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SEDA Top 10 of 2021

Trying to encapsulate the achievements of the Savannah region in 2021 can best be summed up with these two words: record setting. The year brought with it an influx of interest and activity resulting in three, new, highest-ever milestones in SEDA’s recorded history. In fact, as you’re about to see, we don’t have a Top 10 this year, we had to make room for 11 highlights, and we’re thrilled to share them with you…

Business Development

Business development is deemed successful when businesses choose to launch, locate and grow in our region.

As you’re about to see, in 2021, all of the above were achieved: major