ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - On Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced an advanced manufacturing facility and expansion will center their headquarters in Albany.
Outdoor Network (ODN), a family-owned and operated marine and power sports company will invest nearly $22 million in two projects, bringing 92 jobs to southwest Georgia.
"Outdoor Network’s continual growth in Georgia is a testament to our pro-business environment, robust logistics network, and highly skilled workforce – all of which help support the state’s manufacturing and distribution industries,” said Kemp. “Our world-class economic development team remains dedicated to creating jobs for hardworking Georgians in rural Georgia, and we look forward to seeing the opportunities this creates in Albany and throughout the region.”
Kemp addressed the new venture to the Albany-Dougherty County Economic Development Commission (EDC) on Wednesday.
“In these times, we’ve got to celebrate the good news,” Kemp said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good win down there.”
Kemp said this will be a decades-long investment and project. The governor also said it’s a real testament to all in Albany that worked on this project.
“This is a great announcement for us,” Kemp said.
Matt Reed, interim president of Albany-Dougherty County EDC, thanked Kemp and Outdoor Network for their help on this project.
“We’re excited for Outdoor Network to be announcing their expansion in Albany-92 new jobs, 22 million dollars in investment. I think one of the best things about it is rehabbing the old McGregor facility which has been vacant for over 20 years. That’s 1601 South Slappey, which is an area that we focused on to try to bring jobs to South Albany," said Reed.
Pat Wilson, Georgia Department of Economic Development commissioner, also addressed the EDC about Outdoor Network.
“It’s great when we can continue to see positive activity in rural Georgia,” Wilson said.
Wilson talked about other recent economic happenings in the state amid the pandemic, noting business ventures like film production in Georgia and the arts community.
“I believe you’re only going to see increased activity in Georgia,” Wilson said.
“It’s a big day for us, we’re very happy about that,” Cynthia George, EDC board chair, said.
Outdoor Network has emerged as an international powerhouse dealer and distributor of marine and power sports equipment and parts, supplying renowned brands including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Polaris, Suzuki, Can-Am, Mercury, Sea-Doo, Evinrude, and OXE Marine Diesel Outboards, according to a release.
“At ODN, we are doing our part to bring jobs back to the U.S. with the decision to locate our new manufacturing facility in Albany and produce the complete lineup of 125-through 200-horsepower OXE Diesel Outboard Motors. Currently, these motors are being manufactured in Sweden, but ODN was successful in winning the contract for U.S. production by demonstrating to OXE Marine that Albany has a suitable workforce,” said Outdoor Network CEO Martin Polo. “We pride ourselves on creating more opportunities for hardworking American families. Since 2012, we have operated in Georgia and have grown our multifaceted enterprise made up of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores, distribution centers, and a call center – all with the help of the community and the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission. Thanks to its business-friendly environment, Georgia is the perfect place to open our manufacturing facility. This is the dawn of a new day, and we look forward to focusing on the future of sustained development and growth in Albany, and to the opportunities, it creates all around.”
“It has been great working with the leadership at Outdoor Network as they once again made the decision to ‘Choose Albany’ as the site of their expansion of existing operations, as well as the location of their new manufacturing project,” said Reed. “We are fortunate to have a partner like Outdoor Network investing in our community and providing well-paying jobs to the citizens of Albany and Dougherty County.”
Outdoor Network’s distribution center will be at 1601 South Slappey Blvd., where MacGregor golf equipment and Gravely mowers were once built. It will be 230,000 square feet once fully completed.
This new advanced distribution facility will deliver 52 additional jobs to the area. The manufacturing facility for 125- to 200-horsepower diesel outboard engines is located nearby at 1116 Industry Ave., and will create 40 new jobs.
City and county leaders said the project has been a joint effort.
“Investments like this, there are a lot of moving parts and they take place over an extended period of time. So we are just excited by the development," said Albany mayor, Bo Dorough.
“We had a lot of help from the governor’s office, the state, a lot of work at the local level of the Economic Development Commission in order to make sure that this expansion occurred. These are quality jobs, quality manufacturing jobs of high-quality products, and I’m proud that they’re going to be made in Albany in Dougherty County," said Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission chairperson.
“This is really great news for Albany, where many jobs were lost 11 years ago when the former owners of the MacGregor Facility unexpectedly left. For Albany to gain 100 new jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic is wonderful. I will continue supporting efforts to create new jobs and prosperity for Albany and the rest of our district,” Second District U.S. Congressman Sanford Bishop said.
Douglas Natoce, President of ODN Manufacturing arm, Diesel Outboards LLC, indicated the decision to locate in Georgia was aided by the strength found within the congressional delegation.
“The congressional delegation provided tremendous support and encouragement to bring these jobs to Georgia,” said Natoce. “This facility is in the heart of Congressman Bishop’s district and his support will be crucial to our ability to expand manufacturing opportunities.”
The House-passed defense appropriations bill includes $2 million for the Navy to purchase the type of diesel outboard motors that will be built in Albany. Outdoor Network will expand its current distribution center into the former McGregor Golf facility, investing approximately $22 million into the project.
Reed said he anticipates more announcements like this one soon... despite the pandemic.
“You continue to see folks that want to make an investment in our state and especially in Albany in Dougherty county and I think you’ll see more good things and announcements to come here in our community," said Reed.
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