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Industry execs invited to take community tour
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Large industries are vital to a city and county, employing hundreds and forming a solid tax base, and by the same token those industries scour for the right location to provide utilities, transportation and an educated work force. But sometimes industry officials don’t realize everything a location has to offer, and busy executives and employees don’t have the opportunity to explore the place they work.

That’s why Covington and Newton County leaders, along with several other organizations, are inviting the county’s 13 largest industries to a community tour and lunch, where those industries’ top executives will learn about their community, meet local leaders and network with their fellow executives.

Invitations are going out today for the Oct. 6 event, which was conceived by a C.R. Bard executive who wanted to become more involved in his community and meet local leaders and his fellow executives.

At the July 6 city council work session, Mayor Kim Carter said the executive said C.R. Bard’s business was greatly changing from manufacturing to more research and development, and as a result it was facing new challenges: looking for better office space and trying to recruit primarily Ph.D employees. The executive thought similar industries might face some similar challenges, so he suggested a meeting with top executives at other major employers to share concerns, ideas and solutions.

Carter said it was great idea to make sure the city and county were doing everything they needed to help out their local industries.

"We know from an economic development point of view that it’s always great to pay as much attention as possible to existing industry. It’s much cheaper and easier to keep industry than it is to bring in new industries," Carter said.

From that meeting with C.R. Bard the idea grew and eventually the Oct. 6 event was planned. Carter said The Chamber, city, and county are working to finalize details of the event, which will include a tour, an interactive question and answer session, a light lunch and an opportunity for executives to network.

"It’s going to be a good event. Most communities regularly interact with their existing industry, but we’re trying to step it up one more notch, to show them how appreciative we are of them," Carter said.

Snapping Shoals EMC, Georgia Power, the Ga Department of Economic Development and Electric Cities of Georgia are also collaborating in the event, with Snapping Shoals and Georgia Power, sponsoring the event, Chamber Economic Development Director Shannon Davis said.

Davis said she hopes the industry executives will learn about where the county and city are headed and how the executives can benefit from the economic development plans and tools, like the airport and Stanton Springs industrial park.

"Part of this day will be introducing these concepts to these folks who may or may not live in community and see to how their work is a part of the future plan and growth of this community," Davis said. "For example, Stanton Springs is an economic development engine. Maybe a business has a supplier who wants to be located close by, and if that industry isn’t familiar with the community they may not know we have available land that close.

"We’ll also talk about their concerns about where can they can hold corporate functions? Where can their staffs go to eat lunch? Where can they put their senior vice president when he or she comes to the city."