Cochran-Bleckley Chamber of Commerce

April 24, 2021

Cochran Bleckley Officials Tour Innovation Centers

A delegation of elected, school administration officials from Cochran and Bleckley County along with Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority toured the Center for Software Innovation at Middle Georgia State University (MGA) Warner Robins Campus and Project Synergy which is the partnerships with the WR-ALC and its 402nd Software Engineering Group, 78th Air Base Wing, Houston County Development Authority, Houston County Board of Education and Career Academy, Houston County Board of Commissioners and 21st Century Partnership.

Commissioner Mike Davis Sole Commissioner of Bleckley County, City of Cochran Mayor Billy Yeomans, Dr. Matt Godwin Assistant Principal/Center for Technical and Adult Education (CTAE) Director at Bleckley County High School, Andy Lucas Executive Director of the Development Authority, Rusty Lloyd Chamber of Commerce CEO/President, Scott Cox Area Manager External Affairs, Georgia Power along with Jeff Reagan and Tina Reagan Cochran Business owners, Chamber member and Downtown Development Authority. State Rep Danny Mathis joined the tour offering leadership and support of many state programs along with the importance of working together.

Providing support for the day of learning was Middle Georgia State University, Ember Bishop Bentley, Chief of Staff and Director of Government Relation and Henry Whitfield, Community Director at MGA. The 21st Century Partnership Dan Rhoades COO, Jamie Cook STEM Outreach and Workforce Coordinator along with Community Relations Debra Cox assisted the group in understanding how Project Synergy expanded software capability enterprise to plays a role in supporting the Department of Defense.

Project Synergy once fully operational will provide workspaces for close to 200 scientists, engineers and staff of the 402nd SWEG. The Cochran Bleckley County delegation toured the 43,000 square feet facility located near Robins Air Force Base that included classrooms, training spaces, software development environments and a 9,000-square-foot secure lab space as well. Included in this space is a classroom for up to 40 students and offices for the Houston County Board of Education who intends to utilize the space as it grows its Career Academy and dual enrollment program. It also provides space for the SWEG to increase its intern program as a STEM pipeline for future full-time employees.

At the MGA Warner Robin campus, the group was greeted by MGA President Dr. Blake who discussed the Center for Software Innovation is a partnership between Middle Georgia State University (MGA) and Robins Air Force Base (RAFB). The Center is designed to identify software development projects that will elevate regional companies, nonprofits, startups, and other organizations. The Center is housed at the University’s Warner Robins Campus in Thomas Hall where the School of Computing facilities serve as the Center’s base of operations.

There were many purposes of this tour. A primary objective was to discover how Cochran Bleckley County can continue to support our students in future careers for workforce development at Robins. For over eighty years our community has benefitted from the workforce supporting RAFB with an economic impact. The delegates will continue to explore future opportunities for our community.