Manufacturing in Ga. brings in $46B a year - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Manufacturing in Ga. brings in $46B a year

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ATLANTA -

Manufacturing accounts for a little more than 10 percent of Georgia's total output, yet many don't even realize the products they use every day are made in Georgia. Manufacturing is making Georgia about $46 billion richer every year, and many companies are making the move south.

Kia, Coca-Cola and Bridgestone Golf have manufacturing plants in the state, but there are hundreds of other smaller companies making a big impact.

Richard Kopelman is the founder of Next Generation Manufacturing, a non-profit that connects manufacturing companies with state resources, and says Georgia is a goldmine.

"There's a tremendous variety of products manufactured here in Georgia. Everything from apparel to electronics to metal components, and of course there's food products," said Kopelman.

Kopelman says there are a few reasons companies call Georgia home: an ample workforce, state tax incentives and the fact that Georgia is largely a non-union state.

"There's certainly a renaissance in manufacturing. Because of the convergence of manufacturing and technology and rising wages overseas, there are a number of companies that are reshoring and bringing production back to the United States, and specifically the southeast and the state of Georgia.

Ian Malpass's Dalton, Georgia company, Millennium Mats is one of them.

Millennium Mats has contracts with more than 250 colleges and professional teams throughout the country. So far, they've moved about half of their production out of China and back to the United States.

"We wanted to guarantee that 100 percent of this product is recycled and that's one of the things you lose when you go to China. You don't have control of the product," said Malpass.

Malpass says even with incentives, initially the cost to make the product in Georgia is a bit more than in China. But with more and more customers wanting US-made products, it's a price they're willing to pay.

"We were prepared to take the financial hit, if you like, in the very beginning to go through the learning process, to set up the manufacturing operation. Because in the long term, we think it's going to increase our sales, make our product more attractive and it is going to give us complete control," said Malpass.

The future looks even brighter for manufacturing in Georgia. Innovation and manufacturing are merging, and the metro Atlanta area, home to Georgia Tech, has a strategic advantage.

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