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July 2004

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Georgia: Atlanta
Serves as Job Magnet

    Atlanta lived up to its No. 1 ranking in the UHaul sweepstakes last year when it bagged a coveted Fortune 500 headquarters -- Newell Rubbermaid from Freeport, Ill.
Timothy J. Jahnke, Newell Rubbermaid

      Timothy J. Jahnke, recently promoted to group president of home and family products for Newell Rubbermaid, coordinated the search for a new corporate headquarters while he was the director of human resources. Jahnke tells Site Selection that he had to select a city where Newell's top executives wanted to live, and where the company's HR department could train thousands of employees every year.
      "We established the top criteria that we knew our new headquarters city would have to meet -- an international airport that provided a superior transportation facility; a location central to all of our operating divisions; an attractive location where we could attract top talent to come to work and live; a cost-effective location to either lease or build; and affordable housing," says Jahnke.
      Newell narrowed its list of finalists to Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Miami, New York, Dallas and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.
      "Atlanta finished first or second in virtually every category we measured in our site selection," Jahnke says. "Chicago couldn't compete with Atlanta on costs. Charlotte couldn't compete with Atlanta on air travel. Atlanta turned out to be our favorite location early on in this process."
      Jahnke says Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue made a big impression on Newell when he called company President Joe Galli on the day after Perdue took office. "Gov. Perdue told Galli, 'We're very interested in having you in Atlanta,'" Jahnke says.
      That all but sealed the deal. "There was just no decision to make -- it was Atlanta," says Jahnke.
      The company moved in March 2004 into 70,000 sq. ft. (6,503 sq. m.) in Glen Lake that it subleased from Coca-Cola at Interstate 285 and Georgia 400 in North Atlanta.
      Atlanta won the deal even though the Baltimore-D.C. area "offered us free property," says Jahnke. "We didn't get free land here, but we are absolutely thrilled to be in Atlanta," he says.


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