Georgia Business Brokers Hear Economic Development Report

Shirlynn Brownell of the Georgia Department of Economic Development

Shirlynn Brownell of the Georgia Department of Economic Development

ATLANTA– Shirlynn Brownell of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the State of Georgia’s sales and marketing arm, spoke about Georgia’s economic climate for small- and medium-sized businesses at the Nov. 17 meeting of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB).

GABB members represent owners of Georgia businesses and help them establish the sales price of their business, create marketing plans and strategies for the sale of their business, identify and qualify potential buyers, and work to protect the confidentiality of the entire process.

Hear a recording of Ms. Brownell’s remarks.

See Ms. Brownell’s Georgia Economic Development PPT here.

Here’s the text of Ms. Brownell’s remarks:

For the second year in a row – Georgia has been named the No. 1 state in the U.S. for business by Site Selection AND Area Development magazines. Using an integrated approach – our goal is to create jobs and investment opportunities.

Global Commerce: In September, Gov. Nathan Deal announced that our Global Commerce division helped createa total of 26,951 new jobs and generate $4.75 billion in investment during FY15.  We kicked off 2015 with Mercedes-Benz USA announcing they were relocating their headquarters from New Jersey to Sandy Springs. Landing one of the world’s most prestigious and recognizable brands brought an incredible victory for our state.

One of things that we heard from Mercedes-Benz leadership was the excellent quality of life here in Georgia which puts a spotlight on the cost of living.

Georgia’s pro-business climate, world-class infrastructure and talented workforce provide anideal business environment for companies who are establishing their headquarters in Georgia.

Key Industries in FY15: Job creation was up in key industries including headquarters, software and technology, aerospace and food processing expansions and relocations.

International Trade

For the fifth consecutive year – Georgia had a record-setting year for international trade in 2014.

In fact, Georgia is ranked as the 11th-largest exporting state.

As home to the world’s busiest international airport and the fastest-growing container port in the nation, Georgia knows how to move products quickly and efficiently all around the world. It is important to note that Georgia has more international representation than most states in the Southeast, with representatives in 11 strategic markets around the world helping to grow jobs and investment in Georgia.

CENTERS OF INNOVATION: Small, innovative and growing companies can also take advantage of our Georgia Centers of Innovation. Our six Centers are exclusive to Georgia and cover six strategic industries: Aerospace, Agribusiness, Energy Technology, Information Technology, Logistics, and Manufacturing.

WORKFORCE: Our Workforce division is playing a key role in ensuring we have a talented and prepared workforce for the future.

Go Build Georgia: Since its launch in 2012, Go Build Georgia has been educating students about the benefits of high-demand careers in skilled labor trades. This initiative focuses on 5 key industries including manufacturing, logistics, energy, construction and telecommunication. More than 290 Go Build Georgia teams are positioned throughout the state, within high schools and other educational facilities. The goal of the program is to grow this number, so that every student, educator, guidance counselor and parent in Georgia is exposed to the importance of skilled trade careers in our economy.

TOURISM: Tourism is a vital driver of Georgia’s economy – in almost every community in Georgia. 2014 was another record-breaking year for the tourism industry generating $57.1 billion in economic impact – up 6.7 percent from last year. Just over 10.2 percent of the state’s payroll workforce are employed by the tourism industry with more than 425,000 jobs. Our tourism assets not only draw in millions of visitors, but they also create a better quality of life for those who call Georgia home as well as increasing investment opportunities by making Georgia a great place to live and do business.

ENTERTAINMENT: Georgia-made feature films and television productions generated an economic impact of more than $6 billion during fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015).

The 248 film and television productions that shot in Georgia during this time represent the $1.7 billion in spending in the state.

Today in Georgia, there are 47 film and television projects in production or preproduction.

The Georgia-filmed “Goosebumps” starring Jack Black opened at #1 in theaters.

“Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II opens on Nov. 20.

And, the Season 6 of “The Walking Dead” premiered to huge ratings a few weeks ago.

The entertainment industry has been one of the fastest growing in our state. To meet the needs of this industry – Governor Deal established the new Georgia Film Academy which will provide the resources to people who are interested in working in this thriving industry. During the recession – our Film office heard from numerous home builders and lumber suppliers about gaining access to this industry. Many of them started working with the film industry to build sets, sound stages and beyond. In fact, the Cofer Brothers – a family owned and operated building material supply company in Tucker – credits the film and television industry for keeping them in business through the recession.

ARTS: The Georgia Council for the Arts supports Georgia’s creative industry representing 4.7% of the state’s employment – generating $29 billion in annual business revenue. Being able to provide a company and its employees a good quality of life and access to diverse cultural opportunities is essential to maintaining Georgia’s status as a leader in the global marketplace.

Strength in partnerships: We are all ambassadors for economic development. What makes Georgia stand out as an ideal location for business activity is our partnership approach to economic development – from state, local, international, business community, educational sectors and beyond, our teamwork collaboration continues to meet the unique needs of companies that locate here.

Ms. Brownell is project manager of Life Sciences and Corporate Solutions at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Ms. Brownell was hired in early 2012 as a project analyst on the Centers of Innovation team in the Department. In September of 2014 she was promoted to a project management position on the Life Sciences and Corporate Solutions team, which is responsible for exposing Georgia’s business advantages in the Corporate Headquarters, Life Sciences, and Information Technology industries. Once a lead is generated, the team works with the prospect until they locate a facility in Georgia. Team responsibilities include marketing, site location assistance, providing assistance to expanding companies and performing various community development and public relations functions.

Ms. Brownell received her Master’s degree in Strategic Communications from Troy University, and her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Georgia. Ms. Brownell is also a licensed Realtor affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Midtown Atlanta. An active member in the Atlanta community, she is involved with several initiatives around the state including the Atlanta BeltLine Young Leadership Council, the Liberian Consulate of Georgia, and a host of other organizations.

The GABB is composed of professionals who work with owners of Georgia businesses. Many of today’s business buyers are individuals who have decided not to re-enter corporate America, but are ready to control their own destiny by purchasing and operating a Georgia business. The GABB’s monthly meeting is at the South Terraces Conference Center at 115 Perimeter Center Place, Atlanta. For more information about the GABB, contact GABB President Greg DeFoor at or call Diane Loupe at 404-374-3990.