Augusta Economic Development Authority Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Augusta Economic Development Authority won a Gold Rank for its 2021 AEDA Masters Tournament Partnership Boxes, a project in the category of Print Brochure of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  The honor was presented at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference, which is currently underway.

“We are honored to be recognized alongside economic developers from across the country working to make a difference in their communities. Our goal was to tell a story about Augusta by featuring Masters Tournament items and products from locally-owned businesses. The results speak to the success of this project. We are thankful for the incredible group of team members and partners that made this project possible in a short amount of time.” Cheney Thomasson Eldridge, Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Existing Industry, Augusta Economic Development Authority

IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year's most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

This project was 190 Augusta Economic Development Authority (AEDA) custom branded merchandise boxes filled with locally sourced gifts and highly coveted Masters Tournament items. These boxes were hand packed, and hand delivered locally as well as shipped across the United States. With a deadline 41 days away, they worked quickly to duplicate the project completed just 5 months earlier with the goal of continued innovation and improvement. They strategically identified individuals they wanted to thank for their strong partnership, or those they wanted to build their partnership with moving forward. These boxes were sent to site selectors, state project managers, managers and directors of their existing industries, the Augusta-Richmond County Commission and Mayor, city department heads and their staff, and board members.

The AEDA believes that relationships are the foundation of creating and retaining jobs, increasing the tax base, and improving the quality of life. Strong relationships ensure that site selectors think of Augusta, Georgia for their next large project, encourage local plant managers to reach out for help and assistance, and inspire community leaders and city departments to work in tandem with their efforts. This project strengthened relationships and facilitated new partnerships as well as resulted in 24 potential projects for Richmond County with the potential of $1.59B in investment and 4,700 jobs for Augusta, Georgia.

The project was a success for many reasons. First and foremost, they completed the project in accordance with their target ship and delivery date. Secondly, they were able to increase the number of relationships touched from last year as well as maintain the reduced cost per individual achieved last year. In a typical year, they would spend roughly $53,000 to interact with 42 people over the course of the week, or $1,261.90 per relationship touch. This includes housing, food, and Masters tickets. Conversely the 2021 AEDA Masters Tournament Partnership Boxes project cost $38,000 and reached 190 people, resulting in $277.30 per relationship touch. Additionally, by including important marketing information on every side of the box (including the inside), they ensured it would be seen by each recipient. In order to measure the economic development impact of the project, they recorded the number of relevant project RFI’s received from the targeted site selectors, as well as the jobs and investment numbers associated with those projects. These metrics carried over from November 2020 enable the two projects to be compared against each other. The results are outlined below:

  • Number of Projects received from site selectors: 24.
  • Total Projects Investments: $1,594,500,000.
  • Total Jobs: 4,700.

In addition to the metrics listed above, they included the response rate of site selectors and the number of new relationships with existing industries as a result of the box delivery. These metrics are outlined below:

  • Response Rate of Site Selectors: 70%
  • New relationships formed with existing industries: 13

This project also achieved the goal of the formation of a project team including city departments involved in the attraction and expansion development process.

It is important to note that these results were recorded over a period of only 1 month and can not directly be compared to the 2020 results (5 month period following November 2020 Tournament). This is due to the 2021 Masters Tournament occurring at the usual time in April 2021, which marked the end of our reporting period. In light of the short results period, we are very happy with the outcome from the project.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”

We're incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year's Excellence Awards. This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year's recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.