Monday, December 13, 2010

Clayton State SBDC to Hold Free Class on Opening a Business, Dec. 13

The Clayton State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be holding a special free class to help educate people interested in owning their own business.

Designed to help the public decide if entrepreneurship is right, “Opening a Business in the New Year” will be held on Monday, Dec. 13, in the Allan Vigil Ford Conference Room, 6790 Mount Zion Blvd., Morrow. The class will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

“If you are considering starting a small business, attending this workshop is the first step for potential entrepreneurs” says Allison Segal, SBDC program coordinator. “Learn what it really takes to be successful by identifying needed skills and resources. This workshop is Part I in the start-up process. You can then follow this workshop with Part II, `Starting a Business.’”

To register on-line for this free, public workshop, visit the SBDC website at; www.business.clayton.edu/sbdc. For more information, please contact Segal at (678) 466-5100 or asegal@georgiasbdc.org.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

UPS Adds Photo ID Requirement for Retail Shipping

(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its ongoing review to enhance security, UPS (NYSE: UPS) today announced it is expanding its policy to require customers who ship packages from retail shipping locations to present a government-issued photo ID for verification of identification. The directive will apply at The UPS Store ® and Mail Boxes Etc. ® locations as well as authorized shipping outlets worldwide.

Consumers who tender a shipment through any retail access location and do not already have a pre-printed shipping label attached will have to present a government-issued photo ID or they will not be allowed to use UPS services. The ID policy has been in place at UPS Customer Centers since 2005.

Valid forms of identification in the U.S. include a current state-issued driver’s license or Department of Motor Vehicles ID card, U.S. or foreign government-issued passport, U.S. Permanent Resident card, U.S. military identification or a Native American Tribal photo identification card. Qualifying documentation may vary by country at international retail locations.

“Since retail centers experience a significant increase in business from occasional shippers during the busy holidays, this enhancement adds a prudent step in our multi-layered approach to security,” said Dale Hayes, UPS vice president of small business and retail marketing. “The safety and security of our customers, business partners and employees is our highest priority and UPS will continue to implement additional security precautions as necessary.”

UPS (NYSE:UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including the transportation of packages and freight; the facilitation of international trade, and the deployment of advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the Web at UPS.com and its corporate blog can be found at blog.ups.com. To get UPS news direct, visit pressroom.ups.com/RSS.

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Revitalization Plans Become Concrete at the Jekyll Island Convention Center Groundbreaking

/PRNewswire/ -- Governor Sonny Perdue, the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) Board of Directors, staff, legislative and business representatives and members of the community gathered just north of the former convention center December 7 to commemorate the beginning of construction on the new Jekyll Island convention center and beach village.

The new Jekyll Island convention center replaces the former center and will be the only oceanfront convention facility in the southeast. The new center is expected to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification at a Silver level. The 128,000 sq. ft. facility will feature many "green" aspects including structural facets that serve to capture and reuse rainwater, alternative/renewable energy generation and use and the latest in energy-saving technology.

Construction on the ocean front convention center is expected to take approximately 18 months and is scheduled to be complete along with the two new hotels, loft condominiums and 40,000 sq. ft. of retail space that make up the commercial components of the new Jekyll Island Beach Village in 2012. Great Dunes Park and a public village green are integrated to create a new, vibrant beachside destination on Jekyll Island.

"The revitalization of Jekyll Island is a story of renewal – of restoring the island to its rightful place as a premier public beach resort available to all Georgians and visitors," stated Governor Perdue. "This project is already benefiting a reinvigorated coastal Georgia economy, and I look forward to seeing the finished product thanks to the hard work and dedication the Jekyll Island Authority Board of Directors and the Jekyll Island Authority staff have invested in this effort."

The facility will be integrated into its natural beachfront location in a manner that minimizes impact on the environment while creating a wonderful and unique guest experience. The interior design will celebrate the natural transect of the island from the dunescapes to the marsh vistas.

"We can not be more excited to embark on this monumental project for Jekyll Island," stated Chairman Bob Krueger. "My hope is for the new convention center to create a wealth of special memories just as the former has done for so many visitors and residents alike."

The day concluded with JIA Executive Director Jones Hooks inviting ceremony guests to make a permanent mark on slabs of wet cement to signify the permanence of revitalization. The cement tiles will be used in the new Beach Village area as a lasting tribute to those who have worked together to make the revitalization of Jekyll Island a reality.

"In this economy, it is truly remarkable that we are at this critical point of getting construction underway," stated Jones Hooks. "Timing has always been a critical element, and what we have been able to accomplish over the last twelve months is almost a miracle and would not be possible if not for the steadfast support of the Governor, the state legislature and our JIA Board."

Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, the Georgia based general contractor for the convention center and related infrastructure will begin construction in January of 2011. Currently crews are sorting out material from the demolition debris to be recycled. Concrete is being ground to be used as the base for the new convention center and beach village streets. The beginning of construction on the convention center and accompanying retail area signifies the cornerstone of revitalization efforts for the Jekyll Island Authority.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Consumer Product Services Announces the Opening of its Fifth Returns and Remanufacturing Center in Atlanta Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- Consumer Product Services (symbol CPSV) today (December 3) announced the opening of its fifth (5th) consumer returns and remanufacturing center in Acworth Georgia. The Acworth facility was planned due to the continuing growth of the CPS client base requiring North American scalability, flexibility, reliability, consistency, transparency and rapid deployment of competitive reverse logistics solutions available through the CPS "Single Source Solution" approach to reverse supply chain management.

Mr. Darren Krantz, the Company's CEO stated, "With the opening of the Atlanta facility, we have greatly expanded our capacity and more importantly have created the ability to capture product in the strategic Southeastern corridor. Our existing clients as well as potential new clients require that we have strategically located logistic and remanufacturing facilities within certain geographic zones. This new facility is of key importance."

Acworth is located in the northwest quadrant of the Atlanta metro area. The newly constructed facility is located in the Cherokee Commons Industrial Park adjacent to I-75. The facility maintains over 50,000 sq feet of space dedicated to returns management and remanufacturing of CPS client products in the categories of major appliances, small appliance, outdoor power, air comfort and floor care.

Like other CPS facilities, Acworth is a multi client facility that provides state of the art engineering quality labs for on site defect data collection and reporting, debit reconciliation, remanufacturing, parts recovery, recycling as well as fulfillment services on behalf CPS clients. According to Michael Edwards CPS VP, Logistics and Supply Chain, Acworth is strategically located to service in excess of 25% of the US population and major retailer stores in the region within one day of shipment. This is a decided advantage in reducing transportation costs, improve inventory velocity and minimize exposure to cosmetic and mechanical damage incurred from longer transit times and multiple handlings through the carrier supply chain.

Consumer Product Services was founded in 2002 and is corporately based in Deer Park, Long Island, New York. In addition to operating five (5) North American returns and remanufacturing centers, CPS consists of five interrelated companies including Consumer Product Services for remanufacturing, CPS Supply Chain Services for transportation and warehousing, CPS Warranty Group for first and second warranty placement as well as B to C web stores and B to B auction sites.

CPS is dedicated to the principles of:

* Operational and Financial Benefits for our Clients
* Market Control
* Support of Brand Loyalty
* Continuous Quality Improvement
* Environmental Stewardship
* Creation of North American Jobs


This document may include statements that constitute "forward-looking" statements, usually containing the words "believe", "estimate", "project", "expect", "anticipate", or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, the Company's ability to secure capital to fund current operations; future trends in the returns business; financial, environmental or remanufacturing difficulties affecting the Reverse Logistics and Remanufacturing programs; uncertainties surrounding estimates of product returns; and other risks associated with the Company's business. By making these forward-looking statements, CPS undertakes no obligation to update these statements for revisions or changes in the future 

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

American Textile Company Opening Manufacturing Facility in Tifton, Ga

/PRNewswire/ -- American Textile Company (ATC) continues its growth in manufacturing bed pillows and utility bedding by announcing the opening of a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Tifton, Ga.

