Public-Private partnerships: Key to Successful Economic Development

The Gainesville and Hall County Economic Development Council (EDC) has been recognized throughout the State of Georgia as a model for other communities. As stated by many, it is a perfect example of a functional and extremely successful public-private partnership.

Developed eight years ago as a partnership between the business community and the governments of the City of Gainesville and Hall County, the Economic Development Council now includes the cities of Flowery Branch and Oakwood and is a positive force working for every facet of our community.

The organization – led by a 35-member board of community and business leaders, government officials and educators – markets our community and encourages broad-based support for quality economic growth and tax base increase in our community.

The EDC’s successes are numerous with the location of several new industries and the expansion of many existing industries in Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch and Hall County. Since 2000, our community has attracted, through new industry and expansions, a total of $325.8 million in capital investments and created over 1,300 new jobs.

As discussed at a recent economic development summit in Atlanta with the governors of Georgia, Kentucky and Michigan, Governor Roy Barnes and the other governors cite 1) quality education, 2) solid infrastructure and 3) partnership between government and private business as essential building blocks for prosperity.

While many other communities have suffered, Gainesville-Hall County continues to be a regional leader in economic development. In addition to industry locations and expansions, several other projects play a significant role in the EDC’s success.

A new initiative, developed through the EDC and the HALLmark Initiative, is a Technology Focus designed to lay a plan of action to recruit ‘high tech’ companies and jobs to Gainesville-Hall County. A recently approved marketing plan seeks to re-brand our community and place ourselves in the high-tech world.

By pursuing this high-tech initiative developed by the Lake Lanier Technology Alliance (recruiting bio-tech companies, telecommunications, tech manufacturers, software developers), our community can obtain high-wage paying employers that do not over tax our infrastructure.

Along with the technical initiative, other ongoing EDC projects include:

• Facilitating the increase in Freeport exemption levels with local governments to allow Hall County a leading competitive edge over surrounding counties.

• Providing plant manager/CEO’s and human resource managers the opportunity to interact and network on a monthly basis through EDC sponsored councils and committees.

• Offering drug-free workplace initiatives and discounts on workers compensation insurance through the Drugs Don’t Work program.

• Ongoing personal visits with existing business and industry to offer support and assistance.

• Continuous work and activities through the Infrastructure, Environmental Management, Issues and Agri-Business Committees.

The public-private partnership that IS the Gainesville and Hall County Economic Development Council has made a direct impact on the well-being and quality of life of our community. Businesses and industries have made and continue to make investments in Hall County because of its stability, skilled workforce, visionary leadership and quality of life. That’s why we currently boast of 47 Fortune 500 companies and more than 300 manufacturing firms, all located here in Hall County.

The EDC partnership is that unique and vitally important liaison making Gainesville-Hall County a place with a strong economy and quality of life rivaled by none! The work of this organization will continue to provide our area with opportunity and good jobs… a place that our children and others will come home to.