Local Industry News

March 6, 2016

Effingham County Industrial Development Authority and OmniTRAX Launch Public-Private Partnership


 

SPRINGFIELD, GA: The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority (ECIDA) has announced a development agreement with OmniTRAX, Inc. to develop its 2,600-acre industrial property near Rincon, Georgia. The project will allow new industries to locate on premium industrial sites providing dual Class I rail access.

The site is located twelve miles north of the Port of Savannah and will have direct access to both Norfolk Southern and CSX main lines. The development is a strategic partnership between the ECIDA and OmniTRAX to build an economic epicenter that leverages the vibrant energy of the region to create the East Coast’s most outstanding large-scale, industrial, rail, and port served industrial mega park. It will be configured to accommodate industrial parcels ranging from five acres to over one thousand acres.

“This site has the potential of creating thousands of jobs for our community”, says Chap Bennett, Chairman of the ECIDA.  “It will also have a tremendous impact on our tax digest.   The Board of directors, management, and staff have worked diligently to create a strategic relationship which will maximize both job creation and digest impact.  We’ve known for a long time that this development will create its own gravitational pull for new industry and commercial projects throughout the area.  This announcement takes us one step closer to seeing this as a reality.”

Having incomparable power, water, sewer and rail infrastructure located adjacent or on the site makes it one of the best-served dual-rail mega parks on the eastern seaboard. Transportation infrastructure, such as a public east/west corridor tying Georgia Highway 21 to the projected Effingham Parkway is being planned to accommodate traffic generated by the new development. OmniTRAX will be responsible for all infrastructure development to service the property.

John Henry, CEO of the ECIDA says, “Through our partnership with OmniTRAX we will be able to expedite development of this park in a comprehensive manner, leveraging private capital, marketing, and resources to bring this development to market years before we would be able to do so with our current resources.”

ECIDA has sought a development partner for the property, formerly known as the Research Forest, for several years. OmniTRAX was approached in early 2015 to determine interest and the two entities quickly learned they shared a common development goal for the property and began discussions in mid-2015.

“The Savannah market is growing rapidly, supported by the fourth busiest port in the nation. This is a perfect opportunity for OmniTRAX to supply the capabilities and experience gained at our other industrial development sites to create a world-class business park. We’re delighted to be working with John Henry and his team to bring growth to the region,” said Kevin Shuba, Chief Executive Officer of OmniTRAX.

OmniTRAX has developed a tentative master plan for the development that will allow for several phases of development and will ultimately provide in excess of 1,800 developed acres of industrial property including a single user mega site. The company has developed other large scale projects including the Great Western Industrial Park, a 3,000 acre, dual-rail served development near Denver, CO and GeoTrac Industrial Hub at the Port of Brownsville, Texas, a 1,400 acre rail served development. They have successful industrial development and marketing experience, a rarity for rail operators. They currently service many of the country’s Fortune 500 companies.

The agreement is structured so ECIDA receives cost recovery, does not have to spend additional funds for infrastructure provision and receives a profit share after investment costs have been returned.

“Having this agreement will not only allow us to see full cost recovery on our investment, we will also reap the benefit of creating new jobs and expanding the tax digest for our community and region much more quickly than was previously planned. Once the investment costs are recovered we have the potential to receive a windfall that will allow us to provide even more resources for growing jobs, the tax base and the quality of life here in Effingham County for years to come,” Henry said.

OmniTRAX is one of America’s largest short line railroad holding companies making shipping by train easy and efficient. OmniTRAX is dedicated to making rail easy; through bundled services including, terminal and switching, door-to-door container/transloading, processing, fueling, storage and maintenance.

“OmniTRAX’s success in rail operations was a real attraction to us, the size and dual-rail nature of this site is what truly gives it potential to be a stand-alone premium site in the Southeast. We knew in order to capitalize on the site’s potential we had to find a partner that took the rail into consideration. Rail operators that also develop industrial property are few and far between. Given the success that they have had in Colorado and elsewhere we found a respect for the company. Rail projects tend to have fewer trucks than do projects that focus solely on warehousing and distribution. We wanted to be able to capture those manufacturing and assembly operations that have been looking to the ports and this region for their operations. Those jobs are typically higher paying and the capital investment is usually better,” Henry added.

About Effingham County Industrial Development Authority

The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority is a governmental Economic Development Organization created to promote trade and industry in Effingham County, Georgia. For more information, please visit www.effinghamindustry.com.

About OmniTRAX, Inc.

As one of North America’s largest private railroad and transportation management companies, OmniTRAX’s core capabilities range from providing management services to railroad and port services and to intermodal and industrial switching operations. Through its affiliation with The Broe Group and its portfolio of managed companies, OmniTRAX also has the unique capability of offering specialized industrial development and real estate solutions, both on and off the rail network managed by OmniTRAX. More information is available at www.omnitrax.com.

About The Broe Group

The Broe Group, based in Denver, Colorado, is a diversified privately-owned enterprise with a multi-billion dollar asset base.  The Broe Group and its affiliates employ more than 1,000 people directly and provide employment for countless others through its Great Western Industrial Park in Northern Colorado. The Broe Group and its affiliates own and/or manage commercial real estate and other businesses across North America. Its transportation affiliate, OmniTRAX, Inc., is a leading transportation services firm with railroad, port and terminal operations, and is the 2nd largest operator of short-line railroads in the U.S. Its energy affiliate, Great Western Oil & Gas Company, is a top 10 driller in Colorado and among the top 100 drillers in the U.S. The Broe Group has multiple other investment affiliates, including Three Leaf Ventures, which is focused on innovative healthcare technology start-ups. For more information, see www.broe.com.

DRT Expands into the US

DRT, a specialist in processing rosin and turpentine oil distilled from pine resin since 1932, announces plans to purchase land in Effingham County, Georgia. This marks the first step of the France-based company’s move across the Atlantic.

The plan moved closer to reality on Tuesday evening when the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority approved agreements for the land purchase.

John Henry, CEO of the Authority said, “This project represents another great project bringing high-wage skilled jobs and direct foreign investment to our community. There is a lot of synergy created by having a company that utilizes biomass generated from the forestry operations in this region. We have a long history of turpentine, forestry, pulpwood and paper in this area. We are excited to have this state of the art facility locate in Effingham County.”

To meet growing demand from International markets, and with the aim of working closer to supply sources, DRT has decided to build a new turpentine bio-refinery and terpene derivatives production unit in the United States. DRT has decided to locate the project in Effingham County, Georgia after working with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.

Corey Schneider, President of DRT America LLC, commented that the company had searched in three states to locate a site for its new US plant. “Effingham County offered everything we need, having a location central to the supply of resources coming from the paper industry, a strong educational system supplying a skilled workforce, and close proximity to the ports. We were also excited to learn that turpentine refining is part of the history of Effingham County, making it a natural home for our business.”

DRT plans to start operations of the new unit during the first half of 2017 and will begin construction in 2016.

The $43,000,000 facility will initially employ an operational team of 40 and will operate as DRT America.

The new production unit will enable DRT to distill locally sourced turpentine to better serve its existing markets and develop new products for the fragrance and terpene resin industries. This in turn will allow DRT to strengthen its position as a global leader and its relationship with its clients and suppliers.

With its specialization in pine chemistry, DRT has always used plant resources from the forestry sectors. For example, it processes the products of the paper industry, which it distills to obtain terpenes and resins for supply to over twenty manufacturing sectors. While DRT is known for its biomass-based products, the company is also characterized by a strong eco-friendly ethos. Environmental conservation, ethics and innovation are the key foundations on which DRT is built.

July 2015
+ 360 Treestands to begin Manufacturing in Guyton

360 Treestands are made with US steel by US military veterans right here in Rincon, GA. We have taken the expertise of aerospace engineering and combined it with our hunting backgrounds to bring this stand to you. Our stand can safely seat up to 4 (250 lbs. each) persons or a single user weight rating of 300 lbs. and has an overall tested weight rating of 1000 lbs. That is 500 lbs. more than any competitor! The stand has a tough powder coated OD green finish and has two large retractable ratchet straps and 5 different biters that hold the stand to the tree. Our unique anchor brace takes the ladder movement problem out of the equation.

This stand not only gives the user the ultimate 360 degree view from 6, 12, or 18 feet but it also doubles as its own transport system with the use of the detachable transport wheel section. You can pull your stand into the woods behind you or use the optional ATV hitch and wheel assembly to pull it in. Best of all, this stand takes very little time to set up from unloading it out of the transport mode. It does require two persons and the use of the pulley system to set up at the 12 and 18 ft. levels.