The 218,000 square foot facility, leased from the Tifton County Development Authority, is strategically located to service ATC's customers in the Southeast. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will begin by manufacturing bed pillows, one of the key items offered by ATC. "The opening of the Tifton facility completes our strategic nationwide pillow distribution strategy," said John Riccio, Chief Financial Officer for ATC. "With pillow manufacturing facilities in Duquesne, Pa.; Salt Lake City, Ut.; Dallas, Tx.; and now Tifton, Ga., we can efficiently ship bed pillows across the United States and Canada. We are thrilled with our interaction at the state and local level that executed this plan in a short period of time."

In addition to Georgia's pro-business climate, the company selected the Tifton, Ga. location from among competitive sites due to its strategic location to customers with distribution centers in the Southeast, access to a skilled textile workforce, low cost of doing business, and incentives provided by the State of Georgia. Customers with distribution points in the Southeast will benefit from a significant reduction in their freight costs. "Providing cost effective and efficient service to our customers is the cornerstone to our continued success," said Mark Bachner, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing for ATC.

The facility will open at the end of Q1 2011 and will employee 50 people immediately. A total of 120 people will be employed at the facility by the end of 2016.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rural Sourcing, Inc. Announces Augusta Operation

Leader in domestic sourcing to create 100 jobs

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today Rural Sourcing, Inc. (RSI), an Atlanta-based provider of internet technology domestic sourcing, is opening a development center in Augusta in Richmond County. The company plans to create 100 direct jobs in the fields of computer and software engineering and programming.

“Georgia’s highly-skilled pipeline of talent for high tech companies will certainly be an asset to the Rural Sourcing Augusta development center,” said Governor Perdue. “The company’s expansion will boost the local economy and provide job opportunities for Augusta-area residents.”

RSI’s client list includes Fortune 500 companies, as well as small to mid-size businesses seeking cost effective alternatives to offshore staffing. The company leverages its pool of well-trained IT professionals in smaller markets to meet its clients’ critical IT resource needs.

“Our 300 percent annual growth rate is indicative of the market’s appetite for a low-cost, high-quality on-shore alternative to the traditional offshore India operations. We are extremely excited about our Augusta location because of the outstanding workforce in Augusta,” said Monty Hamilton, CEO of Rural Sourcing Incorporated. “RSI has an excellent working relationship with the Development Authority of Richmond County and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. As we look forward, our sights are set on continuing to put Americans back to work right here in Augusta and the surrounding area for many years to come.”

The company’s Augusta development center will locate at Augusta’s Enterprise Mill. During its location search, RSI considered communities with relative proximity to four-year universities in non-metropolitan areas that offer a high quality of life and low cost of living. This approach allows the company to pass along cost savings to its clients.

“I am very pleased that Rural Sourcing Incorporated has chosen Augusta for this project. Augusta shares RSI’s commitment to high quality information technology services,” said Terry Elam, chairman of the Development Authority of Richmond County. “We’re proud that Augustans will be at the forefront of this important information technology sourcing savings for companies around the world.”

RSI will hire from the local workforce in Augusta, and will be accepting employment inquiries from interested applicants via the company’s website, www.ruralsourcing.com.

“Rural Sourcing Incorporated will hire top-notch, skilled people with experience in computer operations and information technology, and will add greatly to the outstanding workforce here in Augusta,” said Walter Sprouse, the Executive Director of the Development Authority of Richmond County. Georgia Department of Economic Development statewide project manager Glen Whitley assisted the company with this location, in collaboration with the Development Authority of Richmond County.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boeing NewGen Tanker Win Would Bring 370 Jobs, $17 Million to Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) today announced that Georgia will benefit from an estimated 370 total jobs and generate an estimated $17 million in annual economic impact if the Boeing NewGen Tanker is selected as the U.S. Air Force's next aerial refueling aircraft.

Boeing submitted its proposal July 9 to replace 179 of the Air Force's 400 Eisenhower-era KC-135 aircraft. The Air Force is expected to award a contract in the next few months.

"The Boeing NewGen Tanker program will contribute to economic recovery in Georgia by supporting jobs in the aerospace industry – jobs for Georgia workers who will help America's warfighters complete their missions and return home safely," said Mark DeVoss, Supplier Management director, Boeing Tanker Programs.

Georgia manufacturers ready to produce critical components on the NewGen Tanker include TIGHITCO in Atlanta.

Currently, Boeing has 654 employees in Georgia and works with nearly 413 suppliers/vendors, delivering a total $204 million in annual economic impact.

The NewGen Tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane and updated with the latest and most advanced technology. Capable of fulfilling the Air Force's needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients, the combat-ready NewGen Tanker will meet or exceed the 372 mandatory requirements described in the service's final KC-X Request for Proposal released Feb. 24.

The NewGen Tanker will be made with a low-risk approach to manufacturing that relies on existing Boeing facilities in Washington state and Kansas as well as U.S. suppliers throughout the nation, with decades of experience delivering dependable military tanker and derivative aircraft. Nationwide, the NewGen Tanker program will support approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.

The Boeing NewGen Tanker also will be more cost-effective to own and operate than a larger, heavier tanker. It will save American taxpayers more than $10 billion in fuel costs over its 40-year service life because it burns 24 percent less fuel than the competitor's airplane.

Boeing has been designing, building, modifying and supporting tankers for decades. These include the KC-135 that will be replaced in the KC-X competition, and the KC-10 fleet. The company also has delivered four KC-767Js to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and is on contract to deliver four KC-767As to the Italian Air Force.

More information on Boeing's NewGen Tanker, including video clips and an interactive tour of the aircraft, is available at www.UnitedStatesTanker.com. For more information on joining the company's efforts, visit www.RealAmericanTankers.com.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space &Security (www.boeing.com/bds) is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inland Atlantic Georgia Old National Venture LLC to Break Ground on Old National Marketplace Shopping Center in College Park, Georgia

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Inland Atlantic Georgia Old National Venture LLC, a joint venture between Inland Atlantic Development Corporation, Pointe Development Company and Heritage Creek Development I, LLC, announced November 16 that it has broken ground on Phase I of Old National Marketplace, a premiere shopping center development located in College Park, Georgia. Part of a planned 297,000 project, Phase I will encompass approximately 99,000 square feet and has tenant commitments that currently place occupancy at nearly 90 percent. Major tenants include LA Fitness, Family Dollar and fashion retailers Citi-Trends and It’s Fashion.

“As the climate for commercial real estate in Atlanta continues to improve, retailers have started looking for the next step to develop their pipelines for future growth, and we’ve found they really like what Old National Marketplace has to offer,” said John DiGiovanni, president of Inland Atlantic Development Corporation. “This is a great location in a market with a lot of untapped potential, and we’ve seen a very strong response from retailers that are excited to be a part of this project.”

Site clearing began on November 8 and construction will be complete by October 2011, DiGiovanni said. Additional tenants include Shoe Land and VIP Nails salon, and potential leases with T-Mobile and Anna’s Linens. Leasing is already underway for Phase II, with interest from several major national and local tenants.

“We’ve already seen good response to Phase I of the project,” DiGiovanni said. “Once construction begins, we expect the excitement among retailers to grow and leasing activity to snowball. In terms of new development in the Atlanta area, this is one of the few that’s coming out of the ground.”

Florida-based Pointe Development Company principles, Alan Sakowitz and Maurice Egozi and Atlanta-based Heritage Creek Development I, LLC principle Wayne Kendall are Inland Atlantic Development Corporation’s partners in the joint venture. Construction management of the project will be overseen by Randy Josepher, executive vice president of Inland Atlantic Development.

The principle partners in Inland Atlantic Development Corporation previously created a development pipeline of more than a million square feet for Inland Retail Real Estate Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust that was sold in 2007 for $6.2 billion.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gulfstream Expanding Its Savannah Site

/PRNewswire/ -- Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced that it will expand its Savannah facilities through a $500-million, seven-year plan to ensure that the company is well-positioned to meet future demand for business-jet aircraft and support services. The growth is expected to result in 1,000 additional Gulfstream jobs, an increase of more than 15 percent from Gulfstream's current Savannah employment level of approximately 5,500 employees.

