H&A Client General Mills wins Georgia ‘Deal of the Year’

By David Clemons
The Walton Tribune

Published September 27, 2009

Walton County and General Mills earned statewide recognition for the work done to bring the food giant’s new distribution center to the area.

The Georgia Economic Developers Association recognized the Development Authority of Walton County for “”outstanding achievement in the location/expansion of business in Georgia.””

General Mills broke ground in June on a 1.6-million-square-foot facility on Hightower Trail in Social Circle, just days after the deal to bring the company to the county was completed.

It’s the largest distribution center for General Mills in the U.S., and it is expected to open in May.

Nancy Kinsey, executive director of the county’s development authority, said city and county officials put forth a unified effort to land General Mills.

“”Our overall success has been largely in part to the leadership at the county level and the Development Authority,”” Kinsey said. “”Good, quality, ethical and honest leadership is a must to win these type projects.

“”We have been fortunate in that our cities have supported our efforts when it comes to utilities. Statewide developers want one economic development professional in the county as their contact. This person must be educated in the economic development arena, have a good rapport with state developers, have a product and know how to sell the product.””

Two weeks ago, Kinsey marked 15 years as director of the Development Authority. In August she celebrated her 34th year in the profession.

“”I am a strong believer in putting your leadership (volunteers) out front and thanking them,”” she said. “”Who cares where the credit goes if you win the project?””

Social Circle has agreed to run utility lines to the General Mills site and is receiving grants to cover the cost of much of the work.

Walton County is making road improvements and paying the cost of a rail line/spur to the site. The Georgia Department of Transportation is assisting with road improvements on Hightower Trail, but the county is doing the majority of the work and agreed to put in the remaining funds needed to get the project.

The Development Authority of Walton County applied for and received a state grant for machinery.

Kevin Little, chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners, said the General Mills deal was a good one for the county.

“”General Mills personnel were easy to work with and a unique bond was established with their corporate personnel and our local team,”” Little said.

General Mills is based in Minneapolis and has run a manufacturing facility in Covington for 20 years.

General Mills chose Georgia over other states, then selected Social Circle over other Peach State cities, including Macon.

The facility will employ 112 people on the 132-acre site. General Mills’ investment in the project is estimated at a little more than $43 million.

The new plant will combine facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla.

Kinsey and the authority’s chairman, Morris Jordan, received the recognition for the Development Authority of Walton County on Sept. 16 in Savannah.

Insights – Strength in Partnerships

hickey-logoBy: Jason Hickey

In July, the economic development community lost a dear friend with the passing of Michael P. Hickey, founder of Hickey and Associates, LLC. Mike, at the age of 59, passed away following a valiant battle with cancer.

To many, Mike was not only a colleague, but also a close friend and a confidant. Each and every person that had the opportunity to work with Mike knew immediately that he was an honorable and trustworthy advocate. No matter what the situation, you always knew that Mike was being honest and sincere. Time and time again, businesses and communities trusted Mike for his unparalleled guidance, expertise and genuine approach.

For over three decades, Mike’s leadership, guidance and genuine approach to creating strong public/private partnerships helped set the tone for our industry. Mike understood that the strength of these partnerships rested in the sharing of both the rewards and the risks. Therefore, he always made certain that both the business and the community were the right fit for one another. This approach ensured successful relationships that would last long into the future.

Genuine Approach to Partnerships
Now, more than ever, it is critical for communities and companies to form a genuine partnership. By continuing to offer valuable and innovative financial incentives, communities can attract the right businesses. At the same time, companies gain the vital resources and tools to improve their bottom line in these difficult times. Working together, companies and communities can certainly improve both of their positions in today’s struggling economy.

With the economy in turmoil, access to capital has quickly turned from a dream into a nightmare. Companies, developers and investors are now finding themselves seeking creative solutions for success. Meanwhile, communities are in search of opportunities to create jobs and increase capital investment. By forming public/private partnerships, the company and the community can both discover success while accomplishing their objectives.

Stimulus Partnerships
The Federal Stimulus, officially entitled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has injected much needed resources into the project pipeline. Now states and communities can capture funds to assist with economic development efforts that would otherwise not be available due to local revenue short falls.

As a company, work together with your community by exploring the use of these types of funding opportunities. If a new road is required, or a fire station needs to be constructed, these funds can get a project over many infrastructure hurdles.


