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Governor Perdue Announces OneGeorgia Awards and Centers of Innovation Research Grants

Tuesday, October 25, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ESBD Loan Guarantee Certificate Issued, Two Counties Earn Entrepreneur Friendly Designation

EASTMAN, GA - At the OneGeorgia Authority meeting today on the campus of the Georgia Aviation Technical College, Governor Sonny Perdue announced grant and loan awards administered or financially supported by the OneGeorgia Authority aimed at spurring economic development in rural Georgia. The OneGeorgia Authority also issued Centers of Innovation Research Grants, the first ESBD Loan Guarantee Certificate and recognized two counties as “entrepreneurial friendly.”

State Issues Nearly $8 Million in Equity and EDGE Awards

The nearly $8 million in funds distributed today will create jobs, stimulate new private investment, support the retention of existing jobs and enhance regional competitiveness through capacity building projects. Each project along with its respective local leadership was recognized at the board meeting.

“We are leveraging almost $8 million dollars against more than $251 million in total project costs to help create and retain thousands of jobs for the people of Georgia,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “A cornerstone strategy of my administration is to create job opportunities in the rural areas of our state.”

The Equity awards are designed to assist communities and regions build the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. The program’s flexibility provides financial assistance to enhance publicly-owned tourism initiatives, workforce development opportunities, and downtown revitalization projects. In addition, loan funds are available through the Equity Revolving Loan Fund to assist small business owners with business growth and expansion opportunities. Project awards are aimed at being responsive to the needs of the rural, economically depressed counties it serves by accepting applications at any time.

Seven Equity awards totaling $2,018,571 included four grants of $1,199,869 and three loans totaling $818,702. These awards include:

Grady County Joint Development Authority/Roddenbery facility

Equity loan funds will be used to assist with building acquisition costs for the purchase of the former W.B. Roddenbery processing plant site, a 300,000 square-feet building situated on an 85-acre site within one mile of downtown Cairo. The building is strongly connected with the history of the community, W.B. Roddenbery Company operated in Grady County from 1889 to 1995. In 1995, the company was purchased by Dean Foods. At its peak, the food processing company employed more than 500, but by the time the facility was closed in 2002, only 30 employees remained.

Local strategy includes potentially subdividing the existing facility to accommodate multiple industries or uses, hence reducing start-up and lead time for time sensitive industrial prospects.

  • Equity Loan Award: $200,000
  • Total Project Cost: $1,320,000 (Other Public Investment = $1,120,000)
  • Date of Award: 9/13/05

City of Dublin/Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with water and sewer improvements to support the construction of Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store and rest area located directly off I-16 in Laurens County. The Love’s enterprise, founded in 1964, has successfully grown into a Forbes private 500 company with 160 travel and convenience stores in 25 states. Dublin is the corporation’s third location in Georgia and was chosen due to the site’s good access and visibility from the interstate. In addition to providing infrastructure for Love’s Travel Stop, this project serves as a capacity building activity by opening up an additional 200 acres for future economic development activity along the I-16 corridor.

  • Equity Grant Award: $200,000
  • Total Project Cost: $4,961,364 (Private Investment = $4,291,614)
  • Date of Award: 9/13/05
  • 35 new jobs

Development Authority of Peach County/Speculative Building

Equity loan funds will be used to construct an 82,500 square-foot expandable speculative building in the 115-acre South Peach Industrial Park, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 341 and University Boulevard. The site is served by road, rail, natural gas, water and sewer. Construction of this spec building follows the successful construction of a spec building in 1999 which is occupied by Step2, a plastics manufacturer. The Development Authority strategy will include marketing activities targeted to major manufacturing and/or warehousing companies.

  • Equity Loan Award: $118,702
  • Total Project Cost: $2,118,702 (Other Public Investment = $2,000,000)
  • Date of Award: 9/13/05

Turner County Development Authority/ Nationwide Fiberglass, Inc.

Equity loan funds will be used to construct a 25,000 square-foot building in support of the location of Nationwide Fiberglass, Inc., a swimming pool manufacturing company headquartered in California. The company will utilize the Ashburn site as the anchor for its east coast business, allowing them entrance into the southeastern US market. The company, situated on 20 acres of land, will serve as the anchor tenant in the recently completed Ashburn-Turner Industrial Park located just off I-75. Nationwide Fiberglass, Inc. manufactures one-piece fiberglass pools and is considered one of the top three pool manufacturers in the United States. In addition, the company will generate indirect positive economic impact by purchasing raw materials from suppliers located in Georgia.

