OFS to Expand Carrollton Plant and Create 149 Jobs

OFS Fitel, LLC, a manufacturer of optical fiber products, will create 200 jobs and invest $138.9 million in the expansion of both their Norcross and Carrollton facilities.

Approximately 149 of the 200 new jobs will be in Carrollton and the local investment is $50 million. The Carrollton plant is located on Columbia Drive.

“I think we as a county are extremely fortunate that OFS decided to expand here locally,” said Marty Smith, chairman of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. “It’s great to see one of our major local partners continue with their success and growth. We recognize the fact that Industries of this size and magnitude obviously have many choices and opportunity to expand worldwide. We sincerely appreciate that their choice was Carroll County.”

Lindsay Martin, director of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment, represented the Global Commerce division in collaboration with Partnership Gwinnett, Carroll Tomorrow, Georgia Power and Carroll EMC.

“We are fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with OFS that provides them assurances of a quality workforce and local partnerships that make doing business in Carroll County a win-win proposition,” said Daniel Jackson, president and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow. “As an industry leader with global expansion options, we are proud OFS made the decision to continue their investment in Carroll County.”

Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, congratulated both Carroll and Gwinnett County on the expansion. He said that OFS has been an valuable corporate citizen.

“It is always a win when an existing industry commits to an expansion, but what makes this announcement even more impactful that is that OFS is creating job opportunities at two facilities in the state,” said Wilson.

OFS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese parent company, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. In 2017 Furukawa Electric announced plans to nearly double its 2016 optical fiber manufacturing capacity by 2019 and to increase its optical fiber cable manufacturing capacity. Japan is a leading investor nation in Georgia, ranking first among Georgia’s international investors based on total dollar value of investments, and third based on the total number of facilities.

Janus International Group Receives Grant for Export Strategy

Janus International Group, LLC in Temple was chosen as a first-round winner of the annual Atlanta Metro Export Challenge, a grant program targeting local companies with innovative export strategies.

Twenty-eight companies from metro Atlanta were selected and will each receive a reimbursement grant of up to $5,000 to apply toward expenses related to building export capacity and activities.

Janus is a roll up door manufacturer specializing in custom self-storage solutions, beginning with the production of its industry-leading 3rd Generation industrial sheet roll-up doors and extending to facility components as well as self-sustaining hallway systems. Founded in 2002 by President and CEO David Curtis, the Janus International executive team collectively has more than 100 years of experience in the industry.

“Janus International is delighted to be recognized by the Atlanta MEC for not only our capacity to develop and manufacture innovative solutions for the self-storage and commercial/industrial markets, but also our purposeful strategies to expand the company’s footprint on a global scale,” said Curtis.  “With our well-defined long-term revenue objectives, we are positioned for continued growth at a local level as well as globally.”

Nearly 100 companies, ranging in size from pre-revenue startups to small and established medium-sized businesses, applied for the 28 available grants. The semi-finalists represent a wide array of industries, including traditional and advanced manufacturing, professional services, food and beverage, and technology companies.

“Georgia is a great place for innovative companies to prosper, and this competition allows companies to take advantage of our top-notch resources that strengthen their efforts across the globe,” said Mary Waters, Deputy Commissioner for International Trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Andy Camp, Vice President for Economic Development for Carroll Tomorrow, was complimentary of the grant program that spotlights innovation.

“The exporting challenge and grants help Metro Atlanta businesses grow their customers and we are pleased Janus continues to pursue markets around the world from their headquarters in Carroll County,” Camp said.

The Atlanta MEC will distribute a total of $200,000 over the course of the competition. This competition is one of the key components of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan (MEP), an initiative launched in June 2015 to stimulate economic growth in the region and create quality jobs through exports. The grants competition aims to encourage area companies to export and drive business growth by increasing international sales of local products and services.

“As our region works to further our export capacity and intensity, we want to provide concrete resources to companies that are striving to impact our growth,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “I’m eager to watch the Atlanta MEC’s semi-finalists continue to position metro Atlanta as a global competitor through the innovative products and services they are delivering to an international market.”

The Burson Center Wins International Recognition

The Burson Center, a mixed-use business incubator and resource center facilitating entrepreneurship, innovation, and business growth by assisting new ventures, was awarded the “Excellence in Business Support & Economic Development, USA” by Corporate LiveWire.