"With our own sales trends and market forecasts suggesting an upturn over the next decade, we want to ensure Gulfstream is well-positioned to meet the demand in terms of products and services," said Joe Lombardo, president, Gulfstream. "We are already beginning to see signs of a modest recovery. In the third quarter of 2010, we booked more orders than we had in any quarter since the downturn began in mid-2008. Furthermore, as flying hours have increased, Gulfstream service centers have enjoyed a significant increase in service volume."

"This expansion is necessary to meet the projected increase for new business-jet aircraft and the maintenance that will follow," Lombardo said.

In the presence of state and local dignitaries, including Gov. Sonny Perdue, Gulfstream's Savannah employees learned that the expansion would include building new facilities at the northwest quadrant of the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, renovating several existing facilities on the main campus off Gulfstream Road and expanding office and lab facilities at the Gulfstream Research Development Center in Crossroads Business Park.

During the event, Gov. Perdue said, "Gulfstream is the world standard in business aviation, and we're proud that the company the world looks to for the best business jets is based right here in Georgia." He continued, "The expansion of Gulfstream's facilities will have a major impact on both the state and local economies by creating 1,000 new full-time jobs, not to mention the ripple effects in terms of construction and service workers, as well."

The new positions are expected to include production specialists, engineers, and support technicians.

"The effect this initiative will have is very simple," Lombardo said. "It's jobs for 'G-A.' That means good, high-tech jobs for Georgia. Jobs for Gulfstream Aerospace. And jobs for general aviation, a vital aspect of this nation's industrial base."

First opened in 1967, Gulfstream's Savannah headquarters includes initial-phase manufacturing of five aircraft models: the Gulfstream G650, G550, G500, G450 and G350. The site also includes the largest of the company's five final-phase manufacturing facilities and the largest of Gulfstream's 10 service centers.

Gulfstream announced a $300 million expansion of its Savannah facility in March 2006 and later increased it to $400 million. That expansion was completed in 2009 and included the development of the largest general aviation aircraft maintenance facility in the world; the Nicholas D. Chabraja Manufacturing Facility for the assembly of the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650; a state-of-the-art, three-bay final phase paint facility; and a 300,000-square-foot Research and Development Center. In addition, Gulfstream met its commitment to hire 1,100 new employees as part of that expansion.

"While Gulfstream's international presence has grown, we are committed to Georgia and Savannah," Lombardo said. "And we certainly appreciate the efforts of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Savannah Economic Development Authority, Chatham County, the city of Savannah and the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in supporting this expansion."

Gulfstream will utilize the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) program to implement sustainable design and construction elements into its projects. In choosing contractors and subcontractors for the expansion, Gulfstream will continue its existing policy of providing opportunities to regional small, minority-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran businesses.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

MAC Honors Top Supply Chain Performers at Fourth Annual Awards

Supply Chain Professional of the Year, Warren Jones of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; Supply Chain Company of the Year, Servigistics

The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) awarded the Supply Chain Professional of the Year to Warren Jones, aviation development manager for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the Supply Chain Company of the Year award to Servigistics during a breakfast at the 2010 Supply Chain Forum on Nov. 15.

"The supply chain industry drives metro Atlanta's economy," said Chris Gaffney, president of Coca-Cola Supply, LLC and chair of MAC's Supply Chain Leadership Council. "We are excited to recognize these great leaders and innovative companies that are located in our region. Metro Atlanta has the nation's fifth-largest concentration of supply chain companies with more than 132,000 jobs."

Atlanta is the business and distribution center of the Southeast, and its global access, innovation and talent create an unparalleled logistics network for companies that demand efficient, predictable and consistent global supply chain operations to accelerate growth.

This is the fourth year for the awards, which were created to recognize outstanding individuals and companies in metro Atlanta whose actions have advanced the state of the supply chain industry and promoted its continued growth. This year's theme was "Supply Chain Outlook - Trends and Issues 2011 and Beyond."

Supply Chain Company of the Year, Servigistics

Servigistics is a privately held company headquartered in Atlanta, with regional headquarters in the UK, Japan, and India, and sales and service professionals around the world.

Over the past two years, Servigistics has experienced unprecedented growth as a company. In 2009, Marlin Equity Partners, known for creating market-leading software solution companies, merged industry leaders Servigistics and Click Commerce's Service Network Solutions (SNS) division. In 2010, Servigistics acquired Kaidara Software.

Today, Servigistics is the only enterprise software solution provider for Service Lifecycle Management (SLM). The company's awarded-winning SLM solutions suite enables market-leading companies across diverse industries to successfully execute and service- led growth strategy that delivers value across the entire global service supply chain.

Recent awards include:

· Named one of the Top 20 Supply Chain Management Software Suppliers (Modern Material Handling's 9th Annual Survey of leading SCM Suppliers)

· Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Company

· Inbound Logistics Top 100 Logistics IT Company

· Deloitte Technology Fast 500

· Atlanta Business Chronicle Pace Setters Award

· Atlanta Metro Chamber Global Impact Award Finalist

Finalists for Supply Chain Company of the Year included Fortna Inc. and Insight Sourcing Group.

Supply Chain Professional of the Year, Warren Jones
Warren Jones is the aviation development manager for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and began his aviation career in 1996 with Martinair Cargo in the sales division. In 1999, he joined Chapman-Freeborn Air Chartering as the sales manager for the Southeast region, and in 2004, Jones joined Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

In addition to his duties at the world's busiest airport, Jones is a part-time professor at Georgia State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he teaches aviation-focused courses.

Jones is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a concentration in Aerospace Administration, and holds a master's in aviation management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Jones was instrumental in Atlanta winning the bid to host The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) International Air Cargo Forum & Exhibition in 2012. And during his tenure Atlanta has been selected by Air Cargo Week as Air Cargo Airport of the Year, for the last two years.

Finalists for Supply Chain Professional of the Year included Rob Doyle, president of Amware Logistics Services; and John A. White III, president of Fortna Inc.

In 2003, the Metro Atlanta Chamber established a logistics cluster economic development initiative, and the Atlanta Logistics Innovation Council to leverage and grow this industry. Since 2003, the Chamber recruited companies that created more than 6,900 supply chain and logistics jobs and established direct air cargo service with China. The initiative won an international best-practice award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2006 for its strategy to grow this sector. In 2009, as part of our continued evolution, we adopted a new vision, mission and new council name -- The Supply Chain Leadership Council.

The Fifth Annual Supply Chain Forum is hosted by the Supply Chain Leadership Council in partnership with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Atlanta Roundtable. For more information visit http://supplychain.metroatlantachamber.com.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

US Airways to Add 500 Crew Members in 2011

(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Airways (NYSE:LCC) today announced that it will need 500 crew members next year primarily in anticipation of planned retirements and attrition, which will be filled by recalling employees currently on furlough, as well as through hiring new crew members. The majority of these returning and new pilots and flight attendants will be flying by July.

“This is great news for our workforce and the communities we serve,” said US Airways President, Scott Kirby. “We look forward to welcoming our colleagues back to US Airways, and bringing new crew members onto the team.”

“Our crew member hiring needs are being driven primarily by planned retirements and attrition, as well as international growth. Today’s announcement is consistent with our previously announced plan to keep our domestic capacity flat in 2011 while growing international capacity by 8 percent.”

The 2011 crew member plan includes filling 420 flight attendant positions and 80 pilot positions. The Company will first offer these positions to employees currently on furlough status, and once this process is complete will begin hiring new employees. After the recall, US Airways will have no flight attendants on furlough, and may have up to 100 pilots remaining on furlough. When the recall and new hire process is complete, the airline will have approximately 4,970 active pilots and 7,300 active flight attendants.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

23rd Hunter Hotel Investment Conference Scheduled for March 6-8, 2011, in Atlanta

Keynote Speakers Are Jim Abrahamson and Jack DeBoer

Officials of the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, one of the four major national annual hotel investment conferences, today announced that the 23rd annual event will be held March 6-8, 2011, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Two industry luminaries, Jim Abrahamson, president of Americas, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Jack DeBoer, founder and chairman, Value Place, will headline the event as keynote speakers.

