The inaugural class of 38 Middle Georgia Regional Leadership Champions were commissioned on Thursday afternoon in a ceremony held at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins. The commissioning ceremony brings to a close the first year of the Regional Leadership Champions program, an initiative of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission with a unique focus on regional cooperation and problem solving.

Since January, program participants have been attending leadership sessions facilitated by the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership at the University of Georgia. These sessions have focused on the strengthening of leadership and collaboration skills, the identification of important regional values, and the development of a regional vision statement. Program participants, having been commissioned as regional leaders, will now direct their efforts toward the implementation of both short-term and long-term action principles, which are aimed at improving the region’s economic prosperity, educational attainment, and quality of life.

Commissioned leaders who have completed the program include:
Frank Austin, John Barron, Lauren Beaty, Shelly Berryhill, Esperanza Boswell, April Bragg, Joy Carr, Doug Chance, John Conn, Jake Cox, Alyson Cozart, John Cravey, Cheryl Crumbley, Christie Drexler, Dave Fortson, Jonathan Harwell-Dye, Donovan Head, Betty Hill, Jimmy Hinson, Dominique Johnson, Pat Kelly, Gary Lee, Steve Lynn, Darlene McLendon, Chrissy Miner, Bennett Norris, Tiffany Peavy, James Pettis, Janie Reid, Larry Schlesinger, Gene Smith, Jim Taylor, Joe Thomas, Todd Tolbert, Ben Vaughn, Kris Vaughn, Barbara Williams, and Tim Young.

The Middle Georgia Regional Leadership Champions program was largely funded by a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment. Applications for those interested in the next program will be released in mid-2016.