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Publicly-traded company eyes Rockdale
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A major company is seriously considering bringing 400 to 600 "well-paying" jobs to Rockdale, Conyers Rockdale Economic Development Council Executive Director Marty Jones told his board of directors on Aug. 12.

Jones said he is "sworn to secrecy" on most details, including the company's identity, except that it is publicly traded and would offer mostly white-collar jobs. He said he is optimistic the deal will go through.

"We should hear something, I think positively, in the next couple of weeks," Jones told the board.

"This'll be a home run, not a single," added Conyers Mayor Randy Mills, the board's chairman, who is privy to the details of the deal.

That would add to booming big business in Conyers-Rockdale. Jones reported that since Jan. 1, more than 1,200 major-industry jobs have been preserved or created here, and 1.2 million square feet of industrial space either built or filled with tenants.

"I think those are pretty big numbers," Jones said. "It's important to celebrate those wins and recognize we are on the upswing in the community."

Meanwhile, CREDC is working on several big-picture strategies, including a package of marketing materials, outreach to major retailers, and some overall development goals.

The board wants to better focus Jones's work of bringing employers to town, based on types of businesses and land uses, but has no clear plan. That ties into another issue-CREDC's budget, which it will be asking the city and county to increase.

County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt, the board's vice chairman, noted that a more focused plan will help sell government on increasing funding, and particularly pushed for county Chairman Richard Oden to be involved. After some discussion, Mills proposed a half-day meeting with key leaders to hash out a basic plan and the budget boost.

CREDC has traditionally focused on attracting industrial development, but now is getting involved more in retail as well. Earlier this year, the board formed a retail subcommittee that decided CREDC will work on large-scale retail projects, while the Chamber of Commerce will work with individual store and franchises. Step one of the new plan involves Jones reaching out to the brokers of every major retail development currently in Rockdale to find out their needs and issues.

The Conyers-based Shadowood Agency and are working on a package of printed and digital marketing materials that both CREDC and the Chamber will use. A draft is expected by the end of the month. The board will request the companies to do a presentation on the draft materials and ask Oden to attend as well.