“We have a strong tradition of bringing in the top industry leaders to share successful hospitality business practices as keynote speakers,” said Bob Hunter, CEO of Hunter Realty and conference co-chair. “Jim has played a leadership role in the development of a number of the world’s leading brands, while Jack is the acknowledged ‘father’ of the extended-stay concept. We look forward to hearing their unique insights into the industry and its future outlook.

“The conference has gained a strong reputation as an important networking and education event over the last 22 years,” Hunter added. “This conference focuses on the needs of hotel owners, who make up a large number of our total attendees. Proceeds from the event support special scholarships at Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality.”

Speaker Profiles:

· Jim Abrahamson—As president of the Americas, Abrahamson oversees management, growth and profitability of IHG’s portfolio of more than 3,400 hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America. Also, he has worked with The Marcus Corporation as president, limited-service lodging; Hilton Hotels Corporation as senior vice president, franchising; and Global Hyatt Corporation as head of development, the Americas.

· Jack DeBoer—Creating the extended-stay concept with the first Residence Inn, he expanded the business to 100 hotels, which were sold to Marriott International, Inc. He then co-founded the Summerfield Hotel Corporation, now owned by Global Hyatt Corporation. He later launched Candlewood Hotel Corporation and sold it to IHG after establishing 130 properties. Most recently, DeBoer established the extended-stay hotel chain Value Place which currently has a portfolio of 160 locations.

For more information on the program and to register, please visit the conference website at www.HunterConference.com, or contact Bob Hunter or Nancy Petenbrink, Conference Director, at 770-916-0300 or by email at nancy.petenbrink@hunterhotels.net. The conference headquarters are located at 300 Galleria Parkway, S-620, Atlanta, Ga. 30339.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Siemens Awarded $466 Million Locomotive Contract by Amtrak

/PRNewswire/ -- Siemens today announced that it has been awarded a $466 million contract to build 70 electric locomotives for Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone Corridor lines as part of Amtrak's landmark fleet rejuvenation initiative. The contract will require an additional 250 people to build the locomotives, with 200 in Sacramento, Calif. and 50 collectively in Norwood, Ohio and Alpharetta, Ga.

The locomotives will be built at Siemens' existing light rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento, Calif. The plant, which has been in operation for 26 years, is powered up to 80 percent by two megawatts of solar energy and employs 750 people. All main components of the new locomotive will be produced in Siemens plants in the United States – including the motors in Alpharetta and propulsion containers in Norcross, Ga. The first locomotives will be delivered in 2013.

"As the global leader in rail innovation, we are thrilled that Amtrak has selected our proven locomotive technology and that this project will create 250 new green manufacturing jobs in the United States," said Daryl Dulaney, president and CEO, Siemens Industry, Inc. "These locomotives will be built in America using renewable energy and provide cleaner, more efficient movement of people on the most heavily traveled rail route in the country."

"Amtrak is a critical transportation provider in the Northeast and modern locomotives are essential to meet the service reliability expectations of our passengers and for us to handle the growing ridership demand in the coming years," said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.

Siemens is already a successful producer of American light rail trains with every third light rail vehicle in the United States being a Siemens train. The new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS64) is based on Siemens latest iteration of the proven EuroSprinter electric locomotive. Over 1,600 units are in operation worldwide, and this latest version will be customized to meet the strenuous environment of the Northeast Corridor at a sustained speed of 125 mph.

"This isn't your grandfather's locomotive. Not only will we use renewable energy to build them, the locomotives will also include energy efficient features, such as regenerative braking that can feed up to 100 percent of the energy generated during braking back to the power grid," said Oliver Hauck, president of the Mobility Division of Siemens Industry, Inc.

The current locomotive platform has been designed for improved safety, reliability and maintainability. The Amtrak-specific design also meets the latest Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements for front end strength, incorporating a crumple zone for collision with large objects in addition to an enhanced safety cage and anti-climber functionality.

This equipment purchase is part of Amtrak's multi-year Fleet Strategy Plan to replace its entire fleet of passenger rail cars and locomotives over the next 30 years. Amtrak is the largest passenger rail operator on the North American continent and the only operator of a high-speed line.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Ryla Hiring for 1,400 New Customer Service Jobs in Atlanta

/PRNewswire/ -- Ryla, an Alorica company, today announced it is hiring to fill at least 1,400 new jobs at its Kennesaw, GA call center facility. The jobs expansion is due to expanded needs of one of its year-round clients as well as for a recurring annual seasonal project. Both full-time long-term and seasonal positions are available. Positions begin as early as November 1, 2010. Ryla is a leading domestic-focused provider of customer contact services for Fortune 500 and government agencies, and does no telemarketing or cold calls.

In addition to the customer service positions, Ryla is also seeking to fill several supervisory positions. The hiring wave is part of a six state expansion underway in Georgia, California, Alabama, Virginia, Colorado and Indiana.

"With unemployment in Georgia at 10% and higher in some markets in which we're expanding, we're excited to be in a position to bring more jobs to help get people back to work," said Mark Wilson, Ryla CEO and Founder.

Interested applicants should apply online at www.ryla.com. Qualified applicants will be contacted for scheduled interviews beginning as early as Monday, October 25.

Positions Available:

Customer Service Representatives

Supervisors and various support staff positions

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NBAA Honors Governor Perdue with American Spirit Award

Characterizes those who created, advanced the American aviation community

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today announced that Governor Sonny Perdue has been named the recipient of the 2010 American Spirit Award at NBAA’s 63rd Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2010) in Atlanta.

The NBAA American Spirit Award is presented in recognition of an individual who exemplifies the service, courage and pursuit of excellence in support of business aviation that characterizes the men and women who created and advanced the American aviation community. The Governor was presented the award during this morning’s opening general session of the convention, which draws 25,000 aviation professionals and enthusiasts from across the world to the Georgia World Congress Center.

“Governor Perdue has two great passions – aviation and the state of Georgia – and has spent many years tirelessly supporting and nurturing the development of both,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “NBAA is proud to include him among the speakers at our convention’s opening general session, and also to honor him with the American Spirit Award for his dedication to all aviation, including business aviation.”

In 2007, Governor Perdue addressed attendees at the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, also in Atlanta, welcoming the crowd to “the real state of aviation,” and proudly detailed Georgia’s long list of aviation superlatives, including the state’s role as home to the eighth-largest general aviation industry in the nation, with many thousands of people employed at more than 500 aerospace and aviation companies.

“NBAA applauds Governor Perdue for recognizing the value of business aviation, to citizens, companies and communities across Georgia,” Bolen added. “The Governor has long understood that the use of a business airplane helps promote the creation of jobs, provides service to small communities and helps companies of all sizes in the state compete and succeed. We thank Governor Perdue for his steadfast support for business aviation, and the many benefits it brings to the State of Georgia.”

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the NBAA is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

Past honorees of the NBAA American Spirit Award have included such aviation notables and pioneers as John and Martha King, founders of the King Schools, Inc., and Rep. John Mica (R-7-FL). For more information about the Convention's 2010 programming, visit NBAA's dedicated AM&C web page at http://www.nbaa.org/2010.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Recession Makes Innovatin More Critical to Georgia Manufacturers

The recession has expanded the business advantages of Georgia manufacturers that compete on the basis of innovation in new or technologically improved products, processes, organizational structures or marketing practices. These innovative companies are more than twice as profitable as firms competing on the basis of low price.

That's one conclusion of the 2010 Georgia Manufacturing Survey, which also found that companies are preparing for post-recession growth, expanding export capabilities, addressing sustainability issues -- and still dealing with out-sourcing and in-sourcing. The survey, which included nearly 500 manufacturers, was conducted by Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy, and Kennesaw State University, with support from the Georgia Department of Labor and accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.

Georgia has approximately 10,000 manufacturers that provide nearly 350,000 jobs and account for 11 percent of the gross state product. Workers in manufacturing companies earn wages averaging nearly twice those of workers in retail companies.

The survey found a widening profitability gap between manufacturers that compete on the basis of innovation compared to those that use other competitive strategies. That gap has grown in each survey conducted since 2002.