  • Equity Loan Award: $500,000
  • Total Project Cost: $3,135,000 (Private Investment = $2,535,000)
  • Date of Award: 9/13/05
  • 50 new jobs

Mitchell County/Superior Park Model Homes

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with construction of a deceleration lane on Highway 19 South and a paved public road to access the Superior Park Model Homes headquartered at Lake Okeechobee, Fla. Following a site selection and workforce assessment, the company plans to manufacture rustic cabin-like vacation homes 46’ long and 12 to 14’ wide to a 14-state dealer network. Superior Park Model Homes also owns Everglades Adventures RV and Sailing Resort in Florida which offers vacation and recreational opportunities to clients including fishing, boating and other outdoor activities.

  • Equity Grant Award: $187,369
  • Total Project Cost: $1,239,968 (Private Investment = $1,010,000)
  • Date of Award: 10/19/05
  • 65 new jobs

City of Warm Springs/Infrastructure

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with construction of a new wastewater treatment facility that will serve the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, the Warm Springs Medical Center and surrounding heritage-based tourism businesses. The treatment plant will replace the existing wastewater infrastructure which is over 50 years old and deteriorating. The Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation and the Warm Springs Medical Center employ over 800 people, almost twice the population of the city. The new treatment plant will help ensure these two large employers maintain their existing operations and allow for possible future expansions. In addition, the wastewater improvements will enhance the region’s heritage-based tourism, which is a major industry for Warm Springs due to the community’s ties to President Franklin Roosevelt.

  • Equity Grant Award: $500,000
  • Total Project Cost: $2,994,540 (Other Public Investment = $2,494,540)
  • Date of Award: 10/19/05

Meriwether County/Workforce Development Center

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with construction of a 9,265 square-foot workforce development center on a 47-acre site in Meriwether County in Greenville. The project represents collaboration between West Georgia Technical College and Meriwether County. The center will provide workforce training opportunities including welding, certified nursing assistant (a Governor’s Strategic Industry core), office technology, adult literacy programs, and customized training for business and industry. It is estimated that as many as 300 students from Meriwether and surrounding counties will receive training from the center each year. The workforce development center is expected to improve economic conditions in the county as one third of the adult population lacks a high school education, and the poverty rate in Meriwether County exceeds the state’s average.

  • Equity Grant Award: $300,000
  • Total Project Cost: $2,246,372 (Other Public Investment = $1,756,924)
  • Date of Award: 10/19/05

Governor Perdue recognized the nine recipients of EDGE awards granted since the last OneGeorgia Authority Board meeting in June 2005 totaling $5,820,000. The purpose of the EDGE (Economic Development, Growth & Enterprise) Fund is to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants that are being considered as a relocation or expansion site and are competing with another state for location of a project. EDGE fund projects are generally time-sensitive in nature and are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The EDGE awards announced include the expansion of three Georgia companies as well as six new manufacturing facilities.

The companies and awards recognized today include:

Heart of Georgia Regional Airport Authority/Tower Aerospace Inc.

The EDGE funds will be used to assist with building improvements to a 20,000 square-foot speculative hanger at the Heart of Georgia Regional Airport in support of Tower Aerospace, a Canadian diversified aerospace company. The renovated facility will include a manufacturing facility to produce aircraft fuel systems and fire suppression systems as well as a parts distribution center. The company’s new facility is part of a strategic decision to manufacture in the U.S. to be better positioned to provide aircraft parts and services to the U.S. military. In addition, the company’s proximity to the Georgia Aviation Technical College is expected to provide a trained workforce skilled in aviation composites. Tower Aerospace is currently one of five international fabricators certified to provide auxiliary fuel systems for helicopters. It should be noted that aerospace is identified as a strategic industry cluster in the Commission for a New Georgia Report.

