The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness welcomes Chris Chammoun back to the team as its new director. We sat down with him to learn more about his background and the experience he’ll bring to this Center.
But first, a little about Chris’s background. Only a second generation American (his grandfather immigrated from Lebanon in the 1950s), Chris’ dad’s family wound up in Moultrie, Georgia after his grandfather’s welding company moved their operation south from New York. On the other side of Chris’ family, his roots trace back to immigrants from England settling in north Florida via North Carolina in the late 1700s. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a master’s from Texas A&M, both in Agriculture Economics, Chris found his way back to South Georgia to begin his professional journey.
Chris’s first exposure to the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness came just out of graduate school, when he signed on to be the Center’s project coordinator. From his first stint at the Center, Chris became the Director of Public Affairs at the Georgia Cotton Commission, doing research promotion and education for one of the State’s leading agricultural commodities.
Chris brings a knowledge of Georgia agriculture and an expertise in Ag policy to his new role as the Director of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, a role he describes as being a “technical advisor for agriculture in the economic development world.”
What is your favorite part about what you do?
I think it’s definitely the interaction with other people, and being able to learn from other agriculture specialists and researchers. That interaction is probably my favorite part.
What I want to push into is large food business. We already do a great job with small foods, and I think there’s a real potential for growth in the large food processors like the JIFs and Peter Pans of the world to be labeled a Georgia Grown product like we do with small food products.
We already do a great job with small foods, and I think there’s a real potential for growth in the large food processors like the JIFs and Peter Pans of the world to be labeled a Georgia Grown product…
I like to read, particularly history. I also collect firearms. I suppose you could say I’m an enthusiast – I like to go down to the pawn shop and see if I can pick up a rifle that they don’t know the historical significance of. I have several American, Japanese, and German rifles from WWII.
Since you like to read, what’s your favorite book?
I just finished a book on General Patton, called “Patton’s Principles” but generally read mostly about history.
I don’t really have a favorite that I can think of – but I will watch “Pure Country” with George Strait any time it’s on TV. People pick on it because George Strait is not a good actor, but I like it.
Along those lines, do you have a favorite musical artist?
I’m pretty diverse there. Metallica’s always been my favorite, then probably Alan Jackson and George Strait or Hank Sr., then Nirvana and maybe the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I also love most Texas Country, which is a sub-genre of its own. Like I said, I’m pretty diverse.