Twenty Under Forty: LaGrange native Long helping LaGrange grow through HYPE

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Trae Long, 28, is excited about growth and improvements underway in LaGrange.

Long was born and raised in LaGrange. He attended LaGrange Academy and LaGrange College and has worked for Gay & Joseph, CPA, PC in downtown for more than five years. When he is not working, he is actively involved in groups and projects through the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce like HYPE, which is a young professionals group, and the Young Gamechangers group that helped the county consider major area improvements last year.

“My group was the industrial group, so we focused on how to make LaGrange a center for advanced manufacturing and innovative technologies,” Long said. “We got to work with the school system on how to get middle school and high school students excited and interested in manufacturing or advanced manufacturing. We worked with the colleges a little to see how they work, gearing in that direction. I got to talk to some of the plant managers to see what was new and what was happening there. Then we talked to some of our economic development team members in LaGrange about ways to grow small businesses that could feed and support the industries.”

Long’s group came up with ideas like a collaborative space geared toward supporting businesses and their founders. While that physical space does not currently exist in LaGrange, Long is working to foster a community of support for young professionals as the co-chairman of HYPE.

“We hear all the time now that one of the biggest ways that young professionals decide where they want to live is — they don’t pick the job, and then go to the city. They find the city that they want to be in and then find the job when they are there,” Long said. “So, we want to create that environment and feeling of community that they are looking for so that they will come, and when they are here, they want to stay. We are looking to engage them professionally, civically and socially.”

He hopes that creating that community of involvement will encourage other young adults to move to the area long-term and come to love it the way he has.

“I do like LaGrange. I like the small-town feel,” Long said. “… Now having worked in LaGrange and getting more involved in the community, I think it really exciting seeing how much growth is happening and how much is coming. It seems like every day there is either a new announcement for an industry or a new restaurant or store opening downtown or some award that the city is getting.”