"Ginny is bringing new ideas and connecting companies to this area. She's changing the perception to a pro-business environment, and she's just getting started."
One of the most important traits of a good economic developer is a genuine love for the place you're working on growing. Ginny Blakeney has that in the bag in Pike County, Georgia. Newly named (since July 2018) Pike County Economic Development Director, Ginny uses her understanding of her hometown and its strengths to help connect new businesses to the region. "I have a certain perspective as a local," Ginny explains. "I'm protective of the integrity of our county, and I'm careful about making sure that the changes we are making will be positive for the community." Ginny is using data provided by Georgia Power's team to build a brand-new, innovative community presentation to use for prospect visits and events. "One of the best tools we have in this business is local partners who understand our goals."
It's well-known that one of Pike county's strongest assets is their educational system. Superintendent Michael Duncan was recently awarded the Bill Barr Leadership award, a coveted honor in the world of public education. The schools have one of the top-ranked STEM programs in the state. They also have one of the most active FFA chapters in Georgia. "The high school kids tell me they want to stay here, and they want to work in agriculture," Ginny says. With new innovations in agriculture in everything from farming to packaging, those are some of the target industries Ginny and her team are hoping to recruit.
"I feel very grateful to be doing this work and helping grow the place I love and support the people who live here. At the end of the day, I just want us to leave it better than we found it," says Ginny.