Georgia Economic Developers Association



The GEDA Monthly Program features a networking opportunity at Sweetwater Brewery for economic development professionals, brokers, and consultants on Monday, June 20. Catered by Bold American Events, join us for an evening of tours and tastings. Sponsored by Locate South Georgia,
Location: Sweetwater Brewery, 195 Ottley Drive, NE, Atlanta 30324.Time:5:30-7:30 p.m.
June Brokers & Consultants Networking Event Registration

LAST WEEK TO REGISTER. Join your fellow economic development professionals on beautiful, sunny St. Simons Island 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. Register now. Click here for our current sponsor list.Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Confirmed speakers include:Mark Lautman, Author | Speaker | Economic Architect; Steve Hester, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives, Chick-Fil-A; andRoger Tutterow, Professor | Director, Econometric Center, Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University.
Spring Workshop 2016 Registration
Continuous improvement is critical to the success of any organization, and GEDA is no different.

This year, under the guidance of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at The University of Georgia, GEDA is updating its five-year strategic plan to cover the years 2017-2021.

Recently, the planning committee gathered in Athens to review and discuss the member survey results and to prioritize the needs of GEDA. Your comments and suggestions were the backbone of the process, and we were very grateful for them.

The recommendations for GEDA fell into five categories: Communications, Governance, Membership, Programming, and Public Policy.

The results of the member survey were clear. GEDA members want:
  • More relevant communication from the organization;
  • A greater voice into the leadership of GEDA through its board of directors;
  • Enhanced services to members, particularly new members and young professionals;
  • Elevated programming at luncheons and conferences; and
  • A greater emphasis on public policy.
We still have a long way to go in the strategic planning process; however, I am very pleased with the results thus far. The final report will be presented to the membership during the Annual Conference in September and incorporated into future action plans for the organization.

If you have thoughts and ideas on how GEDA can better serve its members, feel free to reach out to me or to any member of the Board of Directors.

Thanks for all you do for economic development and for GEDA.
Read More from Greg Wright

April Luncheon Recap

The GEDA April luncheon showcased the Film & Television Industry in Georgia with a panel of luminaries, including Scott Tigchelaar, President, Senoia Enterprises, Inc., Brynn Grant, COO, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Craig Dominey, Senior Location Specialist, Camera Ready Community Program, GDEcD, Jeffrey Stepakoff, Executive Director, Georgia Film Academy, and Steve Mensch, President, Third Rail Studios. The panel was moderated by GDEcD Film Deputy Commissioner Lee Thomas.

Our April luncheon sponsor Jackson EMC delighted the audience with YETI coolers for prizes. A big thank you to Champion Circle sponsor Georgia EMC for being the April AV sponsor.

View the April Luncheon Photos

Committee News

Natural Resources & Environment

Chaired by: Keith Ziobron, Principal Engineer, Resolute Environmental & Water Resources Consulting

Take one minute to complete six-question multiple choice survey to help the Natural Resources & Environment SIG prepare for its GRAD Certification seminar at the 2016 Spring Workshop.

Workforce Development: Collaborative Leadership

Chaired by:Brooke Lucas, Chief of Staff, Georgia Department of Labor

In the blockbuster production that is Georgia’s economy, economic developers are center stage. Yet, there are many supporting actors and crew members working tirelessly to ensure our economic developers have the back-up they need to bring home the “#1 state in the nation to do business” accolade.

These supporting actors are Georgia’s education and workforce development partners. Their roles are complex and varied – but the goal is always the same: improve people’s opportunity for employment and address the staffing needs of employers. When this supply and demand is managed successfully, we create a prosperous state where economic developers can flourish.

Over the past few years, we have worked together to strengthen partnerships across agency and organizational lines to fortify “Team Georgia”. There is more communication and collaboration between economic development, workforce and educational agencies in Georgia than ever before.

New partnerships forged between the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia Department of Education, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Department of Community Affairs and others have stretched our comfort zones and broadened our horizons.

Additionally, the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative built upon cross-agency partnerships and invited the private sector to have an even more vocal role. We now have the opportunity to create a united front and work together to further meet the needs of the private sector.

Education and workforce professionals must continue to expand their understanding of what our economic developers need to succeed. While economic developers would benefit greatly from deepening their understanding of the workforce system. Recognition of resources available and how the system operates will allow economic developers to offer creative ideas on how we can make the workforce system better for Georgia companies.

As we continue this box office hit, let’s remember the value, knowledge and expertise each of us brings to the table; let’s continue to communicate; let’s stretch ourselves to grow further and let’s continue our reign as the number one state in the nation to do business.

Georgia is already growing several excellent education and workforce initiatives that position us ahead of the rest. With Spring Workshop 2016 right around the corner, we don’t want to give too much away, but know that Georgia’s workforce is the lighting the way!

Professional Development Committee

Chaired by: Saralyn Stafford, Division Director, Community Services, Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Congratulations to our spring scholarship recipients:
Paula Simon, Lovejoy Development Authority; Bethany Usry, Progress Fulton; and Mandy Underwood, Jenkins County, each received a scholarship to attend the 2016 Spring Workshop. Jade Morey, Houston County Development Authority, received a scholarship for an IEDC course; and Terry Schwindler, Putnam County Development Authority, received a scholarship to take the CEcD Exam.

