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Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission > Blog

Thrush Aircraft announces 100 new jobs, features in ADEDC ‘#MadeInAlbanyGA’

April 26, 2017 > Posted in Industry, News, News & Events

For Immediate Release

Contact: Reedi Hawkins – –


April 26, 2017



Albany, GA – The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission announced today that Thrush Aircraft, an Albany manufacturer specializing in aerial application aircraft, would create 100 new jobs in Albany-Dougherty County to support the growing demand for the company’s agricultural, patrol and forestry airplanes.

The announcement came at Thrush’s campus during the monthly board meeting of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC), which in September 2016 kicked off its existing industry tour and #MadeInAlbanyGA industry marketing campaign. The highly successful campaign focuses on an existing industry each month. Today, the Albany-Dougherty EDC launched its April segment featuring Thrush.

“Being ‘Made in Albany’ has helped enable Thrush’s success,” said Payne Hughes, president of Thrush Aircraft. “We see our job as being there to help our customers do their jobs better; success for one brings success for the other, and collaboration is necessary to make that happen. The same can be said for producing our airplanes in Albany. Thrush is proud of the expansions we have been able to accomplish with the help of the Albany-Dougherty EDC. We’re very excited about Thrush’s future in the aviation industry and in this community.”

Hughes says the expansion is due to worldwide growth in the agricultural equipment industry, along with the addition of two new product lines- the reproduction of a 700 gallon agricultural plane known as the Thrush 710, and a newly developed patrol model designed for military purposes.

Today there are more than 2,100 Thrush aircraft operating in some 80 countries around the world, most of which are the Thrush 510 model, powered by either the new GE H80 turbine engine or the Pratt and Whitney 34 turbine engine.

Thrush airplanes have been produced in Albany since 1965 under several corporate names, and the company today employs more than 270 people. During the next three years, Thrush has committed to creating 100 new jobs – bringing its total work force to nearly 400 – primarily in production and quality control.

“This is a great announcement for Thrush and for Albany and Dougherty County,” said ADEDC President Justin Strickland. “The Albany-Dougherty EDC places a strong emphasis on working closely with its existing industries, which account for up to 80 percent of job growth in communities. Thrush is an incredible company to work with and they are a committed stakeholder in our community. They’ve seen the value of doing business in Albany, and the decision to continue investing in the community through job growth is a testament to our capability as a manufacturing location, and to the strength of workforce.”

Last week, as part of Albany-Dougherty Industry Celebration Week and its annual ADEDC Industry Awards, the agency presented Thrush with the Global Commerce Award for its consistent and significant growth in markets across the world.

To learn more about Thrush, visit Applications for the announced jobs can be found online at


The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is a public-private partnership whose mission is to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention and expansion of industry for Albany-Dougherty County.

The #MadeInAlbanyGA campaign, which features an existing industry each month, is an expansion on the award-winning video of the same title, produced by the ADEDC in 2014. The expanded 2016-2017 campaign includes both print and digital components, which can be seen on the ADEDC’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, and on its Web site,

Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission initiates executive search for new leader

July 16, 2020 > Posted in News, News & Events

For Immediate Release
Contact: Reedi Hawkins
July 16, 2020

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission has initiated an executive search for a new president and chief executive officer to lead the public-private partnership.  The economic development organization is designed to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention, and expansion of industry in Albany and Dougherty County.  The new professional will be held accountable to the board of directors. 

“Our board is taking a very organized and strategic approach to the executive search process for a new president,” said to Dr. Anthony Parker, chair of the search committee and president of Albany Technical College.  “We want to make sure we identify the most qualified professionals who have the skill sets required to move the EDC and community forward in terms of economic development.  Our board is open to traditional and non-traditional candidates.”   

The search process will be broken into three phases. The first stage, which is already completed, has focused on determining the skill sets needed for the professional in the position.  Over 25 community, regional and state stakeholders have been interviewed in order to provide input on the qualifications needed of the new executive. A position description and profile has been established as well as a position announcement.

The second phase of the executive search process will be the casting of the net for candidates and specifically identifying professionals who may fit the role.  The final segment will be to interview candidates best suited for the position. The process is expected to take 100 to 120 days.

