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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