Gov. Nathan Deal touted local business development and an improving statewide jobs landscape during a stop in Sandy Springs Tuesday.
“[Overall], our job growth has certainly exceeded the national average,” Deal said. “From what I hear, Sandy Springs has 8,000 active business licenses — that is an impressive statistic.”
Deal’s remarks came before a well-attended gathering of merchants, media and prominent politicians at a Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at First Data’s corporate headquarters.
The governor, who touted his own jobs track record, noted Sandy Springs and Atlanta — along with Marietta — earned top rankings for new business development among metro areas, according to the Hachman index.
“Sandy Springs and the Perimeter area are very blessed to have a number of Fortune 500 companies … like First Data, Newell Rubbermaid and UPS,” Deal said.
“Then, of course, they have those companies that don’t quite fit the 500 category, but create new jobs nonetheless.”
The mayors of Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Brookhaven were among the high-profile politicians on hand for Deal’s appearance. Council members from each of those recently formed cities and a handful of state legislators also turned out.
Deal touched on an array of current issues facing his office, including voicing his support of improvements to the Interstate 285-Ga. 400 interchange.
First Data CEO Frank Bisignano took the dais after Deal. The former’s address featured a frank assessment of the firm and its collaborative aspirations.
Bisignano, a native New Yorker, was appointed chief executive in April — turning around the global payment processing company’s fortunes a year after posting losses in the hundreds of millions the chief task on his agenda.
He refuted any speculation about First Data moving its base of operations, formerly located in Colorado, away from its metro area confines in the Learning and Innovation Center on Glenridge Connector.
“I like Sandy Springs,” Bisignano said. “Everybody thought the first thing I’d do is move [headquarters] up North … but that is not the case.”
He added that he looked forward to working with “everybody” in the room.
“Let’s not have walls [between us], but a seamless ubiquitous environment where we can partner up,” Bisignano said.