When the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce launched its Partnership Gwinnett economic development initiative in 2006, it was a significant and important step toward ensuring the county”s prosperity. Today, three years and a major economic downturn later, the need for Partnership Gwinnett is nothing short of imperative. All Gwinnettians should be thankful the Chamber”s leaders had the vision and foresight to launch this initiative—and the community had the good sense to embrace it.
During the annual Economic Development Summit in late July, information was shared about the impact of Partnership Gwinnett in years one and two of its implementation. The more than 65 corporate relocations or expansions in Gwinnett are an impressive testimony to the power of this economic development strategy at a most challenging time for our county, state and nation. Although we are not likely to hit the original target of 65,000 new, high-paying jobs coming to Gwinnett in the first five years of this initiative, there has been a positive impact in the number of jobs not only created, but also saved, in the county.
The decline in Gwinnett”s tax digest this year is a stark reminder that we must always keep a sharp eye on the economic development ball. It is hard to imagine what the local economic climate would be today were it not for the accomplishments of Partnership Gwinnett.
While saluting what Partnership Gwinnett has done in keeping the economic development engines humming, however, we must not overlook the positive impact the initiative is having on community development. One of Gwinnett County”s unique strengths is the collaboration exhibited by the business community, county government, educational systems, healthcare providers, municipalities, and public and private ventures involved with Partnership Gwinnett. The slogans "Gwinnett is Great" and "Success Lives Here" speak in simple terms to the powerful force that unites us—pride in the county we call home and commitment to ensuring its continued prosperity and quality of life.
Hats off to Chamber CEO and President Jim Maran, his staff and the 2009 executive board of Partnership Gwinnett, chaired by Bartow Morgan, for their leadership in keeping this initiative going at a time when there is little encouraging news on the economic front. I contend that leadership and a proactive stance are needed most urgently in times like these. Partnership Gwinnett gives us reason to look forward to the coming years with optimism that better days are ahead.