"Companies that compete on the basis of innovation are much more profitable, pay higher wages and more likely to benefit from in-sourcing opportunities than firms that compete on low price," said Jan Youtie, the survey's director and a principal research associate in Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute. "Adoption of an innovation strategy can be useful to manufacturers regardless of industrial segment, and is especially important during difficult economic times."

As part of the survey, companies were asked to rank six competitive strategies for their importance to winning sales. More than half of the respondents mentioned "high quality," while approximately 20 percent chose "low price" or "adapting to customer needs." Fewer than 10 percent reported "innovation/new technology" as a primary competitive strategy.

Across all six strategies, innovation was associated with the highest mean return on sales: 14 percent, compared to just six percent for the low-price strategy. And those financial benefits extended to workers, whose annual salaries averaged $10,000 per year more at innovative manufacturers than at other companies.

The top five innovative tactics reported by respondents were (1) working with customers to create or design a product, process or other innovation, (2) signing a confidentiality agreement to access a new product or process, (3) working with suppliers to create or design a product, process or other innovation, (4) purchasing new equipment, and (5) conducting research and development activities in-house.

While manufacturers of technology products are most often associated with the strategy, innovative companies can be found in all industrial segments, said Philip Shapira, co-director of the survey and professor in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy.

"Many people think that innovation is something that has to be done in a lab, but our results show that innovation occurs more broadly, particularly as companies partner with customers and suppliers to take into account their needs for a new product or process," he explained. "While high technology companies tend to be innovative by their nature, innovation occurs across all segments, and every firm has opportunities to be innovative."

Companies often cite cost as a reason for not innovating, but Shapira noted that only 10 percent of companies take advantage of R&D tax credits; fewer still use investment tax credits. "While financial incentives can assist innovation, there is a greater need to build awareness and capabilities among more of the state's firms to undertake innovation," he said.

Though more than two-thirds of Georgia's manufacturers have cut jobs or lost sales in the recession, many of these companies are now looking toward the future with plans for locating new customers, boosting capital investment, expanding research and development and continuing to reduce costs.

"When we look at their plans, Georgia manufacturers are in an expansive mood, looking for new customers and getting ready for the next phase of economic growth," Youtie said.

The survey found that 70 percent of respondents were looking for new customers, 20 percent planned to expand capital investment, and 15 percent planned to increase expenditures on research and development. At the same time, 60 percent of respondents said they still planned to cut costs.

Another trend studied was growth in the number companies selling to international markets. More than half of the responding manufacturers said they were exporters -- and those manufacturers reported 50 percent higher profitability than non-exporters. Some 22 percent of respondents had increased their export sales since the last survey in 2008.

"We don't find much difference between exporting companies when comparing them by the amount they export," Youtie noted. "What seems to be important is the capability to export. We think there is some learning that takes place, and some capability that a company develops to become an exporter. That capability translates into improved performance across the board, in addition to creating new markets and different margins."

The survey also found that out-sourcing of work has leveled off, with approximately 16 percent of manufacturers affected by the loss of business in 2010. At the same time, the percentage of firms benefitting from in-sourcing -- movement of work to Georgia -- has grown to nearly 15 percent.

"Out-sourcing isn't going away, but it has stabilized," Youtie said. "In-sourcing appears to be growing, which creates opportunities for good manufacturers to benefit from consolidation of production from other U.S. facilities or even from overseas."

The study also looked at sustainability issues, and found that 60 percent of companies recycle and attempt to reduce waste -- one form of sustainability. However, just 11 percent of respondents had inventoried their carbon footprints or emissions, and fewer than five percent were using renewable energy.

The bottom line for manufacturers?

"The results of our survey can point manufacturers to a way forward for getting ready for the next phase," said Youtie. "Companies can develop innovation capabilities; they can look into exporting and they can collaborate more with suppliers and customers."

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

32 Percent of U.S. Businesses Plan to Hire Additional Staff in 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- Businesses across the globe are now looking to hire new staff, in one of the first signs that global economic recovery and growth is on a sustainable upward trajectory. This is the key finding of the bi-annual Regus Business Tracker survey that interviews more than 10,000 businesses around the world. The fact that companies are looking to hire additional staff will be regarded as a significant indicator that the mindset of organizations has shifted toward investment in growth through human capital. Regus, a global provider of flexible workplace solutions, found that more than a third of companies [36 percent net(1)] surveyed said they intend to increase headcount. U.S. business was close to the global average with almost a third (32 percent net) of companies preparing to add new staff in 2011.

These findings are particularly significant, coming in the wake of recent observations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Labour Organization (ILO) that global unemployment has reached record proportions in the last three years (up to 210 million since 2007). These organizations have warned about potential problems for national economies if this trend continues. Unemployment reduces national taxation income and increases public spending. The findings of the Regus Business Tracker provide important evidence that the world unemployment situation may be set to ease in 2011.

The survey canvassed the opinions of more than 10,000 senior business people in 78 countries asking them about their current revenue performance, their profitability, their projected future revenues and their wider expectations of national economic growth. These indicators form the basis for the report's Business Optimism Index, which unusually reflects actual performance as well as near-term outlook. Globally, this edition of the index revealed a far more positive outlook, with a greater proportion of optimist countries than six months ago. For the U.S. in particular, the global index revealed a bullish rating of 87, up seven points on six months ago.

Sande Golgart, regional vice president for Regus, comments: "The intention to increase headcount is a clear indicator that businesses want to be prepared to grasp the opportunities that recovering markets may throw their way. The U.S. in particular is still suffering from high unemployment levels, at 9.6 percent, although private sector payroll continues to increase slightly and this finding should be taken as a positive indication for employment.(2)"

"In spite of this optimism, our research also highlights that 41 percent of companies are still looking to reduce their overhead, through means other than reducing staff. This reveals an attitude of cautious optimism. As companies look to find economies in their own operations, we are likely to see more and more organizations offering flexible working practices to their existing or prospective employees in a bid to achieve a better work-life balance and run a leaner organization."

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Nominate Your Workplace as One of Atlanta's 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For

/PRNewswire/ -- The search is on for Atlanta's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. For the first time ever, Atlanta, GA will host the 101 awards event that identifies and honors organizations that display a commitment to excellence in their human resource practices and employee enrichment.

The event will honor 101 companies and present 11 elite awards at the first annual "Atlanta's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" symposium and awards celebration on June 20, 2011 at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center. The event will feature best practice workshop sessions that precede an awards brunch hosted by Monica Pearson of WSB TV 2.

An independent research firm will evaluate each company's entry based on its communication, community initiatives, compensation and benefits, diversity and multiculturalism, employee education and development, employee engagement and commitment, recognition and retention, recruitment and selection, small business and work-life balance. A basic assessment of each nominated company's overall ranking in each category will be provided.

Nominations are being accepted online at www.101bestandbrightest.com. Anyone can complete the online entry form. Nomination forms are also available by calling 866-321-1822. The nomination deadline is Dec. 1, 2010.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

16 Georgia Counties Named Camera Ready Communities

/PRNewswire/ -- The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), launched the state's Camera Ready Community Program today as a part of the state's ongoing efforts to bolster Georgia's growing film and television industry. The first 16 Georgia counties were designated Camera Ready at a special ceremony at one of Georgia's newest production facilities, EUE/Screen Gems Studio in Atlanta. Camera Ready is a designation put in place by the state to offer film and television production companies easier, faster and better access to local resources and information. A Camera Ready Community must designate a liaison who can assist film and television production companies on a local level.

"More than 50 Georgia counties hosted a film and/or TV production this year, making this a banner year for the industry in our state," said GDEcD commissioner Heidi Green. "Hollywood A-listers including Robert Duvall, Katherine Heigl, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston have all experienced our unique locations, talented crew base and world-class southern hospitality, helping make Georgia the top filming location in the south."

Bibb, Carroll, Chatham, Coweta, DeKalb, Dougherty, Emanuel, Floyd, Fulton, Hall, Houston, Lowndes, Morgan, Newton, Walker and Wilkes counties were recognized by the Georgia Department of Economic Development as the first 16 Camera Ready communities at the kickoff event.

