Each Monday at this time, Dr. Rick Franza of AU’s Hull College of Business, will discuss an important business story that affects our community. Today’s topic, Amazon’s recent “grand opening” in Appling. There are now centers open for fulfillment and sortation. Amazon is located in White Oak Business Park, just off I-20 in Appling. Different reports say there will be between 1,000 and 2,500 employees.
ABD: We hear you have a little bit of an “inside scoop” on things at Amazon
Rick: I was at an event and happened to be sitting with Neil Gwynne, the GM of the new Amazon centers. He said because we have a fulfillment center in Appling, we’ll all get our packages faster!
ABD: Any chance this growth in Appling will help any of your 700 plus students at AU’s Hull College of Business?
Rick: Kate Channell (Hull’s Assistant Dean) and I will get together with Neil soon to talk about some possibilities including student tours. Who better to learn logistics and warehousing from than Amazon? We think this is a great learning opportunity that may lead to internships or full time employment in the future.
ABD: What kind of a force multiplier is this with Amazon now in town?
Rick: It’s a signal when a big name company moves to area that they did some due diligence and found our area attractive for a number of reasons. This will impact on helping attract other business to the CSRA.
“If Amazon, found it attractive, why wouldn’t we”?
Also, anytime a big employer comes to town it spurs growth in services, whether it be restaurants, dry cleaners, car washes, pharmacies or grocery stores.
ABD: We’re hearing that starting pay for entry level positions are $15 per hour. What effect will we see in the future?
Rick: It will definitely provide competition in the workforce. Other employers will have to step up and meet the wage. If they can’t match the wage, they better have an attractive culture.
Also, Columbia County is still growing significantly. There is more space in western part of Col County and in addition to creating more competition for workers I think it will also grow the population and we’ll be a more attractive place for companies to come to.