A national leader in advanced manufacturing, Georgia’s pro-business climate, strong workforce and key logistical advantages have created the ideal atmosphere for growing manufacturers across a wide swath of sectors.
In FY 2021, manufacturing projects generated the most job creation in the state, accounting for 25% of all jobs created. Across the state, companies announced 167 locations representing $2.24 billion investment and 8,247 new jobs.
2020 brought several newcomers to the state, including mattress manufacturers Zinus and Purple Mattresses, which chose to locate Henry County manufacturing facilities. These two investments represented over 1,000 new jobs created in the region around McDonough. Other major investments include MasterBrand Cabinets Inc.’s new Southeastern U.S. manufacturing and distribution hub in Butts County, which created nearly 400 jobs. In addition, Spring Mountain Center, which manufactures plumbing fixtures and home furniture products for Home Depot, Wayfair and other major retailers, is also opening a manufacturing and distribution facility in the state with a $45 million investment in Barrow County.
Georgia’s manufacturing momentum only continues to build into 2021 with several high-tech investments. Significantly, Danimer Scientific, a leading developer of biodegradable materials, recently announced its plans to invest $700 million into expanding its Bainbridge manufacturing facility and nearly quadrupling its workforce in Decatur County.
Headquartered in Bainbridge for over a decade, Danimer currently employs more than 100 people in southwest Georgia. The company’s renewable and sustainable biopolymers are used in single-use and other plastic products. These materials are biodegradable and compostable and are used by clients in food packaging, bottling, and other traditional packaging sectors. In March, Danimer and Mars-Wrigley announced a partnership to develop an innovative home compostable packaging, with SKITTLES® as the brand’s first product to use the new packaging.
“Georgia has been a welcoming home for Danimer since the company’s inception, and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue growing our roots in the region,” said Stephen Croskrey, CEO of Danimer Scientific. “With access to the state’s robust logistics infrastructure and top-notch talent coming from local universities, we are in a strong position to make our vision of replacing traditional plastic with 100% renewable and biodegradable alternatives a reality. We could not be more pleased with the growing commitments to sustainable solutions by multinational companies, which has allowed us to double the planned size of this new facility.”
Surgical Robots in Peachtree Corners
Intuitive, a pioneer in robotic-assisted surgery and a global leader in minimally invasive care, is investing more than $500 million in its current campus in Gwinnett County, creating approximately 1,200 jobs in Peachtree Corners.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Intuitive manufactures the da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical systems and Ion bronchoscopy system. Surgeons worldwide have completed more than 8.5 million surgical procedures using Intuitive’s da Vinci systems. Growing demand for robotic-assisted technologies around the world fueled this expansion.
“Intuitive needs a highly educated, committed, and diverse workforce; quality infrastructure; and the right geography to meet the rising demand for minimally invasive surgical technologies,” said Gary Guthart, CEO of Intuitive. “We’ve found that here, and we’re excited to continue to grow in the state. We are committed to hiring a diverse and inclusive workforce as we expand our presence in Georgia.”
The expansion will add to the approximately 180 professionals already based at Intuitive’s offices in Peachtree Corners. With a presence in Georgia for a decade, the company plans to grow its campus to include more than 750,000 square feet of manufacturing and engineering operations, state-of-the-art training facilities for surgeons and hospital care teams, and administrative offices. Intuitive is expected to open its new campus in phases, with completion by 2024.
Advanced Modular Structures Chooses Atlanta
In August, Advanced Modular Structures LLC., a modular building enterprise affiliated with Atlanta-based real estate developer The Integral Group, LLC., will create 200 jobs and invest more than $14 million in a new manufacturing facility in unincorporated Fulton County.
This unique business is positioned to offer products and services to help solve challenges in providing affordable housing and commercial structures across the U.S. Advanced Modular Structures will operate in a 228,000-square-foot facility where it will repurpose shipping containers into creative trade show displays, retail stores, offices, permanent residences, and more.
“Intuitive needs a highly educated, committed, and diverse workforce; quality infrastructure; and the right geography to meet the rising demand for minimally invasive surgical technologies. We’ve found that here.”
— Gary Guthart, CEO of Intuitive
“We would like to thank Governor Kemp for his visionary leadership in providing Advanced Modular Structures the opportunity to make additional jobs available to Georgians and to build innovative residential and commercial facilities,” said George Hawthorne, Chief Operating Officer of Advanced Modular Structures. “This new venture will help fill the demand for affordable housing and provide economic development growth in Georgia communities by delivering new options for retail and commercial facilities.”
Creating Bioplastics in Savannah
In September, NANTRenewables, a bioplastics company and subsidiary of NantWorks, will invest up to $29 million to build a manufacturing facility at SeaPoint Industrial Terminal Complex in Savannah. The investment will create 134 manufacturing jobs and will be built on an 8.5-acre rail service parcel. This innovative multi-use industrial park is located in a Federal Opportunity Zone and also provides rail and direct deepwater access on the main shipping channel in Savannah.
NANTRenewables will manufacture unique biogenic renewable mineral plastic enhancers designed to improve performance, reduce cost, and minimize the overall carbon footprint of finished products. NANTRenewables uses a renewable and self-generating biogenic mineral to produce biodegradable, daily-use products like plates, straws, cutlery, trays, and cups. Additionally, NANTRenewables provides sustainable, value-added products to several other companies within the food, agriculture, and pharmaceutical industries.
SeaPoint Terminal Industrial Complex recently received authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a new private marine terminal along a one-mile embankment in the Port of Savannah, the fastest-growing container port in the nation. The berth, located on the main shipping channel at 47-foot depth, will support manufacturing operations like NANTRenewables, allowing companies to reduce or eliminate drayage by utilizing all modes of transportation, including vessels.
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.