Spec Building Sold for 850K

Spec Building Sold ImageThe Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County have sold spec building to the firm Strapack, Inc. for $850,000. The spec building is located on highway 22 in the Industrial Park. Built in 2007, the building is 62,500 sq.ft. and sits on 15 acres.

The real estate deal was finalized December 28, 2015, closing out the year on a positive note and as one of two projects realized in the 4th quarter of 2015. The unanimous vote by the Development Authority’s Board of Directors allows for immediate work by Strapack to prepare for operations to begin early in 2016. Strapack, Inc. will invest between $4 and $6 million in the purchase price and planned build-out development of the building.

Initially, Strapack, Inc. will employ 10 people and company officials have indicated plans for future expansion with additional job positions to be created. No tax abatement was given as part of the contract, so sale of the property will be an immediate benefit on the tax digest.

MILLEDGEVILLE — By the time an industrial site consultant reaches Milledgeville, the community has already survived an in-depth vetting process. Matt Poyner, executive director of The Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County (DAMBC), has named Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas as some of the top states looking at Baldwin County. “That’s where the majority of these major site consultants work,” he said. “It lends me to think we are doing something right because our activity has increased from some of these major U.S. firms, as well as international locations.”

Locally-based Goebel Media Group started web development upgrades in summer 2012 shortly after Poyner became the executive director. According to Poyner, “It took four or five months to get it up and running and the site is top-notch.” Recent review of the site by a marketing representative evaluated it as standing tall among similar sites. “It is important to know that industry professionals identify our site as providing current, relevant data to site visitors,” he said.

For prospective companies utilizing online resources, the Internet can be a discouraging or advantageous primary investigative tool. The DAMBC puts considerable time and effort into the website as a tool to showcase the attributes of Milledgeville to business and industry. Web analytics from developmilledgeville.com show a 62 percent page view increase over first quarter 2013 numbers. The DAMBC can use web analytic information to tailor recruiting for specific national and international firms.

The development authority’s project load has increased dramatically. The state economic development connections are taking notice of Milledgeville’s potential, sending target manufacturing, aerospace, logistics, shared services and high water user companies to the community by way a Request for Information (RFI). Executive Director Poyner also points out, “By the time we are notified of a project, our community has been vetted multiple times through a process matching sites to project specifications. When we get an RFI, we’re one of the final candidates remaining of about 100 communities, or more, initially considered. That’s why it is important to have a good site with relevant information that encourages increased traffic and length of time on our site. I’m proud of where we are.”

Milledgeville-Baldwin County served as a host community March 18 for the annual International VIP tour coordinated by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This was the first time in 29 years that Milledgeville made the tour. The hospitality and energetic community blew away 33 consulates representing countries in Europe, Asia, Canada, Africa and Mexico. “People getting their feet in Milledgeville is what we need,” Poyner said. “That’s starting to take off for us and we are in the conversation.” Recent Business Retention and Expansion Program (BREP) surveys showed current industries planned expansions and felt positive about Baldwin County operations. “It’s comprehensive service from start to finish. We want to provide the tools and support businesses need to grow and achieve success.” Poyner said.

Poyner urges the community to stay tuned for an upcoming uniquely innovative website upgrade.

Recent months have presented local residents a unique opportunity to share their thoughts on their community and the direction they would like to see the community take in the future.

Key local entities, including the Baldwin County Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority, are in the midst of strategic planning phases in an effort to formulate a new community vision and strategic plan.

The local Chamber and Development Authority have a partnership with other key stakeholders, including local governing bodies, colleges and the hospital, to develop a new strategic plan for the community.

One part of this process involves community feedback. Local residents can assist in this part by sharing their thoughts online. An online survey is available for the community to provide insight into what local residents think and how they view the community in which they live. Take a few minutes to weigh and help formulate a new vision for Baldwin County’s future. This is a chance for local residents to have a greater voice in where Baldwin County progresses to over the course of the next few years. It’s a chance to gauge what locals think is important and what they think should be areas of focus for the future.

The online survey, which launched Monday morning, can be found on the Chamber’s website at www.milledgevillega.com. Survey respondents also have a chance to enter to win one of five $50 gift certificates to local Chamber businesses.

The survey will be available for the public’s input over the next three weeks.

For more information about the strategic plan or the survey call the Chamber at 478-453-9311.

Source: Union Recorder

The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority is thrilled to welcome a new member to its team.

Milledgeville native Hank Griffeth will fill officially begin his duties as the director of operations March 3 following his retirement from Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC) March 1. He will manage day-to-day operations for the local Chamber and Development Authority.

“When the opportunity availed itself, it gave me the opportunity to do something different, so I decided to go for it. I’m very appreciative of the boards of both organizations,” he said. “I’m most looking forward to selling Milledgeville-Baldwin County to folks visiting our community and trying to get folks to do business in the community. My experience in the educational area, especially in technical education, will be advantageous for the Chamber and community in terms of working with folks to get that done.”