The versatility of this stand is another unique feature. It can be used not only as a typical gun or bow stand, but can also be set up as a duck blind or off the ground turkey blind. This is an amazing stand that you can feel confident in the fact that you’re giving your child or grandchild the safest hunting experience a stand can provide. 360 Treestands, see what you’ve been missing!

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+ Georgia Pacific gives back to Community

ECHS student selected for GP scholarship
Caroline Alexander, a 2015 graduate of Effingham County High School in Springfield, has been selected as a recipient of a Georgia-Pacific Foundation Employees’ Children Scholarship.
Each year, the company awards 50 scholarships to the children of employees across the country. Caroline Alexander received her scholarship during the ECHS awards night, and she was recently honored during a recognition lunch hosted at the Savannah River Mill in her honor.
“Providing our employees’ children with the GP Foundation scholarship opportunity is a valuable element of our mill’s commitment to excellence in education,” said Monty Brown, vice president of manufacturing at the Savannah River Mill. “It gives us a meaningful way to recognize students like Caroline for their outstanding academic achievements and to assist our employees as they invest in their children’s futures.”

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Georgia Pacific donates final money for Effingham K-9s
Georgia Pacific donated the final $9,000 that the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office needed to purchase, train and equip two new K-9s.
Members of the public already had donated $21,000 toward the program, after the Sheriff’s Office made a plea for money last October.
Two dogs, Belgian Malinois, began training last month to apprehend criminals and identify narcotics and should begin working in August.
Cpl. Jamie Thompson and Deputy Jason Fondren are training the dogs and will work with them. Both have worked with K-9s previously.
Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said the donations enabled his office to purchase young dogs that should be able to work for six to eight years. McDuffie said the dogs are not an essential tool, but are very useful in searching for suspects and finding drugs.
The donation from Georgia Pacific completed the amount needed for the two dogs. McDuffie said the gift continues a longstanding relationship that began with the Savannah River Mill’s previous owners, who paid for the McGruff the Crime Dog crime prevention program.
“We’re very privileged to have the opportunity to help,” said Monty Brown, vice president of manufacturing at the mill.

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GP Recognized at United Way Reception
About 100 people attended a reception June 23 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the United Way’s efforts in Effingham County.
Among the speakers at the event was Pratt Summers, an Effingham resident who is chairman of the board for United Way of the Coastal Empire.
Georgia Pacific was noted for its “loaned assistants” program. The company loaned one executive to work on the United Way campaign for three months each year from 2000 to 2007. From 2008 to the present, Georgia Pacific doubled that gift — loaning two executives to help with the annual campaign.
Nearly 700 people visit the Effingham Service Center for help each month. The charity supports a variety of programs that help with the necessities of daily life, including food, transportation, clothing, jobs, education and housing.

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April 2015
+ Moon River Studios updates

FONU2 appoints Bradstreet as CFO

FONU2 Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced Monday that Graham Bradstreet has been appointed as chief financial officer.
FONU2 owns the lease for 1,600 acres in Effingham County for Moon River Studios. Moon River CEO Jake Shapiro is the chairman of FONU2’s board.
Shapiro said he’s always thought of Bradstreet as a “film finance rock star.” Bradstreet previously was executive operations director of Medient Studios, which became Moon River Studios.
In a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Moon River said as of Thursday that all of the members of its board of directors have tendered their resignations, along with all officers, exclusive of Shapiro.
Shapiro said Friday the resignations are part of Moon River’s ongoing reorganization with FONU2, which is clearing the way for the company to move forward with over-the-counter stock from a fully-reporting company that is not hindered by litigation and lingering issues from former Medient CEO Manu Kumaran.
The SEC document said Shapiro will remain as the CEO, CFO, secretary and sole director while the reorganization continues.
FONU2 has assumed the $10 million note secured by the land in Effingham, which is at Interstate 16 and Old River Road and is owned by the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.
As part of the deal, 10 million shares of Fonu2 will be registered and distributed to all Moon River shareholders as of Feb. 10.
“Bradstreet developed innovative film financing structures that have established him as one of the leading motion picture financiers in the world,” the release said.
“He developed the concept of insurance-backed financing and, through ICE Media, raised in excess of $1 billion of insurance-backed funding that contributed to budgets in excess of $3 billion covering more than 100 movies, including “The Truman Show,” “Runaway Bride” and “Sleepy Hollow,” for the studio and independent sectors of the film industry,” the release said.
“We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us,” Bradstreet said in the release. ort to Allan for a transition period

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Moon River acquires movie-making equipment

FONU2 Inc., doing business as Moon River, announced today that it will acquire Applebox Productions for $1 million, financed by traditional equipment loans and seller financing.
“Through the Applebox acquisition, we will have virtually all of the physical equipment needed to make motion pictures,” said Jake Shapiro, chairman of the board of FONU2.
Definitive agreements have been signed and closing is expected to take place within six weeks, a news release said.
The seller-financing note is corporately guaranteed and personally guaranteed by Shapiro.
Shapiro said the equipment will be moved to Moon River’s property in Effingham County, at Old River Road and Interstate 16. The equipment will be used in an upcoming film to be directed by Penny Marshall and will be rented to others in the film industry.
“Since we are a Georgia-based business, any film productions in Georgia that rent from us will qualify for the 30-percent tax credit on our film equipment rentals to them,” Shapiro said. “We expect this to be an immediate cash flow generator for the company, and view this acquisition as a major milestone not only for us, but our shareholders as well.”

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+ Canadian lumber company completes purchase of Simpson mills

Just two and a half months after it first announced its plans to buy four Simpson Lumber Co. sawmills, including one on the Tacoma Tideflats, a Canadian forest products company has completed the purchase.
Vancouver, British Columbia’s Interfor Corporation began operating the four mills in Tacoma, Longview, Meldrim, Georgia; and Georgetown, South Carolina Monday.
The four mills are expected to increase Interfor’s capacity by 30 percent and up the U.S. share of its total production from 57 percent to 67 percent.
Interfor spokeswoman Karen Brandt said the company has appointed a new mill manager from its Adams Lake, British Columbia flagship mill to run the Tacoma mill.
“He has a long history of innovation and operating experience,” she said.
The Tacoma mill has the potential of producing nearly 400 million board feet of lumber a year, but last year produced about 165 million board feet. The Tacoma mill is a relatively young sawmill having been built in 2000. Simpson was doing a $5 million upgrade on the mill when the sale was announced.
“There is considerable upside potential,” said the Interfor spokeswoman. Under Interfor, the mill will employ about 125 workers.
Interfor purchased the four mills from privately held Simpson for $94.7 million plus further payments based on the productivity and profits of the Tacoma mill.
In announcing the completion of the deal Simpson announced three executive changes:

• Dave McEntee has assumed the role of president of Simpson Lumber. McEntee will be responsible for Simpson Door and the Shelton Lumber Operations.

• Betsy Stauffer has assumed the role of president of Simpson Investment Company. Stauffer will be responsible for the consolidated corporate functions while continuing to be the general counsel of Simpson Lumber.

• Allan Trinkwald has assumed the transitional role of vice chair of Simpson. McEntee and Stauffer will report to Trinkwald for a transition period.

Interfor did not buy Simpson’s Shelton sawmill operations or its door plant in McCleary saying those operations didn’t fit its production plan.
Simpson, founded in 1890, in the last year has sold off most of its major operations including its Tacoma Kraft Mill. It sold that mill to RockTenn Co. of Georgia. RockTenn recently announced it intends to merge with MeadWestVaco Corporation.

· Betsy Stauffer has assumed the role of president of Simpson Investment Company. Betsy will be responsible for the consolidated corporate functions while continuing to be the general counsel of Simpson Lumber.

· Allan Trinkwald has assumed the transitional role of vice chair of Simpson. Dave and Betsy will report to Allan for a transition period

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January 2015
+ SIMPSON LUMBER COMPANY, LLC ANNOUNCES SALE OF MILL OPERATIONS

TACOMA, Wash. — Simpson Lumber Company, LLC and Interfor Corporation have agreed to terms for

Interfor to acquire the business and assets of four Simpson sawmill operations.

Interfor will acquire Simpson Lumber’s mills in Tacoma and Longview, Washington; Meldrim, Georgia; and
Georgetown, South Carolina. The Simpson Lumber headquarters building in Tacoma, Washington will also be part of
the sale.

“This is exciting news for our employees and the communities in which we operate. Interfor is a company with
a growth strategy focusing on manufacturing excellence,” said Allan Trinkwald, president, Simpson Lumber Company,
LLC. “A leading forest product company, Interfor has made long-term commitment to the industry and after this
transaction will be one of the largest lumber producers in the world.”

