Gov. Nathan Deal this week headlined his last annual celebration recognizing Georgia companies exporting all over the world.
During his customary speech at this year’s Go Global reception, Mr. Deal used his swan song to praise the state’s network of international offices in 12 countries as key to its vaunted top ranking for doing business.
“I probably will not see you again at this time next year,” Mr. Deal said before thanking supporters, including state employees who promote international trade. “You make us great.”
Earlier in the day March 20, Mr. Deal welcomed the state’s international reps and the Georgia consular corps for International Day at the Capitol, a celebration of the state’s global ties.
Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson underscored the importance of having a governor who understands the value of global engagement.
“It is pretty amazing to see him sell Georgia around the world,” said Mr. Wilson, who has traveled with the governor on trade missions to Asia and Europe.
Mr. Wilson went on to announce the 40 winners of the state’s GLOBE Awards, which recognize companies selling their products or services to a new country over the previous year.
Mr. Deal also did a bit of selling for his own agenda, pointing to state infrastructure funding reforms that paved the way for $11 billion of roadway expansion projects during his tenure. He also pointed to the Savannah harbor deepening, which has proceeded apace with state money despite rising costs and slow-coming federal commitments.
Mr. Deal repeated the Georgia Ports Authority’s announcement that Savannah port would more than double its capacity to 10 million containers by 2020, with an eye toward larger ships coming through the Panama Canal. Savannah has the cranes to handle them now, but they can only enter the channel at certain tide levels — and not fully loaded.
“(Ports) are an important part of what makes what you do possible,” he said to a room full of exporters, service providers and trade backers at the Atlanta History Center.
Georgia announced a record year for international trade value in 2017, in large part thanks to increased imports from top trading partner China. Exports also saw sound growth of more than 5 percent but failed to their 2015 peak after last year’s drop.
Prospects for this year remain unclear. The threat of a trade war looms on the horizon after President Donald Trump announced hefty steel and aluminum tariffs two weeks ago, then this week declared that his administration would hit up to $60 billion Chinese imports with new levies in a bid to counteract what he described as Chinese intellectual property theft.
The state’s export growth and diverse industrial base were reflected in the winners of the GLOBE Award, which stood at 40 this year after numbering just 24 in 2017.
Among this year’s winners, six companies had never exported before, and more than 40 percent had fewer than 20 employees. Cumulatively, they tapped into 84 new countries or territories.
Among the winners were Georgia-made (and -grown) comestibles like Richland Rum, Bland Farms onions, Sweetwater craft beer, Tru-Nut dried peanut powder, Paulk Vineyards muscadine wine, Savannah Bee Company honey and Quail International’s plantation-raised game birds.
More traditional products included Aventure Aviation airplane parts, Plus Materials’ polymer films, Winton Machines metal-bending equipment, Rotorcorp’s helicopter parts and Motorparts Nation’s auto components shipped to Africa.
Services were well represented as well, from Volantio’s airline revenue optimization software to Pivot Global’s consulting and InComm’s prepaid card processing.
See the full list of GLOBE Award Winners below:
- AdEdge Water Technologies – Gwinnett County
- American 3B Scientific – DeKalb County
- Aventure Aviation – Fayette County
- Bland Farms – Tattnall County
- Blue Force Gear, Inc. – Chatham County
- Carson Industries, Inc. – Fulton County
- CentricsIT – Gwinnett County
- CIS Biotech, Inc. – DeKalb County
- Crider Foods – Emanuel County
- DataPath – Gwinnett County
- Geo Strategy Partners, LLC – Fulton County
- GF Health Products, Inc. – Gwinnett County
- Hill and Mac Gunworks, LLC – Fulton County
- Hydro Dynamics Inc. – Floyd County
- InComm – Fulton County
- InnoConcepts, Inc (dba CocoaTown) – Fulton County
- Matrix Surgical USA – Fulton County
- MMJ Labs – DeKalb County
- Motorparts Nation – Cobb County
- NanoLumens – Gwinnett County
- One-World, Inc. – DeKalb County
- OptiLedge – Coweta County
- Patientory, Inc. – Fulton County
- Paulk Vineyards – Irwin County
- Phoenix Green Food, Inc. – Fulton County
- Pivot Global Partners, LLC – Fulton County
- Plus Materials, Inc. – Gwinnett County
- Princeton Healthcare International – Cobb County
- Quail International – Greene County
- Quantum Aviation Solutions – Clarke County
- Rackettown Mustangs, LLC – Toombs County
- Richland Distilling Company, LLC – Stewart County
- Rotorcorp, LLC – Fulton County
- Savannah Bee Company – Chatham County
- SweetWater Brewing Company – Fulton County
- The Tru-Nut Company – Fulton County
- Valtorc International – Cobb County
- Volantio, Inc. – Fulton County
- Winton Machine Company – Gwinnett County
- ZCorum – Fulton County