Executives visit Masters Tournament on Red Carpet Tour

Business prospects courted in Augusta
Business prospects on the Georgia Red Carpet tour arrive at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce tent Thursday. They spent about six hours at the Masters.

The lure of the hardest-to-obtain ticket in sports got 27 executives on tour buses Thursday morning.


Day two of the Georgia Red Carpet tour is always Augusta and a chance for executives being courted as business prospects to get to see about six hours of the Masters Tournament.

New York-based cloud computing and data center company Telx is in growth mode, said president and chief financial officer Chris Downie.

“We are actively working on expansion within Georgia and was kind enough to get invited by the folks that I’m working with,” Downie said.

The company has a small facility in Atlanta and about 250 employees scattered across the country.

This is his first trip to the major golf tournament.

Other companies represented on the tour included UPS, Abbott, Sprint, Honeywell and Healthsouth.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, in offering a welcome speech, also named-dropped Augusta’s latest industrial project, Starbucks, which will be breaking ground on a south Augusta facility later this year.

Chris Cummiskey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, said the number of companies on the tour is limited to a manageable level to allow for good personal contact.

“This is not a hard sale. We sit there; we get to know each other on the course. We go meet the governor. I think keeping it small is imperative to success,” Cummiskey said.

With so little time face-to-face with the executives because of their schedule of arriving and then attending the Masters, most of the recruitment work comes after the tour, said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority.

Those on the tour will return to Augusta on Saturday, spending Friday in Atlanta.

“With the Red Carpet Tour responsible for bringing over 15,000 jobs to Georgia over the last 15 years, this event has clearly become one of our state’s most important vehicles for economic development and job creation,” said Chris Clark, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce president.