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Affiliated Organizations


Joint Development Authority

Stephens County joined Franklin County and Hart County’s Industrial Building Authority in the Joint Development Authority in 1996.

Through regular collaboration, the JDA initiates and manages development projects in North Georgia impacting the three counties in the growing I-85 corridor.

The JDA business plan spells-out major initiatives including Hwy 17 widening, maximizing the Hartwell Railroad, the joint development park, etc. Marketing has shifted from individual counties with about 25,000 residents each to a regional focus which includes more than 100,000 residents. A commuting workforce from South Carolina further increases the pool of available employees.




Georgia Mountains Regional Commission

The Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) is a sub-state district created by local governments in 1962 under provisions of Georgia Enabling Law. The purpose of the GMRC is to locally promote and guide proper development of human, natural, physical, social and economic resources in the Georgia Mountains Region. The area covers 3,500 square miles, and includes Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White Counties.

The GMRC offers a wide variety of services to its 51 local governments, which include 13 counties and 38 municipalities. The GMRC works with these entities to formulate goals and strategies for area growth and development. Upon request, the GMRC provides a variety of technical assistance that will improve community services and the quality of life for Georgia Mountains residents.

The GMRC is guided by a 44-member Council and is composed of individuals appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker and one county elected official, one city elected official and one private sector individual from each of our 13 counties. City, County and private sector representatives are chosen by the cities and counties they represent. The Council is responsible for all policy decisions.


Chamber of Commerce

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the interests of its 400-plus valued Members who represent our community including business, educational, professional, civic, recreational, industrial and political arenas. Members identify opportunities to solve challenges and shape the future of business and the community. The Chamber staff provides leadership, coordinates interested parties and initiates action.  

The Chamber is most often the first stop for visitors to Stephens County as well as potential investors and businesses. The Chamber provides information on the county's rich history, manufacturing, retail and service industries, award winning public schools, state of the art medical facilities, superior public utilities, outstanding community amenities, tourist attractions, unsurpassed natural beauty and outdoor recreation including Lake Hartwell ... the Great Lake of the South.     

Phone: 706-886-2132
Fax: 706-886-2133

Julie Paysen, President
Melvia-Lynn Dickinson, Executive Assistant  
Bill Wheeler, Chairman








Georgia Economic Developers Association

The Georgia Economic Developers Association is a non-profit association of professionals and volunteers who are involved with the economic development of the cities and counties of Georgia.

GEDA was organized to increase the effectiveness of individuals involved in the practice of economic development in Georgia by encouraging cooperation, exchange of information, and upgrading of professional skills.

GEDA strives to achieve a closer working relationship among professionals and volunteers engaged in economic development in Georgia.



Transatlantic Business & Investment Council

The Transatlantic Business & Investment Council is an international group is Foreign Direct Investmentgroup that has become one of the major sources of manufacturing jobs in the United States. When American manufacturers move jobs overseas, the TBIC steps in to fill the void and create millions of well paid jobs in local communities across the U.S. 

In December 2016, the TBIC help fund the SCDA's Executive Director, Tim Martin, as he traveled to Turkey and Germany to visit the headquarters of two Stephens County's international industries. Both Sark Wire, located in Turkey, and Nifco KTW, located in Germany, were overjoyed to have the opportunity to connect with leadership from their U.S. community.




International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping economic developers do their jobs more effectively and raising the profile of the profession. The goal is tp create more high-quality jobs, develop more vibrant communities, and generally improve the quality of life in their regions.

IEDC is the world's largest membership organization serving the economic development profession. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, its members represent the entire range of economic development experience,

Building strong, sustainable communities is an endeavor requiring innovative strategies, tools, and techniques. IEDC  programs and services have been developed accordingly: they provide educational opportunities, analyze and disseminate information, and improve decision-makers' responsiveness to economic development needs.





The SCDA is responsible for the recruitment of new businesses including industrial, manufacturing, distribution, corporate and regional headquarters and customer service centers. It also provides support and assistance with all other types of economic development projects.

The SCDA also works with existing businesses and industries to ensure their continued success. While recruitment of new industry is a significant function, aiding in existing industry expansion and retention is just as significant. About 80 percent of all new jobs in Georgia come as a result of existing industry expansion.

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