Who is MBCIA & what do we do? My name is Stephen Adams and I’m the Executive Director for the Macon-Bibb County Industry Authority. We get asked all the time, “What is the MBCIA and what do you do?” You can easily head over to our website and get the “stuffy” answer, but I’d like to break it down for you in some digestible parts.
The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority is really the economic spearhead specific to industrial development for Macon-Bibb County. We are an integral part of Macon’s growing economy. We attract and recruit new industries to come to our great City, expand existing industries that are already here, and are an asset to Macon-Bibb County as a whole. Not to toot our own horn, but…since 2017, we’ve played an important role in bringing over 2,500 jobs and over $1.3 billion in private investment to Middle Georgia.
Industry titan, Amazon, now calls 31216 home. Dean Baldwin Painting and MHIRJ Aviation Group are two more examples of industry giants that have found the benefits of doing business in Macon far superior to other locations throughout the state and even across the country.
Have you ever wondered how industries come to Macon? Let’s dive in and find out!
While it might seem simple, it’s a little like choosing your favorite beer. There are many varieties (industries) to choose from — some might appear delicious initially, but leave a bad taste in your mouth, yet some hit your taste buds just right. The way companies are selected to come to Macon is a highly selective and case-by-case process. Depending on the business it could go 1,000 different ways, but at the end of the day, there are companies that stand out as the perfect fit.
The process starts with the initial industry contact, oftentimes facilitated by our partners at the Georgia Development of Economic Development’s Global Commerce Division. Companies then send an RFI (Request For Information) to us. RFIs can either be one page or up to 30 pages, depending on the level of due diligence the company has done on Macon-Bibb County. This is a company’s chance to compare our community on paper to others. If they like what they see, they may come check out the location and do a site visit. If they really like us, they may do additional visits. Negotiations begin when the industry decides it’s serious about moving to our community. From there, we all anxiously await a decision! Did they choose us?!? If we’re their favorite, we move to project management, and eventually in-operation/success.
Let’s talk about that initial contact…
The communication process ultimately starts with the industry. Whenever a business is looking to break ground or expand, they contact a Site Selection Consultant (SSC). The company will let the consultant know what their specific needs are, what region they want to be in, etc. The SSCs connect with state departments of economic development and go from there. Once an industry chooses the state of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development gets involved and things begin to move forward.
A project manager is assigned to the industry from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). The project manager begins to contact the economic development offices in each county. This is where the true process of communication begins. When MBCIA gets the call, they put together a Request For Information (RFI) document for the state project manager. An RFI contains county statistics, sites available, school districts, and workforce – things that fully encapsulate the Macon-Bibb County area. MBCIA is the single point of contact for all potential incoming industries. They don’t need to know 100 people, they just need to know us.
Once the RFI goes through, and depending on the company, it could take six days or six months. When the industry is satisfied with what they see on Macon-Bibb County’s RFI, the next step is the site visit. The site visit is a crucial point. It means that out of the potential hundreds of locations the industry was looking at, Macon-Bibb County made the first cut.
If the site visit goes well and the process moves into negotiations, MBCIA and the company starts discussing an incentives package– all the unique benefits Macon-Bibb County provides. We’re here to make opportunities, but we are doing this job on behalf of the residents, and we take that job seriously. We ask the tough questions. We ask ourselves if the industry is a good fit for our community. We research the company, just as they research us. We also visit potential industry facilities. This is the “sampling of flights” stage of the relationship (sticking with the beer-tasting metaphor). We want to get a sense of where the company came from – its origins – and see if they are a good fit for Macon.
Not everyone’s a winner! In fact, we turn down more companies than we accept. Through the vetting process and our in-depth research, MBCIA has found that many companies are not all they claim to be… much like ZIMA! (LOL). Bottom line, communication is crucial throughout the entire process. In fact, most conversations with industries are completely confidential and concealed until a deal has been agreed upon.
At the end of the day, we’re here to help navigate all the nuances for any company we want to be successful in Middle Georgia. Our dedication to our industries as well as the Macon-Bibb community is unmatched. Being the first contact and overall face of Macon is something we do not take lightly. I am usually all they know of Macon. I take that very seriously. I was born and raised here, so being able to contribute to the community is pretty special. The beauty of being from here is having an established relationship with the area. We have the trust and relationships locally and stateside to get things done. We are the one stop shop.