McGriff finds adventure as Grady Archway Professional

October 19, 2016

By Sara Hand

archway-unit-meetings-aug-31-sep-1-2016-6Betsy McGriff has traveled an interesting journey on her way to becoming the Grady County Archway Professional. She graduated with a degree in Chemistry from Georgia Southern University and later obtained her Master of Business Administration from there as well. Her chemistry background has come into to play in several projects including water treatment, stormwater management and landfill studies with the Archway Partnership. She describes that in her job “no two days are ever the same, no two hours, really.”

In a single day she can be discussing workforce readiness with local business leaders then conducting a site visit to a nature preserve followed by facilitating a forum on teen pregnancy. Of the high pace, McGriff says, “it keeps me on my toes and can be overwhelming, but never, ever boring!”

Her work may often read more like a story of adventure, but McGriff finds a great amount of satisfaction “when the community has an ‘ah-ha moment’,” which she describes as “that mythical meeting when a community member picks up the idea baton and begins to run the race on their own. Seeing a community build capacity from within and begin making connections and tacking problems on their own with a can-do spirit is simply amazing.”

Not only do her efforts impact Grady County, McGriff also enriches student learning and faculty research from the University of Georgia on a frequent basis. She often hosts faculty and students in the community to tackle projects which have been identified by local stakeholders. Priorities identified in Grady County include education for a quality workforce, community development, health and wellness, and leadership development.

Earlier this year, she coordinated visits by Public Relations students from the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as they developed marketing kits to promote
educational assets in the region.

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McGriff connects Engineering students and faculty with Carlos Tobar, Grady County Administrator.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, she is connecting students and faculty from the College of Engineering with community members as they develop design concepts for three projects in Cairo-Grady County.

McGriff believes this community connection is critical to student’s experiential learning because they “gain the opportunity to have very free access to their ‘clients’ and are often make presentations to true decision makers within the community.”

She cites the connection with students and faculty as important to Grady County as well, explaining, “This community really feels the connection to the University of Georgia through the Archway Partnership.”

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