In November alone, the authority approved an incentive package for Shaw Industries’ new plant in Adairsville and approved $500 million in bonds for the LakePoint Sporting Community. Earlier in 2013, Strickland signed his way through a stack of legal documents after the authority approved the Adairsville Shaw plant, which had been kept a secret under the codename Project Rectangle.
Strickland holds the title of vice-chairman for the authority, a position he received after being appointed to the development authority by previous Bartow County Commissioner Clarence Brown.
Name: Eric Strickland
Occupation: Real estate
Family: Wife, Jennifer of 19 years; three sons, Andrew, Ethan, and Eli
Education: Darlington School, Reinhardt College
You have served as the Development Authority of Bartow County’s vice chairman for a number of years, and have led the authority since Steve Taylor became county commissioner. How did you become involved with the development authority?
A: I was appointed several years ago by former Commissioner Brown. I have always been involved in economic development and was a natural transition for me. I am grateful for what this community has done for me and my family and enjoy paying it back.
How does Bartow County benefit from having a county-wide development authority?
A: There are several development authorities in Bartow County, but the BCDA covers the greatest geographic area. A few years ago, Commissioner Brown and the late Mayor of Cartersville, Sam Smith, worked together to form a Cartersville/Bartow Joint Development Authority. This was historical for our community. It created a partnership with the city of Cartersville and Bartow County that has led to landing several projects and job growth.
What do you believe has been the development authority’s greatest contribution to Bartow County?
A: The creation of new jobs is something that our authority is very proud of. It is a great feeling to know that we are part of recruiting new industry, but our authority is equally focused, if not more focused, on retention and expansion of existing industry. Several of the various authorities work closely with the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development. Melinda Lemmon and her staff have initiated several of the projects we have going on and have cultivated relationships with current local industry. Everyone is totally committed in creating quality jobs.
Bartow County has recently attracted new business investments in the form of a Shaw plant in Adairsville and an expansion at the Toyo Tires plant. In your opinion, what is attracting these companies to Bartow and keeps them here as existing industries?
A: Shaw has been a huge partner in Bartow County for several years. They are one of the top employers county-wide. It makes a huge statement for them to make another investment in our community. As I previously mentioned, it is vital to work with existing industry. Toyo made commitments, early on, for adding jobs and expanding their manufacturing operations. They have blown those numbers out of the water and have exceeded everyone’s expectations. I am fortunate to be working with the LakePoint Development. I can’t even begin to explain what type of growth it will bring along with some of the other projects that have yet to be mentioned.
How can Bartow County continue to drive economic development on a local level? Is there any sort of local program or partnership you would like to see? [
A: I do not see anything “different” that we can do. We have a good partnership with all of the municipalities in Bartow County. Right now is probably one of the most important times in our county’s history. We have several great things happening in our community and are drawing national as well as international attention. We must ride the “wave” and work harder, as a community, to capitalize on these opportunities.
If you had a dream job, what would it be?
A: I am living my dream job. I have been fortunate to work with my father in business for over 20 years now. He has been a huge mentor and role model to me. I have learned more from him than one could ever imagine and am proud to be his son. My love for real estate and economic development was instilled in me from an early age. I am truly blessed beyond words.
What is your greatest achievement?
A: I don’t know if it’s an achievement or not, but raising three boys, I’ll say, is a work in progress. My family is the world to me and teaching my boys to be respectful, hard-working, gentleman will be my greatest personal achievement. They are well on their way. As far as a professional achievement, I was fortunate to be an organizer and director of Century Bank. I had the privilege of working with the late Sam Smith and several other fine men and women.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A:When I was a little boy, my mother and father sat me down and explained how some people were apples and some were oranges. They told me a was a banana … I always thought this was a good thing?
Do you have a personal motto?
A: The harder you work, the luckier you get!
If you were to write your autobiography or memoirs, what would the title be?
A: If You’re Not First You’re Last!