Friday, August 26, 2011

Partnership Gwinnett Summit draws National Economist

Annual community & economic development event reports 3,158 jobs brought to the county in the past year from 91 company expansions

(GWINNETT- METRO ATLANTA) August 26, 2011–Partnership Gwinnett and Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development held their fourth annual Partnership Gwinnett Summit today at Gwinnett Technical College. Presented by T-Mobile, the event showcased success in job growth, business development, education and community revitalization. Themed around the State of Georgia’s Camera Ready initiative; several community, regional and national industry experts gathered at the event to present on a variety of topics impacting local economic development efforts.  

In conjunction with the annual summit, two supporting materials also made their debut at the event today: the Partnership Gwinnett initiatives’ Annual Report and the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Gwinnett Market Report. Both focus on job growth, education, quality of life and entrepreneurship- and Gwinnett’s impact in the Metro area and region at large. The 2011 PG Summit showcased Keynote speaker Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo. A native of Atlanta, Mark Vitner is responsible for tracking U.S. and regional economic trends, and writes for the company’s Monthly Economic Outlook report, the Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary; providing regular updates on the housing markets, commercial real estate, regional economies, and inflation. Mr. Vitner’s commentary is regularly featured on CNBC and MSNBC, and has also been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and many other national publications.

When asked about the future of Gwinnett’s economic development, Mark Vitner said, “While growth will likely remain slow from a historical perspective, we expect the expansion to continue.  Gwinnett County is actually recovering at a slightly faster pace than the overall Atlanta metro area. Businesses are increasingly choosing locations along the I-85 corridor, which offers a great deal of value relative to other submarkets and close proximity to high end neighborhoods and shopping.”  

Education, primary school through post-graduate studies, is the cornerstone of Gwinnett’s impressive achievements as a community. “Partnership Gwinnett is building a thriving, global economy in Gwinnett County, thereby supporting educational excellence for every Gwinnett County Public Schools student,” said J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO & Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, who addressed the summit attendees. “Partnership Gwinnett ensures that the county takes advantage of the opportunities that arise, or creates new ones, to enhance the quality both of the life we enjoy and the education we provide.”

Also speaking at the event was Mac Holladay, CEO of Market Street Services, describing what strategies are implemented in creating the plan for Partnership Gwinnett. Market Street serves as the consulting firm employed by Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development in the formation of the Partnership Gwinnett plan, and is a nationally recognized organization. Mac Holladay worked personally on both the original plan, created in 2007, and the next phase of the economic development initiative- Partnership Gwinnett 2.0, set to be unveiled later this year.

Leaders of that Partnership Gwinnett 2.0 initiative were also present at the summit. Partnership Gwinnett 2.0 Co-Chair, Randy Dellinger, District Manager at Jackson EMC, said, “Despite the economic downturn and nationwide unemployment crisis, Gwinnett County has had the lowest jobless rate in the core Metro Atlanta counties for the past 26 months. This is not by accident- it is through the partnership of dedicated individuals from the public and private sectors working in sync to generate results."

Other notable presenters at the event included Joseph Bankoff, CEO of the Woodruff Art Center, who spoke on the importance of the arts to a thriving community at the business summit.  Christopher Hanks, Professor at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, spoke at the event on the rise of entrepreneurship and small business.

Gwinnett County leadership was also in attendance to show their support of economic development in the community. Gwinnett County District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard said, “This annual summit provides a comprehensive review of the successes of the Gwinnett’s premiere economic development initiative- it is an opportunity for the community as a whole to see and understand the powerful impact that its successful implementation has had on the county: and a primary reason that we can continue to say with confidence that success lives here.”
Together presenting a panel on Building an Award Winning Cast & Getting a “Quick Start” to a Qualified Workforce, Mike Grundmann, Director of Georgia Quick Start, Ann Sechrist, Director of Economic Development at Gwinnett Technical College and Bo Morris, Director of Operations at Yes Video, discussed the importance of a well-developed and fast-paced training program for companies that have newly relocated or expanded their operations to Gwinnett County and Metro Atlanta.

