U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., is in the midst of his third annual "Made in Georgia" tour with a roundtable discussion in Statesboro.
His two-week tour of industries is now in its final week. It started here with the lunch discussion, at R.J.'s Steakery, on April 11. About 20 people attended, including Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore, Metter Mayor Billy Trapnell, officials from the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia Southern University, Ogeechee Technical College, and development authorities from Bulloch, Screven and other counties, as well as managers of several industries.
Topics ranged from the deepening of Savannah's harbor — still awaiting congressional action for federal funding — to the area's shortage of technically skilled employees for industries such as Daniel Defense, the rifle and components manufacturer in Bryan County. Local officials told Barrow about a proposal for an industrial engineering program at Georgia Southern and a grant application for an industrial maintenance lab at Ogeechee Tech.
Barrow has been meeting with similar groups in various places around the district to talk about how to promote businesses that manufacture goods to ship around the world. He is also talking about how state, local and federal officials can work together to ensure that industries have a skilled workforce and other things they need to succeed.
"We've got some of the hardest working folks in the country right here in the 12th District, who ship their goods around the world. ..." Barrow said in a news release. "These businesses are creating jobs and helping sustain our economy. It's one of the most informative tours I take every year, and I'm looking forward to listening to these businesses and seeing all the great things coming out of the 12th District."
After the roundtable, Barrow toured GAF Roofing in the Development Authority of Bulloch County's Gateway Regional Industrial Park. Since its founding in 1886, GAF has become the largest roofing manufacturer in North America, with sales approaching $3 billion. Nationwide, the company employs more than 3,000 people.
GAF's Statesboro facility, opened in 2012, employs about 50 people in a 300,000-square-foot warehouse.
During the two-week Congressional District Work Period, April 14-25, Barrow was scheduled to visit manufacturing facilities in Richmond, Columbia, Douglas, Burke, Appling, Treutlen, Emanuel, Jenkins, and Laurens counties.