Athens-Clarke County and Oconee economic development officials are gleefully riding the waves created by Caterpillar as they lead the first-ever . The two-day tour, which began Thursday, is an chance for business leaders, site consultants and real estate agents from across the Southeast to see what the counties have to offer.
It's been a collaborative effort in the works for over a year, but tour manager Mary Charles Howard said more excitement has surrounded the project since .
"That's when everybody started signing up for the tour," she said. "Caterpillar saw the magic and now we're trying to convince other people."
Jon Williams, president of Williams and Associates, addressed the visitors at the yesterday. Williams serves on the economic development board of the .
"This is an event to showcase our communities' flavor: our food, our entertainment, our businesses," he said. "We're going to highlight the available properties in the region and opportunities for you here." Attendees are also being introduced to the region's "outstanding educational resources and top-rated health care systems."
On Thursday, the tour included stops at the Eaton Corporation, and the site of the .
Guests enjoyed lunch at and dinner at . A panel discussion with local business owners this morning launches day two and will be followed by visits to the University of Georgia and the .
"We want to learn and grow from this event so we can repeat it," Williams said.