Comments following the Economic Development Outlook luncheon Tuesday

December 11, 2012 

Eddie Wilson, regional president, State Bank and Trust

“I’ve probably attended Outlook conferences for 10 years, and ’08, ’09, ’10 and ’11 were pretty depressing. So when the first thing they say is that Georgia is going to lead the nation in economic growth, while it’s not a huge number in the terms of percentage, at least we are headed in the right direction.

“The $100 million deal-closing fund (to be provided by the state), is a way to level the playing field. Alabama was using (similar) money to give away land. So, that’s good.”

Ann Levett, dean of the School of Education, Macon State College

“This year I was interested in ... comments on the budget cuts to educational agencies and colleges ... and how that will have an impact on the work force and the availability of workers who are skilled (for the jobs that will be available).

“We say it all the time, but it’s helpful to have an economist link the cutbacks in the educational budget to a possible negative impact on the viability of the work force for the kind of jobs that are coming into our area. ... We have to be able to guarantee employers who come into the area that our institutions will be able to get people trained pretty quickly.”

Tom Driver, president, Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants Inc.

“I’m excited about the positive growth that they are expecting for 2013 and excited that we will do better than the national average. ... It’s only 2 percent, but right now any positive indicator we can find is a good thing. So it gives me something to move into next year on. ... I’m optimistic about 2013 more so than I was about 2012 for sure.

“(The deal-closing fund) I think it’s very positive and gives the state a competitive advantage over other states. I think Macon is very well poised for growth with the deepening of the (Savannah) port ...I think it’s all positive news for Macon, but it’s just going to take time, and that’s the disappointing part. But I think we are moving in the right direction.”

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