“The Partnership Gwinnett initiative is a true success only because of the 160 public and private partners that dedicate their financial resources, time and energy to ensuring its development and in turn the continued growth of the economy, both in our community and in the region,” said Nick Masino, Vice-President of Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett at the Gwinnett Chamber. “Their support and collaborative dedication has brought more than 280 companies and 12,000 jobs to Gwinnett since the inception of the initiative in 2007- a number that grows every day and will continue to flourish with their support.”

To view the 2011 Partnership Gwinnett Annual Report online, click here. To view the PG 2.0 Summit Video, click here. To learn more about the Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett, please visit

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Partnership Gwinnett Spotlights Past Success and Future Plans at Upcoming Summit

Annual community & economic development event features latest stats in jobs, unemployment, education and entrepreneurship

Media Contact: Adrienne Saputo
Marketing Manager | Economic Development & Partnership Gwinnett, Gwinnett Chamber

(GWINNETT- METRO ATLANTA)–Partnership Gwinnett and the Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development invite you to this year’s annual Partnership Gwinnett community and economic development summit, to be held on August 26, presented by T-mobile.  This year’s event promises to highlight success in jobs, education and revitalization – and is themed around Gwinnett’s Camera Ready initiative; one that has put the county in the spotlight as the location of choice for numerous commercials, television shows, independent and feature films.
"T-Mobile is proud to be the presenting sponsor of Partnership Gwinnett for the third year in a row.  This re-confirms our commitment to economic development in the greater Atlanta area, and the belief that a robust wireless network and access to wireless services are crucial to the continued growth of businesses and quality of life in Gwinnett County." said Shawn Blassingill, Sr. Development Manager at T-Mobile.
This annual event provides a comprehensive review of the successes of the Partnership Gwinnett initiative achieved in the past year and unveils the initiatives’ Annual Report on job growth, education, quality of life and entrepreneurship. The 2011 Summit features local, regional and national business leaders, and will be held from 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 26, at the Gwinnett Technical College Busbee Center (breakfast and lunch will be provided).

The 2011 PG Summit will feature the following speakers and topics:
Mark Vitner, Managing Director & Senior Economist, Wells Fargo;
Keynote Speaker

Mac Holladay, CEO, Market Street Services;
Creating the PG 2.0 Plot

Joseph Bankoff, CEO, Woodruff Art Center;
Constructing the Best Set & The Importance of the Arts to a Community

Christopher Hanks, Professor, University of Georgia:
Assembling a Supportive Crew & The Rise of Small Business

Mike Grundmann, Director, Georgia Quick Start
Ann Sechrist, Director-Economic Development, Gwinnett Technical College
Bo Morris, Director of Operations, Yes Video;
together presenting a panel on Building an Award Winning Cast & Getting a “Quick Start” to a Qualified Workforce
Keynote speaker, Mark Vitner, is a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, responsible for tracking U.S. and regional economic trends. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, he also writes for the company’s Monthly Economic Outlook report, the Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary, and provides regular updates on the housing markets, commercial real estate, regional economies, and inflation. Mark’s commentary has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and many other national publications.
J. Mac Holladay is the founder and CEO of Market Street.  Mr. Holladay has been in the community and economic development field since 1972.  He served three Chambers of Commerce over a 13 year period and is the only individual to head state level economic development organizations in three different states. Market Street serves as the consulting firm employed by Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development in the formation of the Partnership Gwinnett plan, and is a nationally recognized organization.
Joseph R. Bankoff joined the Woodruff Arts Center in September 2006 as president and CEO. He has been an active part of the Atlanta arts community for many years; working to raise funds for Atlanta Arts Alliance and the 1983 expansion of the High Museum. Mr. Bankoff is a charter member of the High and long-time subscriber to the Alliance Theatre. He joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors in 1996 after arranging for the ASO to perform at the Olympics Games Opening and Closing ceremonies.
Rush to the box office today ( and reserve your seat to see the blockbuster hit of the summer. For more information, please contact Lindsay Myers at (678) 957-4944 or To learn more about the Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership Gwinnett, please visit  

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Fortune 500 Company Expands, Chooses Gwinnett County for Expansion

(GWINNETT- METRO ATLANTA) August 4, 2011 –RockTenn, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, announced the consolidation of its Chicago and Metro St. Louis operations to Gwinnett County, Metro Atlanta. The company’s increased presence in Gwinnett will bring 500 new jobs to the community and represents five million dollars in capital investment for Gwinnett.