“The EDC board is prepared to retool and refresh our approach to economic development,” said Cynthia George, chair of the board and chief executive officer of Horizons Community Solutions in Albany.  “Effective communications with the community, and most importantly our funding partners, will be one of the improvements that will be seen as the EDC selects a new president.  Our strategy for economic development should be an extremely competitive, targeted approach to the types of businesses we want in our region and building strong, meaningful relationships with our existing employers.” 

The EDC is funded by the City of Albany, Dougherty County and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.  The twelve-member board is appointed by the funding partners for staggered terms.

The position announcement is available here on the EDC’s website.  Postings have also been placed with the Georgia Economic Developers Association, Southern Economic Development Council and the International Economic Development Council.  The deadline to apply is July 24.  A cover letter and resume can be uploaded at

Matt Reed, a former board member of the EDC and owner of Georgia CEO, has been serving as interim president for the past several months.

The Chason Group, an executive search firm specializing in economic development, is assisting the EDC board and search committee with the process.


About the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission
The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is a public-private partnership whose mission is to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention and expansion of industry for Albany-Dougherty County.

Request for proposal for executive search firm for Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission

June 5, 2020 > Posted in News, News & Events

Issuing Organization: Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission
Issue Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Due Date for Proposals: Friday, June 12, 2020

Contract Contact

Chair, ADEDC Board, Cynthia George:

I. Purpose 

The Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC)  is requesting proposals from executive search firms with proven experience, capacity and expertise to assist the organization with the selection of a President/CEO 

II. Organizational Background 

ADEDC is a 501 (c)(6) nonprofit organization established to foster business growth and expansion in Dougherty County. Overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of public and private sector representatives, ADEDC is committed to growing the county’s vibrant business community and leveraging its strengths, assets to build an even stronger, more stable, and diverse economy. 

III. Scope of Services 

The Executive Search Firm shall assist the ADEDC in attracting, interviewing, and hiring of a new President/CEO. The President is responsible for the executive functions of ADEDC and will champion the drive to promote economic growth and help to build a thriving business ecosystem through its public/private partnership. The President will build on the momentum established over past 11 years. Services required by the Executive Search firm include: 

  • Solicitation from the Board, the Search Committee and other relevant stakeholders selected by the Search Committee, of information which will help better define the role, responsibilities, and qualifications required for the next President/CEO. 
  • Develop a recruitment strategy, process, and timetable for the successful hiring of a President/CEO. 
  • Develop an updated job description. 
  • Source and screen all potential candidates, through directed initiatives, including advertising and outreach, which best target the type of C-Suite executive ADEDC is seeking to hire, based on the job description developed. 
  • Assess the qualifications of potential candidates, screen the pool of applicants, and conduct appropriate levels of interviews to create a candidate pool of finalists. 
  • Support the Board/Search Committee in selecting a final candidate, conduct references, and assist with the final hiring process, including contract negotiations, and assisting in the development of an onboarding plan. 

IV. Pre-Proposal Bidder’s Preparation 

Please submit any questions regarding this RFP to Board Chair, ADEDC Search Committee by email to: Cynthia George with the subject line ADEDC Executive Search RFP Questions prior to the RFP submission deadline. We will respond in a timely manner. 

Georgia Chamber welcomes business prospects for 32nd annual ‘Georgia Quail Hunt’ in Albany

February 4, 2020 > Posted in News, News & Events


February 5, 2020
CONTACT: Reedi Hawkins
Albany-Dougherty EDC

Albany, Ga.– This week, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce hosts its 32nd annual Georgia Quail Hunt in Albany as31 business leaders representing state recruitment and expansion prospects joined local, state and economic development officials to learn about the benefits of doing business in Georgia.

The hunt, sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Allies, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Locate South Georgia, provides an opportunity for relationship development among statewide leaders and guests whose companies or clients are looking to locate to or expand in Georgia.

The recruitment event utilizes various hunting preserves throughout Southwest Georgia and is based out of Albany. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was on hand for the event.

