“The people will come, Ray. They’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”— James Earl Jones, “Field of Dreams”
After “If you build it he will come,” this is probably the best known, and most beloved, quote from the classic movie “Field of Dreams.” Cobb County is building it, banking on the investment to come.
Cobb lured the Atlanta Braves north with sheer competence. It’s the biggest economic development project win in the county’s history, and this one project achieves nearly all of the goals in Cobb’s “Competitive EDGE program,” the economic development strategy launched in 2013 as the first-ever, community-wide public-private partnership.
Among EDGE’s key objectives are helping local businesses expand, recruiting new businesses and implementing a world class workforce development program.
For Brooks Mathis, Senior VP & Executive Director for the Cobb Chamber, this is just another day in the office. “We were able to secure the Braves deal due to our dedicated and visionary leadership,” Mathis says. “This process, however, was not unique to the Braves. We’ve employed industry-best practices for years and any company, large or small, can expect the same kind of service, speed and confidentiality.”
Brooks Mathis, SVP of Economic Development for the Cobb Chamber and Executive Director of Cobb’s Competitive EDGE selectcobb.org
The Braves project alone will generate 5,200 new jobs, and the organization, was delighted with the Cobb team’s ability to keep the discussions utterly confidential.
“Cobb County may be one of the nation’s best kept secrets,” Mathis says. “It has an Atlanta address, but with all the perks of County taxes and education. We have the lowest taxes in Metro Atlanta, the highest rated public school system in the region and a low cost of doing business. All the while being less than a mile from the City of Atlanta and 10 miles from downtown. This gives our business and industry a competitive edge like no other. “
“We may be a secret, but it’s not a closely guarded one,” says Amy Selby, VP of Marketing. “Cobb is home to some of America’s best known brands, including The Home Depot, The Weather Channel, GE Energy, RaceTrac, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Genuine Parts.”
Though the Braves relocation is getting all the press these days, the county’s key growth industry sectors are diverse, with a strong focus on headquarter operations, bioscience and medical IT. Utilizing the resources of world-class universities like Georgia Tech, Emory and Kennesaw State University, there is a ready-made pipeline of educated talent.
Build it and they will come? The Braves did. Will you?
Adam Jones-Kelley serves as President of Conway and Publisher of Site Selection magazine, having been with the company for nearly 20 years. Adam is a featured speaker at events around the world and a regular contributor to Conway's various publications.