Kimberly-Clark Spin-off Halyard Health Selects Alpharetta, Georgia for Headquarters

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB) announced that Halyard Health, Inc., the new company being created by the spin-off of its health care business, will be headquartered near Atlanta in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Halyard Health selects Alpharetta, GA for HQ

Halyard Health selects Alpharetta, GA for HQ (photo-

Halyard Health will itself be a publicly traded company with $1.7 billion in annual net sales and a workforce of around 16,500 employees.

Alpharetta will gain around 150-200 new jobs over the next two years at the new 174,000-square-foot facility that will house the Halyard Health headquarters.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said that the state’s health care industry is uniquely poised to support Halyard Health, and the company would be able to take advantage of the advanced life science and healthcare ecosystem and Georgia’s eager and skilled workforce.

Lauren Salas Lambiase, a senior project manager with the Georgia Economic Development Department, worked with company executives and the City of Alpharetta to help the company locate a suitable site for its new headquarters.

Kimberly-Clark has been a long-time corporate presence in Greater North Fulton, with a headquarters campus for its Health Care, Kimberly-Clark Professional and Global Non-Wovens divisions in the City of Roswell, GA, which is just about 10 minutes away from Alpharetta.

Robert E. Abernathy, chosen to be the first chairman and CEO of Halyard Health, said they are proud to remain strongly rooted in North Fulton, and are looking forward to investing and growing in Georgia in the years to come.

Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said they are thrilled at Halyard Health’s decision to locate their new headquarters in Alpharetta, and added that the new jobs will be a great fit with the city’s growing tech culture and community.  The Mayor said it is partnerships like this that are helping make Alpharetta the South’s Technology City.

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Commissioner Chris Carr said that Halyard Health’s new Georgia headquarters exemplifies how the state’s No.1 business climate helps keep companies competitive in the global marketplace.

Georgia was named as the No.1 most competitive U.S. state in the annual “Top 10 Competitive States” listing by Site Selection magazine, published in its recent May issue. The rankings are based on 10 criteria that are mostly tied to new projects and expansions.

Commissioner Carr added that remaining competitive is key to staying ahead in the global marketplace.

Georgia Moves Office of Workforce Development Into Economic Development Dept

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is now the new home of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, where it will be repositioned as a new Workforce Division.

Georgia Office of Workforce Development joins Economic Development Dept

Georgia Office of Workforce Development joins Economic Development Dept (photo –

The move ensures that workforce development efforts in Georgia will be aligned with economic realities and the needs of businesses looking to succeed in the state.

Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said he was excited that the Office of Workforce Development was now part of GDEcD, and added that the knowledgeable staff and resources will only enhance GDEcD’s portfolio.

Commissioner Carr added that by aligning these entities, the state gains an enhanced ability to attract new business and ensure that existing industry continues to thrive in a business-friendly climate.

Ben Hames, Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Division, GDEcD, said this move to a streamlined structure highlights Gov. Deal’s understanding that workforce issues are paramount to economic development in Georgia.

This structuring came about as a result of the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) created earlier this year. It brings the GDEcD together with key business leaders in the state, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the University System of Georgia (USG).

Putting the GDEcD and leaders from the industry and educational system together at one table creates a clear picture of what businesses in the state need, pairs them with existing assets, and allows for collective action to tackle the gaps one by one.

Since the GDEcD was coordinating this initiative, it made sense for the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to be rolled into GDEcD so that their combined resources could be focused and aligned on implementing the initiative.

The new Workforce Division moving into GDEcD will now take the lead on the HDCI initiative to ensure that Georgia’s economic development infrastructure is able to meet the workforce needs of businesses in the state.

Gov. Nathan Deal will be kicking off the HDCI initiative with a series of meetings scheduled to take place over the next two months in Atlanta, Statesboro and Dalton. The Governor will be personally attending each of these three meetings designed to allow USG and TCSG to hear directly from companies in Georgia on their specific workforce needs.

Georgia Economic Development Dept Gets Presidential E Star Award

The Georgia Department of Economic Development has been selected to receive the Presidential E Star Award. The GDEcD is being awarded for excellence in the export programs and services it offers through its International Trade Division.

