Providing a successful road map for industry growth, Cook County has easy access to major interstates (I-75 and I-10) and state roads, and rail service, along with a robust infrastructure, skilled workforce, and customized incentive options.
In 2019, Cook County, located between Valdosta and Tifton, added a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, air separation plant, and blockchain data center to its expanding industrial base.
Highly visible along Interstate 75, the $50 million replacement facility for Southwell Medical Center (formerly Cook Medical Center) officially opened Oct. 1, 2019, and has already created 94 new jobs.
After two years of construction, the $40 million Messer Americas (formerly Linde Corp.) plant started production in early 2019.
As the world’s largest privately-held industrial gases company, and leader in the production of atmospheric gases, Messer Americas specializes in the development and delivery of industrial, medical, and specialty gases.
With an initial employment base of 18, Gina Gibbs Foster, vice president of corporate communications at Messer Americas, says, “We will continue to ramp up staffing over time, as required to safely and reliably meet customer demand for the essential products produced at our Adel plant.”
With two facilities located in Georgia, including Cartersville, Foster says, “The Adel facility is critical to the company’s growth strategy, which includes scaling up to meet the demands of customers throughout the Southeast and building supply reliability to a wide range of markets.”
Messer Americas serves a diverse customer base that includes healthcare, food and beverage, water treatment, chemicals and specialties, metals, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and electronics.
“We play a role in nearly every manufacturing industry,” says Foster. “We are not the end product, but we are helping our customers produce their best possible product.”
Serving thousands of industries, Foster says, “You really can’t get out of bed without using one of the products we serve. From packaged foods to natural gas to run MRI machines in hospitals, Messer even helps launch rockets and put the ‘fizz’ in soda.”
When selecting its second Georgia location, Foster says, “There were multiple sites to consider, but Cook County, especially the City of Adel, made it easy to invest there.”
In recruiting Messer Americas, Lisa Collins, executive director of the Cook County Economic Development Commission, says having an abundance of electrical power was a top industry strength.
“One of our biggest selling points is our ability to provide electrical power to industries at a competitive price,” she says. “If an industry needs more than 900 kilowatts of power, they can choose their electrical provider,” referencing Georgia’s competitive bid process known as Customer Choice.
“We can supply all the power Messer needs, thanks to an $8 million substation built by MEAG (Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia),” says Collins. “The substation provides more than enough power to meet Messer’s demands and more.”
The excess of power was also instrumental in Cook County’s recruitment of Blockstream, a bitcoin and blockchain technology company whose active customers include Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. With an initial $20 million investment and the creation of 25 jobs, Blockstream’s goal is to generate $270 million in capital investment and create up to 100 jobs in Cook County.
“Once again, Adel was selected because of its ability to produce large amounts of electricity at a competitive price,” says Collins. “Our industrial park is in close proximity to an ITS (Integrated Transmission System) line, and this was a great incentive for Blockstream and Messer.”
Comparing the scale of power required, the City of Adel uses approximately 24 megawatts of power, and Blockstream will require up to 270 megawatts when they are fully operational.
With Adel serving as its own utility provider, companies using high-levels of electricity, like Messer and Blockstream, represent a substantial revenue for the city.
“It has been a domino effect,” says Collins. “Beginning with Messer, the new substation was built, thereby creating a new opportunity to attract Blockstream and also other industries in the future.”