Corporate LiveWire, a weekly online newsletter, provides business professionals and individuals in the corporate sector with information on the latest news and developments from around the globe. The resource offers regular up-to-date content on an array of subject areas such as corporate transactions, international markets, business strategy and changes in legislation.

Over 100,000 professionals working across the various corporate industries, the general public and Corporate LiveWire’s subscriber base were invited to nominate associations, companies and individuals based on their achievements and strengths. Additionally Corporate Livewire’s research team put forward a selection of individuals who excelled within their sector.

The Burson Center was nominated by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a global non-profit member network that serves a diverse group of 2,200+ entrepreneurship centers.

“We are pleased with this international recognition of The Burson Center’s reputation for launching successful companies and for the impact the Center has had on Carroll County’s economy,” said Donna Armstrong-Lackey, Senior Vice President of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Tomorrow.

In citing The Burson Center, Corporate LiveWire noted that of the 124 businesses incubated in the last 10 years, more than 81 percent are still in operation today, having created 815 jobs and over $71 million in capital investment.

The Corporate LiveWire team especially admired the new venture in the shape of the Tinker’s Box, scheduled to open in early fall 2017. The makerspace will be available for use via membership only for inventors and businesses in the area which otherwise may not have access to cutting edge technology such as 3D printers.

“We couldn’t be more excited to offer the opportunity to create, invent, tinker, and commercialize new products in West Georgia,” said Lauren Holverson, Director of The Burson Center.  “This enables our team and community of makers to explore ideas with the potential to grow our economy. This Corporate LiveWire recognition further validates our support of entrepreneurs.”

In support of the award, Corporate LiveWire stated, “The panel of judges applauded The Burson Center in recognizing that the face of business in the 21st century is changing. As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is all the more vital that technology businesses are given the facilities they need to thrive, and we commend The Burson Center for facilitating these changes.”

For more information on incubation at The Burson Center, contact Holverson at lauren@carroll-ga.org or call 678-890-2340.

Carroll County Featured During National “Jobs for the Future” Focus

Carroll Tomorrow was invited by Washington DC-based Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that builds educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations, to participate in a series of meetings discussing innovative apprenticeships and work-based learning initiatives.

Donna Armstrong-Lackey, Senior Vice President of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Tomorrow, and Bess Glanton, industrial engineer at Southwire and graduate of the Southwire Engineering Academy (SWEA), represented Carroll County, one of only three communities invited to participate.

Rutherford County, TN and the state of Indiana also took part in the meetings in Washington, as part of President Trump’s Workforce Development Week which included a roundtable with JFF officials, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Acting Assistant Secretary Byron Ziedema and John Ladd, U.S. DOL director of newly-created Apprenticeship Programs.

The group was invited to U.S. DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta’s office and shared local initiatives with the Secretary. Armstrong-Lackey provided details of the Carrollton-Carroll County Education Collaborative (CCEC) P-16 process focused on the three cornerstones of ‘enroll, employ and enlist’, the Carroll County Chamber’s 8th Grade Career Expo, county and city schools’ CTAE work-based learning programs in over 200 businesses, and the Manufacturing Day experience for educators in local industry.

“We spoke at length with the Secretary’s Chief of Staff Wayne Palmer about our holistic approach locally, and they were very interested in visiting the community,” Armstrong-Lackey said.

Glanton shared details of the SWEA and Southwire’s 12 for Life program. SWEA is a cooperative internship program for 11th- and 12th-grade Carrollton High School STEM program students. SWEA promotes achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics while enabling students to apply these disciplines in a real-world manufacturing setting. 12 for Life, a partnership between Southwire and Carroll County Schools, inspires at-risk students to earn wages by working in a Southwire manufacturing facility while completing high school.

As a result of the conversations with Acosta and his staff, Palmer shared Glanton’s story the next day at Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

“I was so proud to be representing Southwire as a testimony to the positive impact the company’s investments in work-based learning innovations have on our community’s students,” Glanton said. “Secretary Acosta was very intrigued and interested when I described to him Southwire’s 12 for Life and SWEA work based learning programs. My hope is that more students from across the country can benefit from similar programs with the help of the U.S. DOL and the example Southwire has created in Carroll County.”