Simpson Lumber operations in the Shelton, Washington area are not part of the proposed sale to Interfor.

Simpson will continue its strategic review of the Shelton operations and explore all options, which include long-term
operations or a potential sale.

Simpson will continue to own the ongoing Simpson Door Company operations. Based in Vancouver, Canada,

Interfor is of one of North America’s top softwood lumber manufacturing companies. The company operates sawmills
in the United States and Canada.
“This transaction is another important milestone for Interfor,” said Duncan Davies, Interfor’s president and CEO.
“The Simpson operations are a great strategic fit with our platforms in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest, with
significant operational and financial upside.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. It is anticipated that the
sale will be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

Simpson Lumber currently has 810 employees. Leaders of Simpson Lumber and Interfor are committed to
making a smooth transition to the new ownership for both the long- and short-term good of employees, customers,
and the communities.

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December 2014
+ Georgia Pacific Helps with United Way Campaign

Georgia-Pacific Savannah River Mill employees are giving a lot to the community, and having a lot of fun doing it.

With Georgia-Pacific accounting for more than half of the contribution, United Way of Effingham County has surpassed its 2014 fundraising campaign goal.

At $341,883 and counting, United Way of Effingham has far exceeded this year’s target of $317,000. Of that, the G-P Savannah River Mill has contributed $174,450.

“It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of campaigning,” said Dan Pennings of Georgia-Pacific, adding the fundraising also is “a lot of fun.”

In conjunction with G-P’s employee pledge campaign for United Way, the Savannah River Mill hosted several fundraisers, including bake sales, cookouts and a car show.

“We’re really excited about the efforts and involvement from all the people at the facility. Everybody gets involved,” Pennings said.

“Every industry that gives to United Way or is considering giving needs to look at the Georgia-Pacific example,” said United Way Effingham Area Director Bonnie Dixon. “It’s all in-house. Their own employees solicit their own employees. We don’t go in. They carry our message, and they do it in a fabulous way.”

Several other donors helped put the United Way over its goal, including: the Effingham County School System, $82,436; Effingham Health System, $14,945; Georgia Power, $14,798; Effingham County government, $10,007; Walmart, $8,758; Edwards Interiors, $6,284; and Kroger, $6,100.

United Way funding supports 24 organizations and programs in Effingham County. The services range from providing food or clothing to those in need, to helping people earn their GED or find a job and become self-sufficient.

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+ Businessmen pitch in to put fresh coats of paint on Treutlen House

A group of businessmen recently spruced up the Treutlen House at New Ebenezer.

The East Coast managers from Consolidated Asset Management Services painted the boys’ rooms at Treutlen House, a residential facility for boys in the foster-care system.

Kenneth Earl, the manager of the Rincon CAMS location, has been “a great support to the Treutlen House” and wanted to share that with his other managers, according to Treutlen House director Kristen Wert.

“They took time out of their busy week of meetings to come and do this for the boys,” Wert said. “They came right in and got to work painting and within approximately two hours the boys had rooms that better fit their personalities.”

Earl said the project was part of CAMS’ commitment to give back and to make a difference in young people’s lives through education and service.

“Treutlen House makes a significant contribution to the young men they serve and we are extremely happy to contribute our time and resources to make a small improvement to the rooms the boys call home,” he said.

One of Treutlen House’s goals is to replace the boys’ furniture this year with new bunk beds.

“We want the boys to be proud of where they live,” Wert said.

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+ Georgia Power named 2014 Investor-Owned Utility of the Year by Solar Electric Power Association

ATLANTA, Oct. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has announced that Georgia Power has been selected by a panel of judges as the 2014 Investor-Owned Utility of the Year. SEPA, an educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar energy into their portfolios, made the announcement Tuesday at its annual Solar Power International Conference in Las Vegas. Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Paul Bowers was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the company.
“We continue to cultivate solar resources as part of a balanced, diverse mix to provide Georgians with clean, reliable and affordable energy now and in the future,” said Bowers. “We’re honored to receive this award as it recognizes the benefit to customers of Georgia’s constructive regulatory environment and long-standing coordination with the Public Service Commission.”

Georgia Power, in coordination with the Georgia Public Service Commission, continues to implement innovative solar programs, such as the Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI), which tap into Georgia’s competitive solar marketplace. The structure of these programs has enabled the company to add solar resources in a way that takes advantage of decreasing technology costs and provides the maximum value for customers. Most recently, Georgia Power filed for certification of more than 500 MW of utility scale solar power purchase agreements as part of its competitive ASI selection process – the largest acquisition of solar resources in Georgia to date.

“Georgia Power is to be commended for its whole-hearted response to calls from customers and stakeholders to become a leader in the development of solar in the state,” said Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. “Its ability to, in short order, develop a significant portfolio of solar projects at affordable prices should be a model for utilities everywhere. Competitive solar is here today.”

As it does with all advances in the energy industry, Georgia Power has long monitored and studied the evolution of solar generation to leverage technology improvements to the benefit of customers. In 2011, the company announced efforts to bolster its solar portfolio by launching the 50-MW Large Scale Solar (LSS) program. This was followed in 2012 by the ground-breaking ASI program, which sought 210 MW of small, medium and large-scale solar resources. In 2013, the company built on the ASI program by issuing a request for an additional 525 MW of solar resources from the Georgia market. In May, the company forged a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives (formerly the Energy Initiatives Task Force) to build, own and operate three separate projects of up to 30 MW each on several Georgia Army bases.

With new solar facilities planned or under construction across the state, Georgia currently sustains one of the fastest growing solar industries in the country. By the end of 2016, Georgia Power anticipates that it will have procured more than 900 MW from new solar generation – the largest voluntary portfolio in the nation – and that more than 500 new solar projects may be constructed in Georgia as a result of its programs.

For more information on Georgia Power’s solar programs, including the ASI and resources available for customers considering solar energy, visit www.georgiapower.com/solar. To learn more about SEPA and the Investor-Owned Utility of the Year Award, visit www.solarelectricpower.org.

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+ EFACEC Gets New Owner

The deal will create the nation’s second-largest transformer business by capacity and size and third-largest in revenues, according to a news release issued by Virginia Transformer Thursday.

The assets of EFACEC’s Rincon facility are being sold to Caravels LLC, a woman- and minority-owned private investment company created for that purpose.

The sale of assets includes design and manufacturing technology, facility and equipment and the use of the brand EFACEC for a period of time.

Virginia Transformer Corp., a leading maker of custom power electric transformers for the utility, renewable energy, industrial, mining, oil and gas and other markets, will enter into a strategic alliance with Caravels.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The alliance will develop and deliver advanced technology and services to customers around the world under the Virginia Transformer and EFACEC brands.

The deal will enable Virginia Transformer to offer a total package to the industrial, oil and gas, utility and renewable energy markets for power generation and transmission up to 500 million volt amps (MVA) in the 500 kilovolt (kV) class.

The alliance is subject to financial closing next month.

“Caravels intends to employ EFACEC’s experienced existing personnel in Georgia and use existing technology and processes to manufacture transformers,” the release said.

Group EFACEC of Portugal opened the EFACEC plant in April 2010 on the east side of Ga. 21 in the Effingham Industrial Park. When it opened, the company said the plant had 400 employees.

Effingham County Industrial Development Authority CEO John Henry said the company originally promised 400 jobs and a $40 million investment.

Though the company has only 250 employees, Henry said it has more than met its promises to the county because it has invested $120 million in the plant.

Henry said he’s pleased about the changes announced Thursday. “It should provide an impetus for the Effingham County-based facility and we will get the benefit of retaining our friends that have been in the management of the facility and the employees who work and live here in the community,” he said.

Dennis Webb, chairman of the IDA, said the acquisition should provide opportunity for continued growth of the Effingham facility.

“Virginia Transformers is a powerful presence in the transformer market and the addition of the Effingham facility should enable (them) to dramatically increase their market share in the large transformer market,” he said.

As part of the sale, Group EFACEC of Portugal will continue to provide technology consulting to Caravels when needed.

“We are very pleased, through this alliance, to offer large power transformers from EFACEC in the (Virginia Transformer) product portfolio,” said Prabhat Jain, president of Virginia Transformer. “We look forward to leveraging this relationship to strengthen our portfolio in the utility, renewable, oil and gas and industrial markets while broadening our product and service offerings to customers.”

The alliance means Virginia Transformer will have the flexibility to sell large power transformers for the eastern United States, Canadian and Central American markets with lower transportation costs.

The alliance also will give Virginia Transformer and Caravels more buying power to reduce material costs.

“This alliance will make EFACEC stronger through (Virginia Transformer’s) presence in the North Americanenergy market, complementing EFACEC’s positions in the oil and gas and industrial segment,” Jain said.