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from Kris Bagwell, executive vice president, EUE/Screen Gems Studio; Heidi Green, GDEcD commissioner; Clara Deemer, Director of Tourism Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce; Craig Dominey, locations specialist, Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office; Lee Thomas, director (film), Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office; and Joe Genier, Film Producer.

Georgia's film and television industry is thriving with more than 348 productions shot in Georgia in FY10, with combined production budgets increasing from $647.6 million in FY09 to $744.3 million in FY10. Altogether, the industry's economic impact in the state in FY10 came in at $1.33 billion, up from $1.1 billion the previous year. Georgia is now ranked number one in the Southeast, and among the top five states in the nation for film and TV productions.

Georgia's communities offer TV and film productions a variety of unique and authentic landscapes including beautiful mountains, rural farmlands, coastal beaches and islands, swamps and marshes, scenic rivers and lakes, small towns, major metropolitan cities and more. In 2009, productions were shot in 50 counties in Georgia impacting local communities throughout the state.

To learn more about Georgia's Camera Ready Community Program please visit www.georgia.org/cameraready.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Recession's Effects Intensify in Cities

/PRNewswire/ -- Cities' finances continue to weaken under the strain of the recession, resulting in cities being less able to meet their fiscal needs in 2011 and beyond. According to the National League of Cities' annual report on cities' fiscal conditions, financial officers report the largest spending cuts and loss of revenue in the 25-year history of the survey.

In the research brief, "City Fiscal Conditions in 2010" (http://nlc.staging.10floor.com/ASSETS/AE26793318A645C795C9CD11DAB3B39B/RB_CityFiscalConditions2010.pdf), 87% of city finance officers report their cities are worse off financially than in 2009. City revenues - as generated in property, sales, and income taxes - will decline -3.2% in inflation-adjusted dollars according to finance officers. To compensate, city officials are cutting back spending, with expenditures declining by -2.3%. These are the largest cutbacks in spending in the history of the survey and the fourth year in a row that revenue declined.

Financial pressures are forcing cities to layoff workers (79%), delay or cancel capital infrastructure projects (69%), and modify health benefits (34%). There were also significant increases in the number of officers reporting across-the-board services cuts (25%) and public safety cuts (25%). Public safety is usually reduced only as a last resort option.

"This historic recession has forced city officials to make difficult decisions that impact the social and economic fabric of their communities," said Ronald O. Loveridge, mayor of Riverside, CA and president of NLC. He continued, "This recession is making city officials fundamentally rethink and repurpose the provision of services in their communities. Some are innovating and finding creative solutions but, regrettably, without the necessary resources, cities will continue to have a difficult time assisting their residents through these trying economic times."

The ongoing weakness in the housing market, along with poor retail sales, has reduced the available revenue by significant margins. The responses from the finance officers clearly illustrate that the effects of the economic crash are intensifying in cities. Because most tax revenue is collected at specific points during the year, and since it takes time for housing assessments to catch up to current values, cities will still be feeling the full effect of the downturn in 2011. The national economy's slow recovery to date also means the recession's effects will potentially linger in cities for several more years.

"These stark numbers continue the trend we've been seeing for the past several years: lower revenue and reduced services at a time when there is an increased demand for services," said co-author Christopher Hoene, director of the Center for Research and Innovation for the National League of Cities. He continued, "Unfortunately, because of the loss in revenue, cities will face even more difficult circumstances in the months, if not years, to come."

Cities have been forced to confront low consumer spending, unemployment, and cuts in state aid that have severely affected the types of services and the manner in which they are offered by cities. In response, many cities are revisiting the range of services provided and looking for new service-delivery models in order to balance budgets and minimize the impacts of cuts on residents.

"While certain segments of the economy may be under recovery, cities as a whole are not yet experiencing growth," said co-author Michael A. Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He continued, "As a consequence, cities are facing very serious financial hurdles right now in providing basic public services."

NLC conducts the survey each year in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, a nationally recognized innovator in education, research, and engagement in support of the nation's cities and metropolitan areas. Michael A. Pagano, Dean of the College, has helped conduct the survey and author the report since 1991.

The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

Through its Center for Research and Innovation, NLC develops, conducts and reports research on issues affecting cities and towns. The Center assists cities and their leaders to implement innovative practices by providing qualified information and technical assistance.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

World’s Ambassadors to Visit Atlanta on U.S. State Department’s Experience America Tour

Atlanta chosen because of its prominence as one of the nation’s most vital places to do business

Atlanta will host nearly 50 foreign ambassadors from all over the world from Oct. 12-15 to showcase the city as a great place to do business. The U.S. State Department’s Experience America program takes foreign ambassadors to key American cities for three days to create new, mutually beneficial partnerships and provide visitors with a deeper understanding and appreciation of America’s people, culture and values.
“Choosing Atlanta to be visited by ambassadors from countries all over the world sends a strong signal -- that Atlanta is where the world comes to do business, make business connections and create jobs,” said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC). “Today Atlanta has the nation’s fourth-highest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the country, the world’s busiest airport, and a network of world-class universities and colleges.”

As a part of the trip, the ambassadors, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and top leaders in metro Atlanta’s business community will attend a breakfast hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber on Oct. 13. They will discuss Atlanta’s robust business community and the benefits of doing business in Atlanta.


WHO: United States Chief of Protocol Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Metro Atlanta Chamber President Sam A. Williams

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 8 – 9:30 a.m.


WHERE: Metro Atlanta Chamber Board Room, 235 Andrew Young International Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30303


“Atlanta already has a strong international presence, with more than 2,400 international companies here and 65 countries represented by consulates, trade offices and investment agencies,” Williams added. “This tour is yet another opportunity to build connections around the globe.”

Many Atlanta companies -- such as UPS, Delta Air Lines, The Coca-Cola Company, AGCO, GE and others -- do business around the world. While in Atlanta, the ambassadors plan to visit the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Tech, CNN, the World of Coca-Cola, and the Carter Library, view the Martin Luther King Jr. papers at Morehouse College and visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Visitor’s Center. This is the sixth Experience America tour and other destinations have been California, Texas, Florida, New York and Chicago.

The Experience America is organized by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Chief of Protocol.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Berlin Airport a Boon to American Businesses in Eastern Germany

/PRNewswire/ -- The twenty year anniversary of the reunification of Germany yesterday put the spotlight back on the formerly divided country and its capital, Berlin. Located at the center of Eastern Germany, Berlin now boasts one of the world's most impressive infrastructure projects, Berlin Brandenburg International airport. The airport adds to the region's portfolio as an international, high-tech business location, which is underscored by the presence of more investment projects in Eastern Germany from the USA than from any other country. Germany Trade & Invest will be presenting business opportunities in Eastern Germany to American companies at an event in Atlanta on October 5, 2010.

Berlin Brandenburg International Airport, slated to open in July of 2012, will serve the growing number of passengers to the region, with the ability to expand to serve 45 million travelers annually. At the same time, the airport provides an international hub in the center of Eastern Germany, a region currently characterized by growth in a number of cutting-edge fields like renewable energies, auto manufacturing and semiconductors. This project is expected to further attract businesses to the dynamic region.

The investor event on October 5, billed "Check in to Eastern Germany for European Business Success", will present new opportunities in the region arising from the opening of Berlin Brandenburg International airport in 2012, including business success stories in the region.

The USA is the number one source of foreign direct investment in Eastern Germany due to the region's growth potential, stable investment environment and concentration of high-tech industries. Several of the largest American companies are present here, including Atlanta-based Delta Airlines, First Solar, Amazon, General Electric, and Dell Computers.

On the whole, Germany is the top business location for American companies in Europe, according to a survey of American decision makers conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. This is expected to continue, considering Germany's strong economic growth in the previous quarter. GDP grew by 2.2 percent, the highest quarterly result since reunification.

Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organization advises foreign companies looking to expand their business activities in the German market. It provides information on foreign trade to German companies that seek to enter foreign markets.

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Troup County, Georgia Leverages Economic Development Tool

/PRNewswire/ -- Troup County voters along with those in LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville, Georgia approved the use of Redevelopment Powers making the entire county "TAD friendly." TAD's, or Tax Allocation Districts, are a form of tax increment financing in the state of Georgia.

