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The April 18 GEDA Luncheon Program will showcase the Film & Television Industry in Georgia.  The panel, moderated by Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner, Film, Music & Digital Entertainment, Georgia Department of Economic Development, features:
  • Scott Tigchelaar, Atlanta President, Raleigh Studios (and developer behind Senoia as home of The Walking Dead)
  • Brynn Grant, Savannah Economic Development Authority
  • Craig Dominey, Senior Location Anaylst, Camera Ready Community Program, GDEcD
  • Jeffrey Stepakoff, Director, Georgia Film Academy
  • Steve Mensch, General Manager, Third Rail Studios, which is being built at the former GM site in Doraville
Networking begins at 11:00 a.m., and the program and lunch begin at noon.  Location:  Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.
April Luncheon Registration

Join your fellow economic developers as we gather on beautiful, sunny St. Simons Island, on the Georgia coast for our annual GEDA Spring Workshop May 18-20, 2016.  Brian Dill, the SW16 Chair, has created a dynamic and educational program focusing on Georgia's Workforce. We will hear from experts in the aerospace, financial technology, and automotive industries; discover how brand awareness and workforce recruitment tools influence decisions; and learn more about the GRAD site certification process.  Register now for $275 full conference rate. Thanks to all our early sponsors; click here for our current sponsor list.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available.  Deadline to sign up for the FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) Tour is April 27. 

Confirmed speakers include: Mark Lautman, Author | Speaker | Economic Architect; Steve Hester, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives, Chick-Fil-A; and Roger Tutterow, Professor | Director, Econometric Center, Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University.
Spring Workshop 2016 Registration
As we look ahead, it is time for GEDA to update its five-year strategic plan.  The Carl Vinson Institute of Government at The University of Georgia has graciously agreed to facilitate the strategic planning process for GEDA.  The GEDA strategic planning team will convene in Athens later this month for sessions with the CVIOG faculty.  Therefore, we need you to share your thoughts and ideas on the future of our organization.  Please take time now to complete the survey designed by the CVIOG staff to help guide our future.
Take the Survey
Read More from Greg Wright

Small Business Blog Opportunity

By Mary Ellen McClanahan, Director—Small Business & Entrepreneurship, GDEcD

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s weekly Small Business blog series is off to an outstanding start. We have been busy crisscrossing Georgia and meeting with small businesses and entrepreneurs that each have interesting and unique stories to tell. Some of the companies we have been able to highlight so far include: Even though these companies are located across Georgia and do very different things, there is one overriding constant: Everyone’s story is unique! Do you have an amazing small business in your community? Of course, you do! And we want to help tell their amazing story in one of our upcoming blogs. So what are we looking for? It’s pretty simple: Georgia-based businesses with 100 or fewer employees. To suggest a small business for an upcoming blog post, please contact Ryan Waldrep.  Also, be sure to follow “Georgia Entrepreneurs and Small Business” on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in Small Business news and trends. And if you have small business news to share, please let us know. We are happy to help you get out the word.

GEDA Partners With ICSC 

In partnership with GEDA, the International Council of Shopping Centers Alliance for Public Private Partnership (P3) will meet on April 28 at 4:00 to 6:00 pm to discuss the Doraville/GM Plant redevelopment project.  The ICSC Georgia P3 Program Committee will host a panel discussion on the design, history, approval process, lessons learned and future of the redevelopment of the former GM site in Doraville, GA. The panel will discuss how the former GM site is being transformed into one of the region’s premier mixed-use developments, to be known as ‘Assembly’.
Public and private sector leaders will join a panel discussion and share background on their involvement in the ‘Assembly’ project. They will share stories of how the public and private sector worked together to bring about the redevelopment of the former GM site. The ICSC P3 Georgia Alliance Program panel’s goal is to inspire developers and jurisdictions to work closely together so that similar successful projects can be approved, designed and built in other sites in Georgia.  

