Category Archives: Jackson

Collins Talks Policy with Jackson Business Community

JEFFERSON, Ga.—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce for breakfast this Wednesday to discuss national policy issues impacting the local economy. After scrambled eggs, hash browns and a word of prayer, Collins began the conversation with the roughly 75 people in attendance.

“I love coming back to Jackson County, I love coming back home because I hear your stories and I go back and tell those stories because we’re seeing good things happen,” said Collins as he recounted the way federal tax reform and deregulation have fueled growth in Northeast Georgia businesses.

Under President Trump, Congress has passed 16 Congressional Review Act resolutions, which Collins explained “do away with regulations that were promulgated by the [Obama] Administration over past years.”

“We did away with 16 of those, and we have seen growth in the economy,” he said.

Collins also highlighted the significance of increasing troop pay and defense investment in a time when the military is losing more people to training accidents than in combat.

Workforce development continues to be a priority for job creators like those in Jackson’s Chamber of Commerce, and Collins’ prison reform bill, the FIRST STEP Act, would conserve federal resources and increase public safety by preparing incarcerated men and women with skills to contribute to the work force after they’ve completed their sentences.

“Ninety percent of all inmates currently incarcerated will come home at some point, so the question for us is, do we simply have places to hold them . . . until they get out and have no skills and no opportunity—nothing—and then basically within five years, 76 percent of them go back into jail?” asked Collins, arguing that rehabilitating  men and women and training them to fill jobs in an expanding economy serves communities well.

“I believe work is dignity,” he added, before updating the group on his efforts to improve rural broadband and taking questions from around the room.

Several attendees raised questions about immigration, which Collins addressed head on, explaining that he’d voted repeatedly to fund the border wall and end the separation of families at the border, but both bills failed to pass in the House. Collins also outlined the need to improve the legal immigration process, establish a stronger border, put an e-verify system in place and ensure that agricultural and other operations can access the workforce they need.

Chamber members closed the meeting with questions about infrastructure development. From Collins’ perspective, reducing regulations, building up broadband capabilities and supporting the completion of the Savannah port are keys to continuing growth across the state.

Deal: GE Appliances to Create 100 Jobs in Jackson County

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that GE Appliances, a manufacturer of household appliances, will create 100 jobs and invest $55 million in a new Southeast Region Appliance Distribution Center in Commerce. Construction of the new facility will be completed by April 2019.

“Georgia’s business-friendly climate continues to attract manufacturing leaders such as GE Appliances while driving significant investment opportunities across the state,” said Deal. “By utilizing our highly-skilled workforce and business-ready transportation infrastructure, the company will strengthen its competitive edge and reach customers throughout the Southeast. We value GE Appliances’ commitment to creating quality jobs in Georgia and look forward to strengthening this partnership in the years to come.” 

“GE Appliances is growing, and we are excited to add a new warehouse in Northern Georgia to our network of appliance distribution centers located across the country,” said Mark Shirkness, vice president of distribution for GE Appliances. “The Southeast Region Area Distribution Center will join the largest distribution network in the appliance industry with the ability to deliver products in three days or less to 90 percent of U.S. homes. We are proud to say our delivery and installation quality of service scores are best in class in the home goods category. This new facility in Jackson County will help us build on that record of delivering for our consumers.”

“We are so excited to welcome GE Appliances to Commerce,” said City of Commerce Mayor Clark Hill. “Their investment in this community will bring quality jobs and open the Highway 98 Corridor to a great future of quality growth. There is no doubt that this will provide significant support to the Commerce City Schools and we look forward to adding our newest corporate citizen with the GE brand that we all know so well.” 

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, GE Appliances has a strong presence in Georgia with 1,960 employees at Roper Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary in LaFayette, and 50 employees supporting its Factory Service Operations based out of Atlanta.

 “Jackson County’s strategic location, strong workforce and quality of life continue to attract significant investment from well-recognized companies like GE Appliances,” said Jackson County Commission Chairman Tom Crow. “We welcome GE Appliances as a partner in our wonderful community.”

 Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Senior Project Manager Joshua Stephens represented the Global Commerce Division in partnership with the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce and the Electric Cities of Georgia. 

“Industry leader GE Appliances is a welcome addition to our robust business community,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “This is a well-deserved win for Jackson County, and I applaud our local economic development partners for their diligence throughout this project.”

 About GE Appliances

GE Appliances, a Haier company, creates good things for life through a passion for great appliances and the happiness they can bring to every household. With the Monogram®, Café™, GE Profile™, GE™, Haier and Hotpoint brands, GE Appliances provides choices for improving kitchens and homes each day. Product offerings include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners and water filtration systems. For more information, visit

Georgia DOT Selects the Apparent Best Proposer for I-85 Widening

The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) on Friday opened the sealed bids for the I-85 Widening project north of Atlanta, the first project let to bid as part of the Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP). The I-85 widening project will provide an additional general purpose lane in each direction from I-985 to north of SR 53 along the I-85 corridor. Additionally, the project will replace five bridges in the project limits.  The team of C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Inc. and Infrastructure Consulting & Engineering, PLLC is the apparent successful proposer for this important project.

The Department used a best-value, variable-scope procurement approach, incentivizing competition to provide the most lane miles of widening within a maximum budget. As a result, the team’s proposal for the design-build project includes a bid for an additional 4 miles of capacity beyond the base scope in both northbound and southbound directions at a cost of $114.8 million.

Once the proposal has been validated to ensure conformance requirements, the Department expects to officially confirm the C.W. Matthews and Infrastructure Consulting & Engineering team award in October 2017.

Construction is anticipated to begin in summer 2018. The C.W. Matthews team anticipates completion by fall of 2020.

“This variable-scope procurement method proved once again that we can gain additional value by promoting competition,” said Georgia DOT Public Private Partnership (P3) Director K. Joe Carpenter. “In addition to added scope, this process allows for multiple segments to open to traffic early, providing much-needed capacity along this busy corridor.”

The I-85 Widening project is one of eleven statewide projects under Georgia DOT’s MMIP that is advancing key mobility projects that will yield a significant reduction in congestion along key freight and passenger corridors, improving safety and mobility statewide.

For more information on Georgia DOT’s MMIP initiative, visit