Presidential E Award and E Star Award for excellence in exporting

Presidential E Award and E Star Award for excellence in exporting (photo –

The “E” and “E Star” awards are the highest honor the nation can bestow on an export service organization.

The history of these awards goes back to World War II, when more than 4,000 war plants received “E” pennants for their production excellence. The flag emblazoned with the big E on it became a badge of honor for American producers involved in the war effort.

In 1961, President Kennedy revived the “E” Award as a means of honoring and recognizing excellence by America’s exporters. The “E Star” is given to recognize continued efforts in export growth by organizations that have already won an “E” Award previously.

Georgia was awarded its first “E” in 1970, and this will be the state’s second “E Star” following one in 2007 for shared leadership approach and facilitation of export activities that lead to export growth among companies in the state.

Governor Nathan Deal said that international trade has a powerful job creation effect which enriches the lives of Georgians and helps the state remain a leader in the global markerplace.

The Governor congratulated the Georgia Economic Development Department’s International Trade Division, and said he looks forward to continuing their partnership to keep Georgia the No.1 place in which to do business.

The International Trade Division of the GDEcD works to match suppliers in Georgia with buyers around the world, and offers a wide range of export promotion services that are available to Georgia companies. Not to mention access to and assistance from the state’s international representatives in 11 strategic global markets.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said that developing and maintaining solid international exports is vital for bringing investment and jobs to Georgia.

Commissioner Carr noted that exports by Georgia companies were responsible for creating and retaining 227,747 jobs last year, and added that he couldn’t be more proud to work for an organization with a nationally recognized export assistance program.

In 2013, more than 14,500 companies in the state exported $37.6 billion in goods and services to 230 countries and territories. For its part, the GDEcD International Trade Division’s work with 1,346 companies in FY 2013 resulted in 420 export deals worth $35.9 million.

Kathe Falls, director of the International Trade Division, said she was thrilled that the Georgia Department of Economic Development has been selected to receive its second E Star Award. Falls added that they are striving to offer Georgians the highest quality services, and the award recognizes those efforts.

Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance to Handle Airport Economic Development

The newly launched Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance will serve as an economic development organization working to promote the Hartsfield-Jackson airport area to attract international corporations, logistics companies and other businesses who might find it beneficial to be located in close proximity to the world’s busiest airport.

Atlanta Aerotropolis

Atlanta Aerotropolis (photo – Dr. John Kasarda/Atlanta Regional Commission)

The Alliance came about as a result of meetings convened by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to discuss the future of the airport area and figure out how to make it a nexus for increased local as well as global economic activity.

The aerotropolis concept was coined by Dr. John Kasarda at the Kenan-Flagler Business School located in the University of North Carolina. It indicates the urban development centered around a central airport connecting executives, workers, suppliers and goods.

More than half of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. are located within 10 miles of a hub airport. However, only a few cities such as Dallas are building on the aerotropolis concept and capitalizing on the economic power of their airports.

Last year, Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport even hosted the inaugural Aerotropolis Americas Conference. An economic impact analysis study conducted by the University of North Texas Center of Economic Development and Research found that DFW generated $31.6 billion in economic activity last year in North Texas.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is likewise an invaluable tool and asset that Atlanta economic development organizations use to promote the region. The airport serves 250,000 passengers and moves nearly 2,000 metric tons of freight daily, and is directly responsible for 50,000 jobs and even more indirect ones in the aerotropolis economy.

One of the companies that has chosen the Hartsfield-Jackson area as its home is Porsche Cars North America. Joe Folz, Secretary and General Counsel of Porsche Cars North America, has been chosen as the founding chairman of the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance.

Folz says they chose the airport area as their headquarters because they believe in the future of the Hartsfield-Jackson area and its importance to the Atlanta region, and because it literally brings the world to the company’s door every day.

Hartsfield-Jackson Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell said he looks forward to working with the Aerotropolis Alliance for further developing Hartsfield-Jackson’s economic impact on the surrounding areas and the broader region.

The Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance is currently structured as a 501(c)6 organization with a board of 20 directors representing area businesses, governments, non-profits and schools.

