The GEDA Recognizes Top Deals of the Year and Outstanding Individuals at Luncheon

Staff Report

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

At its Annual Awards luncheon on Monday, the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) recognized top deals of the year and excellence by individuals.  Awards included the Deals of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence and Committee Chair and Member of the Year.  Speaking and conferring the awards was Chris Womack, Chairman, President & CEO of Georgia Power.  Over 200 economic developers from around the state attended the ceremony in-person at the Georgia Tech Hotel at Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta.

Deal of the Year Awards

The GEDA Deal of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the location or expansion of new businesses in the state of Georgia that meet community economic development goals and involve significant community program support, such as financial or permitting assistance, workforce development, state financial support, etc.

Winners were selected in three community categories: Small, Mid-Size and Large.

Small: Bacon County Development Authority – La Regina Atlantica

Mid-Size: Camden County Joint Development Authority – Plug Power

Large: Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority – GEDIA Georgia

Volunteer of the Year Award

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual economic development volunteer for outstanding service to an economic development organization or community. This year’s recipient is Alan Verner, Chairman of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton & Walton Counties.

Rip Wiley Award

Tim Evans, Vice President – Economic Development of the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, was named the 2021 recipient of the Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence.  The award is named after H. W. "Rip" Wiley, who worked for the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (now the Department of Economic Development) as Director of the Industry Division when he passed in October 1978.  This award was established upon his death in 1978 to be presented to the person in economic development who best represents his spirit of excellence.

GEDA Committee Chair and Member of the Year

This award is given each year to honor and recognize outstanding performance for the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association through work as a committee chair.   This year’s recipient is Jason Dunn, GEDA Chair of the Professional Development Committee, and Executive Director, Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Development Authority.  For similar excellence, Rachel Barnwell, Manager of Economic Development Programs for the Development Authority of Bulloch County, was recognized for her efforts as a member of this year’s 2021 Annual Conference Committee.