From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Augusta has many corporations to be proud of

Locals often lament the exodus of corporate headquarters from the area during the corporate consolidation waves of the 1980s and 1990s.

Many look back on the 1960s and 1970s as the golden era of Augusta business because of the clout wielded by locally based companies such as Georgia Railroad Bank, The Graniteville Co., Lily-Tulip Inc., Greenfield Industries and Bankers First Corp. The list goes on and on.

Such corporate offices, particularly headquarters, are good for communities. Corporations are often identified with the cities in which they reside, so they have an incentive to keep the yard looking nice. That’s why the most philanthropic and civically active businesses tend to be those run by local decision-makers.

Although Augusta might never again see the corporate presence it had in years past, things right now are looking pretty good.

All you have to do is take a trip to 1030 Stevens Creek Road, as I did last week to see a product showcase that was put on by the tenant of that address: Husqvarna Consumer Outdoor Products.

The office, though not the corporate headquarters (that’s in Sweden), is responsible for overseeing the lawn mower and chain saw manufacturer’s multibillion-dollar North American operations.

Such a facility signals to other corporations that Augusta is a great place to run a business. Husqvarna is not the only corporate citizen worth showing off, though.
Just behind Husqvarna’s campus is Automatic Data Processing Inc.’s shiny new operations center. The office tells the world that Augusta has the skills to deliver office support services to the New York-based company’s Fortune 500 clients.

Over on Wheeler Road, just across from the recently completed offices for Hull Storey Retail Group, an Augusta-based company that is one of the nation’s largest shopping centers, is the future customer service center for wireless giant T-Mobile.

Over in Columbia County is Club Car Inc., one of the area’s best-known corporate nameplates, which is expanding its office space.
If this trend persists, people might start considering these the golden days.

THEY LIKE US, THEY REALLY LIKE US! One corporation taking notice in the Augusta area is Cincinnati-based retailer Phillips Edison & Co., which recently purchased the small strip center in the Augusta Exchange area that houses Panera Bread, Verizon Wireless and others.

This comes after recently acquiring and upgrading the ailing Bi-Lo-anchored shopping center in North Augusta, where the former Wal-Mart store is now home to the Steve & Barry’s discount clothing store.

“We like the Augusta area,” said John Bessey, Phillips Edison’s vice president of acquisitions.

The company specializes in buying and renovating “distressed” retail properties, which are plentiful in the Augusta area. Any of you real estate folks sitting on vacant property might want to give Mr. Bessey a call.

NUMBER OF THE BEAST: Your Social Security number, along with your name and birthdate, are the only three things a crook needs to perpetrate a fraud in your name.
That’s why I absolutely hate giving out that nine-digit number for anything other anything than taxes and my Social Security account (the latter of which, I’m pretty sure, will not exist by the time I need it).

I’m sure you, too, cringe whenever you’re asked to give out the number willy-nilly every time you see a doctor, buy an insurance policy or write a check at the liquor store.* That’s why I think you’ll be interested in the recent announcement by the Federal Trade Commission to seek public comment on the private-sector use of Social Security numbers. The FTC, concerned about the proliferation of identity theft, wants to know it’s really necessary for such widespread collection and use of the number.

Here’s your chance to tell the guv’ment what you think, especially if you’ve been the victim of identity theft: First thing, get the skinny on what the FTC wants at www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/07/ssn.shtm.

Second , if you want to send in a comment the online way, you need to go to www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/07/ssncomments.shtm to see how to organize your statements. Then, once you’ve done that, go to secure.commentworks.com/ftc-SSNPrivateSector and sound off.

If you want to send in your comment through the mail, address it to: Federal Trade Commission/Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex K), 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

Don’t be afraid to go in depth here, because the FTC wants your comments “as specific as possible, and include, where possible, studies, surveys, research and cost estimates.” Just make sure you send in everything before the Sept. 5 deadline.

IF you’re REALLY IN A PUBLIC COMMENT MOOD: You still have two weeks to give your 2 cents on a pending agreement between various companies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up contaminated soils, sediments and groundwater around the Dixie-Narco vending machine plant in Williston, S.C.

The estimated $5.4 million clean up of the property, officially known as the Admiral Home Appliances Superfund, is being paid by Dixie-Narco and others who had a hand in operating the property, including former owner Maytag Corp. and Rheem Manufacturing Co. According to the EPA’s consent decree, more than 3,500 cubic yards of soil and sediments along County Road 65 were contaminated by chromium, mercury and a bunch of unpronounceable chemical compounds from 1966 (when Chill Chest Inc. began operating a freezer manufacturing plant at the site) through 1982.

Dixie-Narco’s current owner, Connecticut-based Crane Co., is not named in the clean up agreement.

You can obtain a copy of the consent decree on the Justice Department Web site at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html or, if you happen to be in Atlanta, at the EPA’s regional office there. Or you can call me and I’ll send you a copy via e-mail. But you have to ask pretty-please.

* They do that to you, too, right?

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Chief_Broom
21
Points
Chief_Broom 08/09/07 - 08:47 am
0
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In my business (long time

In my business (long time local business owner) when we accept personal checks we only require that the person presenting the check provide their driver's license so that we can record all of that information in the event that it becomes necessary to collect on a bounced check.

SugarFoot
0
Points
SugarFoot 08/09/07 - 11:56 pm
0
0
What is referenced in this

What is referenced in this article are low paying service sector and blue collar manufacturing jobs. Whereas other medium sized cities in Georgia like Columbus have corporate headquarters like AFLAC and Synovus, Augusta has corporate outposts. If you want a job in a call center or a factory, then Augusta is just fine.. but if you want a high paying job in upper mamagement or information technology, then Augusta is not the place to be. Augusta has not just lost political clout, but also business clout. It has become a corporate backwater. Unless the high paying creative economy jobs start to come back to Augusta, it will continue on its march toward economic insignificance.

