CSM Bakery Solutions Consolidates Global HQ in Sandy Springs, GA

CSM Bakery Solutions, an international leader in the baking industry, announced plans to consolidate its global headquarters operations in the city of Sandy Springs in Fulton County, GA.

Sandy Springs, GA

Sandy Springs, GA (photo -Maksim Sundukov/wikipedia)

State of Georgia and Sandy Springs economic development support for the project helped the company make the decision to invest $5.5 million to move its global headquarters to Sandy Springs and consolidate several regional functions into a single location.

The establishment of their global headquarters in Sandy Springs will include the creation of 120 new jobs for Sandy Springs and Fulton County. For Georgia, CSM’s move into the region represents more than 800 jobs.

CSM offers a broad portfolio of bakery ingredients, finished products and services to customers in more than 100 countries through their global network of 34 manufacturing facilities and 26 distribution centers, and four innovation centers of excellence. CSM’s global workforce now exceeds more than 8,500.

The new facility in Sandy Springs will also include a Customer Experience Center where CSM will showcase its culinary expertise and many of its products and solutions.

In a release announcing the relocation and consolidation, Governor Nathan Deal said that “I am confident that CSM Bakery Solutions will benefit from relocating its global headquarters to our state and provide yet another case in point for other companies to emulate.”

CSM President and CEO Robert Sharpe said in the release that they are very grateful to the state of Georgia and the city of Sandy Springs for their collective efforts and generosity in helping to bring CSM Bakery Solutions’ global headquarters to the Atlanta area.

Sharpe said that factors that were critical to their decision included the transportation infrastructure in the area, the schools, cost and quality of housing, and business-friendly atmosphere, all of which he said were in support of their multicultural workforce.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) worked with the city of Sandy Springs, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Power to secure the project for the state and Sandy Springs.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul noted that moving a company’s headquarters is not a simple undertaking, and added that they appreciate the confidence CSM Bakery Solutions has in both the state of Georgia and the city of Sandy Springs to provide the ingredients needed to connect with its customers and build long-term growth.

Metro Atlanta Chamber’s COO and Executive Vice President Brian P. McGowan, who previously led Atlanta economic development organization Invest Atlanta, said in the release that they are thrilled that CSM Bakery Solutions has selected Atlanta for its global headquarters.

GeoDigital Relocates North American Headquarters to Atlanta

3D Mapping and spatial data analytics company GeoDigital International Inc. announced plans to relocate its North American headquarters to new office space in Atlanta, GA.


Geodigital (photo –

Supported by Georgia and Atlanta economic development organizations, the company is relocating its North American headquarters operations from Ottawa in Ontario, Canada to an 11,200-square-foot state-of-the-art office space in Atlanta’s Atlantic Station.

As part of the expansion, GeoDigital will bring approximately 50 new high-tech jobs to Atlanta and Fulton County. The company plans to work with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Kennesaw State University to create apprenticeship programs for filling the new positions being created at its Atlanta location.

Using HD imagery and precision remote sensing and imaging technologies such as LiDAR, GeoDigital is creating detailed 3D maps of the entire North American highway system, and is a leading tech company at the moment in the self-driving vehicle industry. The company provides services to several Tier 1 automotive suppliers as well as a major automaker.

Their technology for digitizing vegetation management also has applications in the utility sector, helping utility companies better predict and respond to areas that are at risk of causing outages and informing crews while keeping them safer.

Chris Warrington, president and CEO of GeoDigital, said in a release announcing the relocation that given their growth and the tremendous market potential for GeoDigital’s big spatial data and analytics software, they simply got to the point where they needed greater access to high-tech talent and international travel routes.

Atlanta, said Warrington, meets both of those needs, and added that it was equally important that the region will be a great place to live and work for their team.

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Commissioner Chris Carr said in the release that Georgia is a hub for headquarter relocations, especially for technology companies. Commissioner Carr noted that since the beginning of this fiscal year, they have announced ten corporate headquarter relocations and more than 4,200 technology jobs in Georgia.

GDEcD worked to secure this project in partnership with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Power. Brian P. McGowan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, said in the release that GeoDigital’s headquarters relocation speaks to the talent, innovation and growth coming out of the technology ecosystem in metro Atlanta.

GeoDigital International Inc., founded in 2005, has operations in the United States, Canada and Australia. Apart from the new Atlantic Station North American headquarters in Atlanta, the company also has U.S. operations located in Lompoc, CA and Minneapolis, MN. Their Canadian offices are located in Ottawa, ON and Victoria, BC, and their Australian office is in Sydney.

