Rome Floyd Chamber President and CEO Albert M. Hodge, Jr. today announced his retirement, effective April 19, 2019.
“It is an honor to serve our Chamber and community for the past 21 years,” said Hodge. “Our unified approach to economic development delivers positive results for small businesses, manufacturers, education and health care in our community and the region. The Rome Floyd 20/20 economic and community development strategic plan is now in its third phase to be implemented through 2040.”
“Our Chamber leaders – current and past Chairs of the Chamber, Executive Committee, Board of Directors, committee members and the professional staff who work every day for members and our community -- all deserve credit for the many ways our excellent area continues to improve,” Hodge said. “The Rome Floyd Chamber’s working relationship with the City of Rome, Floyd County and Cave Spring along with the Rome Floyd Development Authority, Development Authority of Floyd County has mutually agreed on priorities of economic development, community development and governmental affairs. The Chamber markets, and the City and County determine property, infrastructure, incentives, and prospective employers.”
The Chamber’s membership, small business programs, economic development, governmental affairs and finances are in excellent shape. The future is bright, thanks to more prospective employers and the highest-ever level of developed leads and prospects.
“Al Hodge is a Chamber and economic development professional and true asset to the community. Rome and Floyd County have benefited from more than $1.2 billion in direct investments by primary employers and the creation and retention of over 7,000 new primary jobs, not including commercial, service and other types of jobs,” said Pete McDonald, 2018 Chairman of the Rome Floyd Chamber. “The Chamber initiated a host of successful programs over the years, including the Future Industries Initiative, the ‘Confluence’ innovation conference and program, and InterCity Leadership visits. The reputation he leaves for our Chamber has positioned us for continued success for our future. Al is always quick to share credit for successes with members and staff - he regularly says ‘Go Team.’
“We are tremendously sorry to see him go, but we congratulate Al on his retirement after so many productive years in the business. Additionally, we are thankful that he has allowed us more time to work together and plan for the future. We wish Al and Cheryl the very best.”
During Hodge’s time with the Rome Floyd Chamber the community has welcomed Pirelli, Suzuki, Neaton, Lowe’s Distribution Center and many more. Most recently the North American Headquarters for Balta has moved to Rome along with Carlsen Precision Manufacturing.
Hodge was a member of the team instrumental in the Braves organization’s Class-A South Atlantic League affiliate locating to Rome in 2003. Central to the team’s move was the Chamber’s support of the SPLOST, which built State Mutual Stadium, home of the Rome Braves. He also participated in the effort to create the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College in the community. The Rome Tennis Center at Berry College opened in July 2016 and is the nation’s largest single-surface facility, with 60 courts across 30 acres.
This year under Hodge’s leadership, the Chamber completed a building renovation as part of its significant new economic development marketing plan, which has included rebranding, increased travel to targeted sector trade shows, participation in new organizations to generate leads, and a widened selection of prospects for more investments and new jobs for the community. The private sector committed to paying for renovations to the Chamber facility, and the funding goal is 85 percent completed.
In addition to other efforts for Rome and Floyd County, Hodge also initiated out-of-town executive briefings to improve economic development opportunities. In education, Hodge served on the Georgia State Board of Education as well as on the Charter Committee and the Board of Directors for the Floyd County College and Career Academy.
During his 40 years in Chamber work, Hodge has served in local, state and national capacities: an adviser to the U.S. Department of Energy – as one of 12 external Department of Energy leaders in the United States; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; the Georgia State Board of Education, including Vice Chair of the Board (Gubernatorial appointment), and Chair of the Joint Education Liaison Committee (Georgia Board of Education, University System of Georgia Board, Technical College System of Georgia Board and the other four education-related boards); former Chair of the Board of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives; former Chair of the Georgia Economic Developers Association; and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation Board and Officer. Hodge was also selected to teach economic development, leadership, and democracy with the U.S. Army War College (Carlisle, Penn.), the University of Georgia Center for Democratic Governance (Beijing and Xining, China), the Kettering Foundation (Dayton, Ohio), San Francisco, Calif., Seattle, Washington and several cities in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky; and participated in panel discussions in England and Germany.
Hodge currently serves as Vice Chair of the Japan America Society of Georgia, as a past Chairman of the Board and currently as a Board member of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and as a Board member of Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Hodge is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows.
He has earned the Kent Lawrence Award for Professional of the Year by the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and the Wiley Award for Professional of the Year by the Georgia Economic Developers Association. Georgia Trend Magazine has recognized him as a Notable Georgian for several years.
Hodge is a graduate of the University of Georgia, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, the Center for Creative Leadership, and the International Fellowship of George Washington University.
In the coming months Chamber members and Board of Directors will determine the path forward for selection of the next president and CEO.