Growing up in the small town of Poulan, located in Worth County, Jimmy Parker dreamed of the day he would start his own business in the community where he was raised.
Always looking for a challenge, six years ago, Parker started Scales, Systems and Automation (SSA), with a few employees in a small building owned by his father-in-law. In the early days, SSA was focused primarily on calibrating and repairing various types of scales used in agriculture, transportation, and lab services.
“We’ve done a lot of work over the years in the cotton and peanut industries,” says Parker. “Not just with calibrating scales but developing equipment that saves production time and cost.”
With Parker’s innovative spirit and the company’s philosophy to give customers stellar service, SSA expanded its business model to include the manufacturing of custom-designed equipment and software development, as well as metal fabrication and design.
More than the uninformed manufacturing of equipment, Parker serves as a consultant and works to figure out where a company has a breakdown in the production process.
“Once I find the problem, then I develop a scenario to fix the situation,” he says. “It might include manufacturing a new piece of equipment or adjusting something they already have. We also customize the computer software to run the equipment.”
Having a keen business acumen, Parker is focused on managing his company’s growth. “I want to be able to answer the phone when a customer calls and provide them with the excellent service they have been accustomed to over the years. If something isn’t right, I want to get it corrected.”
Today, with numerous customers scattered across the country, SSA has expanded its workforce to 23 employees, including apprenticeship positions.
As the demand for a larger facility became inevitable, Parker turned to the Worth County Economic Development Authority for assistance.
“I was determined to remain in Worth County,” he says. “This is home. It’s where my family is and close to my customer base, especially in agriculture.”
The search began at the Worth County Industrial Complex, a 196-acre Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site, located within the city limits of Sylvester.
“The discussion started with constructing a building in our industrial park,” says Karen Rackley, executive director of the Worth County Economic Development Authority, “and then it swung completely around to the possibility of using an existing building.”
Last year, SSA moved into its new home located off U.S 84 in Worth County. The 43,000-square-foot building, which was constructed more than 50 years ago, once employed workers that made car seat covers for General Motors.
The building, which is currently owned by the Worth County Economic Development Authority, needed renovations, but otherwise offered enough space for SSA’s current production and future growth.
SSA and the Worth County EDA entered an agreement on the building, which took an otherwise dying building and through a joint venture made a home for a local business.
“Once the agreement is satisfied, it returns back to the tax digest,” says Rackley. “This investment is a win-win for both Scales, Systems and Automation and Worth County.”