The product of two years work (led by Cobb Chamber president and CEO David Connell and Cobb Chairman Tim Lee) took shape with the kick-off gathering of Cobb County’s business leaders to begin the 5-year Competitive EDGE program. The program is expected to raise $4 million over the period, through contributions by the private industry, with a focus on economic development and job creation and improving community with the vision of a very successful Cobb County.
Brooks Mathis, EDGE Executive Director and has worked closely with EDGE Co-Chairs Kim Menefee (Vice-President for Public and Government Affairs, WellStar Health Systems ) and Dan Styf (Vice-President of Regional and Marketing Strategy, Kaiser Permanente) to put together a strategy that includes seven “seed” committees that will work to accomplish the goals of the EDGE program. The committees are:
· Retaining & Expanding Existing Business
· Encouraging Entrepreneurship & Aiding Small Business
· Marketing Cobb & Projecting a Positive Image
· Developing, Recruiting & Retaining Talent
· Investing in Transportation Infrastructure & Traffic Relief
· Support & Coordinate Redevelopment Efforts
· Cultivating Community Identities & Sense of Place
The seven SEED Committees will work towards achievement of the seven benchmark goals of the EDGE program, which include:
· Creating 7,500 new jobs over the next 5 years;
· Increasing payroll earnings and income by $420 million and by $7,000 per capital;
· Reducing unemployment to 5.5 %;
· Achieving a 4 % increase in public high school graduation rates;
· Gaining a 7 % increase in college enrollment;
· Increasing the existing industry visits from 30 to 100 annually made by Cobb’s economic development experts to businesses to ensure that they have what they need;
· Increasing in quality of life as measured by Kennesaw State’s Quality of Life survey.
The buy-in from the community, is quite evident as members of the Cobb County School System, Kennesaw State University, leaders in business from top companies including AT&T, Bank of North Georgia, Comcast, Croy Engineering, Gas South, Georgia Power Company, Home Depot and McWhirter Realty, among others have demonstrated their support of the program. Additionally, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce as well as the Cumberland and Town Center CID’s are quite the lineup to show the community their belief in the comprehensive strategy of the EDGE program and the vision of success in Cobb County. Companies have not only dedicated their time, but their finances as well, with $1.4 of the $4 million goal from the private sector raised to date.
We would like to thank the following Council for Quality Growth Board Members for serving on the EDGE Steering Committee:
· Rob Garcia, President & COO, Bank of North Georgia
· Heath Garrett, Managing Partner, SSG South
· Tad Leithead, Principal, Tad Leithead Advisors
· Andy Macke, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, Comcast
We would also like to thank Council Board Members Rob Garcia (Bank of North Georgia) and Malaika Rivers (Cumberland CID); as well as Council Members Nicole Faulk (Georgia Power), Sandy Miller (Gas South), Greg Teague (Croy Engineering), Dan Barbour (AT&T) and Dan Buyers (McWhirter Realty) for serving on one of the seven Seed Action Teams. The Council for Quality Growth looks forward to working with Brooks Mathis and the entire EDGE team to support a successful venture and our Cobb County partners.