By Ed Felton
From the January/February 2014 issue
Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced that the Global Commerce Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development produced a 10 percent increase in job creation during the state’s most recent fiscal year. Statistics from the department show its 389 company expansion or location announcements generated 31,656 jobs and $6.07 billion in investment. These statistics indicate a continued trend of growth since the state’s 2009 fiscal year.
“These outstanding results indicate that Georgia is already perceived by companies large and small as the No. 1 place for business,” Gov. Deal said. “But we will not rest on those laurels. We will continue to cultivate a healthy, resourceful business environment that will attract the corporate expansion activity so important to providing greater opportunities for our citizens.”
The increase in jobs and investment during fiscal year 2013 came about despite a slight (6 percent) dip in the number of projects worked by GDEcD’s Global Commerce Div., and despite the challenge of overcoming high FY12 numbers impacted by large job and investment numbers announced that year by Caterpillar and Baxter.
Of the total projects, 66 percent were the expansion of existing businesses that have had major investment or job creation in Georgia and 34 percent of the projects were from companies investing in Georgia for the first time.
A quarter of the new locations were by international companies establishing regional or hemispherical operations in Georgia. These international companies represented 1,187 jobs and $294 million in investment capital. Expansions of existing Georgia industries created 16,969 jobs, 54 percent of the total job creation and $4.34 billion in investment—almost three quarters of the total fiscal year investment.
The statistics reflect the department’s mission of creating jobs and investment throughout the state. More than half (18,065) of the jobs created and more than three quarters ($4.6 billion) of the state’s investment were generated outside of metro Atlanta. This job and investment creation represented 265 projects (68 percent) of the department’s announcements for the 2013 fiscal year.
“The previous fiscal year included several enormous projects, including Caterpillar and Baxter, that set a very high bar for the department,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “I’m proud that the hard work by our entire team, in collaboration with our many partners, enabled us to surpass that benchmark with even more job creation and investment.”
The Global Commerce Division also contributed to the growth and development of Georgia’s small businesses and entrepreneur-led ventures. The Entrepreneur and Small Business Office served 1,138 startups and small businesses, while 60 percent of the 1,050 companies served by the Existing Industry Team had fewer than 100 employees.
The International Trade Division of GDEcD also experienced a record fiscal year by serving 21 percent more companies than in the previous fiscal year, totaling 1,346 companies. The Trade Division assisted companies in most Georgia counties, resulting in 420 deals that were valued at more than $35 million in FY13, a 35 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
TOYO TIRE EXPANDS IN WHITE
Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing, Inc. (TNA) is expanding its facility in White, creating a total of 650 new jobs with $371 million to be invested in the project over the next four years.
The expansion of TNA will add 700,000 square feet to its current 2-million-square-foot manufacturing plant by the end of 2017. At the same time, TNA will expand the warehousing footprint by 30 percent. These expansions will significantly increase the company’s production and warehousing capacity to meet the growing demand within North America. Once completed, the expanded facility will continue to manufacture premium light truck and passenger car tires.
“We are proud to manufacture tires for North America, in North America,” said Jim Hawk president, Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing, Inc. “This plant, and the people who work in it, play an important role in supporting consumers and our dealers as the demand for our products continues to grow. This expansion will help us answer that demand.”
In 2004, the company established its first North American manufacturing plant near White. Since the first tire rolled off the line in 2006, it has more than doubled the size of the facility through expansion projects and grown from 81 employees to more than 1,000 employees.
The Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority assisted with the Toyo Tire expansion, along with Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD)’s Director of International Projects Scott McMurray and GDEcD Project Manager of Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment Carl Campbell, who both led the state’s project team.
“It is no surprise that Toyo Tire would choose to expand its facility in Georgia,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of GDEcD. “Our advanced workforce and No. 1 business climate create the ideal location for a fast-growing company to increase production and remain competitive.”
MOHAWK INDUSTRIES ADDS 420 JOBS
Mohawk Industries will convert two manufacturing facilities in Dalton and Rome, creating 650 new jobs and investing about $85 million over the next two years. “Mohawk’s presence [in Georgia] has been a magnet for flooring suppliers and customers, and this expansion reflects the resilience of an industry that supplies more than half of the world’s carpet and rugs,” said Gov. Deal.
The Mohawk facilities will be converted from yarn-spinning plants to bulk continuous filament (BCF) twisting and heat-setting plants, enabling both facilities to keep up with growing demands, as well as create an additional 420 jobs at the Mohawk facility in Dalton and preserve 230 jobs at the facility in Rome. Mohawk will administer Georgia Quick Start, the state’s workforce training program, to train its current and new employees. The Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce assisted the company with the conversion projects.