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Why Are Businesses Investing in the Robins Region?

Excellent location in Middle Georgia is just one of the many reasons this region has become a hot spot in the Southeast.

By Bill Lewis on September 21, 2021

inside airplane hangar

When Buc-ee’s, the Texas-based travel center chain with a devoted national following, was looking for its first location in Georgia, it chose Warner Robins.

Buc-ee’s is just one of many businesses investing and creating jobs in the Robins Region.

Angie Gheesling knows why the region is such a desirable location for businesses as well as talented workers and their families.

“Our location in the state of Georgia can’t be beat,” says Gheesling, executive director of the Houston County Development Authority. “We lie in the center of the state along a major interstate. You can travel to the coast or mountains in Georgia in three hours or less. You can quickly be in downtown Atlanta for events or at the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, in 90 minutes.”

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Austinboardman via Flickr

Crunching the Numbers

Frito-Lay is investing $200 million to expand operations in Perry. The expansion is creating 120 new jobs and locks in the plant’s status as one of the largest Frito-Lay facilities in the world.

Warner Robins checked all the boxes for Buc-ee’s, which operates a travel center along Interstate 75 with 53,000 square feet of space and 120 fueling stations.

“Among other deciding factors, Buc-ee’s chose Warner Robins in order to provide a friendly, safe and fun stop for local residents and travelers along the route between Atlanta and Florida,” says company representative Rachel Austin.

Buc-ee’s announced the creation of 200 jobs and is contributing to the local economy in other ways, as well. The Warner Robins Buc-ee’s offers art from local artists and locally sourced specialty food items.

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Robins Air Force Base Draws Global Talent

The Robins Region’s economy is anchored by Robins Air Force Base (RAFB), which is home to Georgia’s largest industrial complex and employs nearly 25,000 members of the military and civilians. The base is a magnet for talent from around the world.

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, which employs more than 7,000 people, plays a major role in providing maintenance, engineering support and software development to military aircraft and weapons systems. The base delivers an economic impact in the region of more than $3.8 billion.

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New Jobs Flocking to Robins Region

The Air Logistics Complex, which is bringing an additional 1,200 jobs on line, and Frito-Lay are joined by other expanding employers. All told, businesses announced more than $400 million in investments and the creation of 1,900 jobs in 2020 and 2021. As of mid-May 2021, another announcement of 100 jobs and $250 million in investment was pending.

Synergy Innovation Center at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex announced 200 jobs and investment of $17 million. Silicon Ranch, a 700-acre-plus solar development, announced 200 construction jobs and investment of $58 million. Northrop Grumman is creating 100 jobs. Sandler Nonwoven announced 70 jobs and an investment of $70 million. Interfor is creating 10 jobs and investing $45 million.

“The establishment of Synergy Innovation Center at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex was a success the entire community can be proud of,” Gheesling says.

RAFB had the opportunity to create several hundred new software jobs but did not have space, so the Development Authority of Houston County purchased a vacant office building.

At the same time, the Houston County Career Academy was adding several IT-software engineering pathways, but its facility was full. The Development Authority and RAFB proposed making space for the academy in the new Synergy Innovation Center.

As a result, more than 200 new high-paying software jobs are available, Robins Air Force Base was able to accept a new mission and the region has a pipeline of workers with in-demand tech skills, Gheesling says.

“Houston County is very diverse, from the highly commercialized area of Warner Robins to the quaint small-town feel of Perry.”

Angie Gheesling/Houston County Development Authority

That cooperative spirit is one reason Houston County is so appealing, she says. “Houston County is very diverse, from the highly commercialized area of Warner Robins to the quaint small-town feel of Perry,” Gheesling says.

“Warner Robins is the ‘International City.’ Along with the City of Centerville, they host every chain retail and food establishment imaginable. The community serves as a shopping and employment hub for many counties. The entire community is very family oriented, from events to parks and recreation.”

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