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From left, Belgium Consul General William De Baets; Georgia Department of Economic Development Director - Existing Industry & Regional Recruitment Lindsay Martin; Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash; Barco Inc. President/CEO/Senior Vice President - Americas Ney Corsino; Metro Atlanta Chamber President & CEO Hala Moddelmog; and Partnership Gwinnett Vice President of Economic Development Andrew Carnes cut the ribbon to open Barco's expanded facility in the Sugarloaf Community Improvement District Thursday.

Fifty new jobs are coming to the Sugarloaf Community Improvement District as Belguim-based manufacturer, Barco, expands its local operations.

Barco announced the $5 million expansion of its operations this week with Partnership Gwinnett, the Sugarloaf CID and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Although the company is based out of Belgium, its American headquarters is in the CID, which is centered around the Infinite Energy Center.

“After a period of thorough research, we chose Atlanta to be our headquarters for the Americas. The combination of infrastructure, qualified labor and business environment makes Atlanta a unique place to run our operations,” Barco Americas president Ney Corsino said.

“Besides being close to our markets, this consolidation allows us to achieve higher levels of synergy towards customer satisfaction.”

Officials said the 50 new jobs that Barco plans to create are in addition to 140 jobs it already has at its Gwinnett location. Partnership Gwinnett said the expansion includes an upgrade of Barco's workspace as well as additional service capabilities.

Barco produces electronic devices used in a variety of fields including business, electronics and medicine.

“We are proud that Barco chose to expand in the Sugarloaf CID,” Sugarloaf CID Executive Director Alyssa Davis said.

“The great assets in our community and new development underway are creating the live, work, play environment that cutting-edge companies like Barco are looking for.”

Officials from the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Gwinnett County government and Partnership Gwinnett praised the expansion in comments released by the Gwinnett Chamber's economic development arm.

“We are excited to see Barco reinvest in Gwinnett and the Sugarloaf CID,” said Partnership Gwinnett Project Manager Megan Elwood, who worked with state economic development officials as well as the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce to secure the local expansion.

“Gwinnett provides the talent and access that international businesses demand and companies, like Barco, are thriving here.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said, “Our existing industries are a fundamental part of the backbone of our economic success in Georgia.

"Because of our highly-skilled workforce and unmatched universities and technical colleges, our state has become a hub for the tech industry. Barco’s expansion certainly serves as a testament to that success, and we are excited to watch their continued growth in the coming years.”

And Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash said, “Gwinnett’s diverse economy continues to be a draw for international leaders like Barco. We are always happy to see an existing company expanding and reinvesting in Gwinnett. It’s a true testament to the strength of our business community.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta. I eventually wandered away from home and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I first tried my hand at majoring in film for a couple of years. And then political sc