Stephens County Graduates from the Georgia Academy for Economic Development

The Board of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development announces Stephens County graduates from the 2015 Region 2 Multi-Day Training Program.  Class participants represented a number of professional and non-professional economic development fields, including elected officials, public servants, business leaders, educators, and social service providers from 13 counties in Region 2 Georgia.  The Academy provided each of the graduates an opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional, and state levels. 

Stephens County graduates at the November 19 ceremony included:Deborah Gibby, Rick Phillips, Clay Fisher, Julie Paysen, and Tammy Riddle pictured with 
Pat Merritt (Georgia EMC), Rope Roberts (Georgia Power Co.) and 
Brian Dill (Georgia Department of Community Affairs)

Created in 1993, the Academy assembles a cross section of economic development professionals and resources to provide this training in all twelve service delivery regions in Georgia.  The Board of Directors of the Academy represent public and private economic development organizations and agencies from across Georgia.  Since its organization, the Academy has provided training for thousands of professional and non-professional economic developers around the state, and since 1998 the Academy has been offered annually. Georgia EMC and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the program, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs provides staff support to this important program.

“One of the goals for the multi-day regional Academies is to encourage multi-county cooperation,” says Corinne Thornton, Director of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development.  “Many times the participants discover the issues facing their community are the same as those facing other communities in their region, and can then combine limited resources to address the issue.”

The Academy’s multi-day program, taught one day a month over a four-month period, includes training in the basics of economic and community development, plus specialized segments on business recruitment and retention, tourism product development, downtown development,  planning, and other essentials for community success.  In addition, the curriculum features specific leadership skills such as consensus building, ethics in public service, collaborative leadership and other segments needed for effective community leadership in economic development.  Local elected officials may receive certification training credits through the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association for completion of this program.

The next Region 2 Georgia Academy for Economic Development will begin in August 2016.  For more information on this, please contact Kathy Papa at 770-362-7078 or by email at

Stephens County Receives Award For Small Community Deal Of The Year By The Georgia Economic Developers Association

The Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) recognized the Stephens County Development Authority for an “outstanding achievement in the location/expansion of business in Georgia.” Stephens County was recognized because of the NIFCO KTW project.
Lonnie Smallwood & Nico Wijnberg, State Project Manager; Bryan Kelley, Vice President NIfCO America; Tim Martin, SCDA; Commissioner Gretchen Corbin,Technical College System of Georgia; Reiner Sagenmueller, Plant Manager; Brian Akin, SCDA

“As if the addition of Nifco-KTW to our community was not exciting enough, receiving the GEDA's Deal of the Year Award for our efforts on this project is certainly something the SCDA and Toccoa-Stephens County can be proud of.  Everyone at the Development Authority's table is committed to bringing continued economic development to our great county, and this award is a testament to that fact.  I cannot offer enough gratitude to Tim, Brittany, my fellow board members, and the other leaders in the city and county for their efforts on this project.  This is only the start of many great things to come for Toccoa-Stephens County!"  Brian Akin, SCDA Chairman

"We are excited, Nifco/KTW, selected Toccoa Stephens County as their North American Headquarters. Their investment and the teamwork of our City, Chamber, Stephens County Development Authority, and our County, has provided a great boost to the economic atmosphere of our community. We are blessed to receive the Georgia Deal of the Year from, GEDA. Our leaders are focused on providing excellent employment opportunities to our community, as we focus on the future of Toccoa and Stephens County.”  Clay Fisher, Chamber of Commerce Chairman

The plastic injection molding automotive parts manufacturer will invest $27.3 million to construct a 130,000 square-foot facility on a 32 acre site in Stephens County.  This will be the company’s North American headquarters and will create 200 jobs over the next five years.

This is now the eighth year that GEDA has recognized the major projects from the previous year.  In what has become a major portion of the Annual Awards Ceremony – GEDA recognizes recipients in four categories:
  • SMALL – a county with population 50,000 and under,
  • MID-SIZE – a county with population 50,001 – 100,000,
  • LARGE – a county with population over 100,000,
  • REGIONAL – any multi-county effort
"There were 400 deals in the state of Georgia this year.  To be recognized by our peers as the Deal of the Year is truly a humbling experience.  Our County, City, Chamber of Commerce & SCDA pulled together to bring this deal to fruition.  It is truly an honor to be a part of this team."  Dennis Bell, County Commission Chairman

“We are pleased and blessed beyond measure to be recognized as making the Deal of the Year.  We welcome NIfCO KTW to our growing international business community.  We are excited that the state leaders recognize Stephens County by promoting us as a prime destination for companies to locate their business.  This is a great win for Stephens County.”  Chuck Wright, SCDA Treasurer

“We are excited about this special recognition and proud  to partner with NIfCO KTW.   It's our hope this exposure throughout the state will lead to additional development opportunities and jobs for our community."Terry Carter, Toccoa Mayor

“The Lord provided our community with a tremendous amount of harmonizing guidance that led to this deal. So many did so much to make this happen. I was very proud to be a part of this, and North Georgia Tech looks forward to a long relationship with Nifco/KTW from the standpoint of workforce development. It was an amazing team effort which I feel justified the “Deal of the Year” recognition.”
Greg Roach, NGTC Currahee Campus Director

The Deal of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the location of new businesses or expansion of existing firms in the state of Georgia that meet community economic development goals and involve significant community program support, such as financial or permitting assistance, workforce development, state financial support, etc.