Native-born, Georgia Manufacturing Alliance CEO, Jason Moss, Crusades for “Buy From Georgia”
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
Jason Moss, CEO of the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance (GMA) and a native of McDonough, Georgia, has virtually, single-handedly, been a crusader to make sure what’s made in Georgia more often stays in Georgia, as well as to points beyond, of course.
Moss describes himself as someone who “loves to make connections.” Where others naturally looked outward beyond the state boundaries for business, he saw untapped opportunities for Georgia-based companies to network with each other as vendors. At the same time, such relationships could have helped to put other Georgians to work at a time just when the economy began to go south, i.e., the Great Recession.
So, in 2008, this son of an itinerant minister figuratively traveled in his father’s footsteps throughout the state. Moss, the younger, began to preach a more secular message about the critical importance of the new market opportunities available intramurally. In fact, one of his favorite quotes remains: “The path is made by walking.”
To this day, he is amazed, yet not surprised, that so many manufacturers, purchasing agents, sales representatives and even bankers lack a knowledge of Who’s Who in the Peach State. Moss, a former software salesman, has a standing offer of a crisp $100 bill at meetings and seminars to whomever can identify five products that are made in this state, and rarely, if ever, has had to give it away.
Therefore, the core of the mission statement for the self-governed membership of the GMA reads: “…to make profitable business connections through direct referrals and the events we provide year-round.” In addition to its monthly meetings that may feature networking sessions, manufacturing plant tours or educational training sessions, GMA initiated an Expo in 2013 with 50 exhibitors and 1,000 attendees, a first of its kind in the United States.
Following that Expo and the one in 2014 that drew 75 exhibitors, Governor Nathan Deal issued proclamations denoting June for each of those years as “Buy from Georgia Month,” quite an accomplishment for a nascent trade association.
In addition, earlier this year Moss recently received a unique recognition: the “Georgia Community Leadership Award” from the Georgia Entertainment Gala. The award celebrates GMA’s effort to bring together the state’s entertainment and manufacturing players for the common goal of creating jobs.
“Keeping business in Georgia and providing rapid response to the demanding entertainment community makes for a win-win relationship between the manufacturing and entertainment industry in Georgia,” Moss said. “GMA and our members are excited to play a role in this growing industry.”
GMA publicizes and coordinates many of its activities via social media, bringing together local Chambers of Commerce, civic organizations and professional groups, such as APICS Atlanta and Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Recently, GMA held special events with the Georgia Power Resource Center and at the global headquarters of UPS. Both companies offered participants advice, such as ways to save on utility bills and marketing and logistics services.
The major 2015 date has moved to November 18th at the Cobb Galleria and the format will change from an Expo to a Summit with the theme, “Connect, Educate, Promote.” Besides an exhibit hall, the agenda will feature a “People of Manufacturing” awards program; a panel discussion about issues specific to the industry; and, a keynote speaker to be announced. A portion of the proceeds from the Summit will go to two charity groups: DECA, an international student marketing association, and Georgia FIRST Robotics.
GMA is also conducting a grass roots campaign to involve both manufacturers and consumers. The “Georgia Video Challenge” has been created to highlight many of the great products that are manufactured in Georgia. Research shows that the average consumer cannot name five products that are made in the state, yet manufacturers in Georgia produce 11.2% of the total economic output and employ about 9% of the workforce, producing $34.5 billion in manufactured goods during 2013.
As members of GMA, companies’ benefits include opportunities to:
- Grow local contact base to help keep more business in Georgia
- Make live connections with quality service providers that want your business
- Leverage the connections of the group financially
- Learn about industry topics and issues from experts
- Strengthen/create leadership position within industry
- Publicize services with manufacturing companies
- Gain access to next wave of manufacturing inventions
- Receive member discounts
Moss and the GMA Board of Directors have aggressive growth plans for the Alliance: expand tenfold to 1,000 member companies in the next five years and serve 2,500 individuals. “The more members, the greater the value they bring to the table by buying from each other,” stated Moss. “GMA becomes a one-stop shopping entity for manufacturers. It’s a community of manufacturers working together.”
“I love what I do,” Moss adds. “It’s what I do every day: make contacts and contracts.”
So, once again, as in 2008, if looking for new business, Georgia manufacturers might best look within the state for new opportunities, especially since recent data from the Federal Reserve indicates that the U.S. factory sector has slipped into in a technical recession due to the strong dollar, global weakness and lower oil prices.
GMA Member Murray Plastics Custom Injection Molding Testimonial
Ed Bishop, Sales Manager for Murray Plastics Custom Injection Molding states, “As a member of the GMA for only a couple years, our company has been able develop some great alliances with vendors and customers alike.”
- Working with Blake Sanchez at ESE and molding a wheel cap for Porsche.
- Developing a handle for Southwire’s busy wire lines, which came from a relationship with Chad Garrish at Edge-Innovation.
- While at the GMA Expo, met Dick Kawka, designer of a dry golf club cleaner used by several golf cart manufacturers for distribution in the U.S. and several other countries.
- Established great relationship and mutual business interests with Tom Klatt at KD Manufacturing.
- Purchased CAD software through Lance Lessard at MLC-CAD and have taken courses there to enhance our design capabilities.
Bishop concludes, “Thank you, Jason, again, for all of your hard work and for helping us to develop several other dynamic relationships. Thank you very much for being an incredible resource for all of your members.”