ALBANY, Ga. -- More than 21 business leaders from all over the United States trickled into Wynfield Plantation Wednesday night as the 23rd annual Georgia Quail Hunt got under way.
The gathering, a premier economic development event for both the region and the state of Georgia, provides local and state government leaders a chance to meet the guests and showcase Georgia as a great place to live, work and play.
"These people are the movers and shakers in business," said Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
"The Georgia Quail Hunt is an exceptional opportunity to showcase that Georgia is a great place for business and also a beautiful place to live. It also gives us the chance to learn from both existing business and key prospects about what is important to their companies."
Since 1994, Georgia Quail Hunt guests have invested a minimum of $2.5 billion in Georgia and created more than 8,400 new jobs through corporate relocations or expansions.
Coats & Clark, a guest of the 2009 Hunt, consolidated its North American distribution operations to Albany this year, bringing capital investment and new jobs to the area.
"As the host community of the Georgia Quail Hunt, Albany-Dougherty County is proud to showcase to corporate executives the lifestyle that we enjoy, as well as the exceptional business climate of our area and state," Ted Clem, CEO and president of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, said. "It's important that we are able not just to talk about our low cost of doing business, our infrastructure and the business opportunities, but also be able to show these firsthand."
Clark added that the combination of the area's unique abundance of quail and the spirit of cooperation in the regional community make the Hunt special.
"The region's communities really come together for this event," said Clark. "It's much better to work with a region than a single community every time. We're bringing in people from all over the country, and we use this as a hook to reel them in."
Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard agreed.
"This is the most recognized quail hunting region in the United States, actually in the world," Sinyard said. "It is a unique resource and a niche market that we can exploit. The people who are here can bring value to the region and to our state.
"This event is huge for our economic development."
The Georgia Quail Hunt is co-sponsored each year by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, the Georgia Allies and the Southwest Georgia Chamber Council.