Ross Avina of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs has secured a significant discount on the Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) Certification Series from BB&T.This certification series, which starts in June, is offered by the National Development Council (NDC). The first course, ED101: Economic Development Finance is offered June 6-10, 2016, on Hilton Head Island, SC (hotel TBD). Click HERE for program details. Click HERE to register for the first course.The second course in the series, ED201: Business Credit Analysis, will be offered on October 17-21.The next two courses in the series are slated for 2017 with dates and places to be determined (most likely in Orlando, FL).Click HERE for the BB&T discount code and Series flyer.

More on Professional Development

Get involved in GEDA's Committees and SIGs to learn about projects and meet fellow members - visit your profile to join. Committee and SIG 2016 Action Plans

GEDA New Members

  • Leigh Burns, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs, Atlanta
  • Kevin Ellis, Executive Director, Bacon County Development Authority, Alma
  • Jessica Reynolds, Director--Office of Downtown Development, Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs, Atlanta
  • Theresa Robertson, Regional Project Manager, GDEcD, Columbus
  • Amanda Seals, Associate Vice President, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw
  • Charles Wilkins, Project Manager, Effingham County IDA, Springfield

GEDA Member News

GDEcD's Business Development Director Bill Dobbs has retired. His last day with the Global Commerce division was April 29. Bill Dobbs had a long, storied career with GDEcD, starting on July 2, 1987! Over the course of 30 years, Bill wore many different hats, including stints as Manager of the Canada Office (1987 – 1993), Business Development (team started in 2005), Director of the Advanced Manufacturing & Aerospace Team, and of course as a Project Manager. Bill is responsible for tens of thousands of jobs created and billions of dollars of investment in our state! Georgia is literally littered with Bill Dobbs projects, including such notables as: Global Air in Bainbridge, Häring in Hartwell, Bass Pro Shops in Macon, Hugo Boss in Hinesville, and Metal Container Corp in Rome. Bill also served as President of the Canadian American Society and is the President of the George Walton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He is also a Mason and a pilot. During retirement, Bill plans to manage family properties in Covington, travel in his RV and maybe play a little golf. Please join us in thanking Bill for his many years of dedicated service to all of our communities and to wish him all the best in his retirement.

Brian Cardoza, Vice President, Real Estate, Rooker, recently received the NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Parks) Georgia “Top Industrial Producer” award. Congratulations, Brian!

Congratulations to Keith Barclift, Project Manager, Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority of Rock Spring, GA, for being the newest Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) in Georgia! Keith passed the CEcD exam on April 3at the IEDC Fed Forum in Arlington, VA.

Rusty Warner, currently Economic Development Director for the City of Norcross, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Development Authority of Elbert County, Elberton and Bowman and will start on June 1. Allen Nicas, currently Interim Executive Director in Elbert County, will settle back into a comfortable retirement after some initial training with Rusty. Allen has been a loyal and regular attendee of GEDA meetings throughout his retirement.Thanks Allen and welcome Rusty!

GDEcD’s Global Commerce Senior Project Manager Brittany Holtzclaw has been promoted to Director of the Logistics, Energy, Agribusiness & Food (LEAF) Team.Brittany’s experience at the local level in Hall and Gwinnett counties, as well as her utility experience and time with GDEcD, gives her the experience and unique perspective at all three levels to lead this team.Brittany started at GDEcD in 2012 and, after a brief sabbatical in Myrtle Beach, returned to GDEcD in 2014.Please join us in congratulating Brittany on her new role.
Maggie Laton has joined the GDEcD Global Commerce team as the Existing Industry & Regional Recruitment Project Manager for Region 4. Maggie’s first day was May 2, and she will be based in Fayetteville. Please welcome Maggie Laton to Team-GDEcD!

Dorie Bacon became a mom again, two-times over, and has shared pics of the “Bacon bits.” Jacob William Bacon and Juliette Pearl Bacon were born on April 12 weighing 6 lbs 3 oz each.Jacob was 19 3/4 inches and Juliette 20 inches long.

Nicole and Doug Ward welcomed their second child, Trent Harris Ward, on April 5, 2016. Trent weighed in at 9 lbs. 5 oz. and was 22 inches long. Big sis Krista is thrilled and has been helping take great care of her new, handsome-baby brother. Nicole and family are doing great and loving every minute with their son/brother.

Brian Dill, Chief Operating Officer, Georgia Department of Community, has accepted the position of Vice President of Government Relations and Business Development at Tanner Health System in Carrollton.Brian starts his new job after June 15, 2016.This is a great opportunity for Brian that will provide plenty of challenge, but also keep him closer to his home and family in Carrollton. We wish Brian all the best with his new position. Brian will continue at DCA until June 15.

