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County Leader Predicts Continued Prosperity for Southwest Gwinnett

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Gwinnett Chamber President Nick Masino cited a diverse population, quality workforce, and desirable quality of life as factors that attract businesses.

Although Nick Masino, president and CEO of The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, isn’t shy about being a graduate of The Ohio State University, he’s proven many times over that Georgia stays on his mind — especially Gwinnett County.

His role in the Chamber has helped Gwinnett achieve five-star accreditation from the US Chamber. This achievement is bestowed upon organizations that rank among the top 1% nationwide for best business practices.

That means that Masino and the Chamber are good at their job of touting the outstanding economic development opportunities in the state and the county. Masino never tires of explaining why Gwinnett County is expected to double its population in the next 20 years.

He also shares how area leaders are working to make sure the growth is beneficial to those who live here now and those who will eventually call this part of the world their home.

Masino spoke at the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday breakfast in December to give an overview of the successes already taking place in the region and a forward look at the developments on the horizon.

Photos below by Bruce Johnson.

Path to community service

Masino kind of fell into community development 25 years ago when he got a notice that a rezoning plan was being discussed for property across from his home in Suwanee. He attended the meeting and realized how important resident voices are in the building of a neighborhood — and an entire city. Instead of just showing up for controversial topics of discussion, he began attending every meeting to learn more about his community.

“I didn’t have an axe to grind, and I was interested in running for office,” Masino said. “When they realized that, they asked me to apply for a position on the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals.

That led to a stint as the youngest mayor in the state’s history — the record has since been broken — and his circuitous route to his current position heading the largest individual civil service organization in the country.

“I just got engaged in the community. I loved my time serving as mayor of the city of Suwanee. I did it for eight years,” Masino said. I’m proud we had 15 acres of parkland when I started, and we had 350 when I left. There was no identifiable downtown and we built one in the town center.”

When asked about future trends for 2023 and beyond that will impact Southwest Gwinnett, he mentioned the Intuitive Surgical headquarters move to Peachtree Corners. “It’s going to affect this area; it’s going to flow over into Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. It’s a big deal,” he said.

Award recognizes government efforts

Masino added that in November, Intuitive, Gwinnett County Government, City of Peachtree Corners and Partnership Gwinnett received the Large Community Deal of the Year Award at the Georgia Economic Developers Association Annual Awards.

The Deal of the Year Awards recognizes outstanding achievements in new business expansion or relocation that have significant community support and meet economic development goals.

Intuitive, a global technology leader in minimally invasive care and a pioneer of robotic-assisted surgery, announced in 2021 that its expansion in the city of Peachtree Corners would include a $500 million capital investment and 1,200 new jobs. The company expects the campus expansion, which includes new construction and renovations with engineering, manufacturing, office and training space totaling more than 750,000 square feet, will finish in the next few years, according to a press release.

“This project has a meaningful impact on our community,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson in a written statement. “It positively benefits and supports our diverse residents and educational institutions, as well as fosters innovation that changes the world.”

Intuitive currently employs approximately 180 professionals and plans to hire for a variety of high-paying jobs, as well as collaborate with local elementary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions to support curriculum in artificial intelligence and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Partnership Gwinnett managed the project in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Gwinnett County Government, City of Peachtree Corners and Georgia Power.

Partnership Gwinnett, a public/private initiative, drives economic prosperity by attracting, expanding and retaining quality businesses; aligning and developing diverse talent while contributing to the exceptional quality of life in Gwinnett County. Since 2007, the organization has contributed to more than 32,000 new jobs and $3.7 billion in capital investment.

Southwest Gwinnett benefits businesses

“Why did they choose Peachtree Corners?” Masino put the question to the audience.

He pointed out two major factors that keep businesses coming to Southwest Gwinnett:

  • The area already had proven successful for Intuitive for about a decade. Great relationships with local and state government, a compatible work force and a robust community with good schools and an exceptional quality of life demonstrated how expanding the operation would be a wise decision.
  • The area has diversity. “We are in the Census estimates of this year as the fifth most diverse county in the United States,” said Masino. Although the population isn’t quite at a million people, it’s a mix of many races and ethnicities.

“When we go to recruit, retain and expand businesses outside of Gwinnett, outside of the region, outside the state and outside of the country, we say if you bring your business here, or if you want to try a new division, you want to hire at a new product or service and you want to test it here, we’re what the rest of the United States will be in 20 years. And if you’re successful today, you have a chance to be relevant the next 20 years.”

With about a quarter of the residents having been born outside the U.S., Gwinnett has many languages, customs and points of view that are compatible with an international outlook.

Although he didn’t bring a crystal ball with him, Masino predicted that Southwest Gwinnett will continue to prosper and set an economic example for the rest of the region as well as the rest of the country.

Arlinda Smith Broady is part of the Boomerang Generation of Blacks that moved back to the South after their ancestors moved North. With approximately three decades of journalism experience (she doesn't look it), she's worked in tiny, minority-based newsrooms to major metropolitans. At every endeavor she brings professionalism, passion, pluck, and the desire to spread the news to the people.

