Carroll Chamber of Commerce president and CEO announces retirement

Daniel Jackson, the president and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber is retiring.

Carroll County’s top business and economics leader is retiring at the end of March, after nearly 20 years with the Chamber of Commerce.

Daniel Jackson, president and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, made the announcement on Friday afternoon. He joined the chamber in August 2001 and has been the president and CEO since 2008.

Jackson told the Times-Georgian on Monday that he does not plan on leaving the volunteer boards on which he serves. These include the Tanner Health System’s Board of Directors, the Carroll County College and Career Academy’s Board of Directors, the University of West Georgia Richards College of Business’s Board of Advisors and the West Georgia Technical College’s Foundation Board.

In an interview with the newspaper on Monday, Jackson said his career at the Chamber of Commerce had been bookended by the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and the still-deadly coronavirus pandemic. The nation was rocked by the Great Recession when he started as president and CEO, but he said the county was able to hold on economically throughout each of these historical events.

He said he does not want to see another COVID-19 business shutdown and that he has “great appreciation and admiration” for how Carroll officials responded to the situation.

“I hope and pray [the pandemic] will never be replicated; the combination of political and the social and COVID and the distance and the economy,” he said. “Nobody could have gotten it perfect because there was no rule book. We absolutely had to make decisions and immediately with the information we had, and it might change the next day, but we had no way of knowing that.”

Jackson and his wife, Carol, have lived in Carroll County for nearly 50 years, raising their children, Russ and Katie. He said he and his wife will stay in Carroll County following his retirement.

Jackson graduated from then-West Georgia College in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

For more than 26 years, he was a previous partner in The Squire Shop, which is now located next to American Pie Pizzeria on Maple St. He also worked at Carroll EMC as the manager of member services.

“What I remember thinking and saying to other Carroll Tomorrow leadership, I think we want to all go out on high note, you want to go out when you are 14-2 and won the division title, not when you’re 2-14 and you played so bad you get the first draft pick the next year,” he said. “I want to do it right, when the timing is right and still feel good. I feel super good about it.”

Jackson said the Power Ten Consulting firm that helped the Chamber of Commerce with putting together the chamber’s plan for the next five years will assist the chamber’s board in picking his successor. He added he will advise the firm if needed, but will not weigh in on the next president.

During his tenure, Jackson was also the leader of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Board of Directors and on the state board of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development. He also served on the Carroll County Development Authority for 14 years and is a graduate of the Georgia Academy of Economic Development.

He also helped launch the Burson Center, one of the state’s first small-business incubators. The center began in July 2006 through a partnership of several public and private agencies under the direction of Carroll Tomorrow. Since then, the Burson Center has helped more than 80 businesses create nearly 800 jobs and more than $69 million in capital investment, according to the center’s website.

The building is named for Dr. John Burson, a local physician and philanthropist, who donated the space to Carroll Tomorrow for the purpose of new business development and expansion.

“Carroll County has a history of talented, committed people who have invested their lives to make Carroll a better place for all,” Jackson said. “Throughout my years in Carroll County, I’ve been blessed to work with outstanding individuals. While I can never properly share my appreciation, I will treasure every friendship and memory.”