The Manufacturing Industry: Building Back Fast

Despite turbulence caused by labor and supply chain challenges, the manufacturing industry is experiencing a positive trajectory as it recovers from the pandemic.


Polk County, GA is at the heart of Advanced Manufacturing growth in the Southeast U.S. To underscore Polk County’s case for being a predictable and business-friendly capital investment destination, Georgia has been ranked the No. 1 State for Business now for the eighth consecutive year. Companies locating in the Southeast thrive with many expanding within a year of opening a new facility. Exceptional location, low cost of doing business, an abundant talented regional workforce of over 279,000, and access to world-class secondary and post-secondary educational facilities providing a pipeline of workforce talent, why wouldn’t a business choose to locate there?

Polk County is perfectly situated in the Atlanta-Birmingham-Chattanooga triangle. The ABC triangle gives convenient access to many industry segments including Atlanta, Birmingham, and Chattanooga through I-75, I-20 and I-59 and four-lane highways US 27, US 278 and GA 113, CSX and Norfolk Southern rail, and the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick. This arterial thoroughfare positions Polk County centrally in Northwest Georgia’s Automotive Alley with easy access to 28 car, light and heavy vehicle OEMs such as Honda, BMW, Mercedes, and VW. Trucking and logistics companies are within reach of 55% of the U.S. population within 24 hours and 90% of the population within 48 hours. Only an hour from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and a half-day’s drive from deepwater ports, global markets are well within reach from Polk County.

Polk County has over 300 industrial acres that are GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) Certified. These are pre-qualified industrial sites for which the due diligence requirements include surveys of a site’s topographical, geotechnical, wetlands and environmental conditions. These industrial parks have direct and convenient access to dual Class I rail lines, Norfolk Southern and CSX. Norfolk Southern’s Whitaker Intermodal Rail Terminal in Austell, GA, 28 miles from Polk County on Highway 278, is a federally designated General Purpose Foreign Trade Zone and provides easy and inexpensive access to U.S. Customs ports of entry in Savannah (300 miles), Brunswick (366 miles), Charleston (358 miles), and the Tennessee River Port at Guntersville, Alabama (84 miles).The rail system also gives Polk County access to Georgia’s inland Appalachian Regional Port (75 miles) and the Inland Port in Cordele (201 miles), which can expedite the shipping process and resulting invoicing capabilities for manufacturers.

What is more important than finding the right location for your business? Finding the right community that will provide the service and support your company will need after you locate. Polk County and its municipalities have recognized the importance of industry and are committed to working together to foster a manufacturing-friendly environment.

Companies have a long history of success in Polk County, GA. The county is home to Meggitt Polymers & Composites, one of Georgia’s top 10 leading industries in aerospace which has nearly doubled in size. Nationally recognized companies located in Polk County are Miura, the largest industrial boiler manufacturer in the world; the HON Company, which has experienced many expansions in its 50 years located in the county; and Gildan, one of the world’s leaders in apparel manufacturing.

Polk’s largest industry segment in terms of employment is manufacturing, with more than 3,000 workers employed by the county’s manufacturing companies. Advanced manufacturing in the region not only employs highly-skilled production workers, but talent that supports headquarters operations including management, information technology, human resources, accounting and other vital functions. In 2014 the Polk County College and Career Academy (PCCCA)was created in a collaborative effort to address the needs of business and industry in the community. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled collectively at two campuses of PCCCA every school year, providing a workforce pipeline for high-skill, high-demand, high-wage careers.

The Development Authority of Polk County (DAPC) is the independent agency charged with economic development for the County, providing a point of contact for industry looking to relocate or expand within the footprint of Polk County. DAPC’s state-of-the-art resources provide prospects, developers, brokers, property and business owners with detailed information about specific parcels and available land, industrial and commercial space. Everything from fast-track permitting, aggressive financing methods, business advocacy and creative problem-solving are available to qualified projects. The business-friendly environment of Polk County is available for existing businesses as well. More than $100 million in new investments have been made in Polk County in the past 20 years through the efforts of the Development Authority. Their commitment to the area is a testament to the experience, workforce and lifestyle Polk County provides.