Glanton graduated from Carrollton High School, obtained an industrial engineering degree at Auburn University and returned to her hometown to work at Southwire. “I had several job opportunities but chose Southwire because I already had a relationship with them that started during the Academy,” Glanton said. “I knew that I wanted to work where they were already invested in me – I wasn’t just another employee.”

Secretary Acosta shared that he is most concerned about streamlining service-delivery and eliminating duplicity between several federal programs, and he is working closely with the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate effort. He is planning a nation-wide tour highlighting Apprenticeship/WBL innovations and Armstrong-Lackey invited him to Carroll County to share all of our initiatives up close.

Carroll Tomorrow and the Carroll County Chamber have been working with JFF for more than five years since being nominated by the Georgia Department of Education to participate in the Harvard University Pathways for Prosperity initiative. JFF has provided support for such initiatives as the Chamber’s Workforce Education Blue Ribbon Task Force and the continuing work of the Workforce Education Committee, as well as the two-year-old CCEC.

In 2012, JFF visited and learned about the successful work-based learning programs at Carroll County School’s College and Career Academy and Carrollton High School, as well as 12 for Life. They continue to hold up Carroll County’s holistic approach to workforce education as a community model, and have regularly promoted Southwire’s 12 for Life and Engineering Academy as model programs for work-based learning.

“Many communities and agencies from around the country have been referred by JFF to learn from Southwire about their successful, ten-year-old 12 for Life program creating work-based learning opportunities for over 2,000 high school students,” Armstrong-Lackey said.

JFF recently announced the opening of the Center for Apprenticeship and Work-based Learning (WBL) http://center4apprenticeship.jff.org, providing resources and technical assistance to support talent development through business, education and community partnerships.

Photo: U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s Chief of Staff Wayne Palmer welcomed Bess Glanton (l), industrial engineer at Southwire, and Donna Armstrong-Lackey, Senior Vice President of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Carroll Tomorrow, to his roundtable discussion on innovative apprenticeships and work-based initiatives held in Washington, D.C. last week.

Colorado Premium to Create 190 Jobs in Carroll County

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Colorado Premium, a manufacturer of premium protein products, will create 190 jobs and invest $15 million in a Carroll County food processing plant by the end of 2018.

“Colorado Premium’s decision to establish a presence in Carroll County is a testament to Georgia’s commitment to providing a business-friendly environment and the resources necessary for economic growth in today’s market,” said Deal. “Georgia offers the freight and transportation network required to serve a broad, growing customer base. I am confident our strategic location will provide significant benefits for Colorado Premium as the company expands its presence throughout the southeast.”

The company supplies major consumer-ready meats to U.S. retailers and restaurant chains. Colorado Premium also co-packs specialty items for packing companies across the nation.

“We explored with various locations in the Southeast, the facility in Carrollton was selected due to the overwhelming welcome that we received from the Carroll County and State of Georgia business community,” said Kevin LaFleur, Colorado Premium owner and president. “We have been growing with our customers for several years and this facility will enable that growth and provide a better geographic shipping point for these customers.”

The company purchased an existing 130,000-square-foot building in Carroll County for the new processing facility.

“We are excited to begin the new year with this announcement,” said Daniel Jackson, president and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow. “As a family owned, highly successful and growing industry, Colorado Premium is a perfect fit for our community. We are so impressed with the owner and senior leadership team and we know that they will be a great asset to our community and a wonderful new corporate citizen.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Project Manager Brittany Holtzclaw represented the Global Commerce division throughout this project in partnership with Carroll Tomorrow and Georgia EMC.

“Colorado Premium’s relocation in Georgia validates many of the initiatives we are managing to help our existing industries remain as competitive as possible,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This additional facility is not only a credit to our logistics system, but to our nationally recognized business climate as well.”

About Colorado Premium : Colorado Premium was founded in 1998 by Kevin LaFleur and Don Babcock and is headquartered in Greeley, Colorado. As a family-owned added-value manufacturer of premium protein products, Colorado Premium serves major U.S. retailers and restaurant chains, and co-packs specialty items for packers across the nation. A leader in processes, efficiency and products, Colorado Premium strives to be at the top in every area of the business, creating a careful balance among all the elements that are critical to successful meat production.

