Executive Director of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority Stephen Adams was born, raised and educated in Macon. A graduate of Central High School and Middle Georgia State University, Adams joined the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority (MBCIA) in 2009 and was named its executive director in the fall.
During his time with the Industrial Authority, Adams has worked with multiple companies representing nearly $1.4 billion in new investment and more than 3,000 new jobs locally. In this quick Q&A, get to know Adams and the role of the MBCIA in the community.
What is your vision for the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority (MBCIA)?
The MBCIA was created by an Act of the General Assembly in 1962 and is governed by a six-member board. The Act charged the Industrial Authority with the responsibility of creating jobs and increasing the tax base of Macon-Bibb County. Since 1962 MBCIA has been involved with nearly every major industrial location to Macon-Bibb County such as; YKK, GEICO, Tyson Foods, Graphic Packaging, Amazon, Irving Consumer Products; creating billions of dollars in investments and thousands of jobs. My vision would be for MBCIA to continue to work closely with our strategic partners in order to attract quality job opportunities for the betterment of the entire Macon-Bibb County community.
What would be a missed opportunity for Macon?
The momentum we have going for us as a community is real. You can feel the energy. It would be a major missed opportunity if we did not leverage that energy into something never seen before in Macon-Bibb County.
When you seek out potential industries, what do you tell them about why they should do business in Macon?
Macon is a diverse growing community with a strategic location at the center of the State. We have over 40,000 college students in a 40 mile radius. Our abundance of quality water is unmatched. Our downtown scene is booming. We can document continuous human habitation over the last 17,000 years. The major companies that have identified Macon-Bibb County as a great place to do business is a testament to our business environment. The list goes on.
What attracts businesses to Macon?
Success breeds success. In the last 24 months we have generated over $800 million in new private investment and that story is being heard around the country. What we are seeing that attracts industries to the Macon area is Macon’s First-rate transportation infrastructure, we’re just over an hour’s drive to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and two hours from the Port of Savannah, we have a skilled and dedicated workforce, and a we have a very competitive cost of doing business.
How is MBCIA collaborating with other organizations to make success stories happen?
MBCIA is recognized by the Georgia Department of Economic Development as their single point of contact for new business locations. Our ability to serve as the single point of contact is based upon having the support of our many strategic partners. The MaconBibb County Government, Macon Water Authority, Bibb County Board of Education, Central GA Technical College, Mercer University, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, all of our utility partners.
What is something that you feel people may not know about the work that MBCIA does?
Day in and day out MBCIA works directly with new prospective companies but also the major industries already here. Just like any good business, we must make sure our client’s needs are being met. We do this by forming lasting relationships with the people in these industries because our community is only as strong as its citizen’s (corporate citizens too) engagement with the community. The companies that have chosen to do business here could have located anywhere in the country, but they chose Macon because they felt like it was right for them. Next time you buy a house or make a major investment, imagine making a $400 million investment and the level of due diligence that goes into decision. Would you want to invest somewhere you didn’t feel good about?
You grew up here. What do you tell others about why you want to see Macon thrive?
Macon is a community of good people. People who have chosen to raise their families here and create an environment in which they can find an opportunity to do well, educate their children and grow. In my job it is easy to see all of the great things going on, but I also can see the potential we have to be great.
What is one difference in the business culture here that wasn’t happening five years ago?
In the last 20ish years we have issued over $3 billion in industrial revenue bonds, the primary financing mechanism for private investment. In the last 20 months we have issued over $800 million. We are seen as a community that aggressively pursues mutually beneficial business arrangement and that is something I am proud of. That investment hasn’t happened by accident and I believe it is because our potential is being realized.