Apart from the leaders of Porsche Cars North America and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the board also includes members from Delta Air Lines, Invest Atlanta, Georgia Power, Duke Realty, Prologis, Grove Street Partners and Woodward Academy, in addition to two counties, three cities and four area chambers.

Pedro Cherry, vice president for community and economic development at Georgia Power, will serve as the vice chairman of the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance.

DeKalb County, GA Delegates Economic Development Through Intergovernmental Agreement

The Development Authority of DeKalb County (DADC) announced that it was been designated as the official DeKalb economic development agency by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners (BOC).

DeKalb County, GA

DeKalb County, GA (photo –

DeKalb County outsourced its economic development functions to DADC through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that was approved last month and will be made official at a document signing ceremony in Decatur, GA on March 13, 2014.

As per the terms of the agreement, the DADC will have an annual budget of $1.27 million and a staff of 12. The county is providing half the budget, and some of the new staff at the DADC will be county employees.

Apart from its existing responsibilities, DADC will now also implement economic development programs such as NMTC, small business loans and the Brownfield Revolving Loan program.

DADC will also handle the county’s tax allocation districts, and will be developing a marketing and branding plan for the county. They will be creating a new business alliance to foster better engagement with the business community.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners will receive quarterly reports in a public forum about DADC’s economic development activities and implementation progress.

This county is taking this step in response to a market assessment report produced by AngelouEconomics. The county commissioned this report, which is one of the first steps in a multi-stage process to develop a strategic five-year economic development plan for DeKalb County.

As per the report, the county’s recovery is being impeded by a severe drop in tax revenues, mostly because of incorporation of wealthier communities into cities, and annexation of successful areas by existing cities.

The report also says the county staff is demoralized because of staffing cuts and lack of funding for raises, and because of mistrust caused by scandals such as the indictment of the County CEO and conviction of a former school superintendent.

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May said this was a new way of undertaking economic development, adding that they have seen other jurisdictions in Georgia enjoying widespread success and realize exciting results with this model.

DeKalb BOC Presiding Officer Larry Johnson said the DADC will now have the funding and staff for taking the lead in stimulating new investments and expansions, and will be able to develop sustained economic strategies for balanced growth.

DADC Chairman Vaughn Irons said that government doesn’t really create jobs by itself, even though the government and business community have a synergy mutual success. But government does have a responsibility for creating a business friendly-environment, and that, says Vaughn, is what is happening in DeKalb now.

EPA to Honor Winners of National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

At an awards ceremony scheduled to be held at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Feb 5, 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will recognize the 2013 winners of the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.

EPA National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

EPA National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

The award recognizes and supports communities that are using innovative development strategies and policies that strengthen their economies and provide housing and transportation choices while protecting the environment.

The winning projects for 2013 in five categories were chosen out of 77 applications sent in by 31 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The winners are as follows:-

Overall Excellence in Smart Growth РAtlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park project in Atlanta, Georgia – This redevelopment of what was once a contaminated rail corridor into a connected park with multi-use trails is fueling economic development, affordable housing and community engagement in 45 neighborhoods in the City of Atlanta.

Corridor/Neighborhood Revitalization РHistoric Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood project in Dubuque, Iowa – The conversion of the historic but vacant mill district into a mixed-use neighborhood connected it to an adjacent residential neighborhood and to the downtown.

Policies, Programs, and Plans РGO TO 2040 project in Metropolitan Chicago, Illinois – The GO TO 2040 project is a seven-county regional economic development plan that brings together a wide number of local partners, linking their individual plans to a broad regional vision for growth through technical assistance and tools.

Built Projects – La Valentina project in Sacramento, California – La Valentina is a mixed-use apartment building on a former brownfield site adjacent to a light-rail station. It is transforming what was once a purely industrial neighborhood and is giving residents transportation options.

Plazas, Parks, and Public Places РCharles City Riverfront Park in Charles City, Iowa – Built on a flood plain, this multi-facility park is connected to the city’s downtown and adjacent low-income housing, and has become the recreational heart of Charles City, in addition to bringing economic benefits.