Northwest Georgia Needs to Ensure There are Enough Qualified Workers

Ensuring there are enough qualified workers may be the most critical job confronting economic developers across Northwest Georgia, according to speakers at a Georgia Power regional economic development summit.

Representatives from 12 counties attended the Monday event hosted by Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rome.

Peter Cervelli is executive director of the Dade County Industrial Development Authority. He said representatives from prospective industries have questioned him about the availability of workers in the extreme northwest corner of the


Volkswagen in Chattanooga is adding close to a thousand employees, and a new Vanguard trailer plant is slated to open in August with close to 400 jobs.

“They are concerned about where the workforce is coming from,” Cervelli said, referring to unnamed prospects.

“Everybody asks where are the people going to come from,” echoed Andy Camp, vice president for economic development at Carroll Tomorrow in Carroll County.

There are some local initiatives underway.

Read Full Article Here>>

BARCO Invests Millions & Creates New Jobs in Tallapoosa

British American Rubber Company (BARCO) a subsidiary of Montague Investments LLC, is investing $8.5 million and creating 35 new jobs by opening a specialty rubber compounding facility in Tallapoosa, Georgia.

BARCO will begin construction of a 60,000 square foot state of the art specialty rubber compounding facility on the 61 acres of the former Hoover ­Hanes site in Tallapoosa. The company plans to hire over 30 people during the initial 3 year ramp up period and invest over $8,500,000 in land, building, and equipment.

Ultimately the company plans to create a total of 56 jobs within five years according to Mike Cash, President, with BARCO. “We considered sites and locations around the southeast and ultimately choose Tallapoosa and Haralson County based on the suitability of a site designed for our process and the availability of skilled workers with experience in rubber compounding.” Cash stated.

Pete Bridges, Mayor of Tallapoosa says, “This is exactly the type of company we are looking for. We have a deep history in rubber compounding and manufacturing. We are pleased to welcome BARCO as a new member of the Tallapoosa family.” At one time, Tallapoosa was home to four rubber­ compounding plants that employed many hundreds of people.

The new BARCO facility will be constructed on a site owned by the Development Authority of Haralson County. “We purchased this site because of the existing infrastructure including an access road, all the needed utilities, and an active rail spur.” Says Authority Chairman, Donny Boswell. He continued, “BARCO will not only put an $8,500,000 asset on the tax rolls, it will also return our capital and allow us to develop additional sites for industrial attraction.”

The company will purchase the site from the Haralson County Development Authority for $475,000. The Tallapoosa Development Authority will contribute $26,000 towards the purchase price. “We are delighted BARCO choose Haralson County as their new location. New industrial growth is essential for our county’s future.” Commission Chairman Allen Poole, stated. “ This was a team effort that involved the Haralson County Commission, City of Tallapoosa and two Development Authorities. In addition, Georgia Power came in with a very aggressive rate.”

A more formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held later. BARCO plans to begin construction of the facility in May and plans to start operations in early 2017. Montague Investments specializes in manufacturing investment in the US and Europe. For more information about Montague Investments, contact Cathy Warren at 678-804-1219.

Development Authority Tours Port of Savannah

About 18 members of the Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority were treated to a tour of the Port of Savannah recently. The group, which includes civic leaders, business owners and representatives from the seven counties that make up the West Georgia region, also used the port facility to hold an economic development meeting.

Georgia Ports Authority’s Director of Statewide Economic Development and Government Affairs Bart Gobell (seen in the yellow vest) showed the GWGJDA group around the deepwater terminals and container facility that make up the Port of Savannah. Record years of growth at the Georgia Ports have meant enormous increases in total tonnage and container traffic. Cargo ships from all over the world bring their products to the U.S. through the port. Likewise, it connects Georgia-grown and Georgia-made products to the rest of the world. All of which has led to its title of the fastest growing container port in the U.S. And, just down the road, the Port of Brunswick is the No. 1 port in the country for automobile imports.

“Strong partnerships are key to economic growth,” said Gobell. “We work with many companies located in Greater West Georgia to provide beneficial logistic options for their current operations and future growth.”