Georgia Economic Development Trip to Brazil Yields Stefanini Atlanta Expansion

Global IT service provider Stefanini is planning an expansion with 400 new jobs at its Atlantic Station office location in Midtown Atlanta.


Stefanini (photo –

The announcement was made by Governor Nathan Deal, who is leading a Georgia economic development delegation on a five-day trip to Brazil.

Stefanini President and CEO Marco Stefanini said in a release announcing the project that it was a pleasure to meet with Governor Deal in Sao Paulo, and added that they are thrilled to expand operations in Georgia.

Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Stefanini’s North American headquarters is in Southfield, MI, but the company has maintained a presence in Georgia for 10 years. It is now one of the largest IT services employers in the region, including the 800 employees the company already has at its Atlantic Station Office. Globally, the company has locations in 34 countries serving more than 600 active clients, including over 300 multinationals.

Their latest expansion in Atlanta is supported by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Metro Atlanta Chamber, including assistance for talent recruitment to fill the new jobs being created.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said in the release that the skilled talent and vast network of companies and R&D resources found in Georgia are what keeps the state on the radar for global technology companies who are looking to relocate or expand.

Commissioner Carr added that these same resources are what have helped grow Stefanini over the last decade, and expressed confidence that this innovative company will be successful in the future.

Metro Atlanta Chamber Executive Vice President and COO Brian P. McGowan added that Brazil has always been an important market with a growing presence in Atlanta, and Stefanini’s investment in the region adds strength to Atlanta’s international technology ecosystem.

More than 40 Brazilian-owned businesses in Georgia employ thousands of Georgians, and Georgia has had representation in Brazil for more than two decades, including a trade office in Sao Paulo. The Georgia economic development delegation led by Gov. Deal is seeking to establish new business relationships and strengthen existing ties. The mission aims to promote Georgia as a tourist destination and quality source for products and services.

Gov. Deal said in the release that “For more than two decades, Georgia has sustained a partnership with Brazil that is vital to our economic development efforts.” The Governor added that he is confident that Georgia’s highly skilled workforce and thriving technology cluster will create the ideal environment for Stefanini’s future growth in Atlanta.

Atlanta, Dublin Get First Sage Customer Business Centers

Business management software company Sage announced plans to open a series of Customer Business Centers (CBCs) around the world, starting with the first one in Atlanta, GA and a second one in Dublin, Ireland.


Sage (photo –

In addition to selecting Atlanta for the first CBC, Sage also announced plans to establish their North American headquarters in a Midtown Atlanta location.

The project will create 400 new jobs for metro Atlanta and Georgia over the new few years. Sage already has a facility in Lawrenceville, GA, and the CBC and headquarters relocation from Irvine, CA to Atlanta will build their total metro Atlanta workforce to more than 1,000.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development and Atlanta economic development agency Invest Atlanta worked to secure this project in partnership with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Power.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said in a release announcing the project that when global technology companies such as Sage chose Georgia for their North American headquarters and innovation center, it tells them that they’re doing something right.

Sage North America CFO Marc Scheipe said in the release that their new Atlantic Station location puts them in the center of the emerging Midtown Atlanta technology corridor and positions their newly established North American headquarters to attract top talent in the years to come. Sage is being provided recruitment assistance through the University System of Georgia for filling the new jobs being created.

The new Sage CBC in Georgia is temporarily being housed in their existing Lawrenceville facility, and will then be moved to the new Atlantic Station location in Midtown Atlanta by October.

Alan Laing, Sage EVP Global Strategic Partnerships & Alliances, who is leading the CBC project, said the CBCs will change everything, giving customers the support they need every step of the way.

This center will house Sage teams involved in everything from marketing to lead qualifications and sales, service and renewals. Operating without silos in the same location will enable these teams to collaborate and provide customers with superior support and service. As a start, the CBC will provide for Sage Life, a product the company has developed in partnership with Salesforce.

Sage plans to open a second CBC in Dublin, Ireland later this year to serve the European market, and follow it up with more CBCs in Asia and Africa. The Sage Group plc, headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., is an FTSE 100 company with $2 billion in revenue and 14,000 employees located across operations in 24 countries serving more than six million small and medium-sized businesses.

Atlanta Metro Export Plan Underlines Importance of Economic Development Through Exports

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was joined by Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr and Metro Atlanta leaders to announce the launch of the Atlanta Metro Export Plan.

