Chamber of Commerce names Morris new economic development director

DULUTH - The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has a new economic development director.

Scott Morris took the helm Feb. 9 after leading the Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

As president of the Newton Chamber, Morris said he helped local businesses get situated for the kind of growth Gwinnett started to experience in the '80s and continues to see today.

Morris also worked on a $40 million General Mills Corp. expansion in Newton County.

The 34-year-old economic recruiter has big ambitions for Gwinnett. He will head the Chamber's expanded economic development division. Morris said one goal is to work with economic development counterparts at Gwinnett County and local municipalities.

Building the biosciences industry will remain a focus, Morris said. His division will also broaden its economic development approach beyond just helping companies find suitable locations. The Chamber also sees the potential in redeveloping formerly busy commercial areas.

Georgia looks to become home of National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

ATLANTA - The state is preparing a bid to land a proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

Area business leaders have targeted Ga. Highway 316 as a possible location for many bioscience-related businesses, though state officials say it is too early to say where the federal facility would be located.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to be a center of research and development to combat disease pandemics and terrorism.

The 500,000-square-foot facility would employ an estimated 500 federal employees.

Gov. Sonny Perdue said in a press release issued Monday that Georgia's "emerging reputation as a center for life sciences and bioresearch puts us in a unique position to make a pitch for this facility."

The University of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development's Innovation and Technology Office will lead the state's proposal.

The proposal is due to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by March 31.

- From staff reports