Dixieman
16479
Points
Dixieman 08/10/07 - 05:43 pm
0
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I came here in 2001 to start

I came here in 2001 to start a small consulting business because I knew the area (stationed at Ft. Gordon in the late '60's) and liked it and because it was central to the Southeast...everyone I met told me (a) I was the first person they met who had move TO Augusta to start a business here, and (b) I was crazy.

mrs_mac
0
Points
mrs_mac 08/13/07 - 09:28 am
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Mr. Cline, Thank you soooo

Mr. Cline, Thank you soooo much for telling the truth about rBST! Not only did you tell the truth, but you put in terms that a layman can understand, and even managed to make it funny. I chuckled several times. I work for the Monsanto Augusta Facility that produces rBST, and it makes me sick in my stomach to here the milk marketers bash such a great product just to put money in their pockets. This milk IS exactly the same as any other milk and the cows are perfectly healthy. I love the reference to seedless watermelons! You can also equate the hormone to being similar to insulin used by diabetics. Is milk produced by a nursing diabetic mother any different than anyone elses? Oh wait, she'd better stop breast feeding her baby or it may get cancer! The rBST hormone is a wonderful innovation to producing more milk with the livestock available. The farmers benefit because they make more money with the same number of cows. The consumer benefits because it reduces the cost of milk. But the milk marketers don't want to see the price of milk go down. So, what do they do? They prey on the unsuspecting public and intentionally use "junk science" to promote charging more for "organic" milk, just to pad their pockets. The sad thing is, the farmers do not benefit from this profit. In fact, they suffer the loss of the extra milk production. By the way, milk produced from cows innoculated with rBST is also "organic"! This whole mess is a total lie to put more money in their pockets and they could care less if they are hurting the farmers, the consumers, or especially, those of us who work for a fantastic company that is making a fantastic product. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest!

asm775
0
Points
asm775 08/13/07 - 01:19 pm
0
0
Mr. Cline hasn't done enough

Mr. Cline hasn't done enough research. rBST causes cows to produce more milk which means that they get milked more often. This requires their utters to become irritated and infected. The puss created from the infections goes in our milk and is not removed in the pasteurization process. The FDA has said that a certain amount of puss in milk is ok and if it reaches a certain level that alters the flavor of the milk, they flavor it - CHOCOLATE. So, essentially if you love chocolate milk, you're drinking puss covered by chocolate flavoring. I know farmers and employees that work closely with the cows and trust me, the only BS is in articles like these that Mr. Cline has written. Also, beyond the age of 5 or 7 (a young age, anyway), drinking milk is no longer beneficial. It actually traps bacteria and viruses and I have found that since I stopped drinking milk 6 months ago, I actually get sick much less often...hmm...I actually haven't gotten sick at all. Buy the milk. Who cares about whether or not you're drinking puss. Drink up, buddy. Drink up.

mrs_mac
0
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mrs_mac 08/13/07 - 01:54 pm
0
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I have personally read tons

I have personally read tons of literature from the industry and reputable scientific facts by non-biased government and third party researchers, and I have NEVER heard of anything this ridiculous. Who is paying you? This is exactly the kind of junk science that puts fear into the hearts of Americans. If we were to believe everything we hear, we'd starve to death, because we wouldn't be able to eat or drink ANYTHING. And if by some chance that "puss" is a part of milk, then it would not be just from cows using rBST, it would be from ANY cow that has an irritation caused from any number of things. So your gripe, educated or not, is with MILK in general and has nothing to do with the rBST hormone. Again, there is NOOOOOOOO difference in the milk! Do I think there might be puss in milk? I don't know. But if there is, it would be such a microbial amount that it couldn't possibly cause harm. Otherwise, the FDA would not allow it. Did you know that the sugar you use is allowed to have so many parts per million of insect pieces in it to be approved? Sounds gross that you may have roach legs or fly wings in your sugar doesn't it? But the fact is that it is such a small amount it is nearly undetectable and can't hurt you. And there's NO way to prevent it. Can you prevent flies from getting into your house? I can't. There are thousands of stories like this about everything you eat, and they are blown way out of preportion by extremists like you. You're the one that needs to bone up on your research before you go around scaring the innocent public. I also know people who know these farmers, and I can tell you that they are extremely upset that they are being forced to stop using rBST. And they take very good care of their cows and would be highly offended at your insinuation that they mistreat their cows. If you don't want to drink milk, that's your business. But I will continue to drink milk, ESPECIALLY from cows using rBST, and I will no longer shop at either Kroger or Publix for promoting this fear tactic.

chronicle1reader
0
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chronicle1reader 08/13/07 - 02:11 pm
0
0
Give me a break asm775. Mr.

Give me a break asm775. Mr. Cline may or may not have done his research, BUT the FDA has. (Read the first quote at the beginning of his article.) I'm willing to bet that the amount of research you have done is probably less than what the FDA has done. It is also interesting to note that you attribute getting "sick much less often" to not drinking milk in the last 6 months. But you've been drinking milk for 20(?) years (rBST milk for the last 10+). What took you so long to blame the milk? (Maybe because it's not the milk.)

mrs_mac
0
Points
mrs_mac 08/13/07 - 02:39 pm
0
0
Exactly! I haven't been

Exactly! I haven't been sick in the last 6 months, and I drink rBST milk every day. Thank you!

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