  • EDGE Award: $190,000
  • Total Project Cost: $5,418,501 (Private Investment = $4,500,000)
  • 50 new jobs
  • Interstate competition: Arizona and California

Grady County Joint Development Authority/MacTavish Furniture Industries

The EDGE funds will be used to assist with building construction in support of the expansion of MacTavish Furniture Industries’ existing manufacturing and distribution facility in Cairo. MacTavish Furniture Industries is the furniture manufacturing division of Aaron Rents, Inc. (Aaron), an industry leader in rental, lease-ownership and specialty retailing of residential and office furniture, consumer electronics, household appliances and accessories. Aaron, an Atlanta based company, has 995 company-operated and franchised stores in 45 states, Canada and Puerto Rico and has over 5,400 employees. This project involves the construction of a 98,000 square-foot addition to the existing 300,000 square-foot facility in Cairo.

  • EDGE Award: $500,000
  • Total Project Cost: $3,183,774 (Private Investment = $1,000,000)
  • 110 new jobs (in addition to 280 existing jobs = total of 390)
  • Interstate competition: Arizona

Athens-Clarke County Industrial Development Authority/CertainTeed Corporation

The EDGE funds will be used to assist with the construction of a public road to support the expansion of CertainTeed Corporation (CertainTeed) in Athens, Georgia. CertainTeed, a manufacturing division of Saint-Gobain Corporation, is a leading manufacturer of building construction materials for both the commercial and residential markets. The company has more than 7,000 employees and 40 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. The public road, located between the company’s existing manufacturing facility and the recently acquired 189,000 square-foot distribution center (formerly Levelor), will enhance the timely transfer of both products and employees between the two buildings. The Athens facility produces fiberglass insulation.

  • EDGE Award: $210,000
  • Total Project Cost: $3,210,000 (Private Investment = $3,000,000)
  • 50 new jobs within two years (in addition to the 275 existing jobs = 325)
  • Interstate competition: Kentucky and Louisiana

Carrollton Payroll Development Authority/Bobcat Company

The EDGE funds will be used to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment in support of the Bobcat Company in Carroll County’s State Enterprise District. Bobcat Company, a manufacturer of compact equipment for construction, industrial and agricultural uses, will dedicate this facility to the production of attachments, specifically skid steer loading attachments. Bobcat will acquire the vacant 81,160 square-foot Blaw Knox building in the Carrollton Industrial Park. Bobcat’s parent company, Ingersoll-Rand, is a diversified, global enterprise that has business units in climate control, industrial solutions, infrastructure, security and safety. Ingersoll-Rand employs over 45,000 people and has more than 100 manufacturing facilities throughout the world, half of which are in the U.S.

  • EDGE Award: $250,000
  • Total Project Cost: $8,840,000 (Private Investment = $8,590,000)
  • 100 new jobs
  • Interstate competition: Minnesota and North Dakota

Talllapoosa Development Authority/Honda Motor Company, Inc.

The EDGE funds will be used for land acquisition costs in support of the new Honda Motor Company, Inc. facility in Haralson County. Honda will establish a 250,000 square-foot automotive powertrain assembly plant. The 495 acre site, with easy access to I-20, is located along the last exit in Georgia. The Tallapoosa plant, expected to start up production in the fall of 2006, will produce start-of-the-art transmissions utilizing the latest technologies in aluminum high pressure die casting, modular machining and precision assembly. At full production the plant is scheduled to produce 300,000 transmissions per year in support its Honda automotive plant in Lincoln, Alabama.

  • EDGE Award: $3,000,000
  • Total Project Cost: $124,250,419 (Private Investment = $115,600,538)
  • 400 new jobs
  • Interstate competition: Alabama

Development Authority of Richmond County/NBTY, Inc.

The EDGE funds will be used to partially fund building acquisition costs to assist with the location of NBTY, Inc. to Augusta, Georgia. This former Bill’s Dollar Store facility contains 401,000 square-feet located on 51.71 acres on Tobacco Road. NBTY makes, wholesales and retails nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbs. The number of new jobs could reach as high as 600 by the end of the third year of operation, which would tremendously impact this region of the state.