Mike Hickey – In Memoriam

Michael P. Hickey
1949 – 2009

Michael P. Hickey, founder of Hickey and Associates, LLC, passed away at the age of 59 in his home near Minneapolis , MN.

Mike Hickey started Hickey and Associates, LLC, originally in Columbia , MD and eventually settling in Plymouth , MN , specializing in Market Selection and Economic Development initiatives. Over the last two decades, the business has secured over $1 billion in public incentives, while providing clients unparalleled expertise on the best locations to grow, expand or consolidate their businesses.

To ensure success was not short-lived, Hickey handled each and every business project and relationship with an ethical and honest approach unmatched by many. As the company developed into a global leader for business growth and expansion, Mike’s strong principles were the core reason for his success. Without question, his legacy will endear through the company he built.

Along with launching Hickey and Associates, LLC, Mike’s extensive business career included leadership positions within General Electric and Pillsbury. Prior to entering the private sector, Mike proudly served as an elected official on the Columbia (MD) City Council and other community leadership positions, while also holding executive positions in Maryland directing employment and training programs, as well as economic development. Mike received his Masters degree in Business Administration, as well as his undergraduate degree in Political Science, from the University of Maryland , College Park .

Hickey is survived by his wife of thirty-six years, Doris, sons Jason Michael and David Patrick, and siblings William F. Hickey, Jr., Gemma M. Weiblinger, Barbara C. Hickey, Karen M. Bosna, Audrey M. Leggere-Hickey, Brian A. Hickey, and Sean T. Hickey.

The Value of Location-Intelligence: Online GIS Analysis for Site Selection

By Anatalio Ubalde, MCP, Co-CEO and Co-founder, GIS Planning Inc. & ZoomProspector.com

Although its name would imply otherwise, site selection is very rarely just about the site. Instead, an effective site selection process is about community selection, which includes the geographic advantages that are the best match for your business. There is no question that your company will need a building or site to develop a building, but it’s more important to first evaluate all the things that happen around your site.

Here’s the proof: What drives a restaurant location isn’t the building; it’s the customers in the area. What drives a solar energy facility isn’t the availability of land; it’s the availability of sun. What drives the location of a distribution center isn’t the number of loading docks; it’s the proximity of transportation to markets.

This is the same process site selection advisors use. “When a client approaches our consulting team at Grubb & Ellis, they typically have a certain type of community in mind,” said Elizabeth King Forstneger, Director of Strategic Consulting Group at Grubb & Ellis. “We start our search for communities based on the factors most critical to the clients’ operations, such as the depth of the qualified labor pool, wage rates, geographic constraints, etc.”

The good news for businesses and corporate site selectors is that now you can take advantage of access to more online GIS (geographic information system) analysis to enable you to make better location decisions based on community characteristics, geographic advantages, and even to find the property or building you need for your new business home.

GIS enables you to make better and faster decisions based on deep analysis and visualization of data. At its core, GIS joins digital maps with databases. This combination enables you to create powerful analysis including proximity to customer markets, labor force characteristics, consumer spending, industry competitiveness, and more. It also empowers you to be able to immediately see data on a map which reveals information that might not be readily obvious from looking through thousands of individual records in multiple databases.

Although much of the GIS data has historically resided only in the office cubicles of government engineers, today that data is becoming more available through the Internet. In addition, advances in website technology allow regular folks to be able to use the analytical tools that used to be only accessible to “power-users” with formal GIS training. This means that today you can go to a local government’s website to access the local GIS map layers and information such as parcel boundaries, land use, incentive areas, traffic counts, transportation, zoning, and much more.

Economic development organizations (EDOs) have been driving the process of getting the GIS information out into the public because they realize that providing corporate real estate professionals and site selectors with information about the geographic advantages of doing business in their communities facilitates economic growth. Many of these organizations are also taking their GIS systems to the next level of service by combining their local GIS map layers with demographic, business and property data. Now you can find powerful GIS site selection websites available across the country in city, county, state and utility economic development organizations in Spokane, Wash. (SelectSpokane.com), Arlington, Texas (ArlingtonIsites.com), Valdosta, Ga. (ValdostaLowndesProspector.com) and hundreds of others. On these websites you can search for properties, create location-specific radius demographic reports, map businesses by industry, and view interactive maps with local GIS layers. These websites have proven invaluable at serving businesses and site selectors.