Two honorable mentions were given to the Lower Eastside Action Plan in Detroit, MI and the Via Verde energy-efficient building project in The Bronx, NY.

The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement was created by the EPA in 2002. Since then, EPA has received 886 applications from all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The award ceremony featuring Administrator McCarthy and representatives from the communities that are award recipients will also feature a video presentation from each of the winning projects.¬†You can read more about the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and see the video presentations created by this year’s winning projects¬†at

Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 Meeting in Atlanta, GA

The first regional meeting convened by the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0) will be held on February 3, 2014 at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0) meeting

AMP 2.0 meeting (photo –

AMP 2.0 is a cross-sector national effort aimed at securing U.S. leadership in emerging technologies that can create manufacturing jobs and enhance America’s global competitiveness.

The AMP 2.0 regional meeting at Georgia Tech is designed to gather feedback from stakeholders in local and state government, academia and industry.

The focus will be on rebuilding the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem by identifying challenges and finding solutions that bring small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the advanced manufacturing mix.

AMP 2.0 is looking for input on topics such as workforce challenges and technology adoption limitations for SMEs, and SME access to collaborative technology and America Makes (NAMII – national additive manufacturing innovation institute).

The morning plenary session begins with remarks by Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson.

Mike Molnar, director of the Advanced Manufacturing Program Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will give an overview of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

Siemens CEO Eric Spiegel will talk about the importance of advanced manufacturing.

There will be a panel discussion that will focus on the challenges SMEs face in adopting advanced manufacturing technologies. Another panel will discuss how to engage and energize manufacturing.

A series of breakout sessions will include four concurrent breakouts addressing everything from manufacturing workforce needs to new technologies, scale-up strategies, and leadership and change management.

The 19-member AMP 2.0 Steering Committee is a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). It is co-chaired by MIT President Rafael Reif and Dow Chemical President, Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris.

AMP 2.0 is a follow-up to the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee that was created in 2011. That first AMP steering committee ended up proposing and catalyzing several key initiatives and priorities to strengthen the U.S. advanced manufacturing sector.

AMP 2.0 is working on guiding the implementing the original AMP recommendations, including the creation of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs) under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

What: Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0) Regional Meeting

When: February 3, 2014

Where: Georgia Tech Global Learning Center, Atlanta, Georgia

Stockbridge To Get $100M Public-Private Georgia Technology Park

Stockbridge, Georgia-based World Internet Group (WIG) and the Stockbridge Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announced plans for developing a $100 million public-private technology park in Stockbridge that will be known as the Georgia Technology Park.

World Internet Group

World Internet Group (photo –

Housed on 40 acres with direct access to both Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and I-75, the Park will be operated by WIG but owned by the DDA.

The Georgia Technology Park is expected to create around 3,500 permanent direct jobs, and will support the creation of another 5,250 indirect jobs, adding up to a total of 8,750 new jobs over the next five years.

According to DDA Chairman J.T. Williams, the Park project was facilitated by a previously announced $15 million public-private partnership with Community Broadband of Savannah to bring high-speed broadband to Stockbridge through fiber optic cables. The broadband available in Stockbridge after this project is implemented is expected to be 200 times faster than the national average.

The DDA was approached by WIG in Oct 2013 with this proposal for a public-private technology park. In Dec 2013, the DDA started acquiring the 15 parcels of land that make up the 40-acre site with the help of a $5 million loan from the City of Stockbridge.

The $100 million project calls for $75 million in private investment from WIG and its partners. The DDA expects to repay the debt it is taking on through revenue generated from tenants who sign lease agreements.

The first phase of the technology park project is expected to operational this spring, since the site already has buildings, utilities, drainage and roads. WIG is itself leasing a building with 33,000 square feet of space in the park, and will use this space to establish the following:-

– Innovation Lab for tech startups;

– Accelerator that will help existing and emerging tech companies to grow and scale in Stockbridge and Henry County;

– Research Center focused on mobile technology, Internet security and cloud computing;

– Learning Center to provide instruction about cutting-edge technologies; and

РJob Center to provide career services for Georgia’s IT sector.