Atlanta MEP

Atlanta MEP (photo –

As part of the MEP launch, Mayor Reed released a report on the MEP that outlines metro Atlanta’s strategies for increasing exports. A new website for the plan was also unveiled, offering resources for SMBs looking to get started with exports or grow their existing export activities.

Mayor Reed and GDEcD Commissioner Carr outlined the importance of how exports support Metro Atlanta economic development.

Mayor Reed said in a release that “Ensuring local companies and entrepreneurs greater access to overseas markets will strengthen our economy by adding jobs and facilitating innovation.”

Commissioner Carr added that export promotion is critical to economic development in Georgia, and that the state’s international trade activity impacts communities, grows businesses and creates jobs.

The Atlanta MEP is the culmination of a year-long process undertaken by stakeholders in metro Atlanta through the region’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative. This is a joint initiative by Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

One of the reasons that Atlanta decided to participate in GCI is because data showed that metro Atlanta’s export intensity (percentage of economic output) was 9.5 percent, significantly below the 11.95 percent average for the top 100 metros in the U.S.

The MEP report lists all the key findings from the market assessment, including a lack of awareness among SMBs that global demand exists for their goods or services, and that a robust ecosystem to help them export already exists in metro Atlanta. Also, existing exporters do not have the connections or relationships in overseas markets to grow their exports.

Another key finding was that service industries such as financial services, transportation services and information technology account for 45 percent of total exports from metro Atlanta.

Based on their analysis of these and other findings, the Atlanta MEP Steering Committee came up with a set of core objectives and strategies.

Atlanta MEP Core Objectives:

– Improve metro Atlanta’s export intensity to match or exceed the aforementioned average export intensity of 11.95 percent within five years;

– Grow metro Atlanta’s exports at a higher rate than the metro economy over a five-year period; and

– Increase the number of exporters in metro Atlanta, adding an average of 75 new exporters per year by the end of a five-year period.

Atlanta MEP Core Strategies:

– Enhance and better coordinate metro Atlanta’s existing export assistance ecosystem and community;

– Drive new interest in exporting and grow demand for export assistance services; and

– Establish a global Atlanta identity to drive demand for Atlanta-made products and services.

The Atlanta MEP will be implemented as a collaborative effort involving the Atlanta Mayor’s Office, GDEcD, other metro Atlanta regional economic development organizations, JPMorgan Chase, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the U.S. Export Assistance Center, and UPS.

To support the implementation phase, JPMorgan Chase has announced more support for the Atlanta MEP program in the form of a $300,000 grant.

JPMorgan Chase Georgia Market Leader David Balos said in the release that JPMorgan Chase is proud to be a part of the development of Atlanta’s export plan and to support innovative planning that will lead to the region’s future economic success.

Read the full Atlanta MEP report here (pdf).

Kaiser Permanente to Open IT Center in Atlanta With 900 High Tech Jobs

Leading health care provider Kaiser Permanente is opening a new information technology campus in Midtown Atlanta.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente (photo – Coolcaesar/wikipedia)

The company will invest millions of dollars into the project to establish the 157,000-square-foot campus where it expects to bring 900 high technology jobs by 2019. These are high-wage jobs with average annual wages exceeding $100,000.

According to IMPLAN analysis results provided by Atlanta economic development authority Invest Atlanta, the project will have an estimated economic impact of more than $363.9 million.

Mayor Kasim Reed said in a release announcing the expansion that he is delighted to welcome Kaiser Permanente’s new technology center to the City of Atlanta. Mayor Reed added that in choosing Atlanta, Kaiser Permanente will be near world-class tech talent and part of a thriving network of leading technology and healthcare IT firms.

Kaiser Permanente Georgia President Julie Miller-Phipps likewise noted that the Atlanta area is a strong health technology hub with a high availability of tech talent, making it the ideal location for their new IT campus.

The campus will be located at 1375 Peachtree Street, NE in Atlanta, and Kaiser Permanente will anchor the building.

Miller-Phipps added that they’re happy to be supporting Georgia’s economy with a healthy dose of new high-tech jobs, and to further demonstrate their commitment to improve the health and well-being of the communities that they serve.

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said in the release that it’s a perfect match. Commissioner Carr notes that Kaiser Permanente is a leader in health care innovation, and they chose Georgia because it is a top state for technology talent and a great place to do business.

Just before this announcement was made, the Atlanta Development Authority’s board of directors met to approve a resolution authorizing an economic development incentive grant of $300,000 for the Kaiser Permanente IT campus project.

The incentives for what was previously known only as “Project Big Chill” are being provided through the City’s Economic Opportunity Fund Grant program.

