Inaugural Event Celebrates Southern Leadership in Innovation

Staff Report

Monday, July 17th, 2023

Yesterday, Consensus Digital Media hosted the first-ever Southern Surge Next Generation Manufacturing Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. More than 150 elected leaders, industry executives, educators, students, economic development officials, policymakers, and community stakeholders from throughout the region converged at the historic Georgia Freight Depot venue in downtown Atlanta to discuss the blueprint for leading the U.S. toward a more prosperous and sustainable future.

Attendees heard directly from local public officials in Georgia and South Carolina, as well as former Georgia Governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, about how next-generation manufacturing is fueling economic growth in the South.

"The South no longer is relying on cheap energy or labor to thrive, there is a [Southern] surge," former Georgia Governor, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and current Chancellor of the University System of Georgia Sonny Perdue told attendees, later adding, "You haven't seen nothing yet, so let's keeping growing and growing, and serving and delivering for America."

Thanks to future-forward technological innovations across the region, production facilities for electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and microchips are proliferating throughout the South.

"Today's Southern Surge event made it clear: the South is leading the way for America's next generation of jobs and manufacturing," said Conor Gaughan, publisher and CEO of Consensus. "What's even more impressive is this influx of investment in the region marks just a starting point for an increasingly sustainable and bright future."

Book-ending the day was a live, on-stage podcast taping of Consensus In Conversation between host and Consensus publisher Conor Gaughan, and Chris Clark, the president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Clark's closing remarks reinforced a common theme throughout the day of the importance of workforce development, and how Georgia and the South are leading by example.

For the Southern Surge Next Generation Manufacturing Summit full program and list of speakers visit

For highlights from the Southern Surge, check out Consensus Digital Media's social channels (Twitter; LinkedIn; YouTube).