Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Deal: Augusta company creates 100 jobs

FPL Food expands Richmond County food processing operation, opens new facility

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Augusta-based FPL Food, LLC, will expand its beef processing operation in Richmond County by opening a new processing facility, creating up to 100 new jobs. The company will also invest $3 million in this expansion.

“Georgia has historically been a strategic home for food processors, and this industry continues to provide a great foundation for our state’s economy by employing more workers in our state than any other sector of manufacturing,” Deal said. “We work diligently to be sure food processors such as FPL Food can expand in Georgia and remain competitive in markets around the world.”

FPL Food is the largest privately held beef processor in the Southeast. The company serves a range of customers including food service, retail, military and export operations, with capabilities ranging from traditional beef cuts to value-added retail products such as ground beef, cube steak, and marinated and sliced beef products. With the opening of its third facility, FPL Food can meet the growing needs of its current customer base and create opportunities to reach new customers.

“Augusta and the State of Georgia have been great supporters of our growth, and too, offer a dedicated workforce allowing us to meet the needs of our customers and continually provide the highest standards in food safety and product quality,” said Steve Hixon, FPL Food director of marketing. “We also consider Augusta a strategic location allowing us to efficiently reach our core customer base in the Southeast and coastal ports for exporting product worldwide.”

FPL Food has called Augusta and Richmond County home since 2004 and operates its corporate headquarters out of the former Shapiro Packing facility. The company now operates out of three facilities, including its Augusta corporate headquarters, a value-added facility in Columbia, and its new value-added facility in Augusta.

“FPL Food has been a major part of the Augusta economy for years. It is a testament to the company and to Augusta that both are growing and prospering together,” said Henry Ingram, chairman of the Augusta Economic Development Authority. “This new facility will allow FPL Food to add more employees and strengthen the local economy even more.”

In addition to the Development Authority of Richmond County, the Georgia Department of Economic Development also collaborated with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to manage this expansion opportunity for FPL Food. The company’s third facility is located in the Augusta Farmers Market, which is managed by the Department of Agriculture.

“We are happy that FPL Food is expanding its presence at the Augusta Farmers Market. This private-public collaboration benefits FPL and the taxpayers of Georgia,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “The expansion of FPL also strengthens the Augusta Farmers Market’s position as an agricultural hub for large businesses, in addition to small businesses, vendors, farmers and consumers.”

FPL Food is a contributing member of Georgia’s vast community of food manufacturers and processors that employ nearly 70,000 Georgians. In addition to the state’s welcoming business environment, manufacturers in the food processing sector can also leverage Georgia’s highly skilled workforce backed by the Technical College System of Georgia and Quick Start, which ranks as the nation’s best workforce training program.

“FPL Food’s expansion is a great example of how Georgia’s progressive business environment and other competitive resources create significant growth opportunities for existing industry in our state,” said Chris Cummiskey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “I am encouraged by the growth FPL is experiencing, and look forward to the additional opportunities we can work together to create in Georgia.”

Adela Kelley, GDEcD senior project manager, led this project for the state.

About FPL Food, LLC
As one of Augusta’s major employers, FPL Food is home to nearly 800 employees residing in Augusta, and the surrounding areas. Along with benefiting the local economy of Augusta, FPL’s presence in the Southeast supports local and regional cattle farmers as well as additional agricultural resources by providing them and their staff with consistent economic growth. On average, FPL Food procures $175 million worth of cattle per year from local farmers. Additionally, FPL Food contributes to the surrounding community and industry organizations through charitable contributions while continually maintaining high standards associated with food quality and safety systems and environmental welfare. FPL Food sponsors $5,000 to agricultural majors in scholarships. Combining both economic impact and sustainable practices, FPL Food continues to be an instrumental organization in the state of Georgia and the Southeast region.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fayette: Want to Meet Lots of People in a Short Time? Try Speed Networking

If you have a business, finding potential customers may be your most difficult chore – especially if you are shy in front of crowds, or have very little opportunity to meet others.

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce has a solution. At 7:30 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month, the chamber hosts a speed networking group.

Experienced facilitators keep the sessions flowing smoothly and help even inexperienced networkers feel at ease. You’ll sit across the table from someone, tell them a little about your business and then listen as they reciprocate. After a minute of back and forth, you move on to the next person and repeat the process.

Networking exercises are often part of the morning event. One exercise involves each attendee using the chamber member directory to find businesses they would like to contact. Often, introductions can be made through someone in the room who has a connection to the business.

So take a couple hours before you start your day and join the chamber’s monthly speed networking session. It’s the fastest, most efficient way to make business connections. Who knows? You may meet the one person who can help you boost your bottom line.

Not sure you can make it every month? Come once and try it. If you like the experience, come when you can. Have a cup of coffee. Meet lots of people. You may even find the person whose product or service you’ve been seeking for a long time. It’s a great way to expand your network.

Speed networking begins at 7:30 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Fayette Chamber, 200 Courthouse Square in Fayetteville. Call 770-461-9983 for more information. Or, visit www.fayettechamber.org and click on Chamber Calendar for speed networking and other chamber events. Remember, networking is meeting and greeting with a purpose. Speed networking maximizes your efforts in the quickest, most efficient way, and it’s open to non-chamber members. Join us at the Chamber next month.

About the Chamber: The Fayette Chamber is a strong, vibrant network of businesses and organizations working together to promote economic prosperity and strengthen our community. Through the chamber, important connections are made that provide the framework for our community to grow and prosper. With the goal of maintaining and enhancing our excellent quality of life, the chamber provides strong leadership, networking, education and programs that encourage partnerships between businesses and the community.