Exploring economic development in South Metro Atlanta
The 2021 South Metro Development Outlook Conference went virtual last month with more than two dozen speakers and panelists highlighting economic development, transportation and small business growth in the region as well as celebrating the accomplishments of Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette, Henry and South Fulton counties. “Moving Beyond” was the conference theme and more than 600 people logged into the interactive event on March 18. Since then, an additional 400 have viewed the conference online. It will be available until April 18.
Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms were among the conference speakers. Specific topics explored during the half-day event included:
- Economic successes, demographics, business trends and employment.
- How rail, ground and air transportation in the region are performing.
- The ways small businesses are adapting to COVID-19 challenges and succeeding.
- How the region is handling market fluctuations resulting from the pandemic.
- The region’s economic progress and new county leadership.
Among the awards presented during the conference were:
- Corporate Leadership Award: Development Authority of Fulton County for its commitment to advancing development in the region.
- Trailblazer Award: Georgia Municipal Association for its leadership in charting a path for the South Metro community.
- Public Service Leadership Award: U.S. Rep. David Scott of Jonesboro for his long-term dedication to the region.
- Small Business Enterprise Awards: Ashley D. Bell, former administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration and Denton’s partner attorney; Arden’s Garden; and Dallas Smith & Co.
- Economic Development Innovative Award: Elevate Douglas Economic Partnership for the county’s efforts in creating positive change in the region’s urban, suburban and rural communities.
- Industrial Innovation Award: Georgia Power for its support of South Metro businesses and organizations.
The 19th annual conference – the largest of its kind in the region – was founded by Michael Hightower, managing partner of The Collaborative Firm, an Atlanta-based land-use planning, program management and real estate development company. The firm is one of the largest minority planning companies in the Southeast.
For anyone unable to attend the virtual conference, this month’s feature, “Adapting and Accelerating,” addresses the successes and challenges the six-county South Metro region has faced during the pandemic.