ATLANTA — The Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) recognized the Thomasville Payroll Development Authority (PDA) for an “outstanding achievement in the location/expansion of business in Georgia” at the annual GEDA awards luncheon Monday.

Thomasville/Thomas County were recognized because of the Check-Mate Industries project announced in December 2018.

“It was an honor to receive the Deal of the Year Award from the Georgia Economic Developers Association," said Shelley Zorn, PDA executive director. "I have been a member of GEDA for 20 years, and this is the first project I have been a part of to receive the award, so this doesn't come often or easily."

Zorn said the recognition is a testament to Check-Mate Industries and to the PDA's and the city's and county's vision and commitment to replace jobs at the former Caterpillar building.

"It is also because of the regional impact of the project,” she said. 

The Check-Mate project will create 230 jobs and invest more than $16 million to establish a manufacturing plant and headquarters facility in Thomasville. Check-Mate Industries manufactures firearm magazines, medical tooling, aerospace and automotive products. 

"This community did not let a plant closure several years ago dampen its spirits," said a GEDA spokesman. "It purchased the closed facility and then pursued suppliers of a lost-project to another state. One of those suppliers proved to be Check-Mate Industries. Community leaders were extremely persistent and assertive in pursuing this lead and put together a very attractive community package to lure Check-Mate."

GEDA recognizes recipients in four categories:

• Small – A county with a population of 50,000 and under

• Mid-size – A county with a population of 50,001 to 100,000

• Large – A county with population of more than 100,000

• Regional – Any multi-county effort

The Deal of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the location or expansion of new businesses Georgia that meet community economic development goals and involve significant community program support, such as financial or permitting assistance, workforce development and state financial support, among other areas.

Thomasville City Council member Jay Flowers, who attended the awards luncheon, said the recognition puts Thomasville on a statewide stage.

"The Deal of the Year award will bring more attention to the business-friendly environment of Southwest Georgia. We are pleased to share this award with the wonderful 'family' management team at Check-Mate," Flowers said. "Shelley deserves a great deal of credit for pulling together city, county and state resources to make this happen. Check-Mate Industries is off to a great start bringing new, well-paid, jobs to Thomasville."

Mark NeSmith, PDA co-chairman and a Thomas County commissioner, said the award sends a message that Thomasville/Thomas County are business-friendly.

Strong partnerships in local governments and education facilities show the community works together, NeSmith said.

"We are blessed to have Shelley, who works tirelessly for the community and is known throughout Georgia and other states," he said.

GEDA is a nonprofit association of professionals, volunteers and supporters that provides networking and professional development opportunities for members and supports public policies that promote quality job creation and sustainable economic development statewide.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820 

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