A team of six area business leaders from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce participated in a trip to Japan as part of a week of calling on existing industries and prospective businesses. The team included:
Perry Barnett, CPA – Rushton
Brian Daniel – Carroll Daniel Construction
Tim Evans – Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce
Jimbo Floyd – Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance
David Lee – Jackson EMC
Brian Rochester – Rochester & Associates
Yumiko Nakazono, the State of Georgia’s Economic Development representative based in Japan, was also part of the delegation.
In meetings from Osaka to Tokyo, the team met with Japanese business leaders to encourage good will, to further long-term relationships, and to encourage new capital investment and jobs from both new and existing businesses.
“Visiting the executives and headquarters of existing industry is a priority of our Economic Development program,” said Kit Dunlap, President & CEO, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “With our diverse international base, some headquarters are a five-minute drive and some are a plane ride away. Economic development is the cornerstone of the Chamber’s Hallmark Initiative, and we are proud to have sent this team of business representatives to Japan to encourage continued investment.”
Gainesville-Hall County has already benefited from major Japanese businesses, including locations for Kubota, Etori, Shintone, Tatsumi and American Yazaki. Together, these firms employ more than 2,000 in Gainesville-Hall County. Kubota is Georgia’s largest Japanese owned company, and it will soon employ more than 3,000 people in Georgia. The company recently completed a 500,000 square foot production facility in the new Gateway Industrial Centre on Highway 365 in Hall County as a part of a growth plan to add an additional 580 jobs to the existing operations.
“Gainesville-Hall County is known as a community that can support the operational needs of Japanese owned businesses as well as the quality of life desired by Japanese managers for their families,” said Brian Rochester of Rochester & Associates and Chair of the Chamber’s Economic Development Council.
For many years, Georgia has been a leading business location for Japanese investment, and the State of Georgia opened its first international office in Tokyo in 1973.
“We heard from our existing industries that Gainesville-Hall County and Georgia serve their needs well,” said Brian Daniel of Carroll Daniel Construction and 2015 Chairman of the Chamber Board of Directors. “They value the long-term investments in Georgia’s Port facilities, the non-stop passenger air service between Atlanta and Tokyo, and Georgia’s nationally recognized Quick Start Training program at Lanier Technical College.”
“It is reassuring to hear from our Japanese stakeholders that we are taking the right steps in the Chamber’s workforce development efforts with Lanier Technical College, Hall County Schools and Gainesville City Schools,” said Perry Barnett, CPA of Rushton and Chairman of the Chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force. “Work-based learning, technical education and apprenticeship programs are all important pieces to providing the skills and talent that our healthcare and technology manufacturing firms need.”
“This business mission was about renewing relationships and establishing new ones,” said Tim Evans, Vice President of Economic Development for the Chamber. “These are long-term relationships and our efforts and time to meet with the business leaders in Japan will bring business, jobs and investment for our community.”
The Chamber’s economic development mission will be followed by Gainesville-Hall County’s host-role in the 2016 Japan-America Grassroots Summit exchange program October 6-9. The JapanâAmerica Grassroots Summit is an annual one-week cultural exchange program for Japanese and American citizens of all ages. The program is held alternately each year in Japan and the United States. An average of 200 people travel across the Pacific to participate and to strengthen the relationship between the two countries by fostering peace and friendship at a grassroots level. The Japan America Society of Georgia is taking a lead role in organizing Georgia’s host responsibilities, and Gainesville is one of 15 host cities across Georgia that will welcome Japanese citizens this October within homes and families of Gainesville-Hall County residents. For more information about the Japan Grassroots Summit, visit www.jasgeorgia.org/2016-Grassroots-Summit or email Tate O’Rouke, University of North Georgia: Tate.ORouke@ung.edu