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Governor Perdue Announces Rural Development Grants

Wednesday, July 30, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Investments Will Create More Than 300 New Jobs

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today a OneGeorgia Authority EDGE grant totaling $1.5 Million for a major regional industrial canning facility to be located in Thomasville, Georgia. The Joint Development Authority of Brooks, Colquitt, Mitchell, Grady, and Thomas Counties (Authority) will invest $3.1 million in the project. The facility will be owned and operated by A. Duda and Sons (Duda), the largest vegetable producer in the southeast. The industrial fruit and vegetable canning facility will be the only one of its type in the state and will offer the infrastructure to attract other fruit/vegetable processors.

"Georgia's rural communities offer vast opportunities for businesses to grow and create jobs," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "I am committed to working with community leaders and local development authorities to spur economic development in every corner of this state."

The Duda facility will be an $8.7 million investment that will initially employ 30 employees, 50 employees within two years, and is projected to create an additional 200 or more related jobs. Duda will purchase land and facilities for over $4 million from the Authority and will serve as an anchor tenant for the Genesis Food Park in Thomasville. Duda was established in 1909 and is a fourth-generation company with operations in Florida, Texas, California and Arizona.

Governor Perdue announced an additional EDGE grant to the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority totaling $170,000 for a new 20,000 square foot facility for the Dillon Candy Company (Dillon) in Boston, Georgia (Thomas County). Dillon will invest more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of new equipment for the expansion, save 29 existing jobs, and create 17 additional jobs. Dillon is a third generation manufacturer of specialty nut candies that was founded in 1918.

Governor Perdue also announced that Florida-based United Welding Services, Inc. (UWS) will open a nearly $2 million metal fabrication facility in Thomasville to manufacture truck accessories. The company will create 40 new jobs in a three-year period. The Thomasville Payroll Development Authority is applying for a $250,000 EDGE grant to assist with the construction of a facility for UWS. UWS designs and manufactures high quality truck accessories such as truck tool boxes and side rails.

"As new companies are welcomed to Georgia, we must continue to support a business environment that nurtures existing home-grown companies and attracts more domestic and international businesses," added Perdue.

The purpose of the OneGeorgia EDGE 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. The EDGE Fund is also used when the health, welfare, safety and economic security of the citizens of the state are promoted through the development and/or retention of employment opportunities.