Register by clicking HERE.  Meeting location: GM Assembly Plant, I-285 & Peachtree Street, Doraville, GA.
ICSC is the trade association of the retail real estate industry. This ICSC P3 Retail program is a forum for the public and private sector to network, share ideas and discuss development issues and mutually desired retail projects.


GACCE Celebrates 100 Years

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce Executives Association (GACCE) is celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2016.  Members of GACCE’s board visited the Georgia State Capitol in February for a proclamation and photo with Governor Nathan Deal, were received on the House floor to receive a Resolution of Congratulations, were recognized in the Gallery of the State Senate, and were received and had a photo with Secretary of State Brian Kemp.  More celebrations will take place throughout this calendar year.  Sponsors have stepped up to assist in recognizing this milestone.  Click HERE for photos.  We congratulate GACCE, the GACCE board, Board Chairman Daniel Jackson, President & CEO, Carroll Tomorrow, and Tiffany Fulmer Ott, GACCE Executive Director!

March Luncheon Recap

The GEDA March meeting featured a program from President & CEO of VisionFirst Advisors Gray Swoope.  Gray’s talk was titled “30 Years, Three States and Three Lessons.”   VisionFirst provides Location Advisory Services, but does more in the areas of Economic Development Strategy and Results Driven Marketing and Communications Strategies.  Swoope stated that “in the period that Einstein was active as a professor, one of his students came to him and said: ‘The questions of this year's exam are the same as last years!’  ‘True,’ Einstein said, ‘but this year all answers are different.’”  Swoope mentioned that Risk Mitigation is critical in today’s world.   Read Kevin's full summary...
Thank you, Jennifer Nelson, Public Service Assistant Faculty Member, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, The University of Georgia, and the Georgia Certified Economic Developer program for sponsoring our March luncheon. Also, thanks to the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Global Commerce Deputy Commissioner Tom Croteau for sponsoring our speaker, Gray Swoope.
View the March Luncheon Photos

GEDA Member News


Annie Baxter, former Director—Logistics, Energy, Agribusiness & Food Team at GDEcD, has moved to Duke Energy where she will be Manager Business Recruitment.  She will recruit companies in the Aerospace, Food/Beverage and Advanced Manufacturing market.  Duke Energy’s headquarters is in Charlotte, NC, but Annie will be based in Atlanta, focused on business development.
Elmer Stancil, former Government Relations and Policy Director for GDEcD, has moved to the State Road and Tollway Authority as the Deputy Executive Director.  Elmer's new contact details: State Road & Tollway Authority, 47 Trinity Avenue, S.W., Fourth Floor, Atlanta, Georgia  30334; 404-893-6126;;
Lee Jarboe, formerly with McCarthy Building Companies, has joined JE Dunn Construction Company, as Director of Business Development for Higher Education, K-12 education, and Aviation.
Pat Merritt, Vice President of Economic and Community Development, Georgia EMC, has been appointed to chair the Non-Traditional Economic Development Shared Interest Group (SIG) for GEDA.
Niki Knox Vanderslice and her husband Ed welcomed Kathryn Anne Vanderslice "Katie," on March 2, weighing nine pounds; 21 inches. Niki, Executive Director Business Development / External Affairs, Georgia Quick Start, reports they love being parents.

Ole Timers
Several current and past GEDA members, some of whom are… ahem, a little older than the “average GEDA bear,” and some of whom are not retired, gathered at The Varsity for good food, fellowship, and story exchange.  A good time was had by all.  Thank you, Randy, for convening this august group.  Those in attendance were: Tim Chason, Randy Cardoza, Roy Cooper, Glenn Cornell, Jim Ewing, Buddy Glazner, Thomas Harris, Tom Long, John Malone, Kevin Shea, Jim Steed, Jack Talley and Robert Wood.