“Caravels believes in the future growth of the electrical power industry expected in North America over next 15 to 20 years,” added Neerja Gursahaney, managing partner of Caravels. “Using the Rincon plant as our platform, Caravels plans to add other transformer, switchgear and substation engineering businesses to the portfolio. We are committed to maintaining and expanding the Rincon plant and offering a higher level of service to its valued customers.”

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November 2014
+ Virginia Transformer Corp. announces strategic alliance with Caravels, LLC, new owner of Efacec Power Transformer

Virginia Transformer Corp., a leading manufacturer of custom power electric transformers for the utility, renewable energy, industrial, mining, oil and gas and other markets, announced a strategic alliance with Caravels, LLC.

Caravels, meanwhile, signed an agreement to purchase Efacec Power Transformer in Rincon, Ga. This alliance will develop and deliver advanced technology and services to customers around the world under the Virginia Transformer and Efacec brands. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Together with Efacec’s plant, Virginia Transformer will become the nation’s second-largest transformer business by capacity and MVA size and third in revenues. The company will be able to offer a total package to the industrial, oil and gas, utility and renewable energy markets for power generation and transmission up to 500 MVA in the 500 KV class.

The alliance, subject to financial closing, involves the sale of assets of the Rincon plant to Caravels, a woman- and minority-owned private investment company. The sale of assets includes the design and manufacturing technology, the plant and equipment, as well as the use of the brand Efacec for a period of time.

Caravels intends to employ Efacec’s experienced existing personnel in Georgia and use existing technology and processes to manufacture transformers.

Caravels will elect utility industry experts to the board of directors to provide direction and strategy, enhance the design and quality of manufacturing, and optimize the supply chain to achieve the level of operation envisioned by the Efacec management. As part of the sale, the parent company of Efacec, Group Efacec of Portugal, will continue to provide technology consulting to Caravels when needed.

“We are very pleased, through this alliance, to offer large power transformers from Efacec into the VTC product portfolio,” said Prabhat Jain, president of Virginia Transformer. “We look forward to leveraging this relationship to strengthen our portfolio in the utility, renewable, oil & gas and industrial markets while broadening our product and service offerings to customers.”

Virginia Transformer will now have the flexibility to sell large power transformers for the eastern U.S., Canadian and Central American markets with lower transportation costs. The alliance also will give VTC, Caravels more buying power to reduce the costs of material costs, benefiting customers.

Efacec has been in the American market since 1988 when the first mobile substation was delivered in Texas. The company built its world-class power transformer plant in Rincon in 2009. The facility has delivered about 125 transformers ranging from 20 to 900 MVA and 69kV to 525kV. Currently, Efacec Power Transformers, Inc. employs approximately 250 people.

“This alliance will make Efacec stronger through VTC’s presence in the North America energy market, complementing Efacec’s positions in the oil & gas and Industrial segment,” Jain said.

“Caravels believes in the future growth of the electrical power industry expected in North America over next 15 to 20 years,” added Neerja Gursahaney, managing partner of Caravels. “As such, we are interested in the long-term growth of their portfolio of investments in this market segment. Using the Rincon plant as our platform, Caravels plans to add other transformer, switchgear, and substation engineering businesses to the portfolio.”

“Caravels expects to secure supply-chain with its working capital to enable us to carry the raw materials and inventory needed to reduce lead-time and meet delivery commitments,” Gursahaney said. “We are committed to maintaining and expanding the Rincon plant and offering a higher level of service to its valued customers.”

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October 2014
+ Moon River CEO calls Georgia ‘business friendly’

Moon River Studios Inc. CEO Jake Shapiro told members of the Effingham County Rotary Club on Thursday that Georgia is “business friendly.”

Shapiro said five states were vying for the “studioplex” project planned on 1,600 acres owned by the Industrial Development Authority on Old River Road at Interstate 16.

He said he and other company officials toured a site on the Hudson River in New York state. After $7 million in zoning and legal work, the property owners were proud that a referendum on a possible project at the site would come up in “only” another 19 months.

When they came to Effingham County, he said, the head of the zoning commission met them at the property. They asked how long before a project could be approved, and the answer was six to seven weeks.

“Georgia is so business friendly compared to the rest of the country,” Shapiro said. “It’s a pro-business climate we really appreciate because we’ve seen the other side of it as well,” he said.

Shapiro said he hopes to have approval for the development of regional impact by mid-November and to begin building sound stages in mid-January.

He said the company, formerly known as “Medient,” soon will announce what films it will be producing. He said the new management team has delivered on all the promises it has made.

“We absolutely will continue to do that,” he said. “That’s the way I was raised. … We’re actually very proud of that.”

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+ Moon River begins hiring for Effingham movie studio

Moon River Studios Inc. has begun hiring people to make movies in Effingham County.

The company’s name change, from Medient, has become official and its new offices in Rincon have opened, CEO Jake Shapiro said Friday.

The company had 17 postings for jobs listed on the Effingham Chamber of Commerce job Website — www.effinghamjobs.com — with more listings expected in the next few days.

Shapiro said the company has begun hiring 70 workers. Most of the positions are part time, with the ability to turn into full-time work if the candidate is the right fit, he said.

The positions include people needed to help make movies, such as: on-set dresser, seamstress/tailor, make-up artist, hair stylist, prop master, set medic and craft services assistant.

The company also is looking for people to help build the movie studio, including electricians and construction buyers.

“It is … exciting to see Moon River posting positions for employment,” said John Henry, CEO of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority (IDA). “The new jobs will mark a new beginning for this project,” Henry said. “We look forward to seeing many of these new hires patronizing restaurants and businesses in the Rincon area this fall.”

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April 2014
+ Brazilian and Nigerian officials visit New Ebenezer

Counsul General of Brazil, Hermano Telles Ribeiro and Ambassador/Consul General Geoffrey I. Teneilabe of Nigeria, were given tours of New Ebenezer on Thursday.

The two men are based in Atlanta and have been visiting Savannah through the Savannah World Trade Center Consulate Corps and were hosted by WTC and Georgia Power.

The Effingham IDA arranged the visit to New Ebenezer. The group was given a presentation on the history of New Ebenezer, provided lunch and then a tour of New Ebenezer.

Ribeiro said he is working to connect businesses, including the ports of Santos, Brazil and Savannah.

Ribeiro said as part of his local visit he is inviting members of the Georgia Ports Authority to Santos.

Teneilabe oversees Nigerian interests in the Southeastern United States. He said there are about 20,000 Nigerians in the greater Atlanta area.

Teneilabe said Savannah is a good area for trade and investment, something his country hopes to see improve.

“Power is one of our biggest problems,” Teneilabe said. “Our GDP could grow 45 percent if we could get a good source of power.”

Jorge Guerra, Chief Operations Officer for transformer manufacturer Efacec, then offered a tour of his Rincon plant to Teneilabe and Riberio.

IDA CEO John Henry said building these relationships is important and today is a good example.

“They are already talking about doing business,” Henry said.

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+ Efacec ACS Acquired by Falfurrias Capital Partners

Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based private equity firm, has acquired Norcross, Georgia-based Efacec ACS, Inc. from the Efacec Group for undisclosed terms. The company name will change to Advanced Control Systems, Inc. (ACS), and it will operate as an independent portfolio company of the North American T&D Group (NATDG).

Falfurrias Capital Partners, founded by former Bank of America Chairman and CEO Hugh McColl, Jr. and former Bank of America CFO Marc D. Oken, formed NATDG in 2013 to acquire and grow well-performing US-based companies with strong balance sheets that support mission-critical elements of the electric utility grid. The first acquisition made by NATDG was ITEC, a Charlotte-based manufacturer of instrument transformer products.

Founded in 1975, ACS is a trusted provider of smart grid automation solutions to the electric power industry, with over 250 utility customers worldwide. The company’s product portfolio includes SCADA, distribution management, outage management and substation automation. ACS was one of the first companies in the industry to deliver a truly integrated ADMS platform, combining distribution and outage management functions using a common network model and user interface. This enables electric utilities to more effectively manage their networks and provide improved outage response and service to their customers.

“ACS has a tradition of innovation that has kept us at the forefront of the transformation to an intelligent grid,” said Jose Barbosa, CEO of ACS. “Together with the NATDG leadership and the backing of Falfurrias Capital Partners, we will continue developing new solutions that empower our customers to meet the challenges they face today and in the years to come.”