“Business thrives in Albany and Southwest Georgia, and we’re proud to show off our region of the state every year during the Georgia Quail Hunt, an incredible collaboration between local, regional, state and corporate partners,” said Justin Strickland, president of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission. “Albany’s skilled workforce and low cost of doing business makes us an attractive option for industry location and expansion, and this event has been key in helping to facilitate exactly that.”

Since 1994 alone, guests of the Georgia Quail Hunt have invested more than $2.5 billion and created more than 8,500 jobs in the state as a result of corporate locations or expansions.

Industry locations in Albany-Dougherty County such as Coats and Clark, Outdoor Network Distribution, PowerSports Plus and WebstaurantStore are sited as local projects facilitated through the hunt.

“Georgia has established itself as the nation’s top state for business, and this event allows us the opportunity to showcase Georgia’s people and business friendly environment,” said 2020 Georgia Quail Hunt Chairman Daryl Ingram, chief external officer and senior vice president of Electric Cities of Georgia. “Economic success, in large part, is due to collaboration between public and private entities coming together to create opportunities for businesses to thrive, and therefore creating thriving communities along with them. This event is a perfect example of the collaborative atmosphere businesses can expect when they choose to locate or expand in Georgia.” 

Event organizers say the hunt has been successful in recruiting businesses to the state.

“For more than thirty years, the Georgia Quail Hunt has helped facilitate the creation of thousands of jobs and tens of billions in investment in Georgia’s economy,”said Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber. “Hosting the event in Albany provides an incredible opportunity to showcase Southwest Georgia as a premier destination for business, giving guests a first-hand look at the region’s high quality of life and exposing them to local and state leaders who are eager to help them take their business to the next level.”

In addition to the Georgia Allies, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission and Locate South Georgia,corporate sponsors include Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, MillerCoors, PowerSports Plus, Glock,Trulock Choke Tubes, BPI Outdoors and Taurus Holdings.


About the Georgia Chamber of Commerce

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is the state’s largest business advocacy organization that focuses on state and federal issues. The Chamber has worked to keep, grow and create jobs to make Georgia a better state for business. The advocacy, policy and thought leadership help ensure Georgia’s economic competitiveness, attract new investments as well as promote growth and prosperity for all businesses.

About the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission   

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is a public-private partnership whose mission is to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention and expansion of industry for Albany-Dougherty County.

Albany-Dougherty EDC, Chamber to present community-wide workforce development strategic plan

January 22, 2020 > Posted in News, News & Events, Uncategorized

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Reedi Hawkins 
January 22, 2020 

Albany, Ga. – The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC) and Albany Area Chamber of Commerce (AACC) will hold a launch event to present the findings from their joint strategic planning initiative on community-wide workforce development in Albany-Dougherty County. The event is open to the public and will be held on February 18 beginning at 11 a.m. in the Candy Room at the Riverfront Resource Center. At the event, information will be presented as to how community members may support and participate in the implementation of the workforce strategy. 

The strategic planning initiative kicked off in May 2019, with the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG) facilitating the process.    

Throughout the discovery process, CVIOG met with community members, employers, job seekers, students and educational institutions to gain a holistic understanding of the workforce climate in Albany-Dougherty County. A steering committee of local stakeholders, working with CVIOG, guided the plan’s development, identifying priorities and strategic actions after reviewing significant qualitative and quantitative information. The February 18 plan presentation will syndicate that information into an all-encompassing strategic proposal designed to focus and bolster resources necessary to develop, attract, and retain talent in the area for industry and commerce.   

“As the center for business and culture in Southwest Georgia, it’s vital that Albany-Dougherty County be adequately prepared for the coming trends in workforce development in order to lead the region into the next era of economic and community development,” said ADEDC President Justin Strickland. “The extensive research conducted through this planning process has resulted in the necessary directives to accomplish that goal.” 

As a component of the long-term strategic plan, various stake-holding leaders volunteered to spearhead specific initiatives through the oversight of working groups.      

“Representing the interests of hundreds of Southwest Georgia businesses and industries, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the ADEDC, saw it uniquely fit to lead the initiative to conduct a comprehensive strategic plan on workforce development, as workforce needs consistently top the list of challenges to all businesses,” said Albany Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bárbara Rivera Holmes. “The Albany Area Chamber, as well as our member organizations, is committed to the long-term initiatives that strengthen Albany’s position as the driver of our region’s growth. Talent creation and retention are foundational to broad-based prosperity, and this plan will ensure these pieces fit into the framework of success for Albany and Southwest Georgia.”  

