They (maybe) finally settled on their new name: Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority; see Minutes. Interesting discussion about Express Scripts, and some details about presenters at the next day’s Community Economic Development meeting. I talked about the Alapaha River Water Trail.
Here’s the agenda, with a few notes, and links to the videos.
Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 5:30 p.m.
Development Authority Conference Room
103 Roosevelt Drive
Monthly Meeting Agenda
- Regular Meeting, July 15, 2014
Jerry Jennett pointed out their minutes used more than one variant of their name for themselves.
- Executive Session, July 15, 2014
- Special Called Meeting. August 13, 2014
- Executive Session, August 13, 2014
Video. They had moved some funds from marketing to project development.
Marketing and Community Relations Update-Meghan Duke
- Public Relations & Marketing Opportunities
Their open house at the new office went well; they did PR on that.
- Press Release
- Community Economic Development Meeting (August 20): Guest List, Invitation, Conference Center arrangements
They’re holding a site selection training meeting at the Conference Center with assorted community leaders.
- Valdosta North Rotary Program (August 19)
- Business After Hours arrangements (August 28)
They’re doing a business after hours with the Chamber.
- Great Promise Partnership
Langdale is partnering with VLCDA in something called Great Promise Partnership; forthcoming press release at Langdale with Wiregrass Tech students participating. Doesn’t seem to be any news on that.
- Global Agribusiness Opportunity Symposium
- Wiregrass Georgia: Early Education Empowerment Zone
- GDEcD and GEDA Small Business Rockstar Nomination
Average time spent on website per user is 20 minutes; quite long. 26% return visits, which is also high.
Project Report-Allan Ricketts
- Project Color
New project. Food production, based in U.S. midwest; wants to expand into U.S. southeast. Could be $20 million capital investment and 30-40 new jobs with pay 10% above the regional average.
- Project Maroon
Existing Industry-Allan Ricketts
- Existing Industry Visits
- Existing Industry Expansion Projects
- Express Scripts
In second cohort of training, May through December, about 175 new customer service reps hired and trained expected in that process.
After Col. Ricketts finished, Tom Call wanted to know, given there had been little capital investment since the reps are based out of their own homes, how many jobs had they created?
Answer from Col. Ricketts: 135 jobs, mostly work-at-home customer reps., trained, provided equipment, start at $10/hour, with full benefits. Additional 175 in training, with still more being talked about.
Exec. Dir. Andrea Schruijer added that it was nonetheless a competitive bid that they wond for that project.
- Project Treadway (Fussell Tire & Service)
Site development for that in Westside Business Park, 8 acres.
- Project Loaf
Logistics distribution project, last 6-7 months, Guptona nd Ricketts talked to them that morning. Except construction in about 3 weeks.
- Project Cold
Food production and processing. Local industry that wants to expand.
- Project White Cadillac
Another food and distribution project. Final determination for type of building expected soon. Concrete block, steel wall, other?
- Project Patient
Customer patient service center expansion. Want to relocate around 24 August 2014. Announcement expected around then. They’re already training folks. Needed parking facilities. VLCIA asked VSU; VSU provided 15 parking spaces for training.
- Community Business and Industry Partnership
- International Agribusiness Symposium (October 2014)
VLCIA session is Wednesday 8 October 2014 in Tifton.
Industrial park acreage remains unchanged. Updates expected with new projects.
Building Committee Update
Final nits like fixing broken light fixtures on new office building.
Later Chairman Mary Gooding commended the staff for an apparently smooth, on-budget, on-time office move.
VLCIA Officer Nominating Committee Update
Video. Addressed out of agenda order.
- Slate of Officers for Consideration
The nominations are: Chair Tom Call, Vice Chair Roy Copeland, Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Jennett.
Executive Director’s Report- Andrea Schruijer
Video. She showed a slide saying 75 existing industyr visits, 9 expansion opportunities identified or in progress, 12 Georgia RFI submissions, and 560 new jobs, plus $2.5 million solar capital investment with 25 temporary construction or engineering jobs.
- Proposed Budget Review
Budget Committee was Tom Call and Jerry Jennett. Slide and her presentation said they were on-time with payments and under budget, even though there was an increase in some industrial park operational expenses, apparently in utility bills.
- Community Meeting Regarding Econmic Development-August 20, 2014
Video. Georgia Power people coming down from Atlanta for this: Jonathan Sangster, General Manager – Economic Development, Jennifer Zeller, Director of Research. Also Kate McEnroe of Kate McEnroe Consulting about how the local community looks from the outside and how to improve appearance.
- Request for Support Letter from Brooks County Development Authority for Elec-Tech
- Private/Public Partnership Regarding Speculative Building
Video. Increase in number of projects asking for smaller building, especially food processing companies, which is a target market. Renovation of existing buildings costs too much. So research on speculative buildings. GA Dept. of Econ. Dev. did survey on size, type, looks of spec. buildings. Could be community owned, or public-private partnership, where developer builds it. Have large buildings, 250-380 (units?), but need smaller ones.
Douglas-Coffee County has successful spec building program. Have to hold onto them for long time, but does work. Typically three walls and a roof; no floors. Funded directly by development authority.
Tom Call said with recession vacant lots sell better with houses on them. Ditto for commercial lots and buildings. Also if building doesn’t suit, can sit on it for 5-10 years.
Andrea Schruijer said typically potential industry says what they want, but you start with 3 walls, roof, water, sewer, etc. Food projects require special floors, which usually aren’t in existing buildings.
Jerry Jennett mentioned a previous episode where they tried a public-private partnership with a local developer and it didn’t work. Nobody else seemed to have been with the organization long enough to remember that.
Video. One prospect and general correspondence.
Citizens to Be Heard
- Alapaha River Water Trail –John S. Quarterman
I talked about the Water Trail that WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. is developing on the Alapaha River with a tiny grant from the Georgia River Network, and how that was a plus for local economic development that wouldn’t cost VLCDA a dime. See separate post.
Adjourn General Meeting Into Executive Session
Video. They didn’t actually have an executive session, so they adjourned.
Adjourn Executive Session into General Meeting
Adjourn General Meeting
Mission of the Valdosta Lowndes Development Authority
“Create an environment to attract new industry and promote the growth of existing industry to drive job creation and capital investment.”
Here’s a video playlist:
Videos: Georgia Power, Rotary, Tires
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Tom Call, Roy Copeland, Mary Gooding, Chairman, Jerry Jennett, Terri Lupo, Andrea Schruijer, Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton, Attorney, Tom Davis, CPA, Allan Ricketts, Project Manager,S. Meghan Duke, Public Relations & Marketing Manager, Lu Williams, Operations Manager,
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 August 2014.