals for the multi-day regional Academies is to encourage multi-county cooperation," says Kelly Lane, Director of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. "Many times the participants discover the issues facing their community are the same as those facing other communities in their region, and can then combine limited resources to address the issue."

The Academy's multi-day program, taught one day a month over a four-month period, includes training in the basics of economic and community development, plus specialized segments on business recruitment and retention, tourism product development, downtown development, planning and other essentials for community success. In addition, the curriculum features specific leadership skills such as consensus building, ethics in public service, collaborative leadership and other segments needed for the effective community leadership in economic development. Local elected officials may receive certification training credits through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association for completion of this program. 

The next Region 4 Georgia Academy for Economic Development will begin in August 2020. For more information on this, please contact Corinne Thornton at 706-340-6461 or by email at