For the past 12 and a half years, Griffeth worked at CGTC in various roles. Since 2007, he has served as the vice president of satellite operations, where he was responsible for the operation of the college’s Milledgeville campus and its workforce development centers in Putnam, Crawford and Monroe counties. In this role he worked closely with the Chambers of Commerce and Development Authorities in those counties to provide assistance with workforce and business development as well as community advancement.

“We’re extremely excited to have [Griffeth’s] unique combination of experience and expertise in workforce development and in operations coming on board as the director of operations, which is the first joint position with the Development Authority,” said April Bragg, CEO of the local Chamber. “He’s already been part of our team, and being able to leverage that in a greater capacity is a tremendous opportunity. We anticipate him to hit the ground running.”

Before going to work with CGTC in 2001, Griffeth worked in administrative and teaching positions at Georgia College for 14 years, with his last six years serving as director of the University Career Center and instructor of political science. He is a certified economic development trainer with the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) QuickStart program and he completed the TCSG Executive Leadership Academy in December 2007.

Griffeth has served in various volunteer roles with both the Milledgeville-Baldwin County and Eatonton-Putnam Chambers of Commerce, including chair of the board of directors in Putnam. He is a graduate of Leadership Baldwin and Leadership Putnam, and recently served on the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Alumni Board as vice chair of the Development and Finance Committee. Griffeth is also a volunteer firefighter for the Baldwin County Fire Rescue and a member of Northside Baptist Church where he sings in the chancel choir. Griffeth is married to the former Cindy Harrison and they have two grown children and one grandchild.

“I love this community; it’s where I grew up. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to work much of my professional life here,” he said. “I’m very excited to have a new opportunity to try to give even more. I want to make this a community that will thrive so my children, and now my grandson, can stay here, work here and continue to raise their families here if they choose too.”

Griffeth said he plans to discuss the vacant position at CGTC with CGTC President Dr. Ivan Allen in order to find the most qualified individual to fulfill the job duties.

“The college will go through the normal hiring procedures, and I anticipate the person will have the same responsibilities that I do. I think [Allen] would like to have someone local to do the job, but it depends on the labor pool. I’m working on finishing up a couple of projects so those can be carried forward in the future,” Griffeth said. “I have no words to express how appreciative I am to everyone at CGTC, and for the opportunities given to me by leadership; I feel very blessed and fortunate. I look forward to continuing to work with the college to get people hired in the community and work in economic development in the community to get folks to do business here. This was a difficult decision to make, but the anticipation of starting something new is really exciting.”


Source: Union Recorder

Milledgeville and Baldwin County leaders in economic development recognized several contributors and bade a fond farewell to two behind-the-scenes forces to the local engine Wednesday.

Milledgeville-Baldwin County Development Authority board chair Dr. Jo Ann Jones and executive assistant Annette Ford were recognized for their years of service during the annual Economic Development Appreciation Day breakfast held in the Legislative Chambers at the Old Capital Building at Georgia Military College.

Ford has served as executive assistant to the Development Authority director for more than 15 years. Jones has served on the Development Authority board since 1999. She retired from Georgia College & State University in 2011 where she spent her career in Higher Education Administration and is the Dean Emeritus of the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business.

Guests at Wednesday’s breakfast included the other honorees along with former local Development Authority directors Angie Gheesling and Kathyjo Gordon. Gheesling, Houston County Development Authority executive director, and Gordon, Development Authority of Jones County director, expressed their appreciation to Jones and Ford for their tutelage early on in their careers.

Gheesling remarked that both women possess a special “stickability” that has been an asset to the local community.

Jones said the crux of work of economic development comes down to people.

“This is a people thing,” Jones said of her tenure on the Development Authority board. “Economic development … it takes a village. I’m so pleased to have been a part of this village.”

Also recognized Wednesday was fellow outgoing board member Earl Seagle and Volunteer of the Year, Billy Matthews. The Baldwin County Board of Commissioners, Central Georgia Technical College, the City of Milledgeville, Doyle Beckham, Georgia College, Georgia Military College, Goebel Media Group, Lee & Turner accounting firm, the Middle Georgia Regional Commission, the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce, Performance Food Group, The Brick, The Goodie Gallery and Bug House Pest Control were also recognized for their service and assistance to the Development Authority.

Executive Director Matt Poyner said the past 12 months in local economic development could not have been as fruitful without the support of local entities and board volunteers. Among the highlights of the year he touted was the recent clearing work completed at the industrial park. Poyner said 44 acres have been cleared at the park and are now “pad-ready” for prospects. Improvements have also been completed around the spec building. Two local industries underwent expansions this year, adding 75 new jobs, and Baldwin County is also on the short list for another major expansion, Poyner said.

He thanked the local city and county governments for their cooperation on the industrial park upgrades.

“They were extremely helpful in assisting,” he said. “We appreciate them working with us and being a partner for that development.”

Three-year projections based on the recent Business Retention and Expansion Program (BREP) surveys suggest an additional 600 hires by current businesses and industry in the future.

While the field for new job prospects is highly competitive on the regional, state, national and global fronts, signs point to positives.

“We’re working very hard to move this community forward,” said Poyner. “The competition is fierce … but I’m confident we’re going in the right direction.”

Source: Union Recorder