David Pacyna, the CEO of NATDG, said, “We see tremendous value in bringing ACS into the NATDG family. The technology and applications ACS has developed to enable utilities to improve operational visualization, delivery efficiency and system reliability are industry leading. ACS will continue to deliver and support its entire portfolio of existing products, and NATDG is committed to providing the resources to keep ACS on its path of growth and innovation to serve an expanding worldwide customer base.”

The existing ACS management team will remain, led by Barbosa, and the company will continue operating as a stand-alone entity. ACS headquarters will stay at its present location in Norcross. As a result of the acquisition, ACS will launch a new website and brand identity in 2014.

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+ Lineage Logistics acquires Millard Refrigerated Services in multimillion-dollar deal

Millard Refrigerated Services has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Lineage Logistics, a Colton, Calif.-based refrigerated warehousing and distribution service company. A person familiar with the sale said it was “a multimillion-dollar deal.”

Omaha-based Millard Refrigerated Services celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and is the fourth-largest company of its kind in the world, according to the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses.

Lineage Logistics, the global industry’s second-largest company, has only slightly more total cold-storage capacity but had more than twice the market share of Millard Refrigerated in 2013, according to data from IARW and market research firm IBISWorld.

Millard Refrigerated was born in 1963, when construction contractor Larry Larsen received a cold-storage warehouse as part of a tenant’s bankruptcy reorganization. Larsen died in 2008 and was succeeded in business by his son, Lance, who is still president and CEO.

The company has made “no decisions yet” as to what operations will continue from the 10-month-old headquarters of Millard Refrigerated Services, siad Bill Hendricksen, president of Lineage Logistics. The World-Herald reported last May that about 90 Millard Refrigerated employees moved into the newly constructed building that is part of the Sterling Ridge development near 132nd and Pacific Streets.

Across 30 locations in 16 states, Millard Refrigerated currently employs about 2,000 people, including 160 in Nebraska. There are two warehouses in Omaha and one each in Lincoln and Grand Island.

The company also employs 215 people across five locations in Iowa. Lineage Logistics has 69 locations in 12 states with 3,400 employees.

The acquisition is by far Lineage’s largest ever, but the company has been built through a series of other acquisitions. With the help of owner and investor San Francisco-based Bay Grove Capital, Lineage has combined nine regional cold-storage and distribution companies since it was formed in 2008.

Larsen will join the company’s board of directors and, like previous owners of Lineage-acquired operations, will also have an equity stake in the company.
“It’s really a company of owners,” Hendricksen said.

On top of acquisitions, a number of which are in the works, Lineage has three facilities totaling 842,000 square feet under construction in California.

With a combined 569.5 million cubic feet of capacity, post-acquisition Lineage will remain the second-largest company of its kind, behind Atlanta-based Americold. That company has about 958.5 million cubic feet of capacity worldwide.

The latest acquisition gives Lineage Logistics more than 9 percent market share in an industry that had revenues of $4.3 billion in 2013.

“We look forward to being part of the Omaha community for years to come,” Hendricksen said.

 

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February 2014
+ CAMS Corporation Recognized With 2013 Best Practices Awards

Houston, TX – Consolidated Asset Management Services (CAMS), proudly announces that it received eight Best Practice Awards at the 38th Annual Combustion Turbine Operations Technical Forum (CTOTF) Spring Conference, held April 8, in Myrtle Beach, SC. The primary objective of the Best Practices Awards program is to recognize valuable contributions made by plant, engineering and asset management personnel to ensure reliable, efficient and safe performance of gas turbine-based generating facilities. “These awards are evidence of the high standard of operations CAMS and our employees are committed to providing. Our team members continue to incorporate new ideas to improve performance, reduce costs, ensure safety and increase efficiencies. It’s an honor to be recognized, and we couldn’t be more proud of our staff and their accomplishments”, said Joseph Sutton, CAMS Chief Executive Officer.

Of the eight Best Practices Awards CAMS received, two were Best-of-the-Best Awards. Of the seven 2013 awards categories, CAMS was recognized in the following: Operations and Maintenance; Performance Improvements; Plant Safety Procedures; and Workforce Development. Winners were selected, after extensive review, by a panel of ten judges from the CTOTF Leadership Committee. Details of the awards can be found online at the Combined Cycle Journal (CCJ) website, as well as in the CCJ Onsite CTOTF conference issue.

CAMS received awards at the following facilities:

Effingham County Power

  • Performance Improvements Award for the development and implementation of its successful ‘on-site’ training program (Best-of-the-Best Award)
  • Workforce Development Award for its modifications to the LP bypass controls to optimize the flow of condensate to the LP steam drum (Best-of-the-Best Award)
  • Plant Safety Procedures Award for its arc flash safety program (Best Practices Award)

Sabine Cogen LP

  • Plant Safety Procedures Award for its ‘in-house’ design and development of safety database (Best Practices Award)

Crockett Cogeneration LLC

  • Workforce Development Award for its ‘hands-on’ engineering internship program (Best Practices Award)

Lea Power Partners

  • Operation and Maintenance Award for its ammonia system modification plan created to ensure the more efficient and safe delivery of ammonia (Best Practices Award)
  • Operation and Maintenance Award for its hydrogen system modification plan (Best Practices Award)
  • Operation and Maintenance Award for its new waste water reclamation program (Best Practices Award)

Established in 2007, Consolidated Asset Management Services (CAMS) is a privately held company, headquartered in Houston, Texas. CAMS provides quality, competitively priced management, commercial and operations services to the Power Generation, Exploration & Production and Midstream sectors of the Energy industry. CAMS emphasis is on providing clients with significant bottom line results and demonstrated value creation, all while operating and maintaining facilities safely, efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner. CAMS comprehensive range of services includes: Asset Management, Operations and Maintenance, Construction Management, Commissioning and Start-Up, Engineering, Repair and Field Support, Commercial Origination and Optimization, and Project Development.

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+ Ready For Its Close Up – Georgia’s Film Industry

Georgia’s film industry generated $3.3 billion last year, setting the stage for a burgeoning business.

Jerry Grillo

Nobody expected the end of the world to last this long or to have such mass appeal.

“Who could predict the popularity of a zombie apocalypse? We didn’t, but we’re delighted.”

That’s Tom Luse, executive producer for The Walking Dead, the AMC network’s smash hit horror show made in Georgia, which has become a busy crossroads of wide-ranging cinematic stories.

In Georgia, in just the last year and a half, Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier, teen heroes fought each other and an autocratic government to survive in a dystopian future, the alluded-to zombies chased a dwindling human buffet across the countryside, and now the stage is set for comic book superheroes to battle for truth, justice and economic development in Fayetteville.

They’re scenes from a 40-year Hollywood story that basically began with Deliverance in 1972. Inspired by the economic impact of that movie (filmed in Northeast Georgia), Gov. Jimmy Carter opened the state’s film office in 1973.

With a diverse landscape and an active – if small – film office, Georgia cruised along as a regular backdrop in motion pictures and TV shows, landing the occasional big role.

But for the past few years, Georgia has tasted superstardom.

Carter’s creation, now called the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, has enlisted an army of foot soldiers across the state in the form of Camera Ready Communities to market the state to movie and TV producers, who have fallen deeply in love with Georgia – the film industry spent $933.9 million in FY 2013, generating about $3.3 billion in related economic activity (up from $242 million in 2007), according to the Georgia film office.

“For us, Georgia is the perfect location for a combination of reasons,” says Luse, one of 25,000 people employed by the industry in Georgia. “Part of it is, The Walking Dead was actually set in Atlanta. The other part is, the tax incentives.”

Mainly, though, it’s the incentives. Cities stand in for each other all the time (for example, Atlanta doubles for New York City in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which was filmed here last year). But Georgia lawmakers enhanced the film incentive package in 2008, so now companies investing at least $500,000 in Georgia on production or post-production can get a tax credit of up to 30 percent of what they spend on a project.

Luse grew up in Atlanta (went to Chamblee High School, then Georgia State) and worked as a technician or production manager on a number of films around the state, but he had to follow his career ladder to other places because there wasn’t enough work to keep him here.

“Work went away, mainly because Canada and other places got aggressive with incentives. So I went with the work,” Luse says. “When studios sit down to study where they want to put down a project, they look at incentives first, and Georgia’s are very good. That’s what brought me back.”

For years, most of Georgia’s film business has been a transient thing – production companies from California staking out temporary digs for location shooting. That still happens.

The infrastructure and skilled labor already was here when The Walking Dead began shooting in 2010. The show is based at Raleigh Studios, which has a long history in Senoia, and according to Luse, about 95 percent of the TV show’s crew is from Georgia.

But since 2008, when Georgia sweetened the incentive deal, more than 70 entertainment industry companies have moved here, and a dozen studios and soundstages have been built or planned or expanded.

