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Leadership Marengo helps business people grow

For many business people in Marengo County, the Leadership Marengo program has provided a means of making business connections, improving their business and leadership skills and becoming better business people.

Preparing to begin its 16th annual class, Leadership Marengo brings together people from all walks of life of all ages to enhance their individual leadership abilities while educating them about current conditions in Marengo County.

“Everybody who is involved in leadership in Marengo County should go through that program,” said Dr. Tony Speegle, the principal at U.S. Jones Elementary School. “You learn so much more about the industries and the involvement and support of the whole county community.

“It’s also an excellent networking tool for the entire county. We have so few things that tie our entire county together. This is one of those that really works.”

Leadership Marengo consists of five classes in which participants learn about demographics, diversity, economic development, education and other topics. Guest speakers and visits to area businesses and locales — along with a trip to Montgomery —enhance this educational and personally broadening program.

“For a lot of people who have lived in this county their entire lives, they may think they already know about business in the county,” said Marengo County probate judge Cindy Neilson, “but people who have lived here and gone through the program learn so much and say there is so much going on that they didn’t know about before.”

The program also helps local business people who have not spent a lot of time in this area.

“It taught me a lot about the area,” said Craig Schumacher of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital. “It taught me a lot about the history, the economic development. One thing that I hadn’t thought of before was how Demopolis was built, based on the waterway, and some of the contributions that it’s made over the years.”

Applications to take part in Leadership Mar-engo are available at the Demopolis Area Cham-ber of Commerce office downtown. Tuition for the program is $200, and is due by Aug. 21. The class orientation will be on Tuesday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rural Heritage Center in Thomaston. The class holds its graduation on May 13.

“Everybody learns from one another,” said Valley Harrison of BankTrust. “They bring things to the table that others might not know about. In my mind, it helps build morale for this whole area. The networking is great, and it gives you a good feeling about what’s going on and brings all the positives to light.”

For more information about the Leadership Marengo program, call the Chamber office at 289-0270.