What”s your vision?

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by Jim Maran

You've heard it said, "If you don”t know where you”re going, you”re never going to get there."

That saying is as true for our communities as it is for our businesses and even our personal lives. Creating a vision, setting and benchmarking goals and executing plans of action are the hallmarks of successful people, organizations and communities.

That is why the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the county, school system, Gwinnett municipalities, major utilities, and businesses led by title sponsor Scientific Atlanta to produce a clear vision for Gwinnett”s future – an initiative we”re calling Partnership Gwinnett. And we want you to play a part.

What”s your vision of what Gwinnett can and should be? Anything is possible.

I see a Gwinnett that leads the state and Southeast in job growth and per capita income. Corporate headquarters begin to relocate in mass, taking advantage of the highly educated and diverse workforce and metro Atlanta”s premiere executive communities like Sugarloaf, River Club, and more.

I see a Gwinnett that is an international leader in technology, bioscience, innovation and entrepreneurism, where we boast an image and reputation for starting, funding and growing the best new businesses of tomorrow.

A state-funded research park attracting technology and life science business from imaginative new start-ups to industry giants will straddle our eastern border with Barrow County. With our resources in metro Atlanta, this park will one day surpass North Carolina”s famed Research Triangle Park in stature.

Georgia Gwinnett College becomes one of the nation”s leading universities with a reputation for delivering a quality workforce with specialized on-the-job training for tomorrow”s hottest businesses. This is thanks to an adjoining public-private research campus where companies from HP to Scientific Atlanta to Merial have operations and work alongside Georgia Gwinnett researchers and students.

Vibrant downtowns from Suwanee to Snellville continue to grow and expand, revitalizing older neighborhoods and creating unique personalities and identities for each of our wonderful cities. Together, we become not just one community, but a family of communities celebrating our unique personalities while benefiting from Gwinnett as a whole.

One day, as one of the 10 largest school systems in the nation, Gwinnett County Public Schools becomes the leading school system in test scores and graduation rates. Diversity increases, achievement gaps close and the number of Gwinnett state championships double to more than 400. Buford City Schools and our private academies also gain national reputations as some of the best learning institutions in the U.S.

Gwinnett becomes a model for assimilating more than 100 different cultures and nationalities into our community. This new "melting pot" is also known for being the home of the wealthiest ethnic communities in America.

And there”s more. Unique public-private partnerships provide optional toll roads that actually reduce commute times on 316, I-85 and other major arteries. The Brain Train moves our best and brightest from Gwinnett to UGA and Georgia Tech with ease.The first-of-its kind Asian Village attracts tourists from all over the world. Our performing arts center attracts world-class exhibits ranging from Rodin to Monet. Lawrenceville boasts a budding theater district; Buford becomes a haven for the best artists in Georgia.

You”ve heard my vision. Now, let”s hear yours. Visit and take our survey.

> Jim Maran is the president of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

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