On the flip side, Brian is resigning his position as Secretary-Treasurer of GEDA, since he will have to focus his full-time efforts on his new job. Brian will continue in his role with GEDA as Secretary-Treasurer and as Chair of the 2016 Spring Workshop, until he leaves DCA. Greg Wright, Chair of GEDA, has accepted Brian’s resignation as GEDA Secretary-Treasurer, and has asked Angie Gheesling, GEDA Immediate Past, Past Chair, and Chair of the GEDA Nominating Committee, to convene a Nominating Committee meeting ASAP to recommend a candidate for consideration by the GEDA Board of Directors to fill the role of Secretary-Treasurer. As we have more information, we will let you know.

Thank you for your service to GEDA, Brian, in the past, and particularly this past year, for your work in planning the GEDA Spring Workshop. You have done a great job and will be sorely missed by us all! However, we look forward to many opportunities to work with you in your new role. You are welcome back in GEDA at any time.

Project Announcements

Ball Corp. to invest $50 million investment -40 new jobs created in Rome/Floyd County expansion
Dan Fisher, President of Ball’s North American metal packaging business stated “This investment in our Rome plant will expand Ball’s specialty packaging capabilities to meet customer demand for our innovative Alumi-Tek® bottle,” said. “The plant’s location, excellent work force and the supportive environment for business growth in Rome and Floyd County played key roles in our decision to invest here. We worked closely with the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and its local members to bring this promising new project to Rome.” Congratulations to Heather Seckman, Director, Economic Development, and Al Hodge, President, Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce; Bradley Harris, Senior Project Manager, Georgia Electric Membership Corporation; and Stephanie Scearce, Regional Project Manager, Region 1, GDEcD; who worked this project. Click here to read more…

“Bienvenue, DRT”- French firm breaks ground on turpentine plant in Effingham County –Venture creates 40 jobs with $40 million investment

April 5, 2016: The French-based company, DRT, broke ground on its planned turpentine operation on the Effingham Industrial Development Authority’s Governor Treutlen tract in the Effingham Industrial Park. Congratulations to John Henry, CEO, Effingham County Industrial Development Authority; and the team of Alyce Thornhill, Region 12 Project Manager, GDEcD; and Quick Start representatives.Stacy Watson, General Manager, Economic & Industrial Development, Georgia Ports Authority;Walt Farrell, Senior Project Manager, Georgia Power Company; and Aubrey Brown, Manager, Regional Development, CSX Transportation; who were all very instrumental in helping to land this one.Click here to read more …

EdenCrete to Create More Than 250 Jobs in Augusta-Concrete solutions-company to invest $67 million in global manufacturing headquarters
April 13, 2016 - Gov. Nathan Deal announced that EdenCrete Industries Inc. (ECI), a manufacturer of carbon nanotube enriched concrete solutions, will establish its global manufacturing headquarters operation in Augusta. This project represents the creation of more than 250 new jobs and an overall investment of $67 million in the local community.Congratulations to Ulmer Bridges, Vice Chairman, Augusta Economic Development Authority (AEDA), and Director of Economic Development, Jefferson Energy Cooperative; Walter Sprouse, Executive Director, and staff of the AEDA; David Dunagan, Senior Project Manager; and Tom Croteau, Deputy Commissioner, Global Commerce, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD).
Read more local coverage…Read more news release…

Mohawk Industries To Create 200 Jobs in Dalton -Flooring manufacturer to expand luxury vinyl tile production, invest $100 million in Dalton-Whitfield County
April 21, 2016 — Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Mohawk Industries, the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, will expand its existing vinyl flooring operations in Dalton-Whitfield County. This project will significantly increase the company’s current U.S. luxury vinyl tile (LVT) manufacturing capacity. The $100 million capital investment in infrastructure and equipment will generate approximately 200 jobs for the region.
Congratulations to Carl Campbell, Vice President, Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority; Stephanie Scearce, Regional Project Manager, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) represented the Global Commerce Division; in partnership with Mohawk Industries and Dalton Utilities. Click here to read more…

GDEcD: Flexo Converters USA, Inc. will create 100 new jobs in Walton County, invest $20M
April 28, 2016 — The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) today announced that Flexo Converters USA, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of retail shopping bags, will open a new industrial facility in Walton County, creating 100 jobs and investing $20 million into the local community.Kudos to Tina Herring, GDEcD Project Manager, the City of Monroe and Shane Short, Executive Director, Development Authority of Walton County.Click here to read more...

Upcoming Events

August 10, 2016

Sidebar Conference

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August 15, 2016

August 2016 Monthly Luncheon

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September 21, 2016

2016 Annual Conference

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October 17, 2016

October 2016 Monthly Luncheon

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November 14, 2016

November 2016 Annual Awards Luncheon

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Job Postings

July 12, 2016

Director of Marketing and Economic Development

@ City of Centerville Centerville, Georgia |Learn More

July 12, 2016

Economic Development Manager

@ City of Brunswick Brunswick, Georgia |Learn More

July 12, 2016

Capital Project Manager

@ City of Riverdale RIverdale, Georgia |Learn More

View Job Openings

Champions Circle Sponsors

2016 Luncheon Sponsors

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