The public event will begin with the strategic plan presentation at 11 a.m., with lunch to follow.  

Pre-registration is required at or by calling the Albany Area Chamber at 229.434.8700. 


About the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission 

The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission is a public-private partnership whose mission is to foster new investment and job creation through the recruitment, retention, and expansion of industry for Albany-Dougherty County. 

About the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce 

Since 1910, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has advocated for business success through leadership and economic development. 

About the Carl Vinson Institute of Government  

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government is a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit that provides customized assistance, applied research and professional development to help state and local governments operate more effectively and deliver improved service to the public. 

Albany-Dougherty EDC wins “Best of Class” in Southern Economic Development Council’s annual communication awards

October 30, 2019 > Posted in News, News & Events

Contact:  Reedi Hawkins
October 30, 2019

Albany, Ga.– The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC) received top honors in the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC)’s Communication Awards for its #MadeInAlbanyGA industry marketing campaign, which was named “Best of Class” at the annual awards. The honor was received in the category of Overall Marketing Campaign for communities with populations of 25,000 – 200,000.

In addition to its Best of Class honor, the organization was also recognized with a certificate of merit for the print advertising component of its #MadeInAlbanyGA campaign. 

“These Annual Communication Awards recognize and showcase the leading communication and marketing work done by economic development professionals throughout the south. The Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission hit the mark this year with its communication piece, ‘#MadeInAlbanyGA Industry Marketing Campaign: Albany, Georgia as a destination for world-class manufacturing,’ said SEDC president, Gene Stinson. “This piece not only showed creativity, but also solid messaging and effectiveness at reaching their target audience. We were wowed by all the entries we received this year and were impressed with the high level of marketing work being done in economic development by SEDC members.” 

The #MadeInAlbanyGA industry marketing campaign – comprised of print, digital and in-store marketing components – seeks to celebrate the supreme craftsmanship of the Albany-Dougherty County workforce and the products they create though encouraging the local community to take pride in and ownership of these products and industries, while also providing industrial prospects with a glimpse into Albany’s capabilities and benefits as a manufacturing destination.

“We are very proud to have the Made in Albany campaign recognized at this level. It truly is because of our local manufacturers and workforce that our community has earned this honor,” said Justin Strickland, president of the Albany-Dougherty EDC. “The EDC’s objective is to support the efforts of our existing industries while promoting the many benefits of doing business in Albany-Dougherty County in order to expand our industry base. The Made in Albany campaign has been a wonderful way to help do just that.”

Designed to increase community awareness on the operations of existing industries and the products produced by real people in Albany-Dougherty County, to be used all over the world, the first phase of the campaign kicked off in 2017 featuring a new manufacturer each month over the course of a year, highlighting the personal story of an employee working to produce an Albany-made product.

The second phase, which launched in 2019, features compiled elements of each manufacturer along with store signage indicating Albany-made products at local retailers including Homerun Foods, Mike’s Country Store and Woodall’s. 

The campaign has collectively produced hundreds of thousands of impressions across multiple platforms, ensuring that “made in Albany, Georgia” continues to evoke pride and respect, as it signifies the world’s finest products produced by its most capable workforce.

The awards were presented during the 2019 SEDC Annual Conference, August 4-6, 2019, in New Orleans, LA.

Judges for the SEDC Communication Awards are economic development consultants and communication and design professionals from across the southern United States who work with clients in developing strategies for growth in their communities. Judges are chosen based on their knowledge of economic development, the site selection process, content creation and graphic de­sign. 

Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission (ADEDC) Director of Marketing & Research Reedi Hawkins (left) and ADEDC PresidentJustin Strickland (right), pictured with 2019 SEDC Chairman Raul Peralta (center) as they receive the Best of Class Communication Award at the 2019 Southern Economic Development Council Annual Conference, August 4-6, 2019, in New Orleans, LA. The ADEDC received the prestigious recognition in the category of Overall Marketing Campaign for communities with populations of 25,000 – 200,000.