Founded in 1945, Oakland, CA-based Kaiser Permanente now serves more than 9.5 million members across eight states and the District of Columbia. It is Georgia’s largest not-for-profit health plan, serving nearly 280,000 members in a 28-county service area in metro Atlanta.

Including the 900 new jobs at the Atlanta IT campus, the number of Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians in Georgia will exceed 4,000.

Former GM Assembly Plant in Metro Atlanta to Become Third Rail Studios

The Integral Group and Capstone South Properties announced that they are redeveloping the former General Motors Plant in Doraville, GA into a state of the art film and studio complex.

Third Rail Studios

Third Rail Studios (photo –

Georgia’s newest production studio will be named Third Rail Studios, paying homage to the three rail lines that served the GM automotive assembly plant at the site.

The development plans will preserve and integrate the rail lines into the project, similar to NYC’s Highline Park project.

The 270,000-square-foot media complex looks certain to provide a big boost for Metro Atlanta economic development and Georgia’s film industry as the first studio of its magnitude north of Atlanta inside the I-285 Perimeter.

The site is located just two miles from Peachtree-DeKalb Airport and 25 miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Midtown Atlanta is 12 miles away, and the Doraville MARTA station is across the street.

Christopher Martorella, Integral’s president of Commercial Real Estate, said in a release announcing the project that the studios are just the beginning, and added that they expect this initial phase to be a catalyst for the formation of a broader community of innovation.

The studios will be located in the Yards District part of the GM site, and is being designed as a unique destination that combines dining, entertainment, parks, art, retail, makers and other businesses.

They’re naming the entire GM site as ASSEMBLY, Doraville, USA. With a full buildout of over 10 million square feet of mixed-use development and an economic impact exceeding $3 billion, they expect ASSEMBLY to be a game changer for Atlanta.

Michael Hahn, president of Capstone South Properties, said that this is a story of remarkable transformation as the Yards District establishes itself as a true creative community for artists, film and television production companies, musicians, chefs and others.

Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Division, noted that as a result of the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, production companies last year spent close to $1.4 billion in Georgia, in the process generating a total state economic impact of $5.1 billion.

Commissioner Thomas said in the release that Georgia’s film industry is at an all-time high, so they are thrilled at The Integral Group’s plans for Third Rail Studios, adding that dedicated soundstages and the film tax credit are essential elements for Georgia’s continued success in the film business.

The former GM Assembly site is a designated Opportunity Zone, which means that businesses located on the site will receive an annual $3,500 tax credit for five years for each new job created.

Third Rail Studios is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter this year after the first phase of construction that includes an adaptive reuse of an existing 130,000-square-foot building to accommodate 60,000 square feet of sound stages and 20,000 square feet of production support , in addition to mill shops, related vendor spaces and administrative offices.

Korean Light Manufacturer Selects Jenkins County, Georgia for North American HQ

Jeollabuk-do, Korea-based light manufacturer Wells Lighting is locating its North American headquarters in the City of Millen, GA.

Wells Communications LED displays

Wells Communications LED displays (photo –

The company will invest $30 million into the project and expects to create 200 new jobs in Millen and Jenkins County over the next two years.

Wells Lighting will locate its headquarters in an existing 92,000-square-foot building in Millen, which will also house their R&D operations and a manufacturing facility for a new line of LED lighting products.

Governor Nathan Deal said in a in a release announcing the project that Wells Lighting’s decision to establish its first North American headquarters in Georgia tells them that the state’s qualified workforce, diverse business network and pro-business environment continue to attract investment from leading companies around the world.

Dae Woo Kim, CEO and chairman of Wells Lighting, USA, said in the release that after much consideration, Georgia was the ideal place for them to locate their U.S. operations.

Mr. Kim has over three decades of experience in visual and display technologies, including nearly two decades in LED technology. The company makes general lighting and street lights, solar street lights, industrial lighting products and smart control system lights.

Their LED display designs have been installed on large screens at Chicago O’Hare Airport and Times Square in NYC, among other places. One of their major installations is in Fremont Street, Las Vegas, where Wells Communications workers built the world’s largest LED screen. It has since been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Wells Lighting was assisted in this project by the Georgia Economic Development Department and the Jenkins County Development Authority. The JCDA is the primary point of contact as far as Jenkins County and Millen economic development projects are concerned.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said in the release that Georgia has become a headquarter hub for thriving global companies such as Wells Lighting. Commissioner Carr added that with an existing network of Korea-based companies, an efficient transportation infrastructure and access to the best and brightest minds in the industry, Wells Lighting will find it easy to grow its global business in Georgia.