"Today's economy is extremely competitive for developers and businesses. Our region is extremely competitive," says Troup County Commission Chair Richard Wolfe. "This economic development tool gives us the ability to create value in our community and to create jobs for our citizens. It's just one more economic development tool our neighbors don't have right now."

Most residents expressed a special interest in attracting new retail to the growing community. "We have to re-imagine retail development as economic development," Wolfe said. The County plans to capitalize on recent economic development success having added over 5,000 jobs. With Kia Motors and several suppliers ramping up production, this West Georgia community is now poised for a new era of growth.

The community is targeting retail and mixed-use developers to attract quality projects. Scott Turk, Governmental Services Manager noted, "Troup County is at a tipping point in its growth and evolution as a regional community. This tool can make all the difference in tipping it to the side of positive growth." Tax increment financing may be used for office, warehouse/distribution, corporate headquarters, retail/commercial, residential, and mixed-use development projects. Georgia has other tax and financing incentives for employers and especially for relocating corporate headquarters.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Launches Second Shift Production

/PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) celebrated the launch of a second shift of production at its new West Point facility. KMMG hired more than 600 new team members to prepare for the addition of the second shift – which begins production today – bringing the total number of jobs created at the plant to more than 2,000.

Kia Motors added the second shift in response to the successful sales of the 2011 Kia Sorento, which has been Kia's best-selling model in the U.S. every month since it debuted in January. The second shift will help meet the continuing demand for the Kia Sorento while adding capacity to build the Hyundai Santa Fe. KMMG began production of the Santa Fe on September 28.

"KMMG has produced 100,000 Sorentos to date and the quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into building the Sorento from the entire KMMG team has helped make it the best-selling Kia vehicle in the United States," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. "With the addition of our second shift we are building on that foundation to increase KMMG's volume and increase our commitment to the U.S. and local economy."

In addition to the more than 2,000 jobs created at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, suppliers have hired more than 5,200 people for jobs created to support production at the plant. More than 1,000 KMMG team members traveled to Korea for hands-on experience working with the parent company.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Helps Businesses Navigate Health Care Changes with New Online Tools

/PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to help minimize confusion regarding implementation of health care reform provisions among business owners, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa) has created two new tools to help business navigate the changes in health care, a grandfathering tool and a tax calculator tool.

Both tools are available at www.anthem.com/healthcarereform. The small business tax calculator tool and tax content were developed by The Tax Institute at H&R Block and also may be viewed by visiting www.thetaxinstitute.com.

The interactive grandfathering tool is designed to help businesses better understand what grandfathering means, if they qualify for it, and what options are available to them with regard to their health plan. BCBSGa has also joined forces with H&R Block to provide a convenient, comprehensive tool to help small business owners understand the financial impact, as well as the opportunities that accompany the changes in the health care system.

"The grandfathering tool is another part of our commitment to help make health care reform work," said Morgan Kendrick, President, BCBSGa. "This tool will allow business owners to understand what grandfathering means to them, what the qualification parameters are, and if it is potentially in their best interests to grandfather their current health plan. This tool can help businesses quickly and easily determine a course of action based on their current plan in an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand tool."

Kendrick added, "We are also extremely pleased to be partnering with H&R Block to make the small business tax calculator available, which can help small business owners understand the tax credits they are qualified for and allow them to better control and anticipate their health care costs. It's BCBSGa's hope that this resource will enable owners to focus on running a successful business and add some clarity as they navigate the health care system."

The small business tax calculator can help users understand the following reform provisions:

* The small business health care premium credit for qualified employers with 25 or fewer employees and average annual wages under $50,000 (2010)
* Requirements to provide employee coverage for full-time employees who work for businesses with 50 or more employees (2014)
* Employer penalties for not providing coverage when at least one full-time employee is enrolled in a subsidized health care plan (2014)
* The excise tax on high-cost health plans, which applies to plans that cost more than $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family (2018).


"These tools will provide us with an easy way to navigate and communicate the financial impact that health care reform may have on our small business customers," said Jeff Fishback, President and CEO, Purchasing Alliance Solutions. "They will also help us to better communicate about grandfathering and if it might be in their best interest. For example, whether they should take advantage of the available credits and other provisions designed to improve the affordability of health care. I anticipate that interactive tools such as these will help small businesses save time and money. This is just one more example of why BCBSGa is the leader in the industry."

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Great Airlines Join Forces: AirTran Airways Agrees to Acquisition by Southwest Airlines

/PRNewswire/ -- AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), the parent company of AirTran Airways, announced today that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) in a transaction currently valued at more than $1.37 billion. Including existing AirTran Holdings, Inc., indebtedness and capitalized aircraft operating leases, the aggregate transaction value is approximately $3.42 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of AirTran Holdings, Inc., will receive a combination of Southwest common stock and cash valued between $7.25 and $7.75, depending upon the average trading price of Southwest stock for a 20 trading day period to and including three trading days prior to the closing of the merger. At least $3.75 of the merger consideration will be in cash. The stock portion of the consideration will be 0.321 shares of Southwest common stock for each share of AirTran common stock, unless the trading price of Southwest common stock would cause the overall merger consideration to exceed $7.75 per share (in which case the number of Southwest shares will be decreased so that the consideration equals $7.75 per AirTran share) or would cause the overall merger consideration to be less than $7.25 per share (in which case additional cash, Southwest shares or a combination of the two will be added so that the consideration equals $7.25 per share).

Based on Southwest Airlines' closing share price as of September 24, 2010, the value of the merger consideration would be $7.69 per AirTran share. This represents a 69 percent premium over the September 24, 2010, closing price of AirTran stock.

The acquisition of AirTran Airways by Southwest Airlines will bring together two great companies and create one even stronger low-cost carrier. The two airlines currently serve 106 communities from coast-to-coast, Mexico and the Caribbean, with 685 all-Boeing aircraft and nearly 43,000 dedicated, fun-loving Employees.

"This agreement is great news for our Crew Members, our shareholders, our customers and the communities we serve. Joining Southwest Airlines will give us opportunities to grow, both professionally as individuals and as a group, in ways that simply would not be possible without this agreement," said Bob Fornaro, AirTran Airways' chairman, president and chief executive officer. "This agreement with Southwest is a testament to the success and hard work of the more than 8,000 AirTran Crew Members who have built this airline. I am tremendously proud of the things we have accomplished together and look forward to continuing that great work during this next exciting chapter of our history."

The combined airline will benefit from greater economies of scale and the integration of operations will be aided by significant fleet commonality. The result is an airline that is better prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive airline environment and take advantage of strategic opportunities better than ever before.

"Both companies have dedicated people with kindred Warrior Spirits, who care about each other, and who care about serving Customers. We will continue to enhance our award-winning Customer experiences and high-quality operations," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines' chairman, president, and chief executive officer. "We believe this deal can benefit all Stakeholders through an expansion of low fares for Customers, opportunities for Employees of both companies and for suppliers and vendors, and favorable returns for Shareholders. Ultimately, we want to spread low fares farther and look forward to working together with AirTran's Crew Members to realize the new opportunities we expect to achieve from this deal."

The AirTran Board of Directors, on the unanimous recommendation of a Special Committee of independent directors, approved the merger agreement and recommends that AirTran Holdings, Inc., shareholders approve the transaction.

Completion of the transaction, which will require both regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to close by the first half of 2011. Commercial and operating integration is slated to culminate in 2012, with both carriers operating under Southwest Airlines' Federal Aviation Administration operating certificate in Dallas.

Morgan Stanley acted as lead financial advisor to AirTran Holdings, Inc., with both Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP, and Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, acting jointly as legal advisors.

Until the acquisition is approved and finalized, both carriers will continue to operate independently. For more information, please visit: www.lowfaresfarther.com.

AirTran Airways is a Fortune 1000 company and has been ranked the number one low cost carrier in the Airline Quality Rating study for the past three years. AirTran Airways is the only major airline with Gogo Inflight Internet on every flight and offers coast-to-coast service on North America's newest all-Boeing fleet. Our low-cost, high-quality product also includes assigned seating, Business Class and complimentary XM Satellite Radio on every flight. To book a flight, visit www.airtran.com.

