Honda Motor Co. Ltd. to Invest $100 million in its Northwest Georgia Plant

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. Ltd. will invest $100 million in its northwest Georgia plant to make the world’s first 10-speed automatic transmission for front-drive vehicles.

The 10-speed automatic transmission will initially appear in the 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan. The product will be rolled out to other Honda and Acura models over time.

Honda decided to put the new product line at its 400,000 square-foot transmission plant in Tallapoosa, Ga. because of its proximity to the automaker’s Odyssey factory in Lincoln, Ala., a spokesman said.

“The ability to select a more optimal gear setting improves fuel economy, allowing engine rpm to be reduced to 1,500 rpm at 62 mph, compared with 1,920 rpm on six-speed vehicles,” theHonda spokesman said.

The new transmission, designed in-house at Honda, provides a smoother ride and boosts fuel efficiency, the automaker claimed.

The transmission is expected to deliver a 14 percent improvement in highway passing and a 30 percent faster gear-change response time, according to Automotive Engineering. The 10-speed is also expected to boost the Odyssey’s fuel economy by at least 6 percent over the 6-speed.


Local Development Authority Commissions Broadband Study

In an effort to understand the broadband connectivity of the Greater West Georgia region and to help foster infrastructure investments, workforce education and economic development, the Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority (GWGJDA) has commissioned a broadband feasibility study.

Slated to commence in the fall of 2016, the study will survey public and private broadband users in the Greater West Georgia region to determine their broadband usage as well as their broadband goals and needs. The Greater West Georgia region consists of those counties who hold membership in the GWGJDA including Carroll, Coweta, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, Polk and Troup counties.

The emphasis of the study is fact-finding — surveying and understanding fiber connectivity to business parks, existing businesses and consumers and new growth opportunities in the region.

“This is the first of many steps to help bring advanced fiber connectivity and infrastructure investments to our area,” stated GWGJDA chairman, Tim Warren. “We need to fully understand our current broadband climate before we can plan improvements and upgrades.”

The Greater West Georgia broadband study is funded through a grant provided by Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative (EMC), a not-for-profit, consumer-owned cooperative that distributes electricity to 50,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.

“We are excited to partner with the Greater West Georgia Joint Development Authority to get this broadband study underway,” said Carroll EMC President and CEO, Tim Martin. “We look forward to reviewing the findings of the study and being a partner in the development of a regional connectivity plan.”

Performing the broadband study is ECC Technologies, Inc (ECC), a technology and communications consulting firm responsible for the development of over $1 billion in technology-based projects globally. ECC has extensive experience facilitating broadband studies and projects.

Reversing the Trend: Crane Industry Services Working to Fix Shortage of Skilled Laborers

Crane Industry Services is all about finding solutions.

Whether it’s how to teach journeymen the proper way to lift huge loads with advanced rigging techniques or helping to fix the nation’s skilled worker shortage, no task is too big or too small for the company, which has partnered with West Georgia Technical College and offers courses year-round on the college’s Waco campus.

Crane Industry CEO Debbie Dickinson said the company’s Centered on Safety Training Center on the Murphy Campus showcases hands-on, job-specific training for the crane and rigging industry in an aggressive, immersion class setting.

“We’re proud to have brought programs to West Georgia Technical College that didn’t exist before,” Dickinson said. “Our vision is to fix a huge problem in our industry — that we need more people. There are great careers in the industry, but a couple of decades ago, people adopted the mentality that to be successful in life, you have to have a four-year degree from a college. That’s just not true, and it’s led to a problem across the nation.”

A study completed by HomeAdvisors in February 2016 reports 93 percent of contractors believe their businesses would grow over the next six months, if not for hiring challenges. Likewise, 61 percent of skilled laborers believe there is a lack of exposure to the profession for younger generations.

“We’re working to reverse that trend,” Dickinson said, “but it’s not easy work. We think of ourselves as a secret that’s too well-kept, and getting the word out has been one of the greatest challenges we’ve faced in the past six months.”

The training center offers training for students from “all walks of life,” Dickinson said — from experienced journeymen looking for higher levels of certification to young men and women who’ve never set foot on a job site.

“We pride ourselves on taking people who’ve never worked in this kind of industry before and teaching them to use the tools at their disposal,” Dickinson said. “Not just understand what the tools are and how they work, but how to actually use them practically, in a real-world setting.”

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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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Workforce is Key to Honda Expansion

Honda Precision Parts of Georgia recently expanded their transmission production facility in Tallapoosa, Georgia, in a multi-national competitive process. They ultimately chose to expand their Tallapoosa plant based on their positive experience with the community leadership and the availability of a capable and trainable workforce in Haralson County.