■ 83rd Governor of the State of Georgia, Brian P. Kemp
In 2020, Georgia, USA businesses of all sizes,
sectors and regions of the state have been
forced to innovate while economic development
professionals have confronted unexpected
challenges from the novel coronavirus. As the
state looks ahead, this diverse economic base
and the fundamentals that have made Georgia
strong continue to provide a source of promise
and good news, despite challenges from
Creating jobs and opportunities for Georgians
is at the core of the Georgia Department of
Economic Development’s (GDEcD) mission.
From assisting with locating projects, leveraging
the state’s international relationships and firstclass logistics network, to providing ground-level
assistance as companies, and particularly small
businesses, navigate COVID-19 relief options
– GDEcD is committed to helping Georgia
With strong international partnerships, the busiest
and most efficient airport in the world, the No. 1
port in the nation for U.S. exports and unmatched
workforce development programs – to name just
a few driving factors of the state’s economy –
Georgia’s economic development remains on
the right track.
During July, the first month of fiscal year 2021,
Georgia attracted 3,629 jobs and $574 million
USD in investment. These jobs and investments
were not isolated to one region, business size or
industry – it takes all of them for our economy
Between March 14 and August 14, the state
announced 129 new projects, delivering nearly
14,000 jobs and nearly $3.5 billion USD in
investment. Even while facing a global pandemic,
jobs and investment numbers increased when
compared to the same time period last year.
In the mountains of northwest Georgia, investments
in the new inland port in Murray County helped
solidify German automotive parts manufacturer
GEDIA’s decision to locate their first Southeastern
U.S. manufacturing facility for electric vehicle
parts in Dalton, Georgia. Logistics investments
also helped attract flooring companies including
CFL, Huali Floors, Novalis Flooring, Mannington
Mills and Try-Con Tufters to either establish or
expand their presence in the region.
In the capital city, Atlanta, the continued priority
placed on education programs in software and tech
industries has caught the attention of tech-based
companies large and small. Since May alone,
Microsoft, Zillow, Milletech and Skynamo have
announced plans to build hubs in the Atlanta area.
Georgia also remains a U.S. leader in advanced
manufacturing, attracting new businesses to its
southern regions. In May, Governor Brian Kemp
announced that A-1 Roof Trusses, a leading
manufacturer of pre-engineered wood trusses,
plans to invest $17 million USD and create
130 jobs in a new manufacturing facility in rural
Georgia, which has a population of roughly
11 million people, demonstrates great strength
across multiple manufacturing sectors, resulting
in a GDP of $64.7 billion USD in 2019. The
Georgia Department of Labor estimated that
there were 385,300 manufacturing jobs in the
state as of June 2020.
On the coast, the Port of Savannah has been
named the top port for U.S. exports. From
January through May of 2020, the port exported
more loaded containers than any other port in
the nation, achieving a 12.2% market share.
The dominance of Georgia’s ports continues
to spur economic growth. In June 2020, Port
City Logistics announced their $80 million USD
expansion in Chatham County.
■ Community painting class at Deep Center, Savannah, Georgia.
Another key part of economic development is
creating an environment that fosters innovation.
In May, Governor Kemp announced that
biotechnology company RWDC Industries will
invest $260 million in expanding its operations
into Athens-Clarke County, bringing 200 jobs
to the area. Founded in an innovation lab at the
University of Georgia in 2015, RWDC Industries
has emerged as a global leader in developing
cost-effective alternatives to single-use plastics.
In addition, the state’s international partnerships
continue to deliver opportunities across Georgia.
This past spring, Governor Kemp announced that
Ireland-based Kerry Group plans to invest $125
million USD in its northwest Georgia expansion,
bringing more than 100 full-time positions to
Floyd County. More recently, Governor Kemp
welcomed mattress and furniture brand Zinus to
Georgia at the State Capitol.
The global company selected Georgia for
their first U.S. advanced manufacturing facility,
investing $108 million USD in Henry County.
During August, GDEcD also announced the state’s
new representation for Canada. Mr. Ludovic Ortuno
will direct a team based in Montréal, who will continue
to advance Georgia’s vital relationship with its
No. 1 export partner; support existing Canadian
companies in the state, such as Coreslab
Structures, Decostar, Magna International and
Irving Tissue; and explore new opportunities
provided by the United States-Mexico-Canada
Agreement (USMCA) trade deal.
■ Appalachian Regional Port near Chatsworth
(Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton)
Businesses of all sizes and sectors have been
dealt a tough hand by COVID-19, particularly
Georgia’s small businesses, arts communities,
and tourism and hospitality partners. These
companies are part of the fabric of the state and
help make it the vibrant place that it is today.
Since March, GDEcD’s team members located
in all 12 regions of the state, have acted as onthe-ground support to local companies in need
of temporary relief or assistance. In April, GDEcD
partnered with Governor Kemp, the University of
Georgia Small Business Development Centers
and the Department of Community Affairs to
offer a series of web-based information sessions
tailored to each region of Georgia. The popular
sessions helped small businesses navigate the
federal funding and support programs made
available through the CARES Act.
More than 800,000 small businesses call
Georgia home. GDEcD’s Small Business
team continues to stand ready with specialized
assistance to help those companies identify the
most effective lending and relief opportunities.
Georgia Council for the Arts, an arm of
GDEcD and important component of the state’s
economic development strategy, is working
with local creative industries to provide a lifeline
through both state and federal grants, especially
as people crave connectivity and creative
escapes. These organizations not only inspire
and educate their communities. They also attract
tourists and remain large economic players in
their local economies.
■ Georgia is a national leader in advanced
manufacturing, a GDP of $64.7 billion USD in 2019.
While Georgia’s tourism industry has felt the painful
effects of COVID-19, its strong foundations
remain intact, and the Explore Georgia team is
committed to safely advancing and supporting
the tourism industry.
Over the course of the state’s fight with COVID-19,
GDEcD is continuing to witness Georgia
companies of all sizes, and the people behind
them, set a new standard for service, collaboration
and creativity, even while facing immense
challenges of their own. Manufacturers in every
corner of Georgia have pulled together, retooled
their machines and donated their goods and
services to those who need them most.
GDEcD has created a public “Georgia Suppliers
List and Map” displaying more than 320 Georgia
companies who have stepped up to supply
critical supplies during this time of need. Whether
a restaurant, clothing boutique, manufacturing
plant or any of the many companies who call
Georgia home, all businesses across the state
are welcome to use this list and map as a free
resource for sourcing those items.
While a great deal has changed since March,
GDEcD and its partners across the state remain
focused on creating opportunities for Georgians.
By leveraging the state’s strong and diverse
economic framework, connecting businesses of
all sizes with assistance and relief options and
attracting new investment ventures to Georgia,
GDEcD is confident that the state’s economy will
remain well-positioned for recovery and growth.