W&A Engineering hosted their second annual Georgia Industry Tour this past week at the Textron Specialized Vehicles, Inc. facility in Augusta, Georgia. W&A hosts the event each year to highlight manufacturers across the state who are excelling in their fields, as well as the community partners who support them. Local economic development professionals and service providers from across the state joined the W&A Economic Development team for lunch and a plant tour. It was an opportunity to network with colleagues, absorb lessons from a state if the art manufacturing facility and to hear about new programs and initiatives from leaders in the economic development field.
Economic Development on the Mind in Georgia
Next, attendees heard from Deputy Commissioner of Economic Development, Tom Croteau who shared the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s vision to continue marketing our state as the top place in the nation for doing business. Mr. Croteau explained that the State of Georgia also remains focused, like the local communities, on retention and expansion of existing industry. He shared some of the tools in Georgia’s expanding toolbox to help communities grow existing industry, including regular interaction with the regional project managers who help facilitate programs between the various regulatory departments and the businesses who utilize them. The regional project team is a crucial bridge between statutory incentives that existing companies can utilize such as various tax credits, freeport exemptions and training and recruitment programs and the end user. The Deputy Commissioner expressed genuine excitement about the new initiatives being offered by W&A Engineering and Navigator to better prepare both businesses and communities for the next phase of growth.
Textron Leads the Way in Advanced Manufacturing
Next up, John Collins of Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. gave the gathered crowd an overview to the success and growth of their operations in Augusta. Textron Specialized Vehicles is a division of Textron, Inc., a global company known for brands like EZ GO, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Bell Helicopter, Greenlee, Jacobsen and Kautex, among others. The Textron Specialized Inc. facility in Augusta manufactures golf cars, utility vehicles and personal transportation vehicles and has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Manufacturing Facilities in North America by Industry Week magazine, as well as being the 2009 recipient of the coveted Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence. Textron Specialized Inc. represents the best of the best in Advanced Manufacturing in our state, as evidenced by the continuously improving technology and operational efficiency coming out of their plant.
W&A Announces Existing Industry Expansion Program
W&A Engineering closed the presentations to the gathered crowd with an exciting announcement regarding the latest addition to their development services lineup, the Existing Industry Expansion Program. Jon Williams spoke to the value of the relationships W&A has developed over the last several years by partnering with economic development entities across the state to further their recruitment efforts. The success of those partnerships has led to the creation of a new program to provide W&A’s professional experience to existing industries looking to expand. The Existing Industry Expansion Program, which provides industries considering expansion up to 10 hours of design and consulting services, will provide the ED professionals in W&A’s partner communities a valuable new tool to assist in their ongoing business retention and expansion efforts.
Following the presentations, guests were treated to lunch provided by Honey from the Rock Cafe and were led on an informative tour of the Textron Specialized Vehicles, Inc. facility by production line managers Jeff Wall, Sr. Manufacturing Engineer, Crystal Bass, Manager of Manufacturing Engineering, Ryan Nixon, Operations Leader and Sarah Nunneley, Operations Leader.
W&A Engineering looks forward to hosting next year’s Georgia Industry Tour in another partner community to highlight another one of Georgia’s existing industry success stories.