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

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