Deal: Site Selection Ranks Georgia No. 1 for Business for Fifth Straight Year

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia has been named the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business for the fifth consecutive year by Site Selection, a leading economic development trade magazine. According to Site Selection, Georgia is the first state to hold this ranking for five consecutive years under the same governor.

“For the fifth year in a row, Georgia has been named the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business, highlighting the value of our business-friendly environment and the success of our economic development initiatives,” said Deal. “I’d like to thank Site Selection for this recognition. I’m also deeply grateful for the hard work of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), and for the strong foundation laid by our community partners. We are so proud to be ranked No. 1 for business, because behind this ranking is a new job opportunity for a parent, a new business for a community and more economic opportunity for all Georgians.

“By emphasizing strong partnerships on both the state and local levels, we have cultivated an economic environment that produces greater opportunities for hardworking people, generates investment in local communities and improves the overall quality of life for Georgia families. Our low tax burden and economic assets, including a robust workforce and unparalleled connectivity, lead the nation in attracting industry leaders from across the country and around the world. As we continue building upon our strategic resources by investing in workforce development initiatives such as the HOPE Career Grant, we are ensuring that industry leaders remain connected to a skilled labor pool capable of meeting the challenges of today, tomorrow and beyond.

“I am confident that the efforts of state industry leaders, community partners and the people of Georgia will help us maintain this momentum for many years to come.”

Each November, Site Selection releases rankings for the top states in which to do business. Georgia has been ranked among the top 10 states in Site Selection’s business climate rankings throughout the last decade and has held the top spot for the last four years.

“Our Conway Projects Database of new and expanding facilities is the basis of much of this ranking,” said Site Selection Editor-in-Chief Mark Arend. “It tracks private capital projects involving $1 million or more of investment, 20 or more new jobs or 20,000 or more square feet of new construction. Georgia finished in the top five of most of the ranking criteria that are based on those projects, and site selectors ranked Georgia third in the nation in the executive survey component. This makes Georgia the state to beat for the fifth consecutive year, and it signals to our readers and to the broader capital investment community that Georgia competes to win.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of this ranking,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “It’s not only a testament to Governor Deal’s leadership, but to each and every economic development partner across the state. For five years in a row, our top-notch business environment and astounding global infrastructure has earned us this honor. The future of economic development in Georgia is incredibly bright and we are looking forward to more big wins. We are proud of this achievement, and all of the work our local partners do across the state to help Georgia thrive and remain competitive in this dynamic economy.”

Deal also announced the addition of five new strategic industry programs to the HOPE Career Grant, effective January, underscoring the critical importance of training our current and future workforce to meet the needs of employers. The new fields include Construction, Aviation, Electrical Line Work, Logistics and Automotive Technology through the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), bringing the total number to 17 HOPE Career Grant areas of study. This effort is aimed at better aligning Georgia’s workforce with the needs of growing industries and providing students with new opportunities to learn skills that lead to high-wage professional employment.

 About Site Selection

Site Selection, published by Conway Data Inc., delivers expansion planning information to 48,000 executives of fast-growing firms. The senior publication in the development field, Site Selection is also available via Site Selection Online. The publication also publishes or co-publishes e-newsletters, including The Site Selection Dispatch, Life Sciences Report, Aerospace Report and Energy Report; Site Selection International; The FDI Report; Trust and the OnSITE Travel blog.

About the HOPE Career Grant

The HOPE Career Grant (formerly the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant) is designed to supplement the HOPE Grant and pay the full cost of tuition for students enrolling in one of Georgia’s strategic industry program areas. So far in AY 2017, 14,921 individuals have received the grant, which introduces students to innovative fields and provides them with the skills to meet the demands of today’s economic environment. More information about the HOPE Career Grant is available here.


TDS Begins Next Step in Broadband Improvement Project in Pickens, Dawson and Cherokee Counties

TDS Telecom (TDS®) technicians and network engineers are working now to install the core equipment necessary to improve broadband speeds and bring new services to Nelson and Big Canoe and in portions of Pickens, Dawson and Cherokee counties.

