A sk Pat Wilson,
“WE LEARN TO UNDERSTAND A COMPANY’S NEEDS IN THE AREA AND PROVIDE A POINT OF CONTACT TO HELP THEM FIND THE RIGHT SPOT TO LAND IN GEORGIA. WE ARE THE QUARTERBACK ON THE STATE’S TEAM, AND WE PULL IN THE PLAYERS THAT ARE NEEDED.” -PAT WILSON COMMISSIONER, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (GDEcD)
commissioner of the Georgia Department
Logistics thrives in Georgia, Wilson says, because leaders have long under- stood that logistics is the art and science of making connections. Under the lead- ership of Gov. Brian Kemp, Wilson’s department is charged with the respon- sibility of linking the state’s assets to form what Wilson describes as a “logis- tics juggernaut.” In addition to the state’s geographic, economic, education, and infrastruc- ture advantages, the most vital links in the supply chain are Georgians them- selves. Wilson tells the story of a CEO who made a site-selection visit to the state. After deciding to locate in Georgia, the CEO said what impressed him most was the familiarity business and political leaders had with one another. “Everybody in that room knew each other,” Wilson quotes the CEO as saying after meeting with business and govern- ment leaders. It was, the executive said, an experience unlike any other. Site-selection experts often teach the lesson: In order for a location to attract business, it rst must be somewhere that people want to live. For both busi- ness and pleasure, that requires great of Economic Development (GDEcD), to explain why his state repeatedly is cited as an American logistics superstar, and be prepared to hear— among the litany of obvious logistics assets including location, ports, roads, airports, education, workforce, and business climate—the one element that literally puts it all together: connections.
remarkable,” Wilson says. Across responsibilities—including interna- tional trade—the GDEcD team has helped companies pivot from their orig- inal strategies, source raw materials for their retooled production, and navi- gate new protocols for health, safety, and sustainability. Locales as diverse as China, Brazil, and Canada have provided direct aid and support while continuing to work with the state government to keep their Georgia-based employees safe and productive. The Center’s specialty is drilling down to the details and linking new and expanding businesses to staff experts and external partners and to independent mentors who can help spark inspired solutions for challenges and opportuni- ties of any size. The Center identies “touch points” for businesses, including private sector partners, says Wilson. All services are free of charge. The Center’s logistics team helps companies improve sup- ply chain efciencies, support growth, and increase global competitiveness. It connects companies to the techni- cal industry expertise, collaborative research, and partnerships that car- go-owning companies need. LONG-TERM SUPPORT Not only does the state government pride itself on recruiting businesses to Georgia and providing assistance in times of urgent need, but it also is struc- tured to provide long-term support “once a company lands in Georgia,” Wilson says.
schools, great services, and an environ- ment of hospitality, cooperation, and mutual support. It all comes down to connections. And in Georgia, those connections often begin at the GDEcD. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is being a one- stop shop for companies,” Wilson says. “We are the connection. We help lever- age all the resources. That’s our place in the model.” “All the resources” include technical colleges, universities, and local part- ners such as utilities, in addition to the state’s ports, airports, rail lines, roads, and highways. The GDEcD’s Global Commerce team focuses on helping companies of all sizes, industries and regions—from Georgia and from across the globe— make the connections they need to ensure their businesses ourish in the Peach State. RAPID RESPONSE To achieve that goal, external prob- lems must be dealt with promptly and effectively. In March 2020, for example, Gov. Kemp called on businesses to assist in providing necessary medical resources in the wake of the pandemic. The Global Commerce team con- tinues to help Wilson’s department spearhead this effort along with the department’s Center of Innovation by connecting with manufacturers, small businesses, and innovators from across the state to produce, store, and distribute critical healthcare supplies. “The response that our team has received from our partners has been
62 Inbound Logistics • March 2022
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