Permanent Homes

Mega-grossing film franchises like The Hunger Games are shooting here, and the production of more big-budget movies is assured (at least for now) with the development of London-based Pinewood Shepperton’s first studio in the U.S., in Fayetteville.

Pinewood, production base for The Hobbit, James Bond and Harry Potter series, among others, won’t waste any time bringing a blockbuster project to Georgia.

“The first project to go in there will be a Marvel film,” says Lee Thomas, director of the state’s film office (a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development). “We’ve never been able to get Marvel here, because we didn’t have a soundstage that could accommodate them.”

Marvel – if you don’t have kids or read comic books/graphic novels or have been hiding under a rock – means superheroes. Owned by film overlord Disney, Marvel churns out chartbusting, special effects-laden hits like The Avengers (including Iron Man, Thor and the rest), Spider-Man, the various X-Men movies, and so on. According to some reports in December, at this writing, filming on Marvel’s Ant-Man big-screen adaptation was to begin at Pinewood’s new 288-acre lot this month.

“This is huge for the film industry in Georgia,” says Thomas. “That movie will probably be here a year. It’ll fill up all five of their soundstages. We’re trying to get them to build two more.”

Pinewood has partnered with River’s Rock LLC (an independently managed trust of the Cathy family, owners of the Chick-fil-A fast-food empire) to develop the studio. The trust put up most of the construction money, and Pinewood (a 40 percent owner) will manage the facility and (presumably) make smash hits.

Meanwhile, Jacoby Development is planning a 125-acre, $1-billion mixed-use project anchored by one of the largest movie studios in the country, at the old Western Electric complex near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85. Atlanta Media Campus & Studios, with seven sound stages (and more probably on the way), is managed by Los Angeles-based Manhattan Beach Studios, which has produced some Marvel projects and is home base for the Avatar sequels.

“These guys are great strategic partners. They give us instant credibility,” says Jim Jacoby, the developer behind Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta. “Having an operator that’s been in the business a long time, that has respect within the industry, goes a long way toward enhancing what we believe is great real estate.”

In addition to 500,000 square feet of eco-friendly LEED-certified studio space, Jacoby is planning a higher education component, student and multi-family housing, retail, entertainment and a hotel.

About 60 miles south of Jacoby’s film campus, Senoia has experienced some redevelopment of its own, because The Walking Dead has brought new businesses and tourists to its historic downtown. The little city and surrounding communities provide a perfect setting for the hit show, says Luse – a wide-open rural canvas, giving the production crew a sense of control while sitting just a half hour away from bustling Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

“We’ve had terrific cooperation from the city, the county and surrounding communities, which has been so important because every place we film has to look like the world has been shut down, so we need a great deal of control over physical locations,” Luse says. “So no lawn mowers or airplanes. It’s not like zombies use those things. So all of those things have to be gone. We can’t even have streetlights.”

About 230 miles southeast of Senoia, Medient Studios is bringing a touch of Bollywood to the Savannah area. (Medient is a major player in India, which produces more films than any country in the world.) When finished, Medient promises its Studioplex, a movie and game production facility in Effingham County, will be the largest production facility of its kind in the U.S. (See more on page 34).

“This isn’t your typical industrial project that rolled in,” quips John Henry, CEO of the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority. “But we heard their sales pitch, looked at their business plan and believe this project has great potential.”

Medient is investing $90 million and creating 1,000 jobs within five years, although Henry says the project has longer-range goals, with plans for an amphitheater and boutique hotels. The company wants to be close to one of Georgia’s favorite film destinations, Savannah and the Georgia coast.

“A ton of movies have been shot around here, but our area is sorely lacking in film industry infrastructure, like soundstages and studio facilities,” Henry says. “We see this project as a stepping stone for a permanent film industry presence. This could be a real game changer for us.”

Location, Location

Linda Harding graduated from Florida State with a degree in broadcast communications, worked at the ABC affiliate in Tallahassee while in school and has made a good career for herself as a video editor. Consequently, she’s spent her film career about as far behind the scenes as you can get … well, except for that month she spent playing a hippie in a commune.

The Paul Rudd-Jennifer Aniston comedy, Wanderlust, was filming outside of Clarkesville, a few miles from Harding’s home in the Northeast Georgia mountains (and not far from where Deliverance was shot). Some friends talked her into trying out as an extra.

“They needed hippie types, and it was a slow period of work for me, so I decided to give it a try, figuring I’ll never get called because I’m so opposite the characters they needed,” says Harding. “Naturally, I was the one who got called. It became my full-time job for over a month.”

She ended up being selected as one of the core extras, and wearing her friends’ hippie clothes, she appears in the film several times in the background. But she showed up to work every day and says the tedium could be grueling.

“We’d get there at five in the morning, got made up, then you’d sit in a tent for four hours, then go to a trailer and sit for six hours. You can spend a whole day sitting there and never get to the set, but still get paid,” says Harding, who says she and a friend were offered $250 extra to take their shirts off for one scene, but they declined.

“And the scene ended up on the cutting room floor anyway,” Harding adds.

Down in Clayton County, a few miles from the airport, Grant Wainscott is delighted that his community made the final cut in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Wainscott, director of the Clayton County Office of Economic Development, also serves as the county’s Camera Ready liaison, and he was on set at the Clayton County International Park beach (former Olympic venue) for some of the epic fantasy franchise’s production.

“You never know when they’re filming what’s going to make it into the final cut, so it was really nice to see that we’re a big part of the movie,” says Wainscott, who caught a sneak peek at the second installment of The Hunger Games saga in Novem-ber, just before its official opening. The good news is, the franchise is back in Clayton County, and across the region, to film the final movies of the series.

“The great thing about these bigger film projects is, the spending doesn’t occur in just one county, but all over the region,” says Wainscott.

Clayton County is one of the most “camera ready” communities in the state – 144 of Georgia’s 159 counties had received the designation from the state film office as of this writing. Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale is Clayton’s most popular location, getting about 10 film projects a year.

The county redeveloped an old strip shopping center across from Clayton State University, turning it into Metro Atlanta Sound Stages (four projects are shooting there this spring) and headquarters for the Clayton County Film Experience, which is offering film tours.

“We’re getting a tremendous amount of activity here,” Wainscott says. “With Downtown Atlanta so close and the world’s busiest airport right here, the film industry understands that they don’t have to go far afield to find diverse locations.

“So our proximity helps us, and the relationships we’ve built with the industry, but let’s face it, the state incentives package is the primary reason Hollywood is here. That can’t be emphasized enough. I can’t say it’s the sole reason, but it’s the primary reason. At the end of the day, making movies is a business.”

He also counts the Camera Ready program as a key ingredient to moving the industry along. The program identifies local liaisons in each community that film industry people can contact. These liaisons help with scouting local potential film sites and navigating local permitting processes.

“It’s been a great program, because we have such a small staff – there’s only four of us doing film work here at the state office,” says Thomas. “We’re on everybody’s radar now, and we couldn’t handle all of the interest ourselves, so our Camera Ready Communities have been a huge asset.”

A filmmaker can go to the state office website, find a map of Georgia, click on a county, and the name and contact information of a local liaison pops up. Or, they can pore through photos of different locations in different parts of the state. The job of finding suitable places to film has become a lot easier with the digital component and a small army of location scouts around the state.

“We were ‘camera ready’ long before the Camera Ready program,” says Lisa Smith, Camera Ready representative in Floyd County, where she also serves as executive director of the Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has foot soldiers of her own, representatives with cameras scattered throughout her county.

“This is a large county, so we’ve appointed some ambassadors – friends and family with cameras. We’ll say, ‘We need a farmhouse with two silos and a pasture,’ and someone will find it for us. We’re trying to put more feet on the ground to help show that we’ve got a lot to offer.”

With Berry College’s sprawling campus and an attractive, historic downtown, Rome and Floyd County have been popular with filmmakers. (Need for Speed just filmed there; hit films like Sweet Home Alabama and Remember the Titans have filmed there.)

In Troup County near the Alabama state line, Laura Jennings is a one-woman department – tourism director for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and Camera Ready liaison. One day, she might be loading luggage on a group tour bus, the next she’s finding an abandoned warehouse for The Hunger Games sequels.

“Movie people move at the speed of light. You have to respond quickly, drop everything, and sometimes it can be frustrating when you think you’ve found the perfect location, but the production goes somewhere else.”

But when you land a project like The Hunger Games and Hollywood descends on your little town, it can be thrilling.

“The phone starts ringing off the hook – restaurants wanting to cater, people wanting to be extras, tourists wanting to visit,” Jennings says. “If you get a movie in your community, the social media buzz is amazing. Then the production arrives, and it’s amazing to watch.

