Leadership Bartow explores impact of business, industry
by Matt Shinall
Oct 12, 2012 | 2111 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Phoenix Air Chief Operating Officer Dent Thompson leads a tour Wednesday for members of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bartow class during Business and Industry Day. SPECIAL
Phoenix Air Chief Operating Officer Dent Thompson leads a tour Wednesday for members of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bartow class during Business and Industry Day. SPECIAL
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Leadership Bartow strives each year to introduce local leaders to previously unknown aspects of the Bartow County community. Tackling a new subject each month, participants in the annual program studied the impacts of business and industry Wednesday by visiting local companies and hearing from area employers.

Beginning with a tour of Georgia Power Plant Bowen, class members gained an inside view of one of the country’s largest generating facilities. Producing up to 3,200 megawatts, Plant Bowen employs more than 400 people plus contractors.

Extensive projects taking place in the past 10 years have added selective catalytic reduction units and scrubbers totaling more than $1.5 billion in investments to meet environmental regulations. Georgia Power continues to invest in Plant Bowen with the upcoming addition of a baghouse to filter mercury out of flue gas. Georgia Power made the announcement last month with a request for a $700 million bond issuance.

“Georgia Power Plant Bowen plays a big part in Bartow County and I’m very proud of the good stewards that Georgia Power is in this community and it makes me proud to be a part of that team,” said Janet Queen, Leadership Bartow participant and Georgia Power Plant Bowen project relocation coordinator. “Sometimes we take things for granted and I think this gave our class a better perspective, especially on environmental topics. ... Rodney Scott, our engineering manager, talked about the cost of the environmental projects — the SCRs, the scrubbers and the upcoming baghouses — and it kind of drove the point home for what this cost is about and what it means to the environment.

“That’s one of the things that makes me proud about Georgia Power, we don’t just talk the talk. We try to do the right thing for the environment and for Bartow County.”

Following the tour of Plant Bowen, participants were bussed to the Cartersville-Bartow County Airport for a brief look at the home-base operations of Phoenix Air. The Cartersville-based flight operator maintains a fleet of more than 35 aircraft around the globe. With locations in Florida, California and Germany, among others, Phoenix Air operates in the areas of air ambulance, air cargo, military training, electronic warfare simulations and executive charter.

In the renovation and maintenance of their own fleet, Phoenix Air has become a leader in aircraft maintenance leading the company to expand into the field of major modifications to existing aircraft. A new $3 million expansion is being completed on the east side of the airport for the addition of Phoenix Air’s modification department.

“Overall, the feedback was really good. The Bowen tour was pretty popular, but the most feedback I got was from the Phoenix tour,” said Todd Browning, event organizer and State Farm agency owner. “Everyone was just amazed at how much Phoenix did. That part was really impressive to see how much they do. ... Just the scope of what they do is really interesting. We could have stayed there another hour listening about the things they have going on all over the world.”

After a panel discussion over lunch, class members took part in a tour of Gerdau Long Steel North America where scrap steel is recycled, melted and repurposed for use in a number of industries, including construction, automotive, mining and equipment manufacturing.

Thursday’s event wrapped up with a bus tour of Highland 75, the Cartersville-Bartow County joint venture industrial park on Cass-White Road, before heading to Adairsville for an overview of north Bartow’s manufacturing base. Adairsville has seen great success in attracting manufacturers over the past 20 years and hopes to see more as the economy recovers. Adairsville also has attracted foreign investment, with five of the county’s seven Japanese manufacturers locating in Adairsville.

“You drive by these plants every day and you have no idea what’s going on inside or the scale, or scope, or even how they’re tied into Bartow County. From the outside, you can’t tell much about how they contribute to our economy,” Browning said. “We felt like, on business and industry day, it would be good to get people inside some of these facilities and get some feedback on how they impact Bartow County, how many they employ and to see how much of a world presence that Bartow County has — and you really can’t get that driving up and down the interstate.

“We tried to make the day as broad as possible. We didn’t just focus on a couple of big industries in Cartersville, we wanted to get to Adairsville too because it’s a big part of Bartow County.”

Former Braves Manager Bobby Cox finished the program with a talk on leadership at Northside Bank, where he serves as chairman of the board.

For more information about Leadership Bartow, call the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce at 770-382-1466.