Albany/Dougherty County: Military And Industry At Home

As Albany’s downtown district has improved, the city as a whole has continued to attract business and industry. In fact, Dougherty County boasts more than 60,000 jobs, even though its entire population numbers just 100,000. That has made Albany a Mecca for residents of surrounding counties seeking employment.

“Our daytime population is much higher than our nighttime population,” says Tim Martin, president and CEO of the Greater Albany Chamber of Commerce. “Folks come here to work and to shop and for their medical care and all those things support each other. It’s all here in Albany.”

In recent months telephone relay provider Hamilton Telecommunications has brought new jobs to town. The company, which provides services that allow the hearing impaired to receive telephone messages via text, is hiring 70 to 80 workers to start and more as the operation expands.

In a reversal of the offshore migration among call center jobs, the city picked up the Call Tech operations that provide support to BellSouth’s DSL customers. With more than 600 workers on board, the operation is another part of the area’s growing telecom boom, Martin says.

“The cost of living is better, you have the amenities of the climate of Southwest Georgia, no congestion, first rate educational facilities, first rate hospital care,” Martin says. “Why wouldn’t you want to live here?”

The local employment picture had a stroke of good luck when Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and its almost 3,000 jobs escaped the Pentagon’s budget ax.

“It’s a draw for probably 40 counties around Albany,” Martin says, echoing the relief the entire region felt upon learning that the base would stay open for now.

While the military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process claimed victims throughout Georgia, this Marine facility survived. It also has prospered with a recent announcement of $4 million for a combat vehicle preservation and maintenance facility – the newest addition to the Supply Chain Management Center’s Fleet Support Division.

Martin loves to tell visitors just how valuable this facility is to the nation’s defense. When soldiers in the Iraq conflict needed more armored Humvees, “Albany was the answer to that lack of amour,” he says.

As bases around the country close, the value of this location increases. Other units and missions could very well be coming to Albany.

“Anything is possible,” Martin says. “The world is a different place today.”