  • EDGE Award: $500,000
  • Total Project Cost: $38,030,000 (Private Investment = $37,530,000)
  • 125 new jobs in first six months (with potential of 600 jobs)
  • Interstate competition: South Carolina and North Carolina

Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority/Lowe’s

The EDGE funds will be used to partially fund site preparation costs to assist with the expansion of the Lowe’s 659,963 square-foot regional distribution center located in the Azalea West Business Park in Valdosta. Lowe’s will add 350,000 square-feet to the existing building and construct a new 310,000 square-foot warehouse on an adjacent tract. The company is the second-largest home improvement chain in the world, behind Home Depot. Lowe’s currently operates 1,100 stores in 48 states and has 165,000 employees.

  • EDGE Award: $750,000
  • Total Project Cost: $28,839,251 (Private Investment = $25,201,251)
  • Retain 558 FTEs and create 100 new jobs (Total jobs = 658)
  • Interstate competition: Alabama and Mississippi

Development Authority of Columbus/ICForm, Inc.

The EDGE funds will be used to partially fund building acquisition costs to assist with the location of ICForm, Inc. (also known as Polyform) to an existing 103,925 square-foot building located in Corporate Ridge Industrial Park in Columbus. Polyform manufactures foam type products used in a variety of applications including construction materials, packaging, insulation, automotive, containers, flotation and other components. Polyform decided to locate a manufacturing plant in the Southeast, where it wishes to expand its market. The new facility will manufacture an insulated concrete wall system that was designed by Nudura Corporation.

  • EDGE Award: $300,000
  • Total Project Cost: $16,826,700 (Private Investment = $16,000,000)
  • 100 new jobs within three years
  • Interstate competition: Alabama and Utah

Development Authority of Union County/Applewood Doors & Windows, Inc.

The EDGE funds will be used to partially fund land acquisition costs in support of the location of Applewood Doors & Windows, Inc. (Applewood) to Blairsville, Georgia. Applewood, a manufacturer of wooden doors and windows, will construct a new 113,400 square-foot manufacturing facility on a 10.06-acre tract of land in the Blairsville Airport Regional Industrial Park. The company sells its products in a very small trade area (within 50 miles of Elijay). In addition, this expansion will result in the creation of 10 new retail jobs in Gilmer County.

  • EDGE Award: $120,000
  • Total Project Cost: $4,707,000 (Private Investment = $3,382,800)
  • Retain 23 jobs and create 27 new jobs
  • Interstate competition: North Carolina

First Centers of Innovation Research Grants Issued

The OneGeorgia Authority announced research grants today supporting the Center of Innovation program totaling $140,000. The Georgia Centers of Innovation program, launched by Governor Perdue in 2003, builds on the state’s world-class assets and home-grown industries to provide support for researchers and entrepreneurs in the areas of aerospace, agriculture, biotech, information technology and maritime logistics.

“The centers work together in a seamless network connecting state leaders, academic research, business experts and entrepreneurs to nurture innovative ideas and forge new relationships,” said Governor Perdue. “The objective is to grow long-term economic opportunities, create jobs and attract new companies all across rural Georgia.”

The first two recipients of the Centers of Innovation Research Grant program for FY 2006 were recognized at today’s board meeting. These awards will provide matching research funds to support the following entrepreneurial research projects in the field of agriculture:

Wireless Internet Information and Control Systems for Agriculture

To develop advanced monitoring and control systems for critical agricultural operations using wireless Internet technologies. Today, the growth of wireless Internet technologies is hampered by the lack of integration of information coming from sensors, weather, and marketing sources into software tools that will easily integrate and display this information and quickly lead to action steps improving human and natural resource use efficiencies and increasing competitiveness. UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences will work with Automated Irrigation Controls and use advice from Hobbs and Holder LLC to develop advanced wireless Internet-based information and control systems that include the coupling of diverse information sources into an automated response.

  • Recipient University: University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
  • Industry Partner: Automated Irrigation Controls, Hobbs and Holder LLC
  • Industry Matching Funds: $100,000
  • COI Research Funds Awarded: $ 70,000

Vacuum Harvesting Systems for Cotton

The project involves the development and testing of a new concept in the harvest of cotton using advanced vacuum technology to remove cotton fibers from the plant without the costly and potentially fiber damaging effect that current spindle pickers have. UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences will test and refine the system design – to take full advantage of the potential improvements in fiber quality and harvest efficiencies. In cooperation with HarVac, the system will be refined in terms of vacuum intensity, design, function, and mounting, and determine harvest efficiencies and impact on fiber and seed quality.

