The City of Chamblee, to the north of the Atlanta metro area, continues to evolve and grow. Walkability has been a defining factor for the city and an area of focus for city leaders, Mayor Eric Clarkson told Invest:Insights. New development plans like the Town Center Master Plan and the ongoing redevelopment of the downtown area are positioning Chamblee for a successful post-COVID future.


Located in Fulton County, the City of Fairburn is a key municipality within the Atlanta metro area. Infrastructure investments are vital in continuing to attract new business and residents to Fairburn, Mayor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst told Invest:Insights. The city is keenly focused on creating affordable housing options throughout its perimeter. Despite the ongoing pandemic challenges, the city budget passed with a millage rate of 8.1 and it is not expected to change in the near future, the mayor said.


While the lasting effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, Georgia’s tourism sector is on its way towards a rebound. Safety measures will still be a key component in the recovery process, Explore Georgia Deputy Commissioner Mark Jaronski told Invest:Insights. Continued marketing efforts and support from state leadership are helping push improvement for the sector and there is cautious optimism that Georgia’s tourism market will continue to return as the landscape improves.


Many legislative efforts put forth to mitigate the pandemic challenges also created some disruption for various legal practices. In the same vein, businesses were pushed to adapt and innovate in ways that will benefit the market for years to come, Greenberg Traurig Managing Shareholder Theodore Blum told Invest:Insights. Blum has had to lean into his areas of expertise to be more creative and find solutions for his clients, he said. Technology has allowed staying on top of legal work much easier. The hardest part about the remote work setting, however, is the mentorship of new legal professionals, Blum stated.  

While there is no economic development playbook for the pandemic landscape, The Georgia Department Of Economic Development saw robust job growth over a number of industries. For example, the Peach State saw a 70% job growth in manufacturing food processing and logistics, Commissioner Pat Wilson told Invest:Insights. The state is up 40% in job creation from last year. Unemployment currently sits at 5.7% and the majority of that comes from the  hospitality and tourism sector. The state has dedicated $1 million in tourism marketing to encourage travel and boost the sector’s recovery efforts, Wilson said. 


The Atlanta real estate market remains strong, buoyed by the low-interest rate environment, low supply, strong property values despite the ongoing pandemic. Demand continues to outpace supply, Harry Norman Realtors President and CEO Jenni Bonura told Invest:Insights. The amount of homes for sale has decreased 51 percent while sales have increased over four percent. Homebuyers are changing their point of view as to what they’re looking for in a house. Factors such as location, more walls, and multigenerational homes are among the most popular in the current market, she said.


COVID has not changed Balentine’s approach to financial knowledge and wealth management firm strategies, it has only reinforced them. For companies and individuals, one of the biggest mistakes is allowing the 24/7 news cycle that plays on fear to affect investment decisions. Resiliency has been incredibly important to focus on and is an important part of wealth management and business, CEO & CIO Adrian Cronje told Invest:Insights. Corporate social investment has seen an uptick and is here to stay, he said.


Prior to COVD-19, Union City was ahead of the curve. The city was already familiar with the work from home model and had a robust citywide app in place prior to the pandemic, Mayor Vince Williams told Invest:Insights. Having the Atlanta Metro Studios, Coca-Cola and Amazon facilities have been a huge help to the city’s local economy throughout the last year. While the pandemic keeps him up at night he knows he’s exactly where he needs to be, Williams said.


Before COVID-19 was on the radar, J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University had already been making moves to become more digital over the last number of years. In turn, this helped to alleviate some of the challenges related to the fast transition to remote instruction during the pandemic landscape. In crises, graduate school numbers and enrollment increase Dean Richard Phillips told Invest:Insights. The price point of the college’s offerings and focus on digital education further helped contend the pandemic challenges,  Phillips said.


Peachtree Corners was built with tech in mind and offers a robust tech platform that allows residents to communicate with the local government. Since the pandemic, this platform has gotten stronger as the city improved its existing system, Peachtree Corners City Manager Brian Johnson told Invest: Insights. The current landscape has further cemented the importance of patience, appreciating the surroundings, and finding joy locally, he said.


The pandemic has forced the public to come to grips with their own mortality, if they had not already. Life insurance is more and more on people’s minds as consumers think further about asset planning and protecting the future of their families, Corky Dawes, CEO of Peachtree Planning told Invest: Insights. Personally, the pandemic further taught him the importance of patience, he said.


This past year has been unprecedented for the travel and tourism sector, and air travel continues to be at its lowest point. For Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, strong teamwork is helping the airport forge a head in the coronavirus landscape. The master plan was able to not only continue but thrive due to low traffic, CEO John Selden told Invest:Insights. The airport continues to support concessionaires and airline partners through creative solutions. Confidence amongst travelers will be paramount and the airport has bolstered safety measures extensively during this period.


