Georgia is at the top of its game – in both football and business.
The 8-0 Bulldogs were No. 1 this week in the first College Football Playoff rankings this year. It’s an amazing feat in Coach Kirby Smart’s second year, though perhaps unsurprising to loyal fans, who’ve been treated this year to as complete a team as we’ve seen in years.
Less surprising still is the fact that the state of Georgia has been ranked No. 1 in business climate for the fifth straight year by Site Selection magazine.
Georgia is the first state to ever claim that distinction for five straight years under the same governor, Gov. Nathan Deal.
It’s not just talk and theory, either. Amazon also recently announced the creation of a new 500-job, $90 million distribution hub in Macon. And as the retail/Internet giant is shopping around for a second 50,000-job headquarters, the Atlanta area is in the running.
Augusta has had its own success stories, with an exploding cyber industry since the Pentagon’s decision in 2013 to move the Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon; ground was broken late last year on the first phase of building there that could ultimately add up to as much as $2 billion in construction alone in the next 10 years.
And that doesn’t count the new $60 million Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center being built on Augusta’s downtown riverfront, which will be home to public and private cyber-related activities, training and education.
All this is why it’s so important, and Augusta is so fortunate, that former mayor Deke Copenhaver has been named interim executive director of the Development Authority of Richmond County, replacing the retired Walter Sprouse until the end of the year.
Copenhaver’s time in the post may be limited, but it’s such a dynamic growth period in Augusta history right now that we couldn’t let that seat be vacant even for a few months.
And there’s rarely been an elected official here that has been such an effective salesman for all the area has to offer potential and expanding companies. Copenhaver’s terms as mayor saw the arrival and expansion of such companies as ADP, Rural Sourcing Inc., Unisys and Starbucks.
This is how you get to be No. 1 – in either football or business.
You get the best people into the right positions, and then you keep grinding.