Mary Ellen McClanahan is the Director of Small Business at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Heather Abbott is the Sales and Marketing Director of SouthLife.
David Pope is the Chief of Innovation and Co-Founder of Strand RX.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), along with the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA), announced Georgia’s 2018 Small Business Rock Stars. GDEcD and GEDA hosted a luncheon where four Georgia companies were honored for being an outstanding, unique and impactful small business. “What an honor it is to celebrate Georgia’s Small Business Rock Stars during the state’s annual Small Business Week,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Anytime we can put a spotlight on Georgia’s small businesses is a win-win for the state. This year’s Rock Stars come from all over Georgia and keep our economy thriving, helping us maintain our status as the No.1 state in the nation in which to do business.” The 2018 Small Business Rock Stars winners include: AKESOgen in Gwinnett County, Gottwals Books in Peach County, SouthLife Supply Company in Thomas County and STRAND Clinical Technologies in Colombia County. “With almost 98 percent of Georgia companies employing fewer than 100 people, small business has a tremendous impact on Georgia’s economy,” said GDEcD Director of Entrepreneur & Small Business Mary Ellen McClanahan. “The Rock Star recognition provides the perfect opportunity to showcase how important small businesses are to the state and of course, the local economy.” These companies have shown increases in revenue, sales, exporting, product lines, jobs and economic impact. Additionally, the Small Business Rock Stars have shown dedication to their entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and a unique approach to conducting business to take them to the next level. “GEDA supports all types of economic development where jobs and investment are created, and where the quality of life is improved for our citizens,” said GEDA President Kevin Shea. “We are proud to support small businesses of all sizes through our members and their organizations all over the State of Georgia. Congratulations to this year’s award-winning small businesses.” Governor Nathan Deal declared March 19-23, 2018 as Georgia Small Business Week to celebrate the achievements made my small businesses throughout the state. The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s small business efforts and outreach are directed by GDEcD Director of Entrepreneur & Small Business Mary Ellen McClanahan.