Augusta's outlook is positive for economic growth in 2012

By: Justin Fabiano Email
By: Justin Fabiano Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta had a successful year recruiting businesses in 2011. Overall, the city saw $400 million in investments. Those investments created about 2,000 jobs.

Walter Sprouse, executive director of Richmond County's Development Authority, says he hopes this year will be at least as good as 2011.

"We're working probably as many prospects as we've ever worked in our career here in Augusta," Sprouse said.

One of his biggest pitches when it comes to landing those prospects is the people of Augusta.

"[Companies] are looking for a good workforce, and we have an excellent workforce in Augusta," he explained. "We have a lot of manufacturing, we have a lot of research, for instance from the hospitals. Of course with Fort Gordon and the Savannah River Site in the area, we have a lot of diversification in the workforce already."

That diversity is extremely important.

"You think about Pittsburgh, and you think OK, well yeah, that's steel. That's a whole lot of metal working up there. You know, do you want to put your furniture operation up there?" Sprouse asked. "Probably not."

Recruiters say other things like access to utilities and facilities are important as well, and while they say we have a good combination of all that here, Sprouse said it's difficult to predict just how many businesses will come here in 2012.

"Decisions are not made by the staff or by the board," he said. "They're made by the CEOs of the company whether they want to locate here or whether they want to go to Fayetteville, N.C. There's no finishing second. You either win a project or you're dead last."

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