Jenkins County Development Authority Chairman Hiller Spann likewise welcomed Wells Lighting to the County and said that they look forward to working with the company as it completes its new facility.

Georgia Economic Development Dept Launches GUARD Study With DOD OEA Grant

The Georgia Department of Economic Development has launched a study to analyze the state’s defense and aerospace sectors. The GUARD study is funded through a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).

Defense Industry Adjustment program

Defense Industry Adjustment program (photo –

OEA provides federal assistance to communities by helping them develop comprehensive strategies to deal with the impacts of the ongoing U.S. defense budget changes.

GDEcD’s Workforce division and Center of Innovation for Aerospace will be partnering on this initiative with economic research, analytics and modeling firm Chmura Economics and Analytics.

Georgia’s $50 billion aerospace industry employs more than 88,000 people. The GUARD initiative will collect data about the state’s reliance on DOD spending, the economic impact of these sectors and the labor force dependencies, and use this study data to develop strategies for responding to potential declines in defense spending.

Steve Justice, director of the Center of Innovation for Aerospace, said in a release announcing the launch of the study that the GUARD Initiative will help them prepare Georgia’s aerospace, defense and manufacturing industries to remain competitive.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr likewise said in the release that the results of the study will be critical in developing and expanding new market opportunities for Georgia businesses and the state’s workforce. Commissioner Carr added that their expectation is that this economic model tool will provide an accurate diagram of the supply chain for Georgia’s aerospace, defense and manufacturing sectors.

The model the state is relying on is the GDEcD Workforce division’s Rapid Response program, which brings dislocated workers and companies together with state resource partners. Using this model of early intervention, the Rapid Response program is able to help avert layoffs, or at least assist affected employees in quickly obtaining new skillsets and helping them transition into new careers.

GDEcD Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Ben Hames said in the release that the information gathered will help them mitigate impacts of any future defense cuts and develop strategies to expand and ultimately protect Georgia jobs.

Hames added that the study is also an opportunity to identify necessary workforce training and educational opportunities in the state’s aerospace and defense sectors.

Chmura Economics and Analytics has already begun the process of reaching out to aerospace and defense companies in Georgia who did DOD contract work last year. The Georgia Department of Economic Development expects the study to be complete and the model ready for use by summer.

Gwinnett, Georgia Economic Development Partnership Secures Comcast HQ Relocation

Comcast has selected the City of Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County, GA as the site for an expansion and relocation of its new regional headquarters in metro Atlanta.

Comcast headquarters in Gwinnett, GA

Comcast headquarters in Gwinnett, GA (photo –

The announcement was made by Governor Nathan Deal, in partnership with Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD).

Assisted by Partnership Gwinnett and GDEcD’s Lindsay Martin, Comcast is taking up four floors covering 88,000 square feet in the 10-story Wells Building in Peachtree Corners.

The company plans to relocate its existing 532 full-time local employees into the new headquarters, and create another 150 new jobs as well. Comcast will additionally create another 150 new jobs at its existing Fulton County facility in Alpharetta, adding up to a total of 300 new jobs across the two counties.

Comcast Regional SVP Doug Guthrie said in a release announcing the project that by bringing 300 new jobs to Atlanta, Comcast continues to support Georgia economic development by building a strong, highly skilled workforce, deploying innovative products and services, and investing in the most advanced broadband network in the state.

The company is already one of the largest employers in Georgia with more than 4,000 employees spread across 190 offices, call centers and facilities in the state, and a two-decade long track record of spending more than $200 million annually in Georgia.

Guthrie added that he wants to thank Governor Nathan Deal, GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr, Fulton Chairman John Eaves, Gwinnett Chairman Charlotte Nash, and partners from the state, City of Peachtree Corners, Gwinnett County, Gwinnett Partnership and Fulton County for their terrific support.

Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash said in a release issued by the Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development that Comcast’s decision to invest in Gwinnett speaks to the community’s many strengths, including a pro-business environment, a talented workforce, and quality of life factors such as nationally recognized schools and parks.

Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason likewise said that they celebrate the expansion of Comcast in the City of Peachtree Corners, and added that the 150 new and well-paying jobs their presence will bring is a win for the community.

Nick Masino, senior vice president for Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett, said in the release that Gwinnett Economic Development consistently works to attract top innovators, such as Comcast, to the community.

Masino added that telecommunications is undoubtedly a fast-growing industry in the nation, and their goal is to continue developing tech talent that is attractive to companies like Comcast and to provide opportunities for businesses to grow and expand in the County.

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