In today’s segment of the Atlanta Small Business Show, Jim Fitzpatrick speaks to Dan J. Kaufman, president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber and president of Georgia Gwinnett College, at the Gwinnett Small Business Summit hosted by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the future of Gwinnett, and how the Chamber will continue to nurture the growth of small business in the county.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re out here at the Gwinnett Small Business Summit. So as President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber and then also President of the Georgia Gwinnett College, what do you get, about three hours of sleep every night?
Dan J. Kaufman: About that, yeah. Yeah, I’m not much of a sleeper, but-
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. Talk to about some of the accomplishments here recently that-
Dan J. Kaufman: The Chamber’s been an important part of Gwinnett as it’s grown. I mean, 25 years ago, Gwinnett was kind of mostly farmland.
The country grew, the Chamber has grown because it, we want to have a supportive environment for business. And we also want to build a quality of life.
Because when you’re trying to attract businesses to come to your community, they want to know about the business environment, but they also want to know, do I want to live there?
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. Right. Right.
Dan J. Kaufman: And so, do I want to buy a house there, what kind of schools are my kids gonna go to, can I get the educated workforce that we need?
All of those attributes of quality of place that contribute to economic development. And the Chamber has been over the years, an integral part of that process.
And so, when I was privileged to be the President, become the President of the Chamber, it was important for us to make sure that what we’re doing is relevant, that is, modern world. But we can’t be running a Chamber of 1965, that’s not gonna work.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. Right. That’s right, that’s right.
Dan J. Kaufman: And credible. Are we meeting the needs of today’s Gwinnett County and metro Atlanta frankly, because we are part of the region.
And also, what do we see ahead? What’s the future? Because you always want to be looking over the horizon, kind of-
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. Kind of the old adage, ski to where the puck’s gonna go. Right?
Dan J. Kaufman: Exactly right. Gretzky had it right. You ski to where the puck’s gonna be, not where it is.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.
Dan J. Kaufman: And that’s what we’re trying to do, as we help the community move forward in terms of its economic development. We are re-imagining ourself.
Building those live, work, play kind of centers around the cities in Gwinnett and all through the county, where people don’t have to drive into Atlanta, frankly, every day to go to work.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right, sure. You’re completely self sufficient in Gwinnett County now.
Dan J. Kaufman: Yeah, and so actually more people drive into Gwinnett than drive out of Gwinnett every day.
Jim Fitzpatrick: No kidding, really?
Dan J. Kaufman: Yeah, yeah. So that’s-
Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow, that’s an interesting fun fact right there.
Dan J. Kaufman: So that’s, yeah. So we’re changing so that you live, you work, you play within a reasonable distance of each other.
We’re trying to make sure at the Chamber that we’re building the whole package.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So what are some of the things that are coming up in 2019 that the Chamber members can look forward to?
Dan J. Kaufman: Well, we’ve got, we continue to offer well over 250 programs a year for small business-
Jim Fitzpatrick: 250 programs for small businesses.
Dan J. Kaufman: You know, I can’t go to them all, so I mean we have so many-
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right. That’s right. But that’s still, that’s an astounding number. I mean-
Dan J. Kaufman: We’ve got as you know, we’ve got, we’re developing and build an entertainment district, Revel, out in front of the arena.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I see that going on now.
Dan J. Kaufman: It’s interesting. All, 1.3 million people a year come to this site already. And that’s before we build Revel.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow, that’s pretty cool.
Dan J. Kaufman: And so when we get the Revel entertainment district basically built, it’s gonna be really Gwinnett’s downtown. And so that’s, we’re excited about that.
As you know, we’ve got transportation referendum coming up in March. We’ve gotta have some transportation alternatives. And I think we’re well positioned now as a community to move forward on that. And so we can connect ourselves internally and connect ourselves to the region.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right. Yeah. And I want to thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule here at this incredible event, to join us on ASBN. We so much appreciate it-
Dan J. Kaufman: It’s my privilege. Thank you.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Thank you so much.
Dan J. Kaufman: Thank you for what you guys do for small business.
ASBN, Atlanta Small Business Network. Part of JBF Business Media.