By David Pendered
A new commissioner took charge Thursday of the state department that oversees a number of programs that influence local planning and economic development.
Gretchen Corbin replaces Mike Beatty as commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs. Corbin served most recently in the state’s Department of Economic Development – where she worked on teams that convinced Caterpillar and Baxter International to open manufacturing facilities in Georgia. Beatty will lead a non-profit organization engaged in workforce development.
DCA’s most recent work in Atlanta was to create an Opportunity Zone in sections of the Cleveland Avenue/Metropolitan Parkway area. The designation aims to spur businesses to hire by providing a tax credit for each job created, provided that at least two jobs are created.
“Opportunity Zones give existing businesses the incentive to expand and motivate entrepreneurs to create new ventures,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a July 22 statement announcing the designation. “These zones lead to job creation and neighborhood revitalization and have a direct positive impact on our overall economic competitiveness.”
DCA also supports the Atlanta Regional Commission, as well as the state’s 11 other regional commissions. DCA’s other activities include administering the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council; Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless; Rural Development Council; OneGeorgia, created to oversees Georgia’s tobacco settlement; Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation; and Great Promise Partnership, the program Beatty will head, which helps at-risk high school students complete school while learning job skills as part-time workers.
Reed serves on the board of the Great Promise Partnership.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced Corbin’s appointment June 20, in a routine announcement of leadership changes in state government. The release from the governor’s office that describes Corbin hit the highlights of her achievements, but did not provide the level of detail that portrays her success in promoting economic development in Georgia that was outlined in her profile on the state’s website.
According to the release from Deal’s office:
- “Corbin has served as deputy commissioner for global commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development since January 2011. She has worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development since 1998, serving in many capacities, including division director for International Operations and director of Project Managers for Existing Industry & Recruitment.
- “She is involved in a number of professional and civic organizations, serving as Leadership Georgia’s Vice President and as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow. Corbin graduated from Clemson University and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. She and her husband, David, have two children and reside in Rome.”
A more complete description of Corbin’s achievements are provided in her biographical statement on the website of the Department of Economic Development, including her role in helping to open Georgia’s trade office in China and the trade alliance that links Canada with six southeastern states. A snippet of the bio states:
- “Corbin’s leadership has resulted in one of the most successful periods in the department’s history, with the location or expansion of 665 companies, representing $8.2B capital investment and 43,636 jobs. In the last fiscal year, Corbin led her team to a record-breaking year that saw 403 projects locate in the state. Those projects will create 29,176 jobs and $5.67 billion in capital investment.
- “Corbin has also been instrumental in the location of several large companies to the state, including Caterpillar Inc. and Baxter International. These two projects alone will yield 3,200 jobs and over $1.2 billion investment. The international trade team also had a year of great success, helping companies throughout Georgia with 311 export deals valued at over $39 million.”