We’ve written about the history of Fayetteville Georgia, but now we’re putting the spotlight on an individual who truly loves Fayette County — Carlotta Ungaro. She’s not from here, but you can’t tell. Carlotta’s passion for the county is on full display in her role as the CEO and President of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Carlotta Ungaro for a chat on the present and future of business in Fayette County Georgia.
It takes a dedicated leader and an active team to bring a business community together. The Fayette Chamber has made it their mission to promote business and enhance economic and community development through leadership, service, and advocacy for Fayette County since 1967. It’s Carlotta’s responsibility as the Fayette Chamber CEO and President to see that all those goals are achieved.
Carlotta developed her appreciation for business and entrepreneurship early in her career. Her years as a college student in the business-heavy mid-80s were crucial in molding who she is and what she’s doing today. She spoke reminiscently about those days and how they compare to today in terms of business climate, approach, and wardrobe.
Carlotta grew up in the small, south Georgia city of Ellaville (about two hours south of Fayetteville). Her upbringing instilled hard work into the foundation of her character. As proof, Carlotta worked three jobs to pay the bills in the years directly after graduating from college. She waited tables at Bennigan’s and in the Hawks’ VIP section while working her office job for a consulting firm that wrote business plans for small businesses. For a time, all of that was done while taking grad school classes! Carlotta’s life and career, which also includes some time at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, have shaped her for her role and responsibilities at the Fayette Chamber of Commerce.
Fayette County Chamber of Commerce CEO and President
Carlotta moved to Fayette County and accepted the role as the Fayette Chamber’s CEO and President on February 9, 2015, thanks, in part, to the help of a persistent friend in the area. She’s hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back. Setting the tone and the direction strategically for the Fayette Chamber, she positions the Chamber as the voice of business locally and at the state level. She was targeted for the job because of her experience with government affairs. Carlotta’s core goals for her role are threefold: to build a better business climate for the county, to provide networking opportunities for Chamber members, and to provide educational opportunities that will help members operate and grow more efficiently and effectively.
“The Chamber is great because you get to work with so many different kinds of people to make our community better.” – Carlotta Ungaro on her work at the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce
Carlotta spoke highly of the Chamber’s programs for business owners, namely the B2B lunch program and ‘Consultants on Demand’ where members agree to donate pro bono hours for helping fellow members with specific business issues. She credits the great schools, the business culture, the quality of life, the accessibility to an airport and healthcare (Piedmont Fayette), and the film industry for Fayette County’s economic growth; but she also recognizes that there’s more work to do.
Technology is the Future for Fayette
Fayette County looks to increase the presence of technology companies in the area, building on the presence and work of TDK and NCR. She also mentioned Aventure Aviation and NAECO as rock stars in tech for Fayette County. She noted that Fayette County’s access to Hartsfield Jackson Airport differentiates itself from the other areas in the Metro Atlanta area, so they expect to see growth in the number of companies that support the aviation industry.
As for startups, she’s working with Fayette Vision to help attract younger entrepreneurs and lean, innovative businesses. Carlotta’s experience working with initiatives in the Research Triangle in North Carolina will play a big part in helping Fayette Vision bring innovation to Fayette County. While there has been concern with the perception that young people leave the area for more opportunity-rich settings, the plans discussed above should help with this.
Pinewood Atlanta Studios
Pinewood Atlanta Studios has made a major impact in the area. Pinewood has helped solidify Georgia as one the top five production destinations in the United States. The film Ant-Man was filmed there in 2015 and Captain America: Civil War is being done at Pinewood in 2016. The team here at Sharpsburg Voice appreciates the openly Christian culture they’ve fostered at Pinewood Atlanta Studios.
Carlotta mentioned that the developers responsible for Pinewood Atlanta Studios (which include Jim Pace and Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A) plan to develop a work-live-play community close to the studios. Pace has called it “Seaside on Steroids.” We’ll keep you posted as this develops.
The Role of the Church in Business
Many don’t know, but Fayette County is a big hub for faith-based nonprofits and churches. Our loyal readers know about Operation Mobilization USA (based in Tyrone, GA) because of our feature on their CEO and President Andrew Scott. Churches in the area host informational events at their locations and are generally active in the community. Carlotta and her Chamber team maintain a close connection with the church community through events and community outreach. The Chamber hosts their Expo at a local church in Fayette.
Carlotta is a great networker and puts in the work on many fronts. She works with other chambers (including the Coweta Chamber and the Metro Atlanta Chamber / ChooseATL) and has worked hard to position Fayette County as one of the top suburban areas in the Atlanta metro. She has also recently announced the Leadership Fayette 2016 class.
Things are looking up for business in Fayette County Georgia. We can credit Carlotta, the team at the Fayette Chamber, and the area’s business leaders for Fayette’s past, present, and future success. If you’re interested in joining the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce or in taking advantage of their excellent programs for businesses, visit them online at fayettechamber.org.