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Set back, but moving forward
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We’re sorry to see our head industrial recruiter, Courtney Bernardi, leave to go do the same work for the city of Johns Creek.

Her fairly brief stay — she was hired in April — was, at least publicly, a quiet one.

Newton County’s industrial scene has been quiet since Baxter International’s $1 billion, mega announcement in April 2012.

However, Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall told us the county could see the fruits of Bernardi’s efforts in the near future.

Unfortunately, that won’t mean the announcement of another major industry, and Hall said those kinds of announcement won’t be coming until Newton County is ready for them. That’s what Bernardi was working on.

With the exception of Stanton Springs industrial park, where Baxter is building its complex, Hall said Covington and Newton County don’t have industrial-zoned property ready to build on immediately. Hall said companies are looking to move quickly, turning around developments in 90-120 days in some cases.

Bernardi had extensive experience working with private developers in Jackson County to create industrial parks to lure new industries.

All of our wonderful plans in Newton County depend on adding thousands and tens of thousands of high-quality jobs during the coming years and decades. We desperately need a private company or companies to convert some of our wealth of raw land into developed land (with roads and utilities) and speculative buildings.

We’re looking forward to hearing an announcement that will set us up for future success, so the next industrial recruiter can start bringing in jobs and expedite Newton County’s recovery.