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Gwinnett’s Top 4: Industry Overview

Some areas are known for a specific industry. Nashville has Country Music. Detroit has cars. Hollywood has movies. Orlando has tourism. Gatlinburg, Tennessee has fudge and pancakes. Umm, ok, some places are more known than others. Yet, the key to a truly vibrant economy is industrial diversity. Detroit only wishes it had the diversity of Gwinnett County, which thanks to a diverse range of businesses in different industries, has thrived through national economic recessions that left the motor-city bankrupt. But what is Gwinnett’s leading industries? Thanks to the master’s of measuring success at Partnership Gwinnett, we know just what industries are making the largest contributions to the overall economy.


Georgia Film Academy: World Premiere **

Have you ever dreamed of working in the movies, but want to stay close to home? Well, we have good news, the work is here, and now you can start the new-year training for a career in the film industry right here in Georgia too! The Georgia Film Academy’s inaugural term begins January 2016 with options in Gwinnett and throughout metro Atlanta. Initiated by Governor Nathan Deal and the state of Georgia, this unique program seeks to develop a partnership between Georgia’s university and technical college systems and the film industry.

According to Jeffrey Stepakoff, executive director of the GFA, “the Georgia Film academy certification puts students on the fast track to gainful employment” in the industry. Two courses will be offered initially. One course integrates classroom instruction using industry standard equipment. The other course is a semester working as a part of the crew on an actual production.

Classes will be available to students through Georgia universities, colleges and technical colleges, as well as for non-students. Gwinnett Technical College, the first technical college to participate, will offer classes beginning in February. The program will also begin at Clayton State University and Columbus State University in January.

Gwinnett Tech is enthusiastic about being one of the first colleges chosen to implement the Film Academy program. “This was an exciting opportunity for the college to be showcased and support our state’s focus on the film industry, “said Dr. Glen Cannon, president of Gwinnett Tech.

With hundreds of film and television productions flooding into the state, the number of films the state can produce at any one time is directly related to the number of Georgia filmmakers that make up the skilled workforce that can be hired. To increase the skilled workforce in demand, film curriculums and classes are offered in many of the area’s schools, at a range of different levels, including:

Gwinnett County Public High Schools
All seven Academy High Schools in Gwinnett County offer a “pathway” for students to learn about film, audio and video technology.

Georgia Gwinnett College
A minor in film with courses in film and video production.  GCC students participate in Campus MovieFest, a national film competition.

Gwinnett Technical College
Film Academy Certificate Program (Pilot Program participant)

Georgia State University
Bachelor of Arts degree (and minor) in Film and Video and a Master of Arts degree in Communications with a concentration in Film, Video and Digital Imaging.

Georgia Perimeter College
Associate of Arts in Film

Emory University
The Film & Media Studies Department offers students a Bachelor and Master of Arts (and minor) in Film Studies and a PhD Certificate.

The Art Institute of Atlanta
Audio Production Bachelor of Arts

Atlanta Media Campus
Plans for this complex include a film school and courses in set design and animation.


Atlanta Gas Light: Always On

Atlanta Gas Light is the oldest corporation in Georgia. Almost 160 years ago, the company installed gas lines to supply the city of Atlanta’s first natural gas streetlights. Today, using state-of-the-art delivery technology, we provide natural gas comfort and convenience to 1.6 million Georgia homes and businesses.

John Walker, director of regional operations in AGL’s Gwinnett territory, has been with the company for 16 years and in the natural gas industry for 32 years. “While we are always on with safe and reliable service for our customers, we also bring our “Generosity of Spirit” to work every day, fulfilling our corporate responsibility to make a meaningful impact in our community,” he said.

AGL proudly invests in Gwinnett’s best and brightest students through scholarships for Gwinnett Tech, sponsorship of JA Biz Town and Discovery High School in Gwinnett and hands-on activities such as Touch a Truck Day and Career Day at Gwinnett County elementary schools. AGL Gwinnett territory employees volunteer on a regular basis in food drives, United Way campaigns, Meals on Wheels and the company’s enterprise-wide volunteer week.

Think Of Us As Your Pipes Company
Ever spot an Atlanta Gas Light truck and think, “That’s not my natural gas company, or is it?” You may be a customer and not realize it! A little history lesson will unravel the mystery. In 1997, when the Georgia natural gas market became “deregulated” to increase competition, AGL was transformed from a retailer to a distributor of natural gas. The same year, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved a group of new natural gas retail “marketers” to provide natural gas and billing services to customers.

Today the PSC continues to regulate AGL in its role of maintaining the pipes that carry natural gas to most Gwinnett homes and businesses, reading the natural gas meters and sending that data to marketers.

If you are an AGL customer, you can find the company’s name in a line item on your marketer’s bill. More importantly, you need to be aware that you are likely eligible for one of the company’s substantial rebates when you switch from electric- or propane-fueled home heating or water heating to an efficient natural gas appliance. Visit for more information.

Get Yourself Into Hot Water
By choosing natural gas appliances for your home, you can save money and enjoy many other tangible benefits. For example, natural gas tank water heaters cost up to 62 percent less to operate than electric tanks.

Homeowners want amenities such as dual vanities and soaker tubs. The last thing they want is to run out of hot water. With rapid heating and outstanding performance of natural gas, it’s no wonder that 72 percent of homebuyers prefer heating water with natural gas. Because of their quick recovery time, natural gas water heaters replenish hot water faster, and that matters greatly if you have teenagers in the house. For the ultimate in convenience and long-term savings,
go tankless. High-efficiency, on-demand natural gas water heaters deliver an endless supply of hot water from a unit about the size of a suitcase.

Energy for a Growing Gwinnett
Did you know Atlanta Gas Light maintains more than 4,600 miles of natural gas pipes in Gwinnett County alone? Nine new miles of main were installed last year in Duluth and another 12 will be added in Suwanee beginning in 2016. To keep up with Gwinnett County’s growth, we continuously invest in new pipelines that will help maintain our safe and reliable natural gas system.

Our investment in natural gas infrastructure helps support continued economic development in local communities. In fact, each year these projects employ between 150-200 construction workers – everything from right-of-way contractors and heavy-equipment operators to pipe-fitters and welders.

Safety Is Our Number One Priority
As part of our commitment to providing safe and reliable service, we conduct visual inspections, routine maintenance and leak surveys on our pipeline system, including the meter on your property. You can be our safety partner by asking anyone surveying or working with your meter for identification.  All Atlanta Gas Light employees and contractors will be happy to comply.

Part of our overall safety focus includes employee safety behind the wheel. Two of our field service representatives in our Gwinnett office exemplify safe driving practices with their recent recognition from the National Safety Council. Scott Smethers has driven 37 years without a preventable incident throughout his career at AGL. John Soares is following in Scott’s footsteps with 31 years of safe driving. At Atlanta Gas Light we take safety seriously!