Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership meet Washington officials, discuss Northwest Georgia advanced manufacturing sector

U.S. Rep. Rep. TomGraves meets with Northwest Georgia leaders in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2015
U.S. Rep. Rep. TomGraves meets with Northwest Georgia leaders in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2015

A group of representatives from the Northwest Georgia Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) “Floor360 Consortium” recently attended the 2015 IMCP Summit in Washington, D.C. The Consortium members met with elected officials and partner agencies of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to discuss the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector in Northwest Georgia.


As part of the Oct. 20 visit to Washington D.C., the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) organized a meeting with other IMCP manufacturing communities in their service area, the Tennessee DRIVE community, and the Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing community.

Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), which advises businesses on how to succeed and thrive, has been working with industry and community leaders through a federal EDA grant awarded in 2014 to support the IMPC initiative. The “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” awards were designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs.

“These meetings were designed to provide all of our stakeholders and communities with the opportunity to discuss their respective experiences with IMCP,” said Leigh Hopkins, an EI2 project manager. “We also wanted to study some strategies that other regions have implemented regarding their economic development efforts.”

For example, ARC organized a site visit to the Front Royal Inland Port in Virginia for the Floor360 Consortium. “Since the recent announcement of the Appalachian Inland Port being built in Murray County, it was important for the group to view a relative comparison of how an inland port functions, and its potential economic impact on the community,” Hopkins said.

Floor360 also met with members of the Georgia delegation, including U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, and their staffs regarding transportation improvements to further support the future Appalachian Inland Port. In those meetings, Floor360 encouraged support for the “Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act,” which would make IMCP a long-term initiative into the next presidential administration. Floor360 also met with officials of the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Commerce including Jay Williams, assistant secretary for economic development.

Among those in attendance on behalf of Floor360:

  • Leigh Hopkins: Project Manager, Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech
  • Brian Cooksey: Project Manager, Shaw Industries
  • Deana Perry: Economic Development and Planning, Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
  • Barbara Ward: Director of Workforce Development, Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce
  • Ken Wright: Director of Business and Industry, Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce
  • Larry Johnson: Dean, School of Business and Professor of Economics, Dalton State College
  • Brittany Pittman: Sole Commissioner, Murray County Commissioner’s Office
  • Linda McEntire: Director of Technical Training, Mohawk Industries
  • Joey Faircloth: Vice President for Manufacturing, Mohawk Industries
  • Mike Gallman: Vice President for Product Management, Mohawk Industries
  • Bridgett Massengill: Thrive 2055
  • Tricia Steele: Founder, SAI Digital
  • Greg Richardson: Founder& Managing Partner, Civitium
  • Sarah Harrison: Workforce Development Representative, Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
  • Jenny Cross: Vice President for Corporate Sustainability, Mohawk Industries
  • Ginger Mathis: Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia Northwestern Technical College
  • Kathy Johnson: President, Gordon County Chamber of Commerce
  • Joe Yarbrough: President, Carpet and Rug Institute
  • Steve Taylor: Sole Commissioner, Bartow County Commissioner’s Office
  • Becky Redd: Human Resources Specialist, Mohawk Industries
  • Annaka Woodruff: Program Manager, Appalachian Regional Commission, Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs
  • Lamar Paris: Sole Commissioner, Union County Commissioner’s Office
  • Jason Winters: Sole Commissioner, Chattooga County Commissioner’s Office

About Floor360:
Floor360 is a voluntary consortium of public and private partners tasked to grow and support the 15-county Northwest Georgia region’s floor covering manufacturing industries and surrounding communities. Floor360 received the designation in 2014, and is now among 24 community-focused organizations across the country to be granted preference when applying for $1.2 billion in federal funding to support advanced manufacturing. To date, more than $800,000 has already been awarded to a Floor360 partner, Murray County, to upgrade its wastewater system to further support the region’s flooring industry. For more information on Floor360, please visit:, or contact: ude.hcetag@snikpoh.hgiel.

About the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP):
The IMCP program is a U.S. Department of Commerce initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds, making investments more efficient and effective. IMCP encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments. The Floor360 Consortium has been active since 2014, after Georgia Tech completed an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy for the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission. The strategy was completed using IMCP planning grant funds through the Atlanta office of the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). To learn more about the IMCP program, please visit: