Mon, May 20, 2024

Showing off Augusta to business leaders from around the world

While much of Augusta is awash in Masters green, a swath of red was rolled out at a hospitality tent on Washington Road.

A red carpet pointed the way for business leaders arriving for the 62nd annual Red Carpet Tour. The event is coordinated by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.

“It is a great way to showcase the state, but also our region for all new employers looking to come to town, but also as a thank you to existing employers that have made huge investments in the region. Not just in Augusta, but in surrounding counties, Burke, Columbia, Screven, Jenkins, all those counties are well represented here,” said Dennis Trotter, Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “It’s a great way to say thank you to people who’ve made big investments and recruit new investment coming in, which helps us all with jobs and housing growth through the economy.”

The four-day tour is by invitation only and visits other regions in addition to Augusta. Past tours have stopped in Columbus and Macon, but Augusta is the only city the group visits twice each year.

Each guest will be partnered with a Georgia business leader to accompany them and share their experience of Augusta’s business climate.

“I think we’ve got 60 people today. They all have varying questions. It lets them hear other people’s questions, but having the group behind me in the tent, they not only get my perspective, but they get so many community leaders perspective of why Augusta’s a great place, while the state of Georgia is a great place,” Cal Wray, President of the Augusta Economic Development Authority (AEDA) explained.

Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson said seeds planted during previous tours have borne fruit for the Augusta area.

Augusta Mayor Garnett Johnson greeting Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Sue Parr.

“In the years that we’ve entertained guests, we’ve been fortunate to land many companies that call Augusta home,” he said. “Looking forward to the economic opportunities that will come to the state of Georgia and the CSRA as a result of this tour. As you know, we’ve had Aurubis Richmond, LLC that has made a $700 million investment in this area. We have Syensqo (formerly Solvay Polymers) that’s doing some great things as a result of the Biden-Harris clean energy initiative.”

Wray said Augusta’s success in attracting businesses is obvious at the Augusta Corporate Park off Mike Padgett Highway.

“There’s not as much land left out there. Fortunately, we put a lot of people out there in the last three years. We’re about to put two more out there in the next 30 days. So, we’re now down to less than 100 usable acres in the park from 1,800 acres. So, we’ve announced over 500 jobs in the park, that number will go to over 1,000 in the next 30 days. And that number will only continue to grow with several more expansions that will be announced out there over the next few years,” he said.

According to the Georgia Chamber’s website, “Since its inception in 1960, the Red Carpet Tour has generated more than tens of billions in investments for the state, and tens of thousands of jobs have been created through the expansion or growth of Tour guest companies.”

“The networking is priceless,” Dr. Tom Clark, Executive Director of the Alliance for Fort Eisenhower, told ABD. “It is truly an opportunity to talk to Aurubis, then turn the corner and talk to the President and CEO of Piedmont, then turn around and talk to Major General Stanton, the commanding general of the cyber Center of Excellence. And then have busloads of decision-makers dropped into a tent where you have an opportunity to sell this area.”

This is the first of two days the tour will be in Augusta and attend the Masters Golf Tournament. They will return on Saturday.

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