Chattahoochee Valley Becoming More Attractive To Top Companies

These days, Columbus no longer fits the sleepy mill town profile...

New companies keep popping up each year, pumping millions of dollars into the economy and fundamentally changing the business landscape.

"This whole region, going up all the way to West Point, is going to be completely different five years from now," said Becca Hardin, the Executive Vice President for Economic Development at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Even those in the Governor's office say the Middle Chattahoochee Region continues to outpace the rest of the state in attracting business growth...

Especially because of the major companies who already call this area home.

"It's a community that has really strong international company names, and those companies help to attract other bright companies to that area," said Heidi Green, Georgia's Deputy Commissioner on Global Commerce.

City leaders say its the quality of life that attracts people to the Valley.

"Obviously this is a good place to raise a family, for the employees of those companies," said Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington.

Business leaders say ultimately, it's the great workers here in the Chattahoochee Valley who pull in potential investors.

"One of the biggest assets is the work force.  We have a great work ethic, and with the growth of the military base, the spousal work force is a great employee pool for us to use.  If we can't sell the workforce, we're never in the game," said Hardin.

Hardin also says there are three main areas where most of the growth will happen.

First, in the automotive industry, anchored by the Kia plant in Westpoint which will produce their Sorrento SUV model.

Also, the aerospace engineering industry will be growing by leaps and bounds with Cessna, Precision Components and Pratt and Whitney.

No one can forget the defense industry, with massive new growth at Fort Benning.

Economic experts say all this means more money and more jobs will be coming to the area.