Gov. Kemp taps Center for Economic Development Research director for coronavirus task force

Alfie Meek is an economist and director of the Center for Economic Development Research at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. (Photo: Jennifer Stalcup)

Looking to anticipate and blunt the effects of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic on Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has convened a coronavirus task force that looks at the economic, health, emergency response and preparedness, and housing implications of the deadly disease.

 

The 66-member task force is comprised of four subcommittees, including one focused on economic impact. That subcommittee includes Alfie Meek, economist and director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR) at Georgia Tech.

 

“The role of the Economic Impact Subcommittee is to help predict the economic effects on the state of Georgia from COVID19 and make recommendations,” Meek said. “We‘re also being asked to brainstorm policies that might be implemented to help ease the economic pain from this event.”

 

Meek has more than 25 years of experience in economic/fiscal impact analysis and community-based research. He leads the five-member CEDR staff, which works with its clients — economic developers, community leaders, and industry — to help them understand the opportunities and challenges in fostering local and regional economic development.

 

Meek is one of three economists selected to serve on the governor’s task force subcommittee. The others are Jeffrey Dorfman, the state fiscal economist who is the subcommittee chairman, and Thomas Cunningham the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s chief economist.

 

The full subcommittee met for the first time on March 19 in a virtual conference call.

 

“One clear goal is to represent the many different facets of Georgia’s economy that we think will be economically vulnerable at this time,” Meek said.

 

In addition to Dorfman, Cunningham, and Meek, the Economic Impact Subcommittee members include:

  • Allan Adams, State Director UGA Small Business Development Center
  • Nick Ayers, Managing Partner AFH Capital
  • Will Bentley, Georgia Agribusiness Council
  • Donna Bowman, Office of the State Treasurer
  • Labor Commissioner Mark Butler
  • Peter Carter, Delta Air Lines Chief Legal Officer (and Chair, Metro Chamber)
  • Bill Douglas, Athens First Bank & Trust
  • Georgia State Sen. Frank Ginn
  • Walter Kemmsies, economic consultant to Georgia Ports Authority
  • Steve McCoy, Chief Investment Officer, Office of the State Treasurer
  • Richard McPhail, Chief Financial Officer, Home Depot
  • Georgia House Rep. Clay Pirkle
  • Joe W. Rogers, III, Waffle House
  • Jessica Simmons, Department of Revenue Deputy Commissioner
  • Jim Sprouse, Executive Director Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association
  • Will Wade, Georgia Student Finance Commission

Georgia Institute of Technology launches the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR) and its partners announce the launch of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart). The effort is the first statewide program to support local governments across Georgia with seed funding, technical assistance, and more as they plan and activate smart development.

 

Georgia Smart seeks proposals in the areas of smart mobility and smart resilience. Each of the four winning teams will receive direct grant funding of up to $50,000, as well as additional funds for research and technical assistance with a required local match.

 

The grants are made possible through funding from the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Power Co. Also supporting this effort are the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Centers for Innovation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and the Technology Association of Georgia.

 

Two of the winning teams will be from rural communities and the other two from more urban Georgia cities.

 

“We’ve spent the past year in workshops and dialogue with local governments across Georgia to better understand their challenges and priorities. From these communications, we developed a program that is sensitive to the local context while fast-tracking smart communities,” said Debra Lam, managing director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. “We aim to create more models for smart development that can be shared and applied across the state and beyond.”

 

The first program of its kind in the United States, Georgia Smart brings together an unprecedented coalition of university, industry, and public sector partners to support local governments’ adoption of cutting-edge technologies in their communities. The program is also unique in that it extends beyond large cities to smaller communities whose voices have not been as prominent in smart community development and who may not have access to technology resources.

 

The Georgia Smart initiative is open to all communities in Georgia. Local Georgia governments of any size — cities, counties, or consolidated city-county governments — will lead selected teams. Georgia Smart will provide seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher will assist and advise each team and conduct research in support of the community’s needs and goals.

 

CEDR will provide strategic planning and facilitation assistance to the recipients of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge grants, and help those communities activate their smart community plans. For more information on the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, please contact Leigh Hopkins, senior project manager with Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at 404.894.0933 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

 

Comprised of a dozen programs, including CEDR, EI2 is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development.

 

“This is a chance for communities — both urban and rural — to look at ways of moving their economies forward by focusing on ideas centered on innovation, transportation, and broadband infrastructure among other economic development opportunities,” Hopkins said. “We’re looking forward to working with the winning teams and help them develop their ideas.”

 

Georgia Tech and its partners will work with the winning teams throughout the year on implementing their proposals, creating four testbeds of smart community development. For more information on applying for the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, visit: http://smartcities.gatech.edu/georgia-smart.

U.S. Commerce Secretary visits Northwest Georgia

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, (fifth from left) and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams (far left) were in Northwest Georgia on May 6 to visit several manufacturing facilities and discuss ways to build a skilled curriculum for the next generation working in a highly automated manufacturing environment and better engage parents and teachers to redefine manufacturing,

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, (fifth from left) and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams (far left) were in Northwest Georgia on May 6 to visit several manufacturing facilities and discuss ways to build a skilled curriculum for the next generation working in a highly automated manufacturing environment and better engage parents and teachers to redefine manufacturing. (Photo credit: Eric Beavers)

U.S. Dept. of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams visited Northwest Georgia recently to tour the Engineered Floors facility and the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy.

They participated in a round table discussion with the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) Consortium, Floor360, and Communities That Work Partnership (CTWP) leaders from industry, workforce development and the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy.

The May 6 discussion centered on building a skilled curriculum for the next generation working in a highly automated manufacturing environment, better engagement of parents and teachers to redefine manufacturing, development of skilled pathways to manufacturing employment through apprenticeships, and the launch of the new Advanced Manufacturing and Business Academy (AMBA) at the College and Career Academy.

The IMCP program is one of the Commerce Department’s main initiatives to support job creation and accelerate manufacturing growth. The goal is to make communities more economically strong by transforming their industrial ecosystems into globally competitive manufacturing hubs. Georgia Tech, through its Center for Economic Development Research unit, partnered with the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission to develop a comprehensive strategy focused on advanced manufacturing in the carpet and flooring industries in the region.

The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration designated the Northwest Georgia region an IMCP “Manufacturing Community” in 2014.  This designation gives organizations that support the industry via the Northwest Georgia’s Advanced Manufacturing Strategy elevated status for certain federally aligned grant programs.

Throughout the IMCP initiative, the region has placed particular focus on workforce development issues.  As an outgrowth of IMCP, Northwest Georgia was selected to participate in the CTWP, a one-year joint project between EDA and the Aspen Institute. The CTWP was a competitive application process and the Northwest Georgia region won the selection following a competitive process against other applications across the country.

Each partnership/cohort consists of three to four individuals from organizations within their regions who are in a position to accelerate change to benefit businesses and workers through industry-led workforce development strategies, one of whom represents the voice of business.

The goal of CTWP is to accelerate and document promising, evidence-based best practices in regional collaboration for talent development that promotes growth and opportunity in the regional economy.

READ MORE on the Floor360 blog.