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Local Resident Opens AtWork Location in Peachtree Corners

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AtWork, one of nation’s leading staffing franchises, has opened its third Metro Atlanta location in Peachtree Corners, Georgia at 6185 Buford Highway, Suite E-100.

AtWork Peachtree Corners is locally-owned by Kamal Bhatia, an immigrant from India with decades of experience in hospitality and as the Senior Vice President of Operations of Atlanta-based Action Bartending School.

AtWork, one of nation’s leading staffing franchises, has opened its third Metro Atlanta location in Peachtree Corners.
Kamal Bhatia

“There is an incredible need for AtWork’s services in Peachtree Corners,” said Bhatia. “Since migrating here in 1996, I’ve witnessed Atlanta evolve and sprout new communities north of the city, including my own. Peachtree Corners has become a hub for thriving businesses, and my goal with this location is to be a key resource between companies and job seekers to support the continued growth of our local economy.”

Bhatia’s son and daughter will assist him in the business.

“This is an opportunity to create a legacy company to ensure our community is supported for generations to come,” he said.

For more than three decades, AtWork’s mission has been to connect people with jobs and jobs with people. With more than 100 locations nationwide, AtWork puts nearly 40,000 individuals to work each year in administrative, light-industrial, accounting and finance, hospitality, IT and management-level positions at some of the nation’s largest and most recognizable companies.

“We’re proud to open our doors in Peachtree Corners and provide a common place for both job seekers and growing businesses to turn for staffing solutions,” said Jason Leverant, President and COO of AtWork.

“AtWork will serve as a key resource to help employees thrive, businesses prosper and communities flourish. Kamal is the perfect partner to champion our mission and be a servant leader in her local community,” he added.

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Business and Birdies: PCBA to Host PGA Tour Championship Exec.

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Alex Urban, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta

Don’t miss your chance to connect and learn at the Peachtree Corners Business Association‘s (PCBA) After Hours Speaker Series. Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and head to the Hilton Atlanta Northeast (5993 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092).

This event features guest speaker Alex Urban, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. Urban brings more than just golf expertise to the table. He is a graduate of Clemson and UGA with a background in communications and marketing, and he’s passionate about using his skills for social good.

His talk, “Stewarding to Serve: How Leaders Can Leverage Resources for Community Impact,” promises valuable insights for current or aspiring business leaders.

Plus, the PCBA will be presenting a donation to Paint Gwinnett Pink, a local breast cancer charity making a real difference.

Ticket prices range from $25 for early bird members to $40 for guests.

Register today to secure your spot!

And click here for more PCBA news.

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Gwinnett Principals Tour Businesses with Partnership Gwinnett for Workforce Development

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A breakfast panel comprising (L to R) Dr. Calvin J. Watts, Lauren Croft, Chad Wagner, and Nick Masino (with moderator Andrew Hickey) discuss the importance of education and industry connection. // Photos courtesy of Partnership Gwinnett

Partnership Gwinnett, in collaboration with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), recently hosted its annual Principal Field Trip event. The program aimed to connect professionals in education and industry to support continued workforce development based on existing and future needs.

The day began with breakfast and a panel discussion featuring Nick Masino, President & CEO of Partnership Gwinnett; Dr. Calvin J. Watts, Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools; Chad Wagner, President of Peachtree Packaging; and Lauren Croft, HR Director at Peachtree Packaging.

Principals and Industry leaders gather for a group photo at QTS during Partnership Gwinnett’s 2024 Principal Field Trip

“Our principals and educators play a critical role in shaping the future workforce of Gwinnett County. This event provides an opportunity to bridge the gap between education and industry, ensuring our students are prepared and ready for high-skill and in-demand careers,” stated Dr. Watts.

In addition to having lunch at Gwinnett Technical College, principals visited several industry partners, including Price Industries, QTS, Peachtree Packaging, Mitsubishi Trane HVAC, Aluvision, CleanSpark, Nextran, WIKA and Eagle Rock Studios. These visits allowed educational leaders to engage with local businesses and understand industry needs.

“Supporting this event underscores our commitment to investing in the future of our workforce. By partnering with GCPS and Partnership Gwinnett, we can ensure that students are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in today’s job market,” said Wagner.

PFT attendees tour operations at Peachtree Packaging.

Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest public school district in the state, serves approximately 182,000 students across 142 schools. The district’s diverse student population, representing 191 countries and speaking 98 different languages, benefits from career pathways and college and career readiness programs that support career exploration, industry certifications and internships.

“With thousands of students graduating each year, GCPS significantly contributes to the 2.6 million labor draw within a one-hour drive of Gwinnett County,” said Partnership Gwinnett Director of Economic Development Andrew Hickey. “As these graduates enter the workforce, they bring essential skills for high-skill and in-demand careers, ensuring a strong future for the local economy.”

Learn more about the work Partnership Gwinnett does here.

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