Colorado Premium President Kevin LaFleur talked Thursday about how he made the decision to come to Carroll County and said that had he been younger, he would have considered moving the company’s headquarters to the area.
LaFleur was in Carrollton to join West Georgia Technical College and Georgia Quick Start in signing a training agreement at The Burson Center, pledging to further strengthen the county’s economic development.
State Sen. Mike Dugan of Carrollton was on hand for the signing — he is chairman of the Senate Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
“I could stand up and talk about numbers and talk about everything that is going on across the state, but what I would rather focus on is the collaborative effort that we have between state agencies, counties, cities and our little community here because that’s what it is, all of us working together,” Dugan said.
Dugan said he excited about having the workforce up and ready for Colorado Premium to come in to utilize the talent.
“I know that we are excited to have you all (Colorado Premium) here and we are excited about the partnership,” he said. “I have been following what you all have been doing with the community already with the company, and you’re so involved here. We are excited to have you as a new family member for our area.”
Colorado Premium receives products from USDA-approved processing plants throughout the U.S., providing fresh, frozen and consumer-ready meats to restaurant chains, private labels and retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kroger, as well as food service companies across the nation. It has built a reputation for high-quality raw and cooked meats, including corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, prime rib and hot dogs.
It will initially employ 170 people, and increase that number by 2019.
Randy Nix, who serves as chairman of the Ethics Committee in the State House, agreed, saying that he was happy to witness the signing of the partnership.
“One of the things I spend the most time in the legislature doing is working on workforce development issues, from the Career Pathways Bill up on through the Move On When Ready program,” said Nix, who represents a portion of Carroll County. “Of course it doesn’t do a lot when we prepare those people if they don’t have jobs. So I just want to thank you all for seeing the opportunity here and coming and I firmly believe you will have the workforce you need. ... We certainly welcome your operation and look forward to do great things in the future.”
Nix encouraged Colorado Premium executives to take advantage of the community support that Carroll County has as a part of the commitment to economic development. He said that it was the best that they would find.
Carroll County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Daniel Jackson said Georgia is a pro-business state, which helps businesses looking to expand. The presence of Nix and Dugan he said reflects the type of leadership the state has.
“When we are talking to a prospect over their existing business and they are looking to expand or someone from some part of the U.S. or some other part of the world for that matter, workforce is the number one issue,” said Jackson. “The best training program in the entire USA is right here in Georgia. What a great partnership we have in Carroll County with the education collaborative what has the university, the technical college, private schools, and public schools all working together all in concert.”
Jackson said that LaFleur provided Carroll Tomorrow with the status of the company during a recent investor update which he said served as a pep rally and pre-celebration for Colorado Premium to move in. He said LaFleur and his wife Judy shared a bit of the company background and why they chose Georgia and Carroll County.
“As I am listening to him (LaFleur), he is a perfect example of the kind of company we want to be interested in Georgia,” said Jackson. “These guys have already sponsored two events and they aren’t even open yet. So you talk about corporate citizens, they have already been a part of our chamber golf tournament and they have even sponsored the GreenBelt opening, and they haven’t even opened yet. So from the get-go, we established this relationship. ... Thank you for choosing our community and thank you for choosing to be a part of that.”
Dr. Steve Daniel, President of West Georgia Technical College agreed that it is special community that has obviously been recognized by the company.
“We are honored by that and you have our commitment,” said Daniel. “I have been here now for three years in this post as the president and I can tell you that you have a team here that will be there for you in good times and bad, whatever the issue is, and they will make sure you will have a lot more good times than bad. From the workforce standpoint, again this is just a testament from the college and also from Quick Start, you are in good hands and we look forward to working with you.”
Jackie Rohosky, Georgia Quick Start’s assistant commissioner of Economic Development Programs, said she too was honored to be working with Colorado Premium and WGTC and they are pleased to be a partner.
“We’re just very honored to be working with your company (Colorado Premium) and we appreciate your support (WGTC) with Quick Start over the years and your continued support,” she said.
LaFleur addressed the small group, saying that he thought Texas to be the friendliest state until he came to Georgia. He said when he first thought of expanding to Georgia, the company narrowed it down to a location in Atlanta, one 50 miles south of the city, and Carroll County. It was tours of the county with the Chamber of Commerce, meeting local officials, college representatives, and even Tanner executives that sealed the deal.
“So they gave us a grand tour and I did tell Daniel (Jackson) if I was a younger man, I would seriously consider moving our headquarters to Georgia,” said LaFleur. “It feels like we’re at home so I appreciate that. Everything is going well. The facility has a lot of support from the community and state, from the top down. You can tell it’s just not mouth talking the talk if you would. We appreciate being here and we’re very excited to be here.”