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Columbus | Columbus Convention & Trade Center


Check-In & Networking: 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Luncheon: 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
Presentation: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Introduction by Brian Sillitto
VP, Partnership and Engagement
Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

State Forecast by Benjamin C. Ayers
Dean and Earl Davis Chair in Taxation
Terry College of Business, University of Georgia

Local Forecast by Jerald Mitchell
President and CEO
Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

Closing Remarks by Brian Sillitto
VP, Partnership and Engagement
Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

Click to Download the Columbus Program

About the Selig Center and Georgia Economic Outlook

Created to share Terry College's economic expertise with Georgia businesses and entrepreneurs, the Simon S. Selig Jr. Center for Economic Growth is primarily responsible for conducting research on economic, demographic and social issues related to Georgia’s current and future growth. Dedicated in December 1990, the Selig Center expanded the role of its predecessor, the Division of Research, which was established in the late 1940s. Through its range of projects — major economic impact studies, economic forecasts, publications, information services and data products — the center’s efforts help to guide business decisions and public policy directions.

The Georgia Economic Outlook, which was launched in 1983 by the Division of Research, was created to share up-to-date, Georgia-specific economic forecasts with Georgia's burgeoning business community. Over the years the Georgia Economic Outlook has provided unbiased, research-based economic data and analysis to the state's leaders and become a touchstone event for the business communities in each of the cities it visits. 

Visit and use promo code 23GEO40 for your free copy of the 2023 Georgia Economic Outlook



Ben Ayers

Benjamin C. Ayers

Dean and Earl Davis Chair in Taxation, Terry College of Business

Ben Ayers is dean of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business and holds the Earl Davis Chair in Taxation. He came to UGA in 1996 and served as director of the Tull School of Accounting for nine years before his appointment as the college’s 12th dean in 2014. Under his leadership, the Terry College completed its Building Terry campaign, raising $121 million to support faculty, programs and facilities for the state-of-the-art Business Learning Community, located in the heart of the UGA campus. Ayers serves on the Board of Synovus Bank’s Northeast Georgia Division, Benson’s Inc., the CFO Roundtable, as a Trustee of Athens Academy and earned his Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. Before pursuing his Ph.D., he worked for KPMG in Atlanta and Tampa and Complete Health Inc. in Birmingham.

jerald head shot

Jerald Mitchell

Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

Jerald Mitchell is the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, which also operates the Development Authority of Columbus. In this role he is focused on the growing the local economy by keeping businesses connected through targeted external marketing, by advancing various policy initiatives, enhancing local assets and strategic land positioning and activation.

Jerald has worked in the economic development field for 15 years in various roles, most recently serving as the vice president of economic development at Atlanta BeltLine Inc., director of innovation at the Savannah Economic Development Authority and regional project manager at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. In these roles he’s gained experience in business attraction, retention, entrepreneurism, redevelopment, infrastructure and placemaking.

Prior to his economic development and Chamber of Commerce roles he got firsthand technology and innovation experience through his 13-year career in the communications industry with Comcast/NBC Universal and Time Warner, where he primarily managed the operational transition of newly acquired assets and executed new product launches.

Jerald has been named among the 100 Most Influential Georgians three years in a row and is the president of Leadership Georgia for 2023. He holds an executive MBA in international business from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a bachelor of arts in economics from Georgia Southern University (Savannah campus) and continues to serve through various boards. He is also vice chair of the the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission (better known as Georgia Public Broadcasting), Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors and member of the State Workforce Investment Board.


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