GEDA New Members

  • Paul Andrews, Business Development Sales Coordinator, Gas South, Atalnta
  • Richard Kaye, Attorney, Sherman & Howard LLC, Atlanta
  • Jim Shaw, President, Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson
  • Cory Singer, Director of Business Development, FCL Builders, Suwanee
  • Scott Malone, President, Development Authority of LaGrange, LaGrange
  • Bo Causey,Senior Project Manager, Centers of Innovation, Georgia Dept. of Economic Development, Atlanta
  • Mackenzie Bennett, Marketing Specialist, Douglas-Coffee County Chamber & Development Authority, Douglas
  • Harry Neill, Regional Director, Conway Data/Site Selection, Peachtree Corners

Project Announcements

HD Supply to create 500 jobs in Cobb County - Industrial distributor to invest more than $100 million  
March 10, 2016 - Gov. Nathan Deal announced that HD Supply Holdings, Inc., one of the largest industrial distributors in North America, will create 500 new jobs and invest more than $100 million in Cobb County throughout the next 5 years.  Congratulations to the team that made it happen: Brooks Mathis, Vice President, Economic Development, Cobb Chamber of Commerce; Tom Harrold, Attorney-at-Law, Miller & Martin PLLC;  Brenda Robbins, Senior Project Manager, Georgia Power Company; Gregg Simon, Vice President, Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; and Shirlynn Brownell, Project Manager; E Jane Caraway, Director, Life Sciences and Corporate Solutions; Scott McMurray, Director, International Division; and Tom Croteau, Deputy Commissioner, Global Commerce, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD).  Read more…
Blue Bird Adds 200 Jobs Company will add second shift at its body-assembly plant
March 22, 2016 – Fort Valley: Phil Horlock, President and CEO of Blue Bird Corp., announced that production has increased at its facility by more than 50 percent in recent years to satisfy customer demand.  Congratulations to Blue Bird, B J Walker, Executive Director, and the board of directors of the Development Authority of Peach County. Candice Scott, Sr. Project Manager, Region 6, Existing Industry And Regional Recruitment (EIRR) Team, Global Commerce, GDEcD, worked on the project with members from Quick Start and the Central Georgia Technical College. Read more…
ICT Industries to create 100 jobs - Chemical company to retrofit former Augusta fragrances plant
March 21, 2016 – Augusta: A Cartersville, GA, chemical company plans to create 100 jobs over the next five years by turning Augusta’s former International Flavors & Frag­rances plant into a manufacturer of specialty polymers and surfactants.  It will produce chemicals used to clean, protect and water-proof various types of surfaces. Congratulations to Walter Sprouse, Executive Director, the board of directors and staff of the Augusta Economic Development Authority. Read more…

Committee News

Natural Resources & Environment SIG Member Survey

The Goal of the GEDA Natural Resources & Environmental Shared Interest Group (SIG) is to serve as a resource for GEDA membership with respect to environmental issues that impact economic development.  To ensure that the mission of the SIG is in keeping with the needs of GEDA membership, we have developed, and ask that you complete, the 2016 GEDA Member survey. 
During the 2016 GEDA Spring Workshop, members of the SIG are conducting a session on Georgia’s Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) program that will focus in part on the environmental and natural resources related requirements associated with GRAD certification and Recertification.  The results of this survey will help to shape the contents of this session.
Feel free to contact Keith Ziobron, Natural Resources & Environment SIG Chair at, with any questions.  Take survey now.

Survey Link

Business Retention and Expansion Committee

Manufacturers Appreciation Week is April 18 - 22.  Be sure to show your existing industries some love!  Special thanks to Jade Morey from Houston County for updating the Proclamation of Support for Manufacturing template.  
Download the 2016 Proclamation Template

Professional Development Committee

Explore the Professional Development link on GEDA’s website for more information.
More on Professional Development
Get involved in GEDA's Committees and SIGs to learn about projects and meet fellow members - visit your profile on to join.  Committee and SIG 2016 Action Plans

Upcoming Events

Job Postings

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Champions Circle Sponsors

2016 Luncheon Sponsors


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