Going to Gainesville

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COLUMBIA - A group of about 50 Columbia leaders will be headed to Gainesville, Florida, next week. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is organizing the trip. 

Matt McCormick, the chamber of commerce president, said the goal of the trip is to learn how Gainesville handles certain issues and use that knowledge to strengthen Columbia.

The trip will consist of chamber, business, education, non-profit, and civic leaders from around Columbia. McCormick said the diversity in the group really helps everyone find new ways to grow Columbia.

"It gives everyone the opportunity to network with each other on a more one-on-one basis over three days of intense learning and build those relationships stronger," McCormick said.

This is not the first trip the city has made to learn from other cities. Last year the chamber took a group of about 32 people to Knoxville, Tennesse. 

McCormick said the trip was very beneficial last year and said he hopes this year is just as productive. 

"These leadership visits give us the opportunity to learn and grow from meeting with other leaders and communities," McCormick said.

He said the trip allows for those who attend to learn new and better ways to do business in Columbia. McCormick said the trip gives people to the opportunity to learn from other people they may not directly work with on a daily basis.

"It's really given people the opportunity to sit down and discuss out opportunities, maybe some challenges or issues in the community, and really discuss that one-on-one and how they can work together to figure out solutions," McCormick said.

Not only has the chamber gone and visited other cities, but it has also had cities come and learn from Columbia. 

"Hosting other communities to Columbia allows us to showcase what makes Columbia a great place to live, learn, work and play," McCormick said.

He said he hopes the numbers and diversity continue to grow each year because he wants the city to continue to learn from others in order to further strengthen and grow Columbia.