Government, business and community leaders in Washington County welcomed UGA President Jere W. Morehead to Sandersville July 29 and shared highlights of the ways the university has helped them address critical issues in the community.
Through the Archway Partnership, which was launched in Washington County in 2007, UGA has provided resources to help establish an after-school and summer program for teens, launch collaborations with nearby colleges and universities to improve health care in the community and lay the groundwork for building a tourism industry.
Faculty, staff and students from a number of UGA colleges and schools, including the Lamar Dodd School of Art, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the College of Environment and Design and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, have provided services to the county since the partnership was established.
“We have a true partnership, we feel,” said Chris Hutchings, Washington County Board of Commissioners administrator. “We really (benefit from) the students of UGA who come down here and do the projects. Students value real world experience, and we are the real world down here in Washington County.”
Following his trip to Sandersville, Morehead traveled to Augusta that same day to visit a dental office and lab that has benefited from services provided by the UGA Small Business Development Center.
Dr. Geoffrey Sheen, owner and operator of the Mustard Seed Dental Studio, said he has had a 10 percent increase in revenue this year over last. Gross profit is up by 28 percent for the year, he said.
The Augusta office of the Small Business Development Center has helped Sheen and the studio, which employs 18 people, with strategic planning, human resources and financial analysis. The SBDC also helped Sheen secure loans that enabled him to buy new equipment, lower expenses and increase profit by hiring employees for in-house technical work that previously had been outsourced. He also was able to purchase a second building to expand the lab and plans to increase his workforce to 50 employees in the future.
Both the Archway Partnership and the SBDC are units of the UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach, which helps create jobs, develops leaders and addresses the state’s most critical challenges.