Author: Zak Lodhi
David Bradley President And CEO
The greater Athen’s area is a fantastic community. But I don’t have to tell you that. If you’re reading this article, then no doubt, like me, you have eaten some of the wonderful food available, you’ve got to experience the unparalleled entertainment offered, or simply walked down the streets enjoying the vibe of Athens. It’s obvious no anybody who’s even stepped foot in this genuinely monumental town, culture, and class ooze out of the very pavement. And looking to the future, it can only get better. David Bradley, the president and CEO of the Athens area chamber of commerce, has his thumb on the very pulse of Athens. His view on the future of Athens was perfect, “the cards are on the table for an incredible economic future. We don’t have to pick up the cards and play our very best hand; we just have to start playing cards.” Home to the illustrious UGA (which another article in this issue might let you take a look inside) while also its unique soul, Athens could genuinely rival the Greek Athens of old, from which it got its name. And of those Greek gods, Zeus would be pleased with the future of Athens, Georgia, because the future is electric. One of the country’s largest electric vehicle plants is being built only 35 miles east of Athens. One of the country’s largest electronic vehicle battery plants is currently only 35 miles west of Athens. That’s between 12 and 15 thousand jobs at just those plants that don’t even exist yet.
This shocking development could completely transform Athens, only strengthening the community and the residents. And that’s not even to mention all the supplemental businesses that cluster around large-scale productions like this, adding an additional 15 to 20 thousand jobs. Just like the old gold rushes of the west, Athens is about to experience an electric rush, and Bradley is ecstatic for Athens to explode as the hub for all these future industries and a beacon of economic expansion. That coupled with the incredible programming the aforementioned UGA has, just like Bradley said, every card of success is on the table; you just need to start playing. And growing right along with Athens is the Athens area chamber of commerce that David Bradley is president and CEO of. In a post-pandemic world, the chamber has looked inward and established itself, even stronger, with a specific role. As Bradley says, “to be the best connector in the community.” Whether that’s business to business, business to consumer, answers to questions, or business to public policy, the chamber exists to bring people together fundamentally. However, the most significant connection to make in Bradley’s eyes “is the connection of our today, to the economic prosperity of our tomorrow.” This means, fundamentally, the shaping of Athens’s economically prosperous future. And at its heart, this is what the future of Athens looks like. Beyond the economic development, UGA, and the electric plants will transform Athens into a nexus. It’s about real, human connections, and only more of those will come with the future.