Our reporters' notebooks contain many fascinating facts that never made it to print. We're hoping to partly change that. 

Dear Readers,

It’s not 1993 anymore.

Twenty years ago, if there was an international meeting in Atlanta, we’d most likely have been there to cover it. 

We still pride ourselves on being the closest thing Atlanta has to a panoramic lens on its international community, but the world has changed. The “global economy” has gone from conception to cliche, and we have become less of a catch-all and more of a filter, helping you make connections and stay up to date on important happenings. 

We often say that we could have as many reporters as our ad budget would allow, and what you see on the website only includes a fraction of what we learn in a given week. In an effort to provide more value and offer greater transparency about our editorial process, we’re reviving our Peachtree Passport blog with a weekly reporters’ notebook. 

Here you’ll find useful, colorful and (hopefully) thoughtful tidbits that might not appear in the weekly update

We hope you enjoy. As always, thanks for reading, 

Trevor Williams, Editor 

A New Kind of Israeli Strike

Recently we wrote about Israel’s potential for growing jobs in Georgia. Last week, we turned to a labor dispute that has kept local consular officials from doing theirs. 

The foreign ministry strike threatens visits from foreign dignitaries to Israel, Consul General Opher Aviran wrote in an email. Gov. Deal’s trip to Israel in June is scheduled to go on at the moment, according to his chief of protocol. 

In the meantime, former American-Israel chamber President Tom Glaser, who retired last year, continued his advocacy work, promoting the “Startup Nation” with posts on the Times of Israel’s new Startup Israel blog. 

As if proof of the country’s innovation record, Mazor Robotics, an Israeli firm that makes guidance systems for spinal surgeries, landed a deal with an Atlanta hospital

Global Atlanta will soon launch a monthly Israel newsletter. Stay tuned.


St. Patrick’s Day: More Than Wearing Green

Ireland is back and hosting more American tourists than ever, so a cabinet official said at the Irish Chamber of Atlanta’s annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast Friday. (Story coming)

But the star of the show was high school senior Evan Mercer, who read his moving essay about how St. Patrick’s struggle to free Irish slaves inspired him to overcome the effects of hearing loss, which he has battled from birth. 

Doctors said Evan may never speak; now, he’s at the top of his Harrison High School class of 500 and is being considered for top scholarships at prestigious universities. He received a standing ovation after reading the essay. Contact the Irish chamber to get a copy. 


Job Creation: Poaching or Coaching? 

Entrepreneurs often complain that Georgia spends to much money on incentives attracting companies like Kia Motors and not enough helping homegrown entrepreneurial successes like AirWatch and Suniva. 

According to a panel of speakers arranged by Global Atlanta and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, the state is doing a whole lot of both.

Kevin Lovelace of Georgia Power gave the top-down approach, laying out the utility’s surprisingly unbiased efforts to recruit companies. It provides free assistance to both companies and communities, even pitching sites outside its service area. 

Lynne Henkiel of Georgia Tech talked about the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and key incubator, the ATDC, as well as how foreign governments are hiring her to replicate its success.   

We’re also hosting an event on development and tax incentives with accounting firm Windham Brannon later this month. Send an email to twilliams@globalatlanta.com for more details. 


European Ambassador Bonanza 

It was an event of historic proportions – at least according to organizers. Whether or not four European ambassadors had ever shared a stage in Atlanta is something we couldn’t verify, but wrangling diplomatic schedules for two days of events is a laudable feat in itself.

The top diplomats from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary spoke at length on Ukraine, echoing some of the themes European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht touched on when we interviewed him in Atlanta last week. 

Also discussed were the dark days of communism and how the countries are launching new initiatives on holocaust remembrance. 


Rolling Out the Green Carpet for Chinese Investment

Georgia will take a delegation to Qingdao, China, in July to participate in a massive horticultural exhibition. The centerpiece of Georgia’s expansive space will be the ground beneath their feet: turf grass, a specialty of the University of Georgia, which is offering its help in designing the exhibition.


Atlanta, Prince of Tennis

In case you didn’t hear the racket, Buckhead netted the global headquarters Prince, a premier maker of tennis equipment. A key reason, according to CEO Mike Ballardie, is Atlanta’s tennis love. 

“Atlanta has a thriving tennis community with more men, women and children playing tennis than any other U.S. city, making it a great home base for Prince,” he said. The Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, or ALTA, boasts more than 80,000 members. 

Oh, and the logistics here are pretty good too


Hell or Shallow Water 

Press releases are usually diplomatically dry, but a frustrated Gov. Nathan Deal (or a creative spokesman) served up this gem in a statement after President Obama’s budget included only $1.46 million for the $662 million Savannah harbor deepening project: 

“Vice President Biden promised in the past year that we’d get this project done come ‘hell or high water,’ but it’s more accurate to say the administration is going to put us through the former to get to the latter,” Mr. Deal said.

He has vowed to forge ahead with $266 million in state money, but as GPB reports, it’s unclear whether state officials can get to the earth-moving phase without the Feds. 

In other port news, Porsche said it would bring its 918 Spyder hybrid super cars through the Port of Brunswick, which already serves the German automaker. See more (with photos) at the Georgia Ports Authority’s slick new website


Other Deals, Expansions

-A Charlotte private-equity firm has bought Efacec Advanced Control Systems, a Portuguese subsidiary with offices in Norcross.  

-Efacec also has an electrical transformer factory in Rincon, Ga. 

-Mizuno USA is opening a 520,000-square-foot distribution center in Braselton, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post

-Global Payments buys PayPros for $420 million 

-Precision Aviation Group is opening an Airbus Helicopter service center in Peachtree City 

-Incomm reaches agreement in Southeast Asia 

Who’s coming to town? 

Embassy officials for the United Arab Emirates are set to visit March 25-26, in search of companies in the hospitality, infrastructure, civil engineering and green technology industries. The officials are being hosted by the World Trade Center Atlanta. For more, contact Dawn Ely by email: dawn.ely@globalsuccesscenters.com.

Also, tons of logistics professionals from all over the world at the Georgia World Congress Center this week. The massive Supply Chain and Transportation USA expo is complemented by Modex and the Georgia Logistics Summit. 

Suggestions for improving this roundup? Would you like to receive it as a standalone email newsletter? 

Email Trevor Williams at twilliams@globalatlanta.com.

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...