21 Mar 2023

Right on Target: Daryl Ingram Leads Firearms Industry Panel Discussion at GEDA

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Daryl Ingram, our SVP & CEO, moderated the panel discussion on Georgia’s Firearms Industry at GEDA’s Monthly luncheon. He spoke with Paul Lemke, CEO of Norma Precision, Bret Vorhees, President & CEO of Taurus Holdings & Trevor Santos, Director of Government Relations-State Affairs for NSSF.

Business development advantages offered by the State took center stage during the discussion, focusing on why companies around the world continue to look to the Peach State for their business expansion needs and success.

Georgia’s competitive incentives and tax structures, access to a variety of energy options, a robust workforce of highly skilled labor pool and our top-ranked workforce development program, Quick Start, help keep advanced manufacturing companies up and running and usually the No. 1 reason why companies decide to relocate to Georgia. Additionally, our access to new markets is exceptional, with 80 percent of U.S. markets being within a two-hour flight and a two-day or less truck haul. 

Following a productive networking session and lively lunch, the Firearms Industry panel discussion got underway. Below are key insights that emerged from the insightful and informative discussion.

Why have Georgia and other states become the location of choice for relocation and expansion of the firearms industry?

  ~ “The state’s support was a big reason why Taurus moved to Georgia. That’s what attracted us to Georgia,” Bret Vorhees. 

~ “Unprecedented assistance with dedication to our company and the industry was a huge deal. Folks bent over backward to give the level of support we wanted, and we don’t feel that would happen in any other state,” Paul Lemke. 

~ “The #1 State for doing business is standing with arms wide open and welcoming our industry,” Trevor Santos. 

Economic Development teams are trying to do all they can to remove barriers, to make projects work. How important is the community’s leadership where your plant is located? 

~ “We couldn’t have done it without Bryan County leadership and team. We were ready to go into our forever home, and the economic development team held our hand throughout the whole process, and they have helped keep us on track to look forward,” Paul Lemke. 

~ “Being able to integrate into a community was critical. The community is what is going to give the company our success. Our relationships with the economic development team in Bainbridge-Decatur County were the catalyst for our move,” Bret Vorhees. 

In attracting a skilled workforce, is there anything you are doing to work with colleges and technical schools to find and retain a workforce, and what can communities do to help you develop a labor pool? 

~ “We are in the very early stages of working with Georgia Southern to develop a program with the goal of having quality engineers and techs who graduate from the program and come work with us. We understand we cannot change the workforce overnight, and we are working with programs like QuickStart to see what we can do to make it more accessible.” Paul Lemke. 

~ “We have found support in Bainbridge as we work to introduce graduating seniors to alternative routes for career choices by giving them access to see what it is like to work for a fast-growing company like ours.” Bret Vorhees. 

We work closely with Georgia’s communities and the State of Georgia’s effort to keep Georgia ranked NUMBER ONE when it comes to business-friendly environments, and keeping Georgia a gun-friendly home to highly skilled machinists, suppliers, and thriving firearms manufacturing. 

We offer firearm-friendly legislation, and we are top-ranked for being a versatile workforce. Our extensive infrastructure provides for quick access to markets via rail, road, sea, and air. 

Thank you, Georgia Economic Developers Association, for all the efforts to foster insightful discussions as you continue to increase the effectiveness of individuals in economic development by encouraging cooperation, exchange of information, and upgrading professional skills. We look forward to the next session.