EDC set for weeklong celebration of industry

ALBANY -- In hopes of enlightening the public to the value of Albany and Dougherty County's industrial sector, the local economic development commission has unveiled plans to host a weeklong celebration of industry later this spring.

The event, which is still in the planning stages, will spotlight local industries and their contributions to the community, EDC President Ted Clem said.

"It gives us an opportunity to show our support to industry for their contributions, and it gives us an opportunity to educate the public about why economic development is so important to our community," Clem said.

The event is tentatively scheduled for May and will include awards for industry in four different categories: economic impact, excellence in innovation, global commerce and corporate community citizenship.

"These awards will help recognize the importance of diversity among our local industrial community," Clem said.

The celebration offers a shift from past industrial recognition events by the EDC, which were limited to a one-day industry of the year awards program that handed out accolades based on industry size only.

Applications will be posted on both the EDC and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Web sites, officials say, and applications must be turned in by April 1.

Winners will be announced at the May 5 Rise 'N' Shine Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The EDC also learned at its Wednesday meeting that prospects continue to look for opportunities in Albany, including the property on East Oglethorpe Boulevard which was the former home of Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.

The Albany-Dougherty Industrial Park development has been bid out and awarded to Reeves Construction, which will begin construction within the next 30 days, EDC Vice President Andrea Shruijer said.

The EDC board is also preparing to host the annual Georgia Quail Hunt, which will bring 31 of the state's top industry prospects to Albany for a four-day quail hunt.

Clem said that while the hunt has been criticized in recent years for lack of a tangible benefit to Albany and Dougherty County, the recent Coats and Clark expansion in Albany was a direct result of their corporate leaders' experience at the hunt.