  • Recipient University: University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
  • Industry Partner(s): HarVac
  • Industry Matching Funds $100,000
  • COI Research Grant: $ 70,000

The Centers of Innovation program designates a portion of its operating budget each year to fund matching grants in support of applied research for specific industries. For FY 2006, a total of $600,000 in matching funds is available. These grants must be matched by non-state funds on at least a one-to-one basis and preference is given to matching funds from industrial sponsors. The maximum award is $100,000. Innovation Center Research Grants are reserved for faculty and industry working on collaborative research through the Centers of Innovation. Each grant must add value to the industry sector and demonstrate the opportunity to create positive economic impact in rural Georgia as outlined under the regulations of its funding sponsor, the OneGeorgia Authority.

OneGeorgia Authority Issues First ESBD Loan Guarantee Certificate

The OneGeorgia Authority awarded the first Loan Guarantee Certificate under the ESBD (Entrepreneurial-Small Business Development) Loan Guarantee Program since the roll-out of the program in early September. Through the ESBD program, the OneGeorgia Authority will guarantee in the form of a certificate up to $112,500 of a $250,000 loan. This new program is in response to Governor Perdue’s Executive Order dated February 5, 2004, establishing the Georgia Entrepreneur and Small Business Coordinating Network and charging the OneGeorgia Authority with seeking innovative ways to spur and support entrepreneurial enterprises in Georgia’s 112 designated economically distressed rural counties.

Community National Bank of Ashburn on behalf of Sunshine Academy, Inc. received the first ESBD Loan Guarantee Certificate in the amount of $112,500. The program, rolled out in September of this year, is designed to assist start-ups and small businesses with access to financial resources and the tools needed to grow and prosper.

“Sunshine Academy is an excellent example of using OneGeorgia resources to encourage start-ups and small business in rural Georgia,” said Governor Perdue. “We already know that small business is the foundation of Georgia’s economy. I could not be more proud that the first recipient will provide quality child-care services for working parents in the Cordele area.”

Community National Bank / Sunshine Academy, Inc.

The ESB loan guarantee to Community National Bank will be used to support the start-up of Sunshine Academy, Inc. located in Cordele, GA. Sunshine Academy proposes to provide daycare services to parents with children of ages between six weeks and pre-school and children of elementary age in an after school program. The proposed use of the loan proceeds from Community National Bank are for land acquisition and purchase of equipment, inventory, supplies, building and ground repairs and other initial start-up costs.

  • ESB Loan Guarantee Amount: $112,500
  • Total Loan Amount: $225,000
  • Borrower’s Equity: $51,000
  • Proposed new jobs to be created: 9

Miller and Dougherty Counties Earn Entrepreneurial Friendly Designation

Governor Perdue recognized leadership attending from both Miller County and Dougherty County, the most recent community’s to receive the state’s “Entrepreneurial Friendly” designation. To date 11 counties have earned this prestigious designation, the result of a comprehensive community review process led by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

The program identifies entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community and seeks their input for improving community assistance to small businesses. The goal of the Georgia Entrepreneur and Small Business Coordinating Network, a multi-state agency organization established by Executive Order of Governor Perdue in February 2004, is to ensure that entrepreneurs and small businesses are a valued and central component of our overall economic development strategy.

“Entrepreneurship drives our state’s economy and creates jobs for the people of Georgia. The best hope for continued economic prosperity is helping small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed,” said Governor Perdue. “Having communities like Miller County and Albany-Dougherty County who are willing to work at the local level and complete the Entrepreneurial Friendly program will generate strong support and enhance the growth of small business and entrepreneurial development in Georgia.”

The OneGeorgia Authority was created utilizing one-third of the state’s tobacco settlement to assist the state’s most economically challenged areas. The OneGeorgia Authority is expected to receive about $1.6 billion over the 25-year term of the settlement.

Since the authority was created in October 2000, nearly $218 million has been invested in economic development efforts aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of rural Georgia, stimulating private investment, diversifying the rural economy and creating jobs. OneGeorgia Authority’s programs and projects have provided financial support in the creation and/or retention of nearly 30,000 jobs in 107 of Georgia’s most economically depressed counties. For additional information, please refer to the authority’s website: