■ Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson, second from right, meets with GEDIA officials at their headquarters in Attendorn, Germany. In July of 2020, Governor Kemp announced that GEDIA Automotive Group plans to build an advanced manufacturing facility in Dalton, Georgia.


FDI SUMMER ISSUE ARTICLES GEORGIA ■ 83rd Governor of the State of Georgia, Brian P. Kemp
In 2020, Georgia, USA businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions of the state have been forced to innovate while economic development professionals have confronted unexpected challenges from the novel coronavirus. As the state looks ahead, this diverse economic base and the fundamentals that have made Georgia strong continue to provide a source of promise and good news, despite challenges from COVID-19.

Creating jobs and opportunities for Georgians is at the core of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) mission. From assisting with locating projects, leveraging the state’s international relationships and firstclass logistics network, to providing ground-level assistance as companies, and particularly small businesses, navigate COVID-19 relief options – GDEcD is committed to helping Georgia companies succeed.

With strong international partnerships, the busiest and most efficient airport in the world, the No. 1 port in the nation for U.S. exports and unmatched workforce development programs – to name just a few driving factors of the state’s economy – Georgia’s economic development remains on the right track.

During July, the first month of fiscal year 2021, Georgia attracted 3,629 jobs and $574 million USD in investment. These jobs and investments were not isolated to one region, business size or industry – it takes all of them for our economy to work. Between March 14 and August 14, the state announced 129 new projects, delivering nearly 14,000 jobs and nearly $3.5 billion USD in investment. Even while facing a global pandemic, jobs and investment numbers increased when compared to the same time period last year.

In the mountains of northwest Georgia, investments in the new inland port in Murray County helped solidify German automotive parts manufacturer GEDIA’s decision to locate their first Southeastern U.S. manufacturing facility for electric vehicle parts in Dalton, Georgia. Logistics investments also helped attract flooring companies including CFL, Huali Floors, Novalis Flooring, Mannington Mills and Try-Con Tufters to either establish or expand their presence in the region.

In the capital city, Atlanta, the continued priority placed on education programs in software and tech industries has caught the attention of tech-based companies large and small. Since May alone, Microsoft, Zillow, Milletech and Skynamo have announced plans to build hubs in the Atlanta area.

Georgia also remains a U.S. leader in advanced manufacturing, attracting new businesses to its southern regions. In May, Governor Brian Kemp announced that A-1 Roof Trusses, a leading manufacturer of pre-engineered wood trusses, plans to invest $17 million USD and create 130 jobs in a new manufacturing facility in rural Decatur County.

Georgia, which has a population of roughly 11 million people, demonstrates great strength across multiple manufacturing sectors, resulting in a GDP of $64.7 billion USD in 2019. The Georgia Department of Labor estimated that there were 385,300 manufacturing jobs in the state as of June 2020.

On the coast, the Port of Savannah has been named the top port for U.S. exports. From January through May of 2020, the port exported more loaded containers than any other port in the nation, achieving a 12.2% market share. The dominance of Georgia’s ports continues to spur economic growth. In June 2020, Port City Logistics announced their $80 million USD expansion in Chatham County.

FDI SUMMER ISSUE ARTICLES GEORGIA ■ Community painting class at Deep Center, Savannah, Georgia.
Another key part of economic development is creating an environment that fosters innovation. In May, Governor Kemp announced that biotechnology company RWDC Industries will invest $260 million in expanding its operations into Athens-Clarke County, bringing 200 jobs to the area. Founded in an innovation lab at the University of Georgia in 2015, RWDC Industries has emerged as a global leader in developing cost-effective alternatives to single-use plastics.

In addition, the state’s international partnerships continue to deliver opportunities across Georgia. This past spring, Governor Kemp announced that Ireland-based Kerry Group plans to invest $125 million USD in its northwest Georgia expansion, bringing more than 100 full-time positions to Floyd County. More recently, Governor Kemp welcomed mattress and furniture brand Zinus to Georgia at the State Capitol.

The global company selected Georgia for their first U.S. advanced manufacturing facility, investing $108 million USD in Henry County.

During August, GDEcD also announced the state’s new representation for Canada. Mr. Ludovic Ortuno will direct a team based in Montréal, who will continue to advance Georgia’s vital relationship with its No. 1 export partner; support existing Canadian companies in the state, such as Coreslab Structures, Decostar, Magna International and Irving Tissue; and explore new opportunities provided by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal.

FDI SUMMER ISSUE ARTICLES GEORGIA ■ Appalachian Regional Port near Chatsworth (Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton)
Businesses of all sizes and sectors have been dealt a tough hand by COVID-19, particularly Georgia’s small businesses, arts communities, and tourism and hospitality partners. These companies are part of the fabric of the state and help make it the vibrant place that it is today.

Since March, GDEcD’s team members located in all 12 regions of the state, have acted as onthe-ground support to local companies in need of temporary relief or assistance. In April, GDEcD partnered with Governor Kemp, the University of Georgia Small Business Development Centers and the Department of Community Affairs to offer a series of web-based information sessions tailored to each region of Georgia. The popular sessions helped small businesses navigate the federal funding and support programs made available through the CARES Act.

More than 800,000 small businesses call Georgia home. GDEcD’s Small Business team continues to stand ready with specialized assistance to help those companies identify the most effective lending and relief opportunities. Georgia Council for the Arts, an arm of GDEcD and important component of the state’s economic development strategy, is working with local creative industries to provide a lifeline through both state and federal grants, especially as people crave connectivity and creative escapes. These organizations not only inspire and educate their communities. They also attract tourists and remain large economic players in their local economies.

FDI SUMMER ISSUE ARTICLES GEORGIA ■ Georgia is a national leader in advanced manufacturing, a GDP of $64.7 billion USD in 2019.
While Georgia’s tourism industry has felt the painful effects of COVID-19, its strong foundations remain intact, and the Explore Georgia team is committed to safely advancing and supporting the tourism industry.

Over the course of the state’s fight with COVID-19, GDEcD is continuing to witness Georgia companies of all sizes, and the people behind them, set a new standard for service, collaboration and creativity, even while facing immense challenges of their own. Manufacturers in every corner of Georgia have pulled together, retooled their machines and donated their goods and services to those who need them most.

GDEcD has created a public “Georgia Suppliers List and Map” displaying more than 320 Georgia companies who have stepped up to supply critical supplies during this time of need. Whether a restaurant, clothing boutique, manufacturing plant or any of the many companies who call Georgia home, all businesses across the state are welcome to use this list and map as a free resource for sourcing those items.

While a great deal has changed since March, GDEcD and its partners across the state remain focused on creating opportunities for Georgians. By leveraging the state’s strong and diverse economic framework, connecting businesses of all sizes with assistance and relief options and attracting new investment ventures to Georgia,

GDEcD is confident that the state’s economy will remain well-positioned for recovery and growth.