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Chamber to begin fifth leadership visit

DULUTH — Dozens of Gwinnett’s civic and business leaders will converge on the Windy City this weekend, as the Chamber of Commerce begins its fifth Strategic Leadership Visit.

The delegation, which includes officials from the county government, four cities, the school system and local community improvement districts, as well as some of the top business executives, are expected to study issues from transportation to tourism and economic development. In one session, the group could get insight into the current airport privatization proposal with a discussion of a failed project to privatize Chicago’s Midway Airport.

“The purpose of the Gwinnett Chamber’s annual Strategic Leadership Visit is to take Gwinnett and regional leaders to other metro cities, counties and states to explore innovative ideas, best practices and programs that have helped build partnerships that have produced positive community change,” said Gwinnett Chamber President and CEO Jim Maran. “In Chicago and its suburbs, including Naperville, we will meet with top national leaders in the areas of economic development and entrepreneurial development; city/downtown development, education, transportation, revitalization, tourism and more. Our ultimate goal is to apply these best practices back home to ensure Gwinnett County remains the competitive community that has witnessed the relocation of Fortune 500 giant NCR along with more than 190 other corporate relocations or expansions and their 9,200-plus high-wage jobs over the past three years.”

According to a website devoted to the annual trip, initiatives that have blossomed after trips include the creation of the Partnership Gwinnett program after a 2006 visit to Fairfax County, Virginia, the location of the Gwinnett Braves stadium and pursuit of a tollway for the Ronald Reagan Parkway extension after a 2007 trip to Collin County, Texas and other partnerships in transportation, education, economic development and the arts.