TDS begins next step in broadband improvement project in Pickens, Dawson and Cherokee counties

TDS anticipates engineering and construction work to be completed by mid-December. TDS is working to have equipment installs completed by the end of February.  Once all the equipment is installed, TDS will begin migrating customers to the new equipment.  If all goes as scheduled TDS expects customer migration to be completed by the end of June. Once complete, the broadband improvement project will impact thousands of locations in the area.  (map attached)

“Work is moving forward and customers should start seeing improvements in their internet service in spring,” said Tom McCabe, manager State Government Affairs at TDS. “Phase II is then expected to be complete by fall of 2018.”

This past spring, TDS began engineering and design work to improve their network in the area. Customers will see improved speeds during the first phase of the project and then even greater speeds and new products when Phase II of the project is fully complete.

In January, TDS accepted funding from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reach residents in some of the hardest to serve areas in Georgia. The funding is being used to maintain a voice and broadband network as well as building out to 838 locations. Hundreds of additional customers near the network upgrade areas are expected to receive improved service from this network upgrade project.

Georgia residents can visit the TDS website to find out how this federal program may impact their location.

Depending on location, most TDS customers in eligible rural areas will receive broadband speeds of 25Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25/3). Under the agreement with the FCC, the remaining customers will receive broadband service at lower speeds of 10/1 and 4/1Mbps.

TDS has been doing business in Georgia since 1989 and owns four telephone companies in the state. TDS employs about 50 people in Georgia.

Statewide Law Enforcement Warn of DUI Nightmares on Halloween

Safety issues for trick-or-treaters and parents

Halloween is a time for making memories, not causing nightmares so the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is warning this year’s partiers that buzzed driving is still drunk driving no matter how good your costume is.

Nationwide in 2015, 55 people were killed in drunk driving-related crashes on the ghoulish holiday. Eight of those were pedestrian deaths. This means that on Halloween and any other night, if you’re impaired behind the wheel, you’re a danger to yourself, other motorists and those who’ve chosen to walk to their destination. So before the eve of all hallows on October 31, be sure to make a plan to get home safely if your evening will involve alcohol.

“It is imperative that Halloween partygoers make a plan ahead of time for a sober ride home,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “These days, there are far too many options for a sober ride with taxis, public transportation, smartphone apps and friends as designated drivers. And with costumed little ones running from house to house for sugary treats, there are far too many consequences if you don’t get a sober ride.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows 45 percent of all people killed in traffic crashes on Halloween night from 2011 to 2015 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. Children out trick-or-treating and the parents accompanying them are also at risk, with 36 percent of fatal Halloween night pedestrian crashes in the same time period involving drunk drivers. Younger drivers, however, are most at risk. The 21-to-34 age group accounted for 64 percent of Halloween night fatalities in nationwide drunk-driving-related crashes for 2015.

It is also just as important for parents and their trick-or-treaters to safely prepare for an evening of hitting the streets for a sugary bounty. If walking, everyone should stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in the street if possible. If no sidewalks are available, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. And as always, all pedestrians should look both ways before crossing the street and do so only at crosswalks and street corners. Never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.

“Costumes and treat buckets should also include reflective elements to make trick-or-treaters more visible to motorists,” Blackwood said. “It is also a good idea to carry a flashlight with fresh batteries so this year’s crop of superheroes, witches, pirates and princesses can safely find their way.”

The good news is there are lots of easy ways for both motorists and trick-or-treaters alike to have a safely memorable Halloween:

For Trick-or-Treaters and Parents

  • Parents should accompany trick-or-treaters under the age of 12.
  • Review trick-or-treating safety precautions and plan a route ahead of time.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street and use crosswalks as much as possible.
  • Buckle up if driving trick-or-treaters between houses and use appropriate car seats.

For Motorists

  • Plan a safe way home before you go out. For example, arrange for a sober driver, program taxi numbers into your phone or download the Drive Sober, Georgia app to have a list of ride programs at your fingertips.
  • Avoid neighborhood shortcuts and residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
  • Watch for children in the street. Their size means they can be hidden by other cars and they may dart into the street or otherwise avoid crosswalks to get quickly to the next house.
  • Slow down.