This story first appeared on The Brunswick News
Industry Visits Benefiting Business, Isles
While John Scott and other members of the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority are tasked with recruiting new industry, they must, simultaneously, focus on existing business.
Scott, a project manager with the authority, knows that it’s key, with seven out of 10 new jobs come from existing business. So, he believes keeping area industries happy is a priority.
That’s why, four years ago, Scott instituted local industry visits, to get a better understanding of challenges and opportunities businesses face. This year, however, he decide to try a different tactic.
“2016 would be my fourth year to visit with the industry leaders and I felt like some new faces would be a welcomed change,” he said.
“For this year’s visits, we have paired up at least one elected official or development authority board member with a rep from one of our partner organizations, such as the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Golden Isles Career Academy, Coastal Pines Technical College or Quick Start.”
Scott wasn’t sure how the idea would work out. But, after several visits, he was relieved to see they were going well.
“Overall, I’ve been extremely pleased with the results. Our elected officials have really been supportive and more than happy to give of their time,” he said.
Scott and the authority outlined 40 existing industries to include in the visit. Then, in mid-April, they began sending officials and Authority members out for the visits. They will continue throughout May.
So far, the project has been a success with industry leaders expressing gratitude for the time and effort being made.
“Several of these visits have lasted up to two hours, so apparently, there’s a lot that needs to be said,” he said. “We’re gathering a lot of really useful information. Part of the industry visit is to get the industry leader’s insight for an informal analysis of Glynn County’s business climate. Already, there are some clear issues emerging that our industry leaders feel we need to address.”
Open communication and space to help businesses improve is the main priority. However, there’s another benefit that emerged from Scott’s initiative.
“The other unforeseen benefit of this year’s industry visits is collaboration. The city, county and development authority – we’re all working together to find solutions that will make Glynn County a better place to do business,” he said. “I feel like there’s a lot of energy and excitement about what we can accomplish together.”