Prospecting Activity Hits Multi-Year High at Macon EDC

Barbara Kieker

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Economic development prospect activity in Macon is at the highest level since 2007, according to Patrick Topping, CEcD, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission (EDC). Many existing companies in the area are also considering significant expansions and that means all hands on deck at the Macon EDC.

"It's our job to make companies aware of the statutory and discretionary incentives that are available for those who are considering a relocation or expansion," Topping said.

"They may be considering an expansion here in Middle Georgia or in the Midwest and we want it to happen here. We have a robust existing industry program that includes group and one-on-one meetings to identify opportunities. And we match companies up with the appropriate state, regional or local agencies."

With the level of prospect activity high, Macon EDC is facing some resource challenges. There are only three full-time staff members, which can create issues when multiple prospects are active at the same time. In addition, there is a limited inventory of available industrial sites in the area.

"We have had conversations with neighboring counties to address some of these issues through regional efforts," Topping said. “We have kicked around a few ideas but we still need to work on it.”

Macon EDC works with a number of economic development partners including the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority to attract and retain industries in Macon-Bibb County. Macon EDC and its partners have a strong record of new business growth and existing industry expansion.

Success in 2014
"We had two companies announce new locations in Macon this year and an existing company that decided to rebuild after its facility burned," Topping said.

Aspen Products, a paper products manufacturer, began production in 2014 at a 200,000 square-foot facility in Macon. The company will invest $13 million and employ approximately 200 people to manufacture its lines of paper plates, bowls, cups and other products in the facility.

Bayview Foods announced a new production facility in Macon for the brining, cutting and packaging of pickles for sale to the foodservice industry. The facility will employ approximately 50 people and represents an investment of $10 million. Bayview also purchased 30 acres from the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority for a future pickle tank farm.

Pactiv, a manufacturer of fiber-molded egg cartons, made the decision to rebuild its facility in Macon after it burned. One year to the day, they reopened in a new 230,000 square-foot facility on the site of their former plant, according to Topping. The company will employ approximately 180 people.

"Pactiv made the decision to stay in Middle Georgia based on its workforce and that speaks very highly of our people here," Topping said.

"The Middle Georgia area is known for its good work ethic. People here understand the importance of doing a good job and being on time."

In addition to a good work ethic, Middle Georgia has strong colleges and universities that help develop a skilled, educated workforce. Central Georgia Technical College, in particular, trains students in specific trades and skills that are in demand by local employers.

"As a company changes its processes, the technical college works to make our local workforce more productive and skilled in those areas," Topping said.

Focusing on One Macon!
A major 2014 focus of the Macon EDC and other public and private groups is implementing the first stages of One Macon!, a comprehensive strategic plan to create jobs, improve schools and enhance the sense of place in Macon.

"One Macon! is a community-wide program and we're one year into its implementation," Topping said.

"Through One Macon!, we're identified areas where we need to focus our resources and our efforts and we have 20 or so initiatives going on at once to address those areas. This is a multi-year program with measurable goals and timelines. We need to keep it going throughout 2014."

The One Macon! Community and Economic Development Strategy is available online at More information on the Macon EDC is available at


About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.