“We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership, the Mayor’s leadership and the hard work of their economic development teams to enable us to locate all these new jobs here in Georgia,” said Jim Rubright, Chairman and CEO of RockTenn. “Our continued growth in Georgia enables us to consolidate many of our corporate functions and focus on our primary objectives of providing superior paperboard and packaging solutions to our customers at very low costs, exceeding our customers’ expectations and creating long-term shareholder value. This expansion will help us continue to provide our employees with a great place to work.”

“RockTenn expanding its corporate headquarters here is big news - not only because 500 new jobs will be created, but also because this top Fortune 500 company has chosen Georgia as the best place to keep doing business for years to come,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “RockTenn currently employs more than 1,100 Georgians and helping to secure the future of those existing jobs with this investment is just as important as adding the new ones.”

“RockTenn’s choice to further expand its locally headquartered operations and continue to invest in Gwinnett County serves to solidify our community’s motto - success lives here,” said Gwinnett County Chairman Charlotte Nash.

RockTenn will lease approximately 68,000 square feet of space at their Duluth facility. Located at 3950 Shackleford Road, a Duke Realty Property, the building will house some of the new positions being created and some personnel will transfer from RockTenn’s Norcross corporate campus. All of the positions are professional service positions. Although not a Fortune 500 company this year, RockTenn’s acquisition will position them for the coveted corporate listing in 2012. This will make Gwinnett’s fourth Fortune 500 company to either expand or relocate in the last three years, behind AGCO, NCR and the relocation of Asbury Automotive’s headquarters from Manhattan in 2008.

“The announcement that RockTenn is continuing to keep its corporate headquarters in Norcross is the biggest news in the 140 year history of our city,” said Bucky Johnson, Mayor, City of Norcross. “On behalf of all of our citizens, I want to thank their Chief Executive Officer, Jim Rubright, for the decision to stay in Norcross.  RockTenn is a great community partner and we celebrate this news.”

“RockTenn is a strong model of business growth and development in Gwinnett,” said Jim Maran, President & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “The high-wage jobs it is bringing, coupled with the move’s contribution to a more balanced tax-base, represent a solid picture of increasing economic stability for Gwinnett and Georgia. We congratulate RockTenn and all of our economic development partners on this great achievement.”

RockTenn’s expansion in Gwinnett follows a series of job growth successes in Georgia’s leading community for job growth – according to preliminary reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Most of this growth can be attributed to the community’s award-winning economic development initiative, Partnership Gwinnett. Led by the Chamber and over 160 public and private investors, this initiative has attracted more than 12,000 new jobs in Gwinnett over the last five years. RockTenn’s announcement moves that number to just over 12,500.

Nick Masino, Vice President of Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett said, “RockTenn’s decision to consolidate and expand its existing Gwinnett location speaks volumes about our community’s pro-business environment and strong economic climate. We congratulate them on this growth and thank all of our investors and partners who support Partnership Gwinnett every day to make projects like this one possible.”

Charlie Gatlin, Director of Economic and Community Development for Electric Cities of Georgia said, “RockTenn’s commitment to the City of Norcross and Gwinnett County reflects favorably on the local talented workforce in the shared services industry.  Gwinnett’s economic development team is focused on industry recruitment and retention and this key retention was a proactive and collaborative effort that ECG was proud to be a part of.”

RockTenn (NYSE:RKT) is one of North America's leading integrated manufacturers of corrugated and consumer packaging and recycling solutions, with net sales of approximately $10 billion. RockTenn’s 26,000 employees are committed to exceeding their customer’s expectations – every time.  The Company operates locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and China. For more information on the company’s operations, visit and to learn how you can relocate your business to Gwinnett, visit