“Those deepwater ports drive development and opportunity in every corner of our seven counties,” said Tim Warren, Chairman of the Authority and President of United Community Bank. “The Port of Savannah is our gateway to international commerce,” he added, recalling how important it was to securing the growing number of foreign companies who now call West Georgia home.

For Authority member Richard Davis, Vice President of Wayne Davis Concrete, seeing the vast size, scope and complexity of the GPA’s Savannah facilities really helped to bring everything into perspective. “It was meaningful to me to see the ports in person and meet our important partners across the state,” he said.

“Although we are technically four hours and a thousand feet above sea level from Savannah, it may as well be called The Port of West Georgia. That’s how close our connection is,” said Andy Camp, VP of Economic Development for Carroll Tomorrow. “Our strong logistics backbone is anchored by the largest single container terminal facility in North America. West Georgia companies focused on speed to market utilize the port on a daily basis so it’s a great partnership resource,” he noted.




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#1 State for Business, #1 Region for Growth

Once again, Georgia tops Area Development’s list of the 2015 Top States for Doing Business. This independent yearly survey of site consultants compares strengths in business environment, labor climate, infrastructure and global access.

Strategically located just a short distance from the world’s busiest and most efficient airport, West Georgia combines the best of the state’s strengths in one diverse and rapidly growing area. West Georgia also boasts high-skill labor thanks to the top-ranked workforce program in the nation, Quick Start. It’s easy to see why companies such as Kia, Honda, Caterpillar and Walmart call the region home.

In 2015, Kia hit the milestone of assembling its 500,000th vehicle at its plant in West Point and stated it is investing $1.6 billion in machinery and equipment. “By choosing West Georgia, Kia was able to take advantage of proximity to its future suppliers while benefiting from a solid infrastructure,” Kia’s Corinne Hodges told the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Much of Kia’s success is attributed to the support Georgia offers in terms of world-class logistic ecosystem, customized workforce training programs and a culture of collaboration. It’s estimated that Kia has created more than 15,000 regional jobs.

Honda Precision Parts of Georgia has been in Haralson County for ten years now. It recently expanded its transmission production facility in Tallapoosa, adding the casting and machining of transmission cases to its initial assembly operations. Honda more than tripled plant size from 100,000 to 350,000 square feet and increased capital investment from $100 million to $150 million.

Another company that chose West Georgia is Caterpillar. “We are excited about our growth opportunities in LaGrange,” said Kevin Thieneman, Caterpillar General Manager for Forest Products. “A large part of that is due to our world-class forestry team, who design and build forestry products that are shipped globally,” he said when announcing that Caterpillar was expanding its LaGrange facility. He told Area Development that the manufacturer would add 50 new jobs and invest $25 million into its LaGrange operations. “We look forward to building an even stronger base in LaGrange,” he said.

Walmart is one of the companies helping to make the area a major distributions hub. It based its distribution center in LaGrange, citing strong logistics advantages and resources for receiving, storing and distributing goods. West Georgia’s convenient location gives the retail giant prime access to four major interstates, rail lines, one of the largest air cargo networks in North America and two ports. 80 percent of the U.S. market can be reached within two hours by air or two days by truck.

Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority congratulates all of our economic development and business partners who have helped us achieve this prestigious ranking three years in a row.

Workforce Education – A Vision for Carroll Tomorrow

In 2011, Carroll Tomorrow began its new five year plan, with Workforce Education and Development listed as a primary focus. Over the next few years, with education and industry partners at the table, the Blue Ribbon Task Force was created and developed their plan to create as many opportunities and eliminate as many obstacles as possible so every student will have a greater chance of successfully completing their studies and finding gainful employment.

The key areas are to focus on career development and implementation skills to enable young adults to be high achievers, to motivate our youth to use their interest, knowledge and natural talents and skills to develop a sustainable career path and to work with all partners and stakeholders to create a suitable and effective model for economic development that results in career/job opportunities.

As a result of this initiative, Carroll Tomorrow and their partners in Carroll County created or retained over 4,400 jobs, generated over $90,000,000 in new payroll and created over $686,000,000 in new capital investment since inception of the Workforce Education Task Force. The success of this program reaches the national level as Carroll County was the only Georgia County chosen by the Department of Education to be featured in an assessment as part of Harvard University’s Pathways to Prosperity initiative.