“And they’re so self-sustaining. It’s like this big spaceship. They land, they work and then they leave.”

This article appears in the February 2014 issue of Georgia Trend
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January 2014
+ Efacec ACS Launches Advanced RTU Series for Substation and Feeder Automation

ATLANTA, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Efacec ACS, a global provider of smart grid solutions, has launched the latest series in a longstanding line of advanced remote terminal unit (RTU) technology for substation and feeder automation. The new NTX series of substation controllers replaces the successful NTU and Connex™ lines Efacec ACS has offered since 2004, and brings new benefits to utilities worldwide that rely on remote telemetry to provide critical system information to the control center.

“The NTX series delivers a wide range of cost-effective offerings to meet utilities’ increased need to integrate with more substation devices, both legacy and new, and to process more data more securely,” said Efacec ACS CEO Jose Barbosa. “We expect the NTX series will help maintain Efacec ACS’ position as one of the premier smart grid automation suppliers in the industry, evidenced by our more than 19,000 RTUs delivered since 1975.”

Four new NTX models are available, ensuring that utilities can find just the right balance of price and features to meet virtually any application requirement. Features and benefits common to all of the NTX series models include:
-A robust and highly reliable modular design, providing the flexibility to adapt to many different applications and installation requirements, and resulting in less downtime.
-Multiple master and IED (Intelligent Electronic Devices) ports to increase integration capabilities within the substation, supporting Ethernet connectivity and a large library of both modern and legacy communication protocols.
-NTX family models share many common modules and utilize the same NTX Explorer configuration software, simplifying maintenance and lowering ownership costs.
-A technically advanced client/server architecture using the latest and most powerful ARM9e 32-bit processors with DSP extensions, enabling the units to efficiently handle large I/O point counts and high volumes of IED data.
-Security features supporting compliance with NERC CIP standards.
-Advanced local automation utilizing IEC 61131 and 61499 standards.

To learn more about the new NTX series, please visit www.efacec-acs.com.

Article Source 

+ Gov. Deal cites Medient Studios in record job creation numbers

Medient Studios, Inc. has been named as a project of regional significance in a statement released by Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday.

Medient is building a $90 million movie production and entertainment complex on 1,600 acres at Old River Road in Effingham County.

Deal announced a list of 13 projects in the state that helped lead the Global Commerce Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development in producing a 10 percent increase in job creation during fiscal year 2013.

“These outstanding results indicate that Georgia is already perceived by companies large and small as the No. 1 place for business,” said Deal. “But we will not rest on those laurels. We will continue to cultivate a healthy, resourceful business environment that will attract the corporate expansion activity so important to providing greater opportunities for our citizens.”

Of the total projects, 66 percent were the expansion of existing businesses that have had major investment or job creation in Georgia and 34 percent of the projects were from companies investing in Georgia for the first time.

The International Trade Division of the global commerce division also experienced a record fiscal year by serving 21 percent more companies than in the previous fiscal year, totaling 1,346 companies. The trade division assisted companies in most Georgia counties, resulting in 420 deals that were valued at more than $35 million in FY13, a 35 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Other businesses listed as having regional impact include Engineered Floors, LLC, a $450 million manufacturer locating in Whitfield County, the expansion of Chapparal Boats in Berrien County, Hostess Brands, LLC in Muscogee County, State Farm in Dekalb County, General Motors in Fulton County, Mando in Meriwether County, Airwatch in Fulton County, Tyson Foods, Inc. in Terrell County, Ethicon Inc. in Clarke County, voestalpine Europlatinen GmbH, an automotive company in Bartow County, and an expansion of US Pet Nutrition in Toombs County.

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November 2013
+ EFACEC visits Exchange Club

Peter Sheridan, purchasing manager for EFACEC, gave a short history of the EFACEC power transformers facility in Effingham County.

He discussed the different types of transformers the company manufactures and also shared displays of the materials used in the building of these transformers.

To learn more about the Effingham Exchange Club, call Jimmy Rutland at 655-2952 or Yvette Carr at 657-5423, email at effinghamexchange@live.com or visit them on Facebook at Exchange Club of Effingham County, GA

Article Source 

+ EFACEC honored by ESGR

EFACEC plant manager Carlos Carvalho was honored by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve after one of his employees nominated him.

Warrant Officer Gil Sheppard, who is currently out of the country, nominated Carvalho for the honor. Sheppard works with final assembly of shell transformers at EFACEC’s Rincon plant.

In his nomination, Sheppard said Carvalho has continuously supported his military obligations with the Georgia Army National Guard.

“During my employment with EFACEC, I have completed a one-year deployment to Kosovo and numerous military education requirements without repercussion,” Sheppard said. “The support from my supervisor and company always allows me to focus completely on my military mission without incident.”

The ESGR recognizes employers whose personnel policies support employee participation in the Guard and Reserve. Nearly half of the U.S. military component is in the Guard and Reserves ranks, with many of them holding civilian jobs in addition to their military duties. ESGR also informs service members and their civilian employers of their rights and responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

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+ Studio CEO offers direction for JROTC cadets

Having faith and faith in yourself are essential to success, the chief executive officer of Medient Studios told members of the Effingham County High School Air Force JROTC on Thursday night.

The featured speaker at the JROTC’s annual “dining out,” Manu Kumaran, said he’s made his share of mistakes in life. But his steadfast belief in himself and in God has carried him through, he explained. “I’ve been very blessed by God in my life,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes and at most points on the verge of giving up hope, the universe has found a way to solve problems that seemed insurmountable.”

Kumaran said there are a handful of central tenets he uses to guide his life, and one of the keys is “realizing the limitless potential that every human being has” He adds, “There is nothing holding us back, except our fears, except our own lack of belief”.

“We have to believe in ourselves,” he said, “and we have to believe we have the potential to achieve whatever we want. Without faith, everything else is meaningless. And that faith includes a deep and abiding faith in whatever God or Higher Power you ascribe to.”

Kumaran also said there are a handful of things heard or read throughout a life that will stay with someone, and one of the first things he thinks about when he meets someone for the first time is: “how can I help this person?”

He adds that a person’s worth shouldn’t be measured by the riches he accumulates but rather in the number of people affected when that person passes away. “It is what you give back, not in what you take,” he said of how a person’s life is judged. “But to give, you must have.”

Even with his experiences across the globe as a filmmaker and in other endeavors, Kumaran acknowledged he doesn’t have the answers to life. Yet he asked the cadets to be aware of themselves and the people and things around them. Kumaran noted that many of his friends back in India have become extremely successful, but none of them seem to be significantly happier, either.

“Be aware that you are part of a larger whole,” he advised, “and these man-made boundaries of nationalities, cultures, none of these are really relevant when the Maker makes a judgment on how you have lived.”

Kumaran was joined by the newest member of his board of directors, New York entrepreneur Matthew Mellon. He also said that America and the nation’s story are still relevant and have meaning to the rest of the world.

“I think the reason America is important to the world is that America taught the world that you can take responsibility for yourself,” he said. “and if you want to do something, you can do it. It taught that you are the master of your destiny.”

Kumaran also said that it doesn’t matter what someone does for a living but they should approach it with pride and do it well. He also said he was “amazed” at the opportunities young people have today.

“I hope this group will hold fast to the fundamental ethic that created this great country,” he said, “of personal responsibility, of commitment and of the dignity of labor. The essential requirement of all of you is to remain dedicated to yourself and in contributing to the advancement of this community. Each and every one of you can be whatever you want to be. All that is stopping you is yourself.”

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August 2013
+ Medient CEO honored by USA India Business Summit

Manu Kumaran, chairman and chief executive officer of Medient Studios, Inc, received the UIBS Award for “Initiatives and Efforts in Promoting Films and Media Business Between USA and India” in Atlanta on Wednesday.

The award was presented to him by Ajit Kumar, consul general of India, at the 4th Annual USA India Business Summit held at Georgia Tech Historic Academy of Medicine.

“It’s an unexpected honor and I’m very grateful to Ani Agnihotri and everyone else at UIBS. This is great validation and will spur us on in our efforts to make the studioplex dream a reality,” said Kumaran.

Medient Studios broke ground last month on 1,500-acre movie and video game production complex in Effingham County.

“Medient has created history by making a large investment and commitment to film and media industry in Georgia and USA. We expect many good products and films to audiences worldwide,” said Ani Agnihotri, founder and managing partner, US India Business Research Center.

Earlier in the day, in his address to the conference, Kumaran spoke about the growing business and entrepreneurial opportunities in film and new media.