Atlanta offers a robust commercial real estate market that has experienced market correction due to the pandemic and its challenges. However, through these challenges, the commercial real estate sector is poised to remain strong, Transwestern’s President of the East Region, Bruce Ford told Invest: Insights. The office market has sound fundamentals that will allow it to bounce back, while logistics, a major focus for the firm, has only gotten a bigger focus, Ford said.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the general public anything, it is that taking the correct precautionary measures results in the overall shared safety of a community. Mayor of Alpharetta, Jim Gilvin, understands this need for public safety and stressed its importance throughout his conversation with Abby Melone.

Though the coronavirus has brought on challenges to virtually every sector, many projects and initiatives in the Atlanta area continue to move forward. The Aerotropolis Atlanta Community Improvement Districts are among the most exciting developments in the region. Its projects continue to move forward and interest remains high, Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance CEO Shannon James told Invest: Insights. The coronavirus has caused shifts in strategy to adapt to the virtual world, but commitment to the local community remains the top priority, he said.

The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly forced many industries to change their business models and rethink their office space needs. Businesses will be adapting their office space to account for the COVID-19 landscape, among the possibles changes are a closer look at social distancing measures, staggered work schedules, and proximity contact tracking Maptician Co-found and COO John Wichmann told Invest: Insights. The physical workplace will still be relevant for companies but adaptations will be needed, he said.

Addressing the challenges caused by the coronavirus has been challenging for both healthcare professionals and medical schools preparing the next generation of front line workers. For the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, leaders are amazed at what has been done thus far on the front lines and the reaction to their enrollment figures despite the pandemic, Chief Campus Officer Bryan Ginn told Invest: Insights. The college is confident of the healthcare industry’s future and has been working with healthcare partners on what rotation will look like once they can get back into hospitals and other healthcare centers.

The Payment Protection Program may have had a rocky roll out at first, but it has overall been an incredible help in safeguarding Georgia’s economy. This was the message conveyed to Abby Melone during her discussion with Joe Brannen, President and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association, who also emphasized that vital role that community banks in the state have played as they accounted for 60% of the 126,000 loans given out in the 30 days that made up the first round of the PPP.

Partnership Gwinnett is currently supporting the local business community in the midst of the coronavirus landscape. In an interview with Invest: Insigjhts, Vice President Andrew Carnes said the organization is expecting a spike in unemployment and is prepared with resources to help the community, much like it did during the 2008 recession. They have a “back to work plan” that was shared with businesses to help them prepare for the transition back into the office. The organization is working with the economic coalition throughout the region to let the public know Gwinnett remains a great place for business.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the general public anything, it is that taking the correct precautionary measures results in the overall shared safety of a community. Mayor of Alpharetta, Jim Gilvin, understands this need for public safety and stressed its importance throughout his conversation with Abby Melone.

During times of crisis, innovation thrives. In 2020, a lot of this innovation is in the form of new and improved upon technologies and when Abby Melone spoke with Larry Williams, President and CEO of TAG (Technology Association of Georgia), he touched upon the fact that the technology space is currently buzzing over the capabilities and innovations currently coming from the telemedicine data and cloud storage sectors.He also identified that, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, there hasn’t been very much change in the investment environment as it relates to technology.

In times of crisis, reliability is a trait that is held in even higher regard. Kevin Greiner, the President and CEO of Gas South, understands this and emphasized to Abby Melone that Gas South is proud to be built upon a foundation of sound fundamentals and a reputation as a reliable services provider, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke on the company’s $1 million contribution to an economic relief fund in Atlanta in light of COVID-19.

While Georgia is preparing to reopen for business, safety still has to be the number one priority. This was the message that Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta, conveyed to Abby Melone in regards to how the City of Atlanta will approach the gradual process of reopening the economy. She also spoke on the increase in specific needs of the business community as we move forward in a world post the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 may have slowed down a vast majority of construction projects, but it has opened the opportunity for different regions to address long standing infrastructure improvements. Kevin Green, President & CEO of Midtown Alliance, spoke to Abby Melone about now being a time where infrastructure projects can make significant progress with less people on the roads and less intrusion and obstruction to people’s daily lives.

At a time like this, the community leaders in both the private and public sectors are looking to offer a helping hand to residents who may be struggling to get through this period of economic distress. One such organization is the Atlanta Gas Light who is promising to not turn anyone’s utilities off during this time regardless of their ability to pay the bill, Bryan Batson the President of Atlanta Gas Light told Abby Melone.

Though most business sectors are currently feeling the economic strain, the tourism and hospitality sectors were two of the hardest hit. President of the Central Atlanta Progress, AJ Robinson, spoke at length with the CEO of Capital Analytics, Abby Melone, about the unprecedented impact this has had on the hospitality sector and how his organization is working closely with city officials to address these challenges.