High-Tech Heats up Georgia
Learn more about the projects, programs, and incentives that make technology thrive, in exclusive conversations with Ken Stewart, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development
Susan Avery (Southern Tech Sites 2008)
Q. What sectors are poised for growth?
A. We have seven strategically targeted industries that we want to grow in our state, all related to technology: biosciences, logistics, advanced communications, advanced manufacturing, business and finance, agro-forestry, and aerospace.
Q. How is legislation spurring interest?
A. The 2008 legislature provided enhanced incentives to film, media, and entertainment companies, and capped energy costs for manufacturing; redefined the integrated plant theory (exempting machinery and equipment used for manufacturing from sales and use taxes); and revised the laws related to capture of tax credits for payers of the premium tax. We also passed the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Venture Fund, to provide seed and early stage capital and angel funding for intellectual property coming out of our VentureLab.
<Q. What are some recent projects?
A. Technology companies recognize that more of the "the young and the restless," the 25- to 34-year-old, highly-educated populous, has moved to Atlanta in absolute numbers than any other city in America. Recognizing this, ADP announced a 1,000-job call center with high tech telecommunications and call processing systems. DocuSys, Inc., a developer of management systems for anesthesia and medical/surgical applications, relocated its headquarters to Atlanta, creating 300 jobs over the next three years. Dicon Technologies, Inc., a medical component manufacturer, is constructing a new facility in coastal Bryan County that will create up to 100 jobs in the next five years. Chinese electrical components manufacturer General Protecht U.S. Inc. is expected to bring 240 jobs over two years to Barnesville. Samsung Electronics is opening a research and development center at Georgia Tech's advanced communications lab.
Q. What does the future hold?
A. The most recent Center for Innovation, focused on energy in Atlanta, will explore renewable and alternative energy sources. Georgia has more commercial timberland than any state in the nation, which gives us a significant amount of cellulosic material that can be converted to energy products.
Also, a very exciting dynamic is occurring in technology and bioscience. We house the Center for Disease Control, CARE International, the American Cancer Society, the Carter Center, and the American Arthritis Foundation among others. At BIO 2008, we announced the establishment of the National Health Museum, an interactive educational facility representing the health and biosciences worldwide. Next year, Atlanta will host BIO 2009, so you'll see a lot more of Georgia then.