I have recently found myself thinking about these questions, "Can one person really have an impact on our local economy? Can one person's vision, ideas, influence, and labor really change the direction of a whole community or does our future and economy just happen to us?"
A lot of stories and discussions have been had around the coffee cup recently following the news about Baxter International landing at Stanton Springs. I wanted to share a few stories that you might or might not know, but they highlight the Power of One.
Davis Morgan -- I was not around to see Davis Morgan work but the stories I hear are impressive. It has been told to me that Stanton Springs was his idea and that he went to each of the counties to cast the vision and align support. He went so far as to load everyone up in a tour bus and drive the state looking at industrial parks and specifically Johns Creek -- the park Stanton is now modeled after and the same development company is involved, Technology Park Atlanta. What a visionary. The power of ... One.
Scott Willis -- On June 6, 2008, Scott and Shannon Davis traveled to Atlanta to meet with a half dozen project managers at the state Economic Development Office. In tow they had several foam boards depicting the Stanton Springs master plan and a huge vision. His vision was that Newton County could be the new "Silicon Valley" on medical research due to our location between Augusta, UGA, Georgia Tech and Mercer. The last person they met with that day was Cornelius Bankston, a project manager who, a few weeks later, would send the Baxter deal to us under the code name of "Project Boss." That is how Baxter got to Newton County. One person with a vision for our future. The Power of ... two.
Shannon Davis -- Back in June 2008, Shannon was a one-woman show regarding economic recruitment and working with our existing industry. The confidential community visits started in 2009, communication, paperwork, rapid response, coordination of utility providers, elected officials, maps, etc. The project went silent for about a year and half as they worked through the down economy. Then in December of 2011 we received the call that the project was alive again. Shannon stayed on point and did a masterful job at showing our community assets, coordinating all the meetings, interfacing with the state Economic Development Office, courting the executives, and maintaining strict confidentiality. One person who led the charge on behalf of our community. The power of ... three.
And let's not forget about the Board of Commissioners that years ago approved the funding of Stanton Springs. I'm sure there were a hundred reasons why they could have voted no on that bond issuance. Five individuals with one vote that set our community on a road to a very promising future. The power of ... eight.
The power of one, then two, then three! Let's keep building on the momentum.
Hunter Hall is president of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.