On Monday, August 4, newly elected and veteran Cobb elected officials were invited to attend “Economic Development 101”, hosted by EDGE at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
Charlie Gatlin, Senior Advisor at Georgia Department of Economic Development, spoke to a crowd that included mayors, council members, economic developers, and state representatives about the “site selection process”.
Mr. Gatlin walked attendees through the process in which companies decide which communities they would like to consider, and possibly call home. As he explained, since no two projects are identical, the best thing a community can do is be ready for anything, always keep an open mind and have all entities working together. With so many projects being very time sensitive, he also mentioned how important it is for communities to have a single point of contact for state economic development project managers to contact.
Discussion included current and prospective legislation that may affect economic development in Georgia and Cobb County. There was also a great deal of interest in the use of incentives and how they work for closing projects.
Guests also spoke about the assets that Georgia, specifically Cobb, has that makes it stand out against competition that is now international. “Our competition used to just be surrounding states. We had a recent project that said they were planning on locating in the Southern United States or go to Mexico, said Gatlin. “That is the reality of the competition we now face”.
County Commission Chair Tim Lee emphasized how important it is for Cobb officials and economic developers to treat every project with the utmost importance, because every business matters in our community.
As Gatlin explained, there are only a finite number of site selection consultants and communities should strive to impress them no matter the project size or scope, because they will surely have another that they could bring into Cobb County.