New port would take 50K trucks off Atlanta roads

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From 11Alive News:

The port is expected to shift all that truck traffic to freight trains.  

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Author: Doug Richards
Published: 6:27 PM EDT October 23, 2017

ATLANTA — A new inland port opening next year will take 50,000 trucks off the road in Atlanta annually, according to the state Port Authority. The port is expected to shift all that truck traffic to freight trains.

Interstate 285 is designed to bear the weight of truck traffic around Atlanta, and passenger vehicles often feel it. “They get one (truck) on each side (of my car) and it’s a little bit too much,” said Robin Moon, a DeKalb County resident.

“A 15-minute trip takes 40 minutes because of tractor-trailers,” said Karl Douglas of Stockbridge, gassing up at a QuikTrip in DeKalb County. Just south of I-285 near Stockbridge, truck traffic jumped 15 percent from 2006 to 2013, the last year data was available, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

But the state is hoping that a new port facility under construction near Chatsworth will at least slow the growth of truck traffic around Atlanta.

The Port of Savannah dispatches thousands of trucks throughout the state. Many of them use highways connecting Savannah to Atlanta and points north. The new port is expected to divert much of that truck traffic by sending freight on railroad lines from Savannah, through Atlanta and on to Chatsworth.

CANDOR TO CREATE 675 JOBS, INVEST $39 MILLION IN ROME

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From the Georgia Department of Economic Development

ATLANTA – October 19, 2017 –The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) today announced that Candor, a healthcare coverage marketplace specializing in pairing consumers with top health plans, will create 675 jobs over five years in Floyd County. Through 2023, the company plans to invest $39 million into the local economy as it hires, builds out and trains its technical, sales and customer management teams.

“We are always proud when innovative companies like Candor choose Georgia,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Candor is leveraging the power of technology to effectively reach its consumers, and Rome provides them access to the workforce they need to support its growth.”

Candor has developed a smartphone app and chatbot to help consumers find appropriate health care coverage plans. The app and its associated software platform also incorporate tools and support for partner insurance agencies, health insurance carriers, and health care providers. In addition to providing access to health care coverage plans for consumers, Candor enables secure and instant transactions and provides agents and carriers with the ability to visualize market trends and business performance.

“Our community is home to approximately 100,000 people, with a median age of 35, representing a significant group of Millennials,” said John Good, COO and co-founder, Candor. “We launched Candor to make health insurance simple to buy and easy to understand for this population. This is essential, because 97 percent of Americans don’t know what their health insurance covers, and 63 percent of bankruptcies are due to unexpected health expenses,” he said. “We’re pleased to choose Rome as our headquarters, and excited to bring new professional jobs, and a vibrant company culture, to this welcoming city.”

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Northwest Georgia Kicks Off the High Demand Career Initiative!

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The State of Georgia recently awarded the Northwest Georgia Workforce Development Board (NWGWDB) with a grant from the High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) to develop a sector partnership strategy for the region.  Building upon the work for the region’s Advanced Manufacturing Strategy in 2014, the sector partnership working group will focus on meeting the talent needs of advanced manufacturing industries in the Northwest Georgia region.  The NWGWDB selected Georgia Tech’s Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR) to develop the partnership, which will include asset mapping and the alignment of education and training programs in advanced manufacturing. With the state’s support of demand-driven regional partnerships, this project seeks to understand the needs of industry and develop strategies to close the workforce skills gaps in Northwest Georgia region and across the state.

If you have any questions, or are a manufacturer in the Northwest Georgia region and would like to get involved in HDCI, please contact Candice McKie, Project Manager, at 404-385-2053. Please check the Floor360 event calendar for the next HDCI meeting!

Floor360 Partners Gear Up for National Manufacturing Day!

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mfgday2National Manufacturing Day is Friday, October 6th, and Floor360 partners are gearing up to host “MFG Day” events in Northwest Georgia!

On Thursday, October 5th, the Northwest Georgia College & Career Academy (NWGCCA), Shaw Industries, and Sumo Robot League (a Georgia Tech student-formed non-profit company) are partnering to host a robotics competition for high school students. Students design and build robots to compete in fully autonomous sumo wrestling. Each match motivates students to learn and understand the principles of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), preparing them for the future by fostering an interest in these critical disciplines and an understanding of how they are practiced. Throughout the competition, students will have the opportunity to build electrical circuits, design and 3D print adaptive components, and code sensor-based autonomous response algorithms using the actual C++ programming language.

On Wednesday, October 18th, the Alliance for Innovation and Sustainability (AIS) will be hosting middle and high school science teachers from around the Northwest Georgia region to discuss manufacturing and career opportunities for students. This event will present educators with manufacturing-related programming available at Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Dalton State College, as well as a panel of representatives to discuss the region’s workforce. The day will conclude with tours of manufacturing facilities from some of the region’s top employers.

If you’re participating in MFG Day, don’t forget to register your event here so we can help promote the Northwest Georgia region!

Engineered Floors to buy ‘substantially all’ of Beaulieu Group’s operating assets

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From Dalton Daily Citizen

Since its founding in 2009 by Robert E. "Bob" Shaw, Engineered Floors has risen rapidly in the flooring industry, and the company took another step forward Wednesday with announced plans to buy many of the operating assets of Beaulieu Group LLC.
Since its founding in 2009 by Robert E. “Bob” Shaw, Engineered Floors has risen rapidly in the flooring industry, and the company took another step forward Wednesday with announced plans to buy many of the operating assets of Beaulieu Group LLC.

