Heidi Green, the recently appointed deputy commissioner for global commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, has set promoting Georgia’s worldwide image as a top priority.

“This job is focused on creating jobs in Georgia, and we do that by raising our profile around the world,” Ms. Green told GlobalAtlanta, calling her appointment to the new post a “fantastic opportunity.”

Before being appointed to the position two months ago, Ms. Green worked closely with Gov. Sonny Perdue in the office of intergovernmental affairs.

“Heidi’s wide range of experience in negotiating difficult policy issues has prepared her to lead a team dedicated to marketing our state to audiences around the world,” Mr. Perdue said in a statement.

Ms. Green is resolved to build relationships on the international level like she has done domestically.

“I spent a lot of time building relationships with federal partners, other states and local partners here in Georgia, and at the end of the day, that’s how we do it on the international front,” she said.

Two weeks into her job, Ms. Green had to test her skills, traveling with the governor on a two-week mission spanning seven countries in Europe. She was glad to see that many of the business leaders and government officials they met had a good impression of Georgia.

“It was very exciting for me to see firsthand how Georgia is on the minds of people around the world and companies around the world,” she said.

While she has seen promising signs so far, her division aims to increase Georgia’s “visibility” on the global stage even further. This goal has been made easier by the governor-sponsored Global Georgia initiative, which falls under Ms. Green’s oversight.

The governor appropriated $6 million for the program this year, providing real monetary assistance for international marketing initiatives, Ms. Green said.

The state must market Georgia internationally in the same way that a multinational company would, providing informational materials in many languages and drawing in the appropriate clientele to take advantage of Georgia’s many strengths, Ms. Green said.

She mentioned that state universities like the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia and Savannah College of Art and Design have strong international reputations, which have helped turn eyes toward the state.

Georgia’s temperate climate and convenient transportation infrastructure–with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Port of Savannah–also attract international companies, she said.

This type of attraction is the primary method that Ms. Green’s department will use to promote Georgia. While budget constraints limit the time that she can visit other countries, she plans to take advantage of the many trade missions coming to Atlanta.

The department will soon release a document reflecting Georgia’s increasing ability to draw in international visitors, she said. The annual report will show that while Georgia only received nine incoming trade missions in 2005, that number has increased to 56 the 2007 fiscal year ended June 30.

“If we can get them to come here, we can sell them on why Georgia is the place to be to do business,” Ms. Green said.

Innovation centers in Gainesville, at the Advanced Technology Development Center of Georgia Tech and Tifton in the fields of manufacturing, technology and agriculture, respectively, have begun to show the world that Georgia is a great place to take products all the way from conception to production, Ms. Green said.

Ms. Green will travel to China with the governor when the state opens its representative office in Beijing later this year or in early 2008. The office will be Georgia’s 12th worldwide.
Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
Georgia Department of Economic Development – Alison Tyrer, senior communications specialist 404-962-4078