After nearly 40 years of service, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, now serving 69 cities in 35 states. Southwest also is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has nearly 35,000 Employees systemwide.


Important Information for Investors and Shareholders

This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval and relates to a proposed merger of AirTran Holdings, Inc. ("AirTran") with Southwest Airlines, Inc. ("Southwest"). The merger agreement will be submitted to the Shareholders of AirTran for their consideration and to solicit their approval of the merger agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby. Southwest will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") a registration statement on Form S-4 that will include a proxy statement of AirTran that also constitutes a prospectus of Southwest. AirTran and Southwest also plan to file other documents with the SEC regarding the proposed transaction. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS OF AIRTRAN ARE URGED TO READ THE JOINT PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.

Investors and Shareholders will be able to obtain free copies of the joint proxy statement/prospectus and other documents containing important information about AirTran and Southwest, once such documents are filed with the SEC, through the website maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by AirTran will be available free of charge on AirTran's website at www.airtran.com under the tab "About AirTran" then under the tab "Investor Relations" or by contacting AirTran's Investor Relations Department at (407) 318-5188. Copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Southwest will be available free of charge on Southwest's website at www.southwest.com under the tab "Investor Relations" or by contacting Southwest's Investor Relations Department at (214) 792-4415.

AirTran, Southwest and certain of their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Shareholders of AirTran in connection with the proposed transaction. Information about the directors and executive officers of AirTran is set forth in its proxy statement for its 2010 annual meeting of Shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 2, 2010. Information about the directors and executive officers of Southwest is set forth in its proxy statement for its 2010 annual meeting of Shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 16, 2010. These documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above. Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitation and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the joint proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when they become available.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This communication contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are not limited to historical facts, but reflect AirTran's and Southwest's current beliefs, expectations or intentions regarding future events. Words such as "may," "will," "could," "should," "expect," "plan," "project," "intend," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "pursue," "target," "continue," and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, AirTran's and Southwest's expectations with respect to the synergies, costs and other anticipated financial impacts of the proposed transaction; future financial and operating results of the combined company; the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions with respect to future operations and services; approval of the proposed transaction by Shareholders and by governmental regulatory authorities; the satisfaction of the closing conditions to the proposed transaction; and the timing of the completion of the proposed transaction.

All forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements, many of which are generally outside the control of AirTran and Southwest and are difficult to predict. Examples of such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, (1) the possibility that the proposed transaction is delayed or does not close, including due to the failure to receive AirTran's required stockholder approval or required regulatory approvals, the taking of governmental action (including the passage of legislation) to block the transaction, or the failure of other closing conditions, and (2) the possibility that the expected synergies will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period, because of, among other things, significant volatility in the cost of aircraft fuel, the significant capital commitments of AirTran and Southwest, the impact of labor relations, global economic conditions, fluctuations in exchange rates, competitive actions taken by other airlines, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, difficulties in integrating the two airlines, the willingness of customers to travel by air, actions taken or conditions imposed by the U.S. and foreign governments or other regulatory matters, excessive taxation, further industry consolidation and changes in airlines alliances, the availability and cost of insurance and public health threats.

AirTran and Southwest caution that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. Additional information concerning these and other risk factors is contained in AirTran's and Southwest's most recently filed Annual Reports on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, recent Current Reports on Form 8-K, and other SEC filings. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements concerning AirTran, Southwest, the proposed transaction or other matters and attributable to AirTran or Southwest or any person acting on their behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements above.

Neither AirTran nor Southwest undertakes any obligation to publicly update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date hereof.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Small Business Financing Bill May Shortchange Veterans

/PRNewswire/ -- While applauding its intent, leaders of The American Legion say that new federal legislation designed to bolster small business may not do enough to support veteran-owned enterprises.

The legislation being questioned by The American Legion is H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010. Introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) this past May, H.R. 5297 would create a $30 billion small business lending fund to be administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, as well as provide $12 billion in tax breaks to help small businesses.

"The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act is a terrific piece of legislation in its purpose," says Joe Sharpe, director of The American Legion's economic commission, "but it does very little, if anything, to correct the sorry circumstances facing service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses today."

Government regulations require that three percent of all appropriate government contract money be awarded to eligible small businesses owned by service-disabled military veterans. Yet, to date, awards have totaled only about half that mandate.

"We are not asking for preferential treatment, but simply some legislative language that levels the playing field," says Sharpe. "Without going into minute detail, let's just say the current wording does not do the job."

Jimmie Foster, national commander of The American Legion, says, "Historically, the federal government has done very poorly with regards to implementing veteran preference rules on contracts. This time, from our point of view, things must be different. When implementation of this law is accomplished, veteran-owned businesses must finally be able to gain the recognition – and contracts – they deserve. The American Legion will campaign hard to make sure that happens."

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Many More Small Businesses Now Eligible for Long-Term Financing With SBA 504 Loans

/PRNewswire/ -- A number of very substantial benefits for America's small businesses were incorporated into the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, recently passed in Congress. Included in the legislation were major enhancements to the SBA 504 loan program, an important U.S. Small Business Administration financing program. SBA 504 loans are long-term, government-guaranteed loans designed for small businesses to finance the purchase, construction or renovation of commercial real estate and the purchase of long-term capital assets.

As a result of the legislation, many more small business owners across the country now qualify to receive SBA 504 loans. The net worth for companies to be eligible for an SBA 504 loan was increased, maximum loan size was raised and refinancing of existing debt was also approved.

Among the most important benefits included in the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 is an extension of the fee relief for SBA 504 loans. This fee waiver was first enacted in February 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Recovery Act. An additional $505 million has been allocated to fund SBA loan fees through December 31, 2010 saving borrowers many thousands of dollars.

Maximum loan amounts were also permanently increased to a range of $5 to $5.5 million from a previous maximum range of $1.5 to $4 million. Larger projects are now eligible for 504 loans and borrowers who already have loans with the SBA can now return for additional funding.

There was also an increase in the business size standard to be eligible for an SBA 504 loan. Businesses with a tangible net worth of $15 million and 2-year average net income after Federal income tax of $5 million, are now be eligible to apply for SBA 504 financing opening the door to many more small business owners across the country.

Perhaps one of the most beneficial enhancements to the SBA 504 loan program is a temporary two-year program for refinancing existing small business commercial debt. Small business owners holding commercial real-estate loans with undesirable rates will have the opportunity to refinance these loans using the SBA 504 loan program. This will be a boon for small businesses that are having difficulty keeping current on existing high-interest loans since SBA 504 loans are currently available at extremely attractive interest rates. Businesses will be able to remain in their facilities while lenders are not left holding vacant real estate.

SBA 504 loans are typically used by small businesses needing more operating space or by businesses that have lost their leases and decide to invest in their own facilities. Still others want to construct or retrofit facilities to incorporate energy efficient technologies to decrease operating expenses. Businesses needing to invest in capital-intensive equipment and machinery also look to the SBA 504 loan for funding. Small business owners definitely see the advantage of the low down payment which is typically only 10%. The hidden value to our economy is that all SBA 504 loan recipients are also adding jobs in their communities.

Certified Development Companies, or CDCs, are the SBA's conduit for providing 504 loans on Main Street. They are ready and waiting for the anticipated increase in demand this new legislation will generate. CDCs know that many small business borrowers will want to take advantage of these long-term, fixed, low interest rate loans now. Chris Crawford, President of NADCO, the trade association for the nation's CDCs pointed out, "The bottom line is that more small businesses now have an opportunity to invest in their own facilities or expand existing facilities using SBA 504 financing. At a time when the commercial real estate market is depressed and property is more affordable, this is great news for many small business owners."

Since 1986 the Certified Development Company industry has provided nearly $60 billion worth of financing to over 123,700 American small businesses resulting in the creation or retention of over 2.2 million jobs. Contact a Certified Development Company to discuss the program or visit the NADCO website at www.nadco.org for additional information.

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