With Wednesday morning’s announcement of Engineered Floors’ plans to buy “substantially all of the operating assets of Beaulieu Group LLC,” an industry insider said that in less than a decade Engineered Floors has entrenched itself clearly in the “big three.”

Ken Ryan, senior editor with Floor Covering News, said while Shaw Industries and Mohawk Industries are still at the top, Dalton-based Engineered Floors is now on their heels.

“It really is amazing how Engineered Floors has risen since 2009 to be such a major player in such a short time,” Ryan said. “Now, to talk about the big three, it is Shaw, Mohawk and Engineered Floors, and there is now no doubt about that.”

Engineered Floors, founded by Robert E. “Bob” Shaw — who was the co-founder and longtime head of Shaw Industries leading up to its sale to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2001 — said it had “reached a letter of intent agreement in principle to purchase substantially all of the operating assets of Beaulieu Group LLC,” which filed for bankruptcy in July.

“The transaction will be contingent upon approvals through the bankruptcy court and due diligence processes,” the statement said. “Pending governmental approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.”

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Georgia’s rural schools face big problems with money, transportation, more

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From Athens Banner-Herald

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A recent report noted a multitude of issues facing Georgia’s rural schools

The state ranks sixth in the nation on a priority list developed by a group called The Rural School and Community Trust.

The Trust’s latest “Why Rural Matters” report noted Georgia’s high rural poverty rate, high transportation expenses and low graduation rates and test scores.

Mississippi topped the list of states whose rural schools face the greatest unmet needs, followed by Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota, then Georgia, followed by Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma and Alaska.

The report is one more indication of the woes facing Georgia’s rural communities. Many have been losing population in recent years and are classified as economically distressed. A committee of the state Legislature has been holding meetings around the state to hear ideas about what to do about rural Georgia’s crisis.

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German delegation visits Darlington, hopes to expand apprenticeship education model in US

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From Rome News-Tribune

German delegation visits Darlington hopes to expand apprenticeship education model in US Business northwestgeorgianews
German Consul to the Southeast Detlev Ruenger (left) and Stefanie Jehlitschka, president of the Southeast chapter of the German-America of Commerce, check out a robot in Owen Kinney’s robotics lab at Darlington on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017

Development of a highly efficient workforce was foremost on the minds of German executives during a whirlwind visit to Rome on Tuesday. The Rome Floyd Chamber hosted German Consul to the Southeast Detlev Ruenger, President of German-American Chamber of Commerce Stefanie Jehlitschka, and President and CEO of AGCO Corp. Martin Richenhagen, over lunch with local government and business
leaders prior to a tour of the Darlington School and its robotics lab.

Ruenger, who has served in the German diplomatic corps for many years, said the Southeast is the center of German industrial investment in the United States, with over 100,000 jobs created in the six states he serves.

Ruenger said expansion of the German apprenticeship model into the American manufacturing sector was important to the many German companies looking to expand into the U.S. “As it is in Germany, obviously it is something that was grown over centuries, so this is something we can’t carbon copy but we would like to bring in elements, we would like to meet demands of industry with what is locally available,” Ruenger said.

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How Cargill’s employee summit put sustainability on the menu

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From GreenBiz:

Getting broad internal buy-in on sustainability is a challenge most companies face. Whether the impetus for sustainable business comes from the top, bottom or middle — there are good examples of each — pushing it out to the entire organization can be a significant barrier to success.

Earlier this year, Cargill, the giant food and ag company and the largest private corporation in the United States, held a sustainability summit to begin to address that challenge — successfully, it seems.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a number of those involved with the summit to understand how it worked, what took place and how it is raising the profile of sustainability within the company. The summit represents a good case study for building engagement on sustainability for employees at every level, and what happens when you invite others to weigh in.

Cargill Protein Group — a recently created business unit that rolled up the company’s North American meat, poultry, egg and related businesses — is the result of a reorganization the sprawling, 152-year-old company has been undergoing over the past year or so. The goal of the reorg was to group independently operating business units focusing on related value chains under one roof. In addition to farming, ranching, processing and foodservice operations, the new protein unit also includes lines of fresh, frozen and cooked meats, sauces, soups and other packaged goods.

The organizational shuffle led the company to look at its sustainability strategy, given the growing interest by its customers — restaurants, supermarkets, packaged goods manufacturers and individual consumers — in food origins, ingredients, packaging and other matters. Prior to the reorg, some of Cargill’s individual businesses had sustainability leaders and goals, but not all.

For Cargill Protein, based in Wichita, Kansas, it was time to build sustainability’s profile within the organization and to its suppliers and customers. To do that, “We needed to develop a strategy,” said Jill Kolling, Cargill Protein’s sustainability leader. And that strategy would benefit from getting early input and buy-in from across the organization.

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Shaw Industries, other carpetmakers move to more sustainable production

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From Times Free Time:

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The world’s biggest carpetmaker said Monday that 85 percent of its products are now certified for sustainability by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute as carpet and rugs are made with less energy and water and with a bigger share of recycled materials.

In its 2016 sustainability report, Shaw Industries Inc. said it has made major progress toward its sustainability goals, including a 36 percent reduction in water consumption, a 34 percent reduction in waste intensity, a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 16 percent reduction in energy use over the past decade. Since 2005, Shaw also has had a 40 percent reduction in the rate of OSHA safety incidents involving its workers.

“Shaw is continuing to invest and evolve to succeed amidst ever accelerating change in every market in which we compete,” Shaw CEO Vance Bell said. “Sustainability will continue to be an important catalyst for the sort of innovation that will drive our enduring success.”

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