The goal of the UIBS is to promote business and investment between the United States and India in key areas of technology, clean tech, infrastructure, logistics, real estate and investment and more. The summit seeks to connect entrepreneurs and small-to-medium size businesses.

Among the distinguished speakers at the two-day summit were Abhay Paranjape (director, Lockheed Martin, USA), Sunil K. Ghatnekar (chief finance officer, Bottling Investments Group, The Coca-Cola Company), Sam Pitroda, (advisor to the prime minister of India, public information infrastructure and Innovations and chairman of the National Innovation Council) and Nirupama Rao, ambassador of India to the U.S.

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May 2013
+ Film maker Medient signs agreement with Prime Focus production equipment company

HOLLYWOOD – Medient Studios, Inc., a California-based movie producer with plans to build a $90 million production and entertainment complex in Effingham County, announced Monday that it has signed an agreement with a production company for the project.
Under this agreement, which is scheduled to be finalized within 90 days, Prime Focus Limited would provide production and post-production equipment, work flow technologies and other elements for the planned mega studio.
Prim Focus is described as a global visual entertainment services group” with more than 4,500 employees with state-of-the-art facilities in North America, Great Britain and India.
Mau Kumaran, chairman and CEO of Medient, said the Prime Focus contribution to the project will be worth more than $40 million.
“This is the next level of firming up a very special relationship that has spanned the lifetime of Medient,” Kumaran said. “Prime focus has been a great partner of Medient and we are happy and proud that the relationship is progressing further.”
Namit Malhotra, founder and CEO of Prime Focus said his firm is “excited to be part of Medient’s inspirational vision to re-engineer the movie business.”
Medient’s agreement with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, signed on March 19, call for the movie studio to create as many as 1,000 jobs when it’s developed on 1,500 acres near Old River Road on Interstate 16.
In addition to making eight to ten movies a year, the company says it will produce video games at the site.
The announcement on the agreement with Prime Focus said the production and post-production equipment and services the company will provide include: Cameras, lighting gear and other production offline and online editing, color correction and grading systems, flame and smoke suites and other post production equipment and software.
Also included will be state-or-the-art preview theatres with 3D post-production sound, including mixing theatre and complete film and video transfer services.
Its visual effects and animation equipment and services will include: Conceptual design, look development, on-set supervision, dynamics, on-location high-quality photography, 3D animation, cosmetic enhancement and matte painting, composting and finishing.
About Prim Focus:
Prime Focus Limited (www.primefocusworld.com) is a global visual entertainment services group that provides creative and technical services to the film, broadcast, and advertising market. The group offers a genuine end-to-end solution from pre-production to final delivery – including visual effects 2D to 3D conversion, video and audio post production, equipment hire multi-platform content operations solutions and digital distribution.

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+ Georgia-Pacific Completes Acquisition of Buckeye Technologies Inc.

ATLANTA, GA. Aug 23, 2013
For decades, Georgia-Pacific products have been a part of life at home and away from home, and now we will have a presence in many new and exciting products that may surprise you.

Georgia-Pacific has completed the acquisition of Buckeye Technologies Inc., which we announced in April. The acquisition was valued at approximately $1.5 billion, including debt.

Georgia-Pacific acquired all of the outstanding stock of Buckeye Technologies and now owns its five manufacturing facilities, global sales offices and headquarters. As Buckeye becomes a wholly owned subsidiary, former Buckeye employees (approximately 1,200) are now Georgia-Pacific employees.

Specialty fibers and nonwovens made by teams at these operations are found in products such as LCD screens, high-performance tires, sausage casings, thickeners for food, pharmaceutical and industrial applications and filtration.

Jim Hannan, CEO and president of Georgia-Pacific, said “We are very pleased to welcome the talented Buckeye employees to our company. They, along with Buckeye Technologies’ assets, innovation capabilities, advanced technologies, and specialty fibers and nonwovens businesses, provide a significant platform for continued growth and success for our cellulose and consumer products businesses.”

“We are excited to finalize the acquisition,” said John Crowe, chairman and CEO, Buckeye Technologies. “This combination will be very good for a lot of people. Many Buckeye employees will have more opportunities; customers will have more options; community members will continue to have a company with a record of contributing in communities where they operate and, of course, shareholders get a very nice return.”

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April 2013
+ Efacec Group Completes Record-Setting Power Transformer

The Efacec Power Transformer facility in Rincon has completed, and is shipping, the largest electrical transformer made in the U.S. in the last 20 years.

The 230 KV 900 MVA Generator Step-Up (GSU) shell transformer weighs 804,000 pounds and is capable of supplying power to a mid-sized city. On Feb. 27, a special rail car that’s 200-feet-long – the size of a 20-story building – departed for one of the largest investor-owned electric utilities in the country. The transformer is the biggest Efacec Group has ever made, and the largest manufactured domestically in the last two decades.

“This is a record-setting achievement in many ways, including the size and quality of the transformer as well as the use of U.S. labor and suppliers,” said Jorge Guerra, Efacec U.S. Operations Chief Operating Officer. “Our U.S. plant remains in a very special, select group of top-level transformer manufacturers worldwide.”

GSU transformers are used to increase the voltage of electricity that generators produce to the appropriate levels for transmission to areas serving consumers.

Efacec’s state-of-the-art plant is the only manufacturing plant in the U.S. to fully design and manufacture transformers using both core and shell technologies. To date, Efacec’s transformer plant in Rincon has successfully manufactured 58 core units and seven shell units with over 8,800 MVA since opening in 2010. Last year it also delivered the first “disassociated phases” transformer; the technology allows shipping in four pieces to overcome transportation restrictions.
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+ Lineage Logistics Acquires Seattle Cold Storage

Lineage Logistics (“Lineage”), a warehousing and logistics company sponsored by Bay Grove Capital LLC (“Bay Grove”), announced today that it has acquired the assets of Seattle Cold Storage (“SCS” or the “Company”) and its facilities located in the Port of Tacoma and Algona, WA. The acquisition increases Lineage’s footprint to over 13 million square feet and 290 million cubic feet, which represents the second largest refrigerated warehouse network globally based on data from the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

SCS is one of the Puget Sound’s largest public refrigerated warehousing (“PRW”) companies and provides a breadth of service offerings including temperature-controlled storage, import / export services, retail distribution, and transportation services. The Company’s warehouses comprise 420,000 square feet and 11 million cubic feet of freezer and chilled storage capacity in strategic locations in the Port of Tacoma and the Kent Valley.

“SCS has terrific employees and a strong reputation,” said Adam Forste, Managing Director of Bay Grove. “We plan to make long-term improvements to the facilities to enhance capacity and increase energy efficiency. We are looking forward to building our relationship with the Port of Tacoma and providing our employees with a rewarding and safe work environment.”

“We are thrilled to welcome SCS’s employees to the Lineage family and to contribute to the continued success of SCS’s customers,” said Bill Hendricksen, CEO of Lineage. “SCS complements our existing Seafreeze and CityIce operations in Seattle and enables us to provide our customers with unparalleled service and supply chain capabilities in the Puget Sound. Our Lineage Freight Management division has also expanded its market leading transportation / freight consolidation solutions to these new locations.”
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+ Effingham College and Career Academy launches its New Logistics Center

The Effingham College and Career Academy held a ribbon cutting on Tuesday for its new Logistics Center, located in the Effingham Industrial Park off Ebenezer Road. The ECCA is the first Academy in Georgia to offer the Logistics Career Path to students, and the Logistics Center gives the students the additional hands on experience they need. They are also using the center to provide a public service through a partnership with First Book, an organization that delivers books to children.

The ECCA first began teaching its students about logistics by working with the Maritime Logistics Education Taskforce, or MLET. Spear-headed by Dave “Fish” Mihuta of Freightliner Savannah, MLET partners with local schools to teach students about the logistics industries and the job opportunities students can have after graduation. They worked together to organize “Follow the Container” field trips and visits to local industries. ECCA then created the first Logistics Career Pathway, with the program being directed by Ashley Kieffer.

Kieffer first heard about a possible partnership with First Book when meeting with educators from Columbia High School in Florida. First Book is a non-profit company that receives and donates books to children and schools in need. The organization currently has more books than they have space and needs warehouses to handle their inventory. They began using school logistics programs to help manage and store their inventory. ECCA contacted First Book representatives and soon began thier own partnership. They now work closely with the ECCA and are storing some of their inventory at the new Logistics Center.

Students can now receive and manage the shipments of books for First Book. It provides a hands on learning opportunity for students as well as a much needed community service. In addition to managing the inventory, the logistics students will also be personally delivering books to local schools. The new Logistics Center offers the students a way to learn more about the process of logistics and all that it entails, as well as giving them an opportunity to help others in their community.

 

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