Day Three: June 29

The past three days have been a whirlwind of inspiring stories, new faces, and Yellow Jacket pride, but I’m now back home in Atlanta.

We started the day by meeting local government officials and alumni leaders for breakfast in Albany. After a quick stop in Camilla, about a half-hour south of Albany, we headed back to Columbus, our second Fall Line city of the tour (along with Macon).

There, we got a look inside StartUP Columbus, a community entrepreneurship outfit and startup incubator that we’ve had the pleasure of supporting. Immediately afterward, we dropped by another industry partner in Newnan, the Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation, which has worked with Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership and our research enterprise for decades. We closed out the tour with one last dinner reception in Newnan before heading home.

All told, we traveled more than 850 miles to attend nearly 20 events in nine towns across our great state. We spoke with local leaders about the best ways we can support their communities. We met incoming students, alumni, and state legislators. We got to see the fruit of our partnerships with government and industry, and we got to watch Georgia’s best business in action — in industries as diverse as aerospace, logistics, chemicals, metals, and motors — and find new ways to drive economic development in our state.

That’s called Progress and Service, and that’s just how we do things at Georgia Tech.

I send my sincere thanks to everyone who made this tour possible and came out to meet and support us — thank you! I always love the opportunity to visit more of our great state and see firsthand the impact our students, alumni, faculty, and staff are creating in Georgia communities near and far.

For more highlights and a closer look at our last day, check out the video recap below. Go Jackets!

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Day Two: June 28

Early this morning, we toured the headquarters of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, one of the world’s top business jet manufacturers, with whom Georgia Tech — and especially Georgia Tech-Savannah — has enjoyed a treasured friendship for many years.

Speaking of Georgia Tech-Savannah: On our way out of town, we stopped by our thriving Coastal Empire campus to see our K-12 STEM camps in action. These vital summer learning programs are run by our Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing, and I had the pleasure of interacting with our camp instructors and young students.

After a lunch with local leaders and more of our friends in Brunswick, we got back in the car and headed southwest to Valdosta, where we spent much of the rest of the day.

For our first visit in Valdosta, we went to the corporate headquarters of CJB Industries, a leading chemical manufacturer that operates three plants in the city. CJB is also another of our key industry partners with whom the Georgia Tech Research Institute collaborated over the course of many years to develop Salvus Detection Technology. Salvus is an extremely innovative and ultrasensitive system that can detect chemical and biological substances in parts per trillion using the world’s first handheld chemical and biological interferometric detector.

CJB's president and CEO, Clinton Beeland, is a helluva engineer himself (CHE 1990) and a longtime friend of the Institute. During our visit, I learned more about their business vision and community impact, and I remarked how much I appreciate the fact that this ultramodern technological company makes their corporate home in a historic building in downtown Valdosta that they renovated themselves.

After that, we toured Valdosta’s Traffic Management Center, where we got to see the traffic monitoring and communication system Georgia Tech helped create as part of a Georgia Smart Communities Challenge project. Led by civil and environmental engineering professor Baabak Ashuri, the project implemented a smart traffic management system that connected all 128 traffic signals in the city, saving 10-11 seconds per signal cycle per intersection. Sponsored by the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, this project was also named a finalist for the 2021 World Smart Cities Award — one of only five U.S.-based projects among 34 finalists!

We finished the day with a late drive to Albany. Tomorrow is our final day, and it’s a big one, too, as we’ll move from Albany all the way back to Atlanta with stops in Camilla, Columbus, and Newnan.

Follow along by watching our daily recap below!

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Day One: June 27

Though Georgia Tech is increasingly recognized as one of the world’s premier research universities, nothing can ever change the fact that, as a public institution, we are foremost committed to serving the state of Georgia. In fact, our global reputation, connectivity, and impact multiply the value we bring to Georgia.  

I’m getting to see many of the ways we serve and support our state right now. Early this morning, I left on my second Georgia tour as president, and by the time we’re back home in Atlanta on Thursday night, I’ll have traveled more than 850 miles to visit nine towns across our great state. 

For our first stop, we headed southeast to Robins Air Force Base, the site of one of Georgia Tech’s many long and fruitful partnerships with the armed forces. Robins employs hundreds of our alumni, collaborates with students and faculty as an industrial partner of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, and is one of the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s top clients, served year-round by our Warner Robins Field Office. It’s a very special relationship, and I took pride in seeing our collaborative work in action at Robins’ Air Logistics Complex. 

We met local leaders, alumni, and supporters for lunch in Macon, and we then headed to the coast, where we’ll stay until tomorrow afternoon. One of my favorite parts of this tour is getting to meet the great industry partners Georgia Tech supports and collaborates with. We got to tour our first corporate campus this afternoon, when we dropped by Savannah’s Great Dane, one of the world’s largest semi-trailer manufacturers. Along with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation — the renowned business jet company, which we’ll visit tomorrow morning — these two companies are longtime friends, partners, and essentially next-door neighbors of Georgia Tech-Savannah. 

We met more friends, alumni, and incoming students at dinner in Savannah, and we’ll have another fun and busy day tomorrow. Watch the video recap below for more, and come back tomorrow for details on our next stops, which will take us from Savannah to Brunswick to Valdosta.

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