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New jobs starting to take shape
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With Gov. Deal returning from China with announcements in hand, Georgia is already feeling the effects of previously announced new jobs that are now coming on line. While the national economy will have its ups and downs and Georgia does feel those ebbs and flows, the general direction of job creation is definitely positive in Georgia.

As this column has discussed previously, with Georgia’s natural advantages, including the Atlanta Airport and the Port of Savannah, the growing redevelopment of the floor covering industry in North Georgia and the continued expansion of the automobile industry in West Georgia, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future of the state economically.

Here are some of the developments that validate Georgia as a destination for business.

TravelSky Technology
Earlier this week, Gov. Deal announced that an IT solutions provider, TravelSky Technology, will open a research and development center in Duluth by the end of 2013.  In addition to expertise in aviation information technologies, the new business will bring approximately $10 million in new investment and create 50 new jobs.

Shaw Industries Group, Inc.
As the economy slowly picks back up, some of the hardest-hit industries are beginning to make a comeback. It was recently announced that Shaw Industries Group, the state’s leading carpet manufacturer, will build a new facility in Bartow County and begin construction in 2014 of a 700,000-square-foot facility and create some 500 new jobs.

Last year, Gov. Deal announced the move of Caterpillar, a major construction equipment manufacturer, to Northeast Georgia, near Athens. This $200 million facility will employ 300 by the end of 2013 and 1,400 within three years. It is estimated that another 3,800 jobs will be created as well as numerous suppliers and other manufacturers move to the area.

Baxter International
Also in 2012, Baxter International, a major bioscience manufacturer, broke ground in Staton Springs for a 1 million square foot facility expected to bring one billion dollars in investment and 1,500 jobs. Quickstart opened the Georgia BioScience Training Center adjacent to the Baxter facility to provide onsite training for a wide range of job functions. This project signifies Georgia’s emergence as one of the top states for bio-related occupational employment.

Tractor Supply Company Expansion
One of the largest farm and ranch retail stores, Tractor Supply recently announced a 650,000 expansion in Macon of its regional distribution center that will bring 200 new jobs to the area.

JCB North America
This heavy equipment manufacturer headquartered in Savannah recently launched a new line of products that will require 300 new employees and new training by Quick Start.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
This world-renowned aircraft manufacturer has continued to grow and expand while being headquartered in Savannah. This company has a worldwide reputation for the highest quality aircraft, world-class service and research second to none. The announcement by the company in 2006 created the largest general aviation aircraft maintenance facility in the world in Savannah.  Gulfstream set out to hire another 1,100 employees to operate the state of the art manufacturing and new research and development facilities, investing some $500 million in the process. Now in the third year of expansion, the project is expected to outpace initial projections of job creation and investment.

Kia Motors Corporation
The seven-year-old partnership with this Korean company has exceeded projections. Spread over 650 acres in West Point, Kia’s first American plant involved $1.2 billion in investment and brought all together some 7,000 new jobs to the area.

Inalfa Roof Systems
Announced in June, this company will build a facility in Cherokee County that will supply sunroofs and sunroof opening systems to manufacturers such as Kia and Volvo. Construction has already begun and hiring is expected late this year and into next year.

Hubei Xingfa Chemicals Group
Right in the backyard of the Fourth Senatorial District, this project was announced during Gov. Deal’s visit to China last week. Hubei Xingfa will place its USA headquarters in Effingham County as well as a manufacturing plant. Some 50 new jobs will be created by this company in manufacturing phosphates.

As you can tell, Georgia’s efforts span the globe and the plant announcements touch all four corners of the state. While the slowing world economy will no doubt have some effects, Georgia’s balanced import/export logistics and agricultural base seem, in my opinion, to put the state in a strong strategic position for the future.

I may be reached at
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