GEDA Recognizes Top Deals of the Year and Outstanding Individuals at Luncheon

Staff Report

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

At its Annual Awards luncheon on Monday, the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) recognized top deals of the year an excellence by individuals.  Awards included the Deals of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence, Honorary Life Member selections and Committee Chair of the Year.  Speaking and conferring the awards was Bert Brantley, Deputy Chief of Staff for Governmental Affairs at the Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp.  Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan also addressed event attendees and congratulated all the winners.  Nearly 100 economic developers from around the state attended the ceremony in-person and another thirty attended virtually. 

Deal of the Year Awards

The GEDA Deal of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the location or expansion of new businesses in the state of Georgia that meet community economic development goals and involve significant community program support, such as financial or permitting assistance, workforce development, state financial support, etc.

Winners were selected in three community categories: Small, Mid-Size and Large.

Small: Telfair County – Guidoni USA

Mid-Size: Gordon County – Creative Flooring Solutions

Large: Columbia County – Amazon Fulfillment Center

Volunteer of the Year Award

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual economic development volunteer for outstanding service to an economic development organization or community. This year’s recipient is Noah Covington from Bryan County, nominated by the Development Authority of Bryan County.

Rip Wiley Award

Misti Martin, President of Cherokee Office of Economic Development, was named the 2020 recipient of the Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence.  The award is named after H. W. "Rip" Wiley, who worked for the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (now the Department of Economic Development) as Director of the Industry Division when he passed in October 1978.  This award was established upon his death in 1978 to be presented to the person in economic development who best represents his spirit of excellence.

Honorary Life Members 

The Honorary Life Member Award recognizes individuals for long, exceptional and/or exemplary career and service to GEDA, or for extraordinary efforts directly related to the purposes of GEDA.  This year there were three individuals tapped for this award.

Annie Hunt Burriss, CEcD, EdD, President, AHB Solutions LLC; Illya Copeland, former Executive Director, Murray County Development Authority (awarded posthumously); and C. Jones Hooks, CEcD, Executive Director, Jekyll Island Authority.

GEDA Committee Chair of the Year

This award is given each year to honor and recognize outstanding performance for the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association through work as a committee chair.   This year’s recipient is Megan Baker, CEcD, Vice President, Fayette County Development Authority.