Williams said the technology park is the foundation for economic development in Stockbridge and Henry County. He said the infrastructure investments being made will attract companies and good-paying jobs that will make the region one of the most desirable in the country for the IT industry.

Wig CEO Scott Barresi likewise noted that they believe the project will have a significant impact on the technology sector in the state, and will make Georgia the Southeast’s premier technology hub.

Shaw to Invest $100M to Convert GA Rug Facility Into Vinyl Tile Plant

Shaw Industries, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and a leading floor covering provider, announced that it is getting out of the Area Rug business and will convert a rug production facility in Ringgold, Georgia into a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) manufacturing facility.

Shaw Floors

Photo –

The conversion project will require Shaw to make an investment of $100 million. When the facility becomes operational in 2015, Shaw expects to create 200 new jobs in the Ringgold area.

The Ringgold plant already has 400 existing employees who are a part of the company’s Shaw Living Rug division. A majority of these employees will be offered jobs at other Shaw facilities.

Also, the 200 new jobs created and potential for future growth and more jobs in the LVT business makes up for any jobs that Ringgold loses to other locations.

Vance Bell, chairman and CEO of Shaw Industries, said in a statement that the economics of the area rug business doesn’t encourage further investment or allow for future growth. He said they have been intentional about exiting this business at a time when other opportunities exist for their associates.

Shaw has been participating in the fast-growing LVT market for the past three years, but this will be their first domestic LVT manufacturing facility.

Bell noted that Shaw Industries has developed a significant LVT business over the past few years and is now in a market leading position in the LVT flooring category. He said the new facility will provide domestic manufacturing for a portion of their product line, in the process enhancing service, customer satisfaction and product development.

This latest $100 million follows in the wake of a series of other expansions and investment announcements made by Shaw that add up to $250 million. They recently announced a $40 million expansion of their engineered hardwood manufacturing facility in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

Before that, Shaw announced a $26 million investment for facility upgrades in Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. They’re also building a new $85 million carpet tile plant in Adairsville, Georgia.

Dalton, Georgia-based Shaw Industries Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A and BRK.B). Shaw Industries has more than 23,000 associates around the world, and generates $4.5 billion in annual sales.

Mohawk Industries Facility Conversions To Create 420 Jobs in GA

Mohawk Industries is planning to convert two of its manufacturing facilities in Georgia from yarn spinning plants to bulk continuous filament (BCF) twisting and heat setting plants.

Mohawk Industries

Mohawk Industries (photo –

Mohawk will invest $85 million for the conversion project over the next years, in the process creating 420 new jobs at their Dalton, GA facility and retaining the existing 230 jobs in Rome, GA.

Calhoun, Georgia-based Fortune 500 company Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MHK) has been a trusted name in carpets for more than 130 years. The company has a complete line of floor covering products including carpets, tiles and rugs.

Mohawk is also a leading force in the floor covering industry’s transition to sustainable manufacturing. The company makes use of recycled materials to create fashionable flooring products. This process makes Mohawk one of the leading recyclers of plastic bottles in North America.

Joe Yarbrough, Mohawk’s senior vice president of advanced manufacturing engineering, said that as the U.S. economy gains traction, Mohawk is looking to increase manufacturing capacity to meet the rising demand for the company’s premium soft carpets.

He mentioned that the two conversion projects, along with a previously announced expansion at the company’s manufacturing facility in Summerville, GA, is helping create and retain more than 1,000 jobs across the region.

Yarbrough also said they were grateful to local, regional and state partners for their support of these expansions, and for the shared commitment to building a brighter future for northwest Georgia.

The Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce teamed up to help the company with its conversion projects.

Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, said that Mohawk’s expansion is strong evidence that the economy, and especially the housing market, continues to improve. Anderson added that it also illustrates Mohawk’s commitment towards Dalton and the rest of northwest Georgia.

Assistance at the state level was provided by Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Project Manager Carl Campbell, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said Mohawk has a long-standing history of investment in Georgia and has created numerous high-quality jobs. He also noted that the Mohawk expansion not only shows Georgia’s ability to attract investments from Fortune 500 companies, but also shows how the state’s skilled workforce and resources help booming businesses in keeping up with changes in the industry.

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