Cream of the Crop: David Apple finds success in helping Bartow County businesses succeed
by Matt Shinall
Feb 17, 2013 | 1164 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As region manager for the Georgia Extension Manufacturing Partnership, Cartersville resident David Apple strives each day to make Georgia companies more profitable and competitive.

Through initiatives and research from Georgia Tech, GEMAP helps manufacturers in the areas of process improvement, quality assurance, energy management, sustainability and product development.

In 2010, GEMAP consultants served 710 manufacturers helping to save or create 1,350 jobs and reduce operating costs by $35 million while boosting sales by $243 million.

Companies looking for resources to improve manufacturing processes may contact the Georgia Tech Northwest Georgia Regional Office at 770-387-4002.

Outside of his office on Public Square in downtown Cartersville, Apple devotes much of his time to family and community. With four grown children and years of youth soccer coaching behind him, Apple has served on the Cartersville City School Board for the past three years.

Name: David Apple

Occupation/Title: NW Region Manager Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute

City of residence: Cartersville

Family: Married to Carol Fulton Apple for 31 wonderful years

Children: Four children, all graduates of Cartersville High School.

Education: Georgia Tech — Bachelors of Industrial Engineering; Georgia State University — MBA

Age: 58

As region manager with Georgia Tech, what does your job primarily entail?

A. My primary focus is serving manufacturers in northwest Georgia. We like to say our job is to help manufacturers be more successful. This is through the statewide network called the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The key areas of focus are Continuous Improvement, Strategic Growth and Technology Acceleration, Sustainability and Supply Chain Development.

I also help companies make connections to Georgia Tech, whether it’s the Manufacturing Institute, the OSHA Training Institute or research capabilities at Georgia Tech.

What are the most common problems or obstacles you help area businesses overcome?

A. The biggest hurdle is helping people develop a vision of what they can be. Their business may be good now, but can they envision it as a world class operation? I help them see what they can be, help them develop that vision, then help them get there. Sometimes that entails visiting and benchmarking other manufacturing companies.

Like the rest of life, manufacturers need to get guidance and assistance before they get into financial trouble or trouble with their customers because of quality or delivery problems. Too many people do not act until there is a crisis.

What led you to your career in management consulting, training and education with Georgia Tech?

A. After 25 years working in manufacturing, it was a good next step to use my knowledge and experience to help others. Plus, I love Georgia Tech. I get to work with a variety of people and projects primarily in northwest Georgia.

What would you consider your greatest personal or professional achievement?

A. What’s really rewarding is when someone I’m working with makes the breakthrough to see the vision and starts working towards it. Or, watching them actually achieve something and not realize what they have accomplished until after the fact. It’s that realization of “I really did that!?”

This can be with a manufacturing professional, a player I’ve coached in soccer or one of my children.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

A. That advice comes from the Apostle Paul, “Be anxious for nothing, but let your requests be made known to God.”

What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

A. I’ve moved to Georgia four times in my life.

Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County? 

A. That’s a hard one. I would have to say walking the trails at Red Top. It’s pretty peaceful out there. My office is in downtown and I really like downtown Cartersville.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

A. Laid back, contemplative, analytical.

If you were not in this line of work, what would you like to do?

A. I once had the dream of owning the marina at Lake Burton, living on the lake and fixing boats.