More than 85 delegates from the Greater Gwinnett region descended on metro Seattle last week for the Gwinnett Chamber’s annual Strategic Leadership Visit (SLV), presented by Jackson EMC. One could argue that the group was most definitely “sleepless” due to a packed agenda and a 3-hour time change. But far from it, this group came rested and ready to be strategic in the iconic west coast metropolis.  

Greeted by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, the delegation received a brief overview of the metro Seattle and Puget Sound region to kick-off their 3-day study of best practices in community and economic development, education, housing, transportation, and regionalism. Leaders from the public and private sector engaged and actively discussed trends in cross-collaboration with city and county officials from Seattle. They listened as representatives from metro Seattle high schools and The Ports highlighted public-private partnerships for career-track development. And they learned about planning transit for sustainable communities from experts at King County Metro. Site tours offered an opportunity for delegates to kick-the-tires on revitalization projects that spurred creative ideas for some of Gwinnett and the Greater Atlanta’s most ripe development sites. From an intergenerational housing project to innovative career-track high schools developing talent for targeted workforce needs, the team saw vision turned into reality at Tukwila Village, Totem Lake, and the Raisbeck Aviation High School. A foundational theme across all topics studied and discussed during this year’s trip was that of inclusive engagement. Officials underscored the need for an inclusive approach while in the planning stages of projects to ensure the product meets the needs of the community it serves; a relevant point for consideration given Gwinnett’s robust 80.9% diversity index. 

The week closed with a trip to Amazon’s new facilities where a panelist of experts outlined a study on successful housing solutions to meet the needs of an economically and culturally diverse population. With a deeper understanding of regional issues and key examples of successful best practice implementation, this year’s leadership visit was everything it advertised; it was strategic in Seattle. 

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