The Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) is a non-profit association of professionals and volunteers who are involved with the economic development of the cities and counties of Georgia.
GEDA was organized to increase the effectiveness of individuals involved in the practice of economic development in Georgia by encouraging cooperation, exchange of information, and upgrading of professional skills.
GEDA strives to achieve a closer working relationship among professionals and volunteers engaged in economic development in Georgia.
The Georgia Economic Developers Association is one of the leading organizations for economic development professionals in the Southeastern U.S.
Established in 1963 as the Georgia Industrial Developers Association, GEDA adopted its current name in 1993—replacing “industrial” developers with “economic” developers to better reflect the broad scope of interests and services that go into promoting job creation and community prosperity.
Like many economic development organizations, GEDA was spawned during the Post-World War II economic expansion as states and local communities took stock of their economic challenges and opportunities. In Georgia during the late 1950s, a small group of industrial developers began meeting regularly over lunch—the precursor of a professional trade association. The group adopted organizational documents in 1963, boasting a membership roll representing 19 state and regional organizations. Incorporation as a 501(c)(6) organization came in 1975.
GEDA has refined its mission through the years while keeping a laser focus: serving as a resource for economic development professionals, and lending a leadership voice on issues affecting economic development policies and regulations.
GEDA’s record of engagement on economic development initiatives is expansive. Early on, the organization led an initiative to establish sales and use tax exemptions on industry machinery, and promoted General Assembly adoption of a law supporting the creation of development authorities in Georgia counties. The organization provided leadership support for the constitutional amendment establishing the Freeport Inventory Tax Exemption. More recently it supported legislation that expanded the potential uses of Tax Allocation Districts, created the OneGeorgia program, authorized job tax credits, and the reduction in the sales and use tax on energy used during the manufacturing process.
GEDA membership today exceeds 700 practitioners and reflects the multi-faceted nature of economic development, whose sectors include manufacturing, commercial, tourism, film, conventions, and more. Practitioners are active in everything from entrepreneurship, workforce preparedness and research commercialization, to re-development and international trade development.
GEDA holds monthly membership meetings, as well as an annual meeting and a spring workshop, offering members an array of networking and professional development opportunities. The organization annually recognizes excellence in economic development through five awards: Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence; Governor Zell Miller Public Policy Leadership Award; Volunteer of the Year Award; Honorary Life Member; and Deal of the Year.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, GEDA has evolved into the leading professional association dedicated to enhancing Georgia’s economic vitality