“Our website is delivering big-time results. Within a month of launching ValdostaLowndesProspector.com, our local brokers were calling us telling us of their success leasing facilities that were found on our website,” said Vicki Hughes, Director of Marketing, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority. “What’s more, site selection consultants are calling us and telling us how they are using our GIS website for analyzing our community for new projects. Traffic to our website has doubled. Also, we use the website to create proposals for companies, which has had an immediate ROI for our organization’s bottom line.”

Site selection consultants concur about the value. “Communities that provide GIS website tools make it easier to find if a specific area is a good fit for both the company and community,” said Jason Hickey, of Washington, D.C.-based Hickey & Associates, LLC. .”Having the ability to do a real-time site search allows our team to quickly match the data on the ground to the internal parameters set by the client. Local map layers that highlight transportation networks, pad ready sites, economic development zones, as well as other geo-coded features, depict a site in a way that isn’t just in black-and-white text.”

Access to GIS, demographic, labor, business, and property data has improved dramatically since 1998 when the first EDO website with GIS-based site selection tools launched to serve corporate site selectors. However, this information has been primarily accessible at the city, county, or state level, which makes it difficult for corporate real estate professionals to find all of the information in one place and perform a true apples-to-apples site selection comparison of communities across a country. This is a challenge and pain-point expressed numerous times from many corporate real estate professionals and businesses.

A significant challenge to accomplishing this is bringing extensive data sets of consistent data across the entire nation into one website and then stitching together the local data across many communities so that it is useable in one place. At GIS Planning Inc., we’ve spent years thinking about this problem and how to overcome it, considering the significant benefit a website like this could produce for businesses, site selectors and the economic developers.

After years of growing our company with clients across the USA we realized it was possible to solve this challenge through our large national GIS and data infrastructure. So we set out to build and launch ZoomProspector.com as a national site selection analysis website powered by national and local demographic, business, and geographic data. ZoomProspector.com now enables businesses of all sizes to find the optimal location to start-up, expand, or relocate.

With ZoomProspector.com, every business searching for a new location can perform a free, fast, yet in-depth search for the best location based on the site selection characteristics that matter most to their unique needs, including demographic, business, labor force, geographic, transportation, incentive, economic, and industry qualities combined with real estate search. The website also connects businesses to expert site selection consultants and EDOs by matching them from extensive directories. Community profiles on every city and county in the nation offer demographic, business and GIS-based data, and each listed property includes detailed information as well. With ZoomProspector.com, all businesses can finally take full advantage of GIS-based site selection through a few clicks of the mouse.

“Finding the right location for a business is difficult for even us professionals, given the thousands of potential locations out there and the ever-changing world of labor demographics, available sites and buildings, tax laws and incentives,” says James Renzas, site selection expert and Principal of the RSH Group. “Having a tool like ZoomProspector.com is essential for companies that would like to get a handle on what alternative locations might hold for their company as well as those of us who do this for a living, as a convenient source of high quality site selection information.”

Technologies such as GIS and the Internet are revolutionizing the possibilities for corporate real estate professionals to make smarter choices more quickly, resulting in better location decisions and increased profitability. The beneficiaries of these improvements are the professionals that leverage these newly available solutions, and the communities that they serve.


H&A Client, General Mills, announced a new facility…

General Mills to Locate New Distribution Center in Social Circle
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

ATLANTA — Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that global food company General Mills plans to locate a new distribution center in Social Circle, investing $42 million and creating 112 jobs.

“”I am thrilled to see one of the world’s largest food companies continue to grow right here in Georgia,”” said Governor Perdue. “”Georgia’s status as the ‘corner store’ of the Southeast makes it a perfect location for distribution centers, and our quality workforce ensures that businesses will get their products to market on time and under budget.””

General Mills will contract with a third-party logistics provider to staff and run the 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center, which will be located along Hightower Road in Walton County. The facility will distribute the General Mills family of products throughout the Southeast.

The distribution center will be built to meet LEED certification, an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across the following metrics: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. This will make it one of the largest buildings in the country to meet LEED certification standards.

General Mills has been an employer in Georgia since 1989, when the company opened a manufacturing facility in Covington. Governor Perdue visited the General Mills facility in Covington in September 2008 to recognize the plant’s reduction in water usage after the company installed a $6 million treatment plant that trimmed the plant’s water usage by an average of 46 percent – or about 5.3 million gallons per month, enough to supply about 1,000 homes.

