Alan Verner

Alan Verner, former chairman of the Joint Development Authority, accepts the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Georgia Economic Developers Association on Monday, Nov. 15.

Alan Verner, a Morgan County native who chaired the Joint Development Authority for more than 20 years, has been chosen as Volunteer of the Year by the The Georgia Economic Developers Association. Verner retired from the board earlier this year, but his legacy has not been forgotten.

“I was very honored to receive this special award from the GEDA,” said Verner after the ceremony last Monday celebrating his achievements.

“The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual economic development volunteer for outstanding service to an economic development organization or community,” said a press release from GEDA. “This year’s recipient is Alan Verner, Chairman of the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton & Walton Counties.”

Verner was honored for his visionary leadership that transformed Stanton Springs Industrial Park from rural rolling pastures to a booming epicenter of medical and technological industries.

After two decades of service and billions of dollars in investment, Stanton Springs Industrial Park is currently the home of Takeda, a $1.2 billion biopharmaceutical company, a $14 million Bioscience Training Center and a new Facebook data center, the first phase of which is estimated to cost $750 million. Later phases could cost up to $42 billion over the next two decades. Another development is on the horizon, after the JDA sold the last of the developable land to “Baymare,” which is widely believed to be a pseudonym for Facebook. Baymare has also secured bonds through the JDA for up to $42 billion over the next two decades to develop the burgeoning industry.

Alan Verner was at the helm of the JDA since its conception nearly 25 years ago.

“I am very proud of all our accomplishments at Stanton Springs in bringing some of the largest economic development projects in the Southeast,’ said Verner. “Takeda, Facebook and Baymare will provide many benefits to our state and region for years to come.”

The Georgia Economic Developers Association is a nonprofit association of professionals, volunteers and supporters. The association provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members and supports public policies that promote quality job creation and sustainable economic development throughout the state. For more information, visit GEDA.org.

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