2018 CCIA Board Meeting Dates

Click here to download a PDF outlining the 2018 CCIA Board of Directors Meeting Dates.

One Life Expands Call Center Operation in Metter

One Life America’s Metter location is currently being expanded to include 20 additional employees of $40,000 to $60,000 in the first year.

The expansion is being done in waves, explained Benji Crooms of One Life. “We have hired a specified number of people and, once those people get trained and to a specific production level, then we can hire another group.” Due to overwhelming response from the first wave of hiring (over 40 resumes in a 24- hour period), the company had a large pool of applicants from which to select employees for this first wave of expansion.

The expansion is in the call center area. New positions were hired with full benefits, including health insurance, vacation, sick and holiday pay and work weekdays only. Candler County Industrial Authority worked closely with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Department of Labor to assist with the expansion. “We worked to connect One Life with the resources they needed to undertake this expansion project,” said Molly Olson, CCIA executive director.

One Life was founded in Meridian, MS, in 1984 to service the senior market place with life insurance products. Over 20 years, One Life expanded its operation to 500 agents throughout the Southeast United States. Today, One Life operates all over the country through its field and call center operation. One Life opened a location in Metter in March of 2000.

Candler County, Georgia labor statistics indicate strong work ethic to attract prospective employers

Candler County’s labor statistics are an anomaly, and with the right approach, could also be marketable to business prospects.

That was the message Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler had when he visited Metter on Aug. 9. According to Butler, Candler County has the 15th lowest unemployment rate in the state. However, he said, when it comes to average weekly wages, Candler County is at the bottom of the state, ranking 152nd out of 159 counties.
Of the people working, however, 70 percent of Candler County’s workforce works out of county. Alternately, 56 percent of people employed in Candler County do not live in the county.

Through these statistics, Butler said, there is a silver lining. “If you are wanting to attract prospects and new companies, you can use this to your advantage,” he said. “You could attract a company here that pays higher wages because they know you have got over 5200 individuals working in this county. “That’s your selling point. When you have low unemployment, that means you have people in this county who want to work.” Once a new company comes in, Butler said, wage competitions will begin, which prompts existing businesses to increase their wages. That’s a win-win situation, he said, because now the workers have more money and spend more money, increasing tax revenues.

“I think you have something you can sell,” he said. Butler encouraged the community to expand its focus on soft skills development. “We have got to bring discipline back into the schools,” he said. “It is not just a behavior issue; it is also an economic development issue. Discipline goes along with soft skills.” For example, he said, “Showing up late for class is an economic development issue,” because students late for class become workers late for a job.
Superintendent Dr. Bubba Longgrear stepped up to point out how each school in the local system is pushing soft skills training, starting with “Seven Habits of a Happy Kid” in the elementary grades. Butler was encouraged by Longgrear’s comments and, in turn, encouraged the local system to continue their efforts. “You are on the right track,” he told Longgrear. “You have a great story to tell. Just keep telling the story.” Butler’s visit was sponsored by Candler County Industrial Authority. "We have a great story to tell here,” said Industrial Authority Executive Director Molly Olson.

“As a community that is hard working and highly skilled, we are prime for industrial development. The Commissioner’s visit was a great opportunity for Candler County to showcase our story.
“The Industrial Authority was pleased to host the Commissioner for his first tour of Candler County and we are excited to continue developing a strong relationship with the Georgia DOL.”

Rural Telephone Cooperative Takes Networking To New Level

For over two decades, a 42,000 square foot spec building stood empty near the downtown of Metter, Georgia. From time to time, a business would claim the space, then move on. Buildings like this one, empty up-on establishment, blot the towns of rural America. But for Metter, sec-ond life has poured into the building, transforming the space into the headquarters of the globally partnered concrete pump and product as-sembly companies, CPE America and Everdigm.... Read More

Economic Development Day

On Tuesday, September 26th, the ConnectCandler “Economic Development Day” focused on industrial development initiatives locally and across the state. The Candler County Industrial Authority partnered with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Ports Authority to host the leadership class in a session that mirrored a prospect visit. Throughout the day, the group discussed local economic development updates, the importance of prospect confidentiality and toured the Georgia Ports Authority. The ConnectCandler class had the chance to see what happens behind the scenes and the steps required to both attract new business and retain existing industries.

New Executive Director Molly Olson

Candler County Industrial Authority welcomed new executive director Molly Olson on Monday of this week. Olson comes to Metter after three years with the Savannah Economic Development Authority, where she was business development coordinator. She has also worked with the Alpharetta Department of Economic Development and Cobb Chamber of Commerce.

“Metter has great potential to attract businesses and jobs, which is exciting from an economic development standpoint,” Olson said. “Candler County has many assets. It has great connectivity in the strategic location along I-16, a local technical college, the Georgia Ports Authority and has an industrial park that is Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD). Having a GRAD site is a huge advantage for companies looking to develop a location as soon as possible,” she continued.

When asked about her impressions of the local community and her plans for economic development, Olson said, “I am excited to become part of the community and call it home.

“The people in Metter have been very welcoming. That’s an important factor in attracting companies to the county. The community is supportive of economic development efforts and the drive to increase employment opportunities in the county.

“The local partners also have a strong knowledge of economic development and its advantages. “(Previous executive director) Hannah Mullins did a great job with the economic development directives in the county. My plans include marketing our community to state partners and site consultants in order to develop more name recognition as well as attract industrial jobs and investment that will grow the local employment opportunities. I also plan to partner with state and local resources to develop programs that support developing talent pipelines for industrial development and strengthening relationships with the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Department of Labor and other great resources that promote economic development.”

“We look forward to welcoming Molly as a vital member of our community’s team,” said Mayor Billy Trapnell, chairman of the Candler County Industrial Authority. “She has been part of an excellent group in Savannah and Chatham County, having developed contacts and skills that will be beneficial to the economic growth of Metter and Candler County.”

Olson holds a bachelor’s degree in international economic affairs from the University of West Georgia.

Molly R. Olson
Executive Director

Candler County Industrial Authority
1 S. Rountree Street, Suite B
P.O. Box 1130 Metter, GA 30439
O: 912-685-4950