For the new distribution center, the company will use the services of the Georgia Department of Labor to solicit applications and Georgia Quick Start to train employees. Permanent job hiring will not occur until early 2010.

“”General Mills is pleased to be growing our presence in Georgia with the new distribution center in Social Circle,”” said Kevin Schoen, Vice President of Logistics for General Mills. “”Our Covington team demonstrates day after day the dedication of Georgia employees, and we are excited by the strategic logistic location that Social Circle offers.””

“”On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and citizens of Walton County we are extremely proud to welcome General Mills to our community,”” said Kevin Little, Chairman-Walton County Board of Commissioners. “”With our current economy, this is a great commitment from General Mills to invest in new jobs and investment.””

“”Metro Atlanta and Georgia continue to be one of the global gateways of choice and a premier location for companies to manage their supply chains,”” said Bob Pertierra, vice president of supply chain for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “”Our location in the Southeast, access to market and world-class airport continue to be a draw for companies.””

Mary Douglass, project manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, assisted General Mills in its location process.

About the company

One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in over 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., General Mills had fiscal 2008 global net sales of US$14.9 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales. For more information, please contact Heidi Geller at 763-764-6364.


H&A speaks about Federal Stimulus Funds at IAMC Conference

logo_iamc450As an expert on Federal Stimulus funding opportunities, Hickey & Associates, LLC provided the IAMC membership with an update of the grants, credits and other programs locked within the Recovery Act.

Sign up for our Hickey & Associates eNewsletter for information about upcoming educational Webinars and Sessions

For more information about the cost saving opportunities in the Recovery Act, please contact our Recovery Act Team at (202) 373-9231.

Location Georgia, A Service of Electric Cities of Georgia, Inc: 2009 Economic Development Forum



Forum Information

The Annual Economic Development Forum offers the ECG Communities an opportunity to discuss, and learn from experts, on economic development strategies and tactics. Attendees will also hear proven success stories from state and community leaders.

The objective of the Forum is to offer specific, realistic and obtainable solutions to your economic development challenges.

To view the 2009 Economic Development Forum Agenda, please click the following link:

PDF 2009 Economic Development Forum Agenda (19KB PDF)

To view the 2009 Economic Development Forum Attendee List, please click the following link:

PDF 2009 Economic Development Forum Attendee List (27KB PDF)

Presenter Bios and Presentations

Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys
Selig Center of Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business
▪ Biography
Debra M. Lyons
Governor’s Office of Workforce Development
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: Georgia Work Ready (PPT – 4.5MB)
Kerry S. Waldron
Executive Director, Cook County Economic Development Commission
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation (PPT – 23MB)
Bill Twomey
County Manager, Cook County, GA
▪ Biography
Jerry Permenter
City Manager, City of Adel, GA
▪ Biography
J. Christopher Brown
Senior Vice President, Industrial Group Atlanta
Duke Realty Corporation
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: The Community’s Role in Office/Industrial Development (PPT – 16.6MB)
Michael P. Hickey
President/Owner, Hickey & Associates, LLC
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: The Company’s Perspective for Site/Community Selection (PPT – 1.06MB)
Catherine Timko
CEO, Community Retail Catalysts
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: Developing a Winning Retail Strategy (PPT – 2.81MB)
Ken Stewart
Commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation (PPT – 3.2MB)
Sharon D. Sewell
Vice President, Workforce Development Services
Wadley-Donovan GrowthTech
A Wadley-Donovan Group Company
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: Workforce Development: A Critical Component of Economic Growth Strategies (PPT – 550KB)
Shannon G. Kettering, ASLA, AICP
Vice President, Ecos Environmental Design, Inc.
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: Building Green Infrastructure to Attract Quality Investments (PPT – 9.6MB)
Jim Bruce
President, BFPC, LLC
▪ Biography
Randolph B. Cardoza
Managing Director, Economic Development
AGL Resources
▪ Biography
▪ Presentation: The Georgia Allies GRAD Site Program (PPT – 179KB)

H&A invited to speak at IEDC Leadership Summit

iedcH&A was invited to speak at this year’s International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Leadership Summit in Tempe, Arizona.

Jason Hickey, Associate for Hickey & Associates, LLC participated in a panel entitled “Lets Make a Deal: Changes in the Business of Site Selection” to discuss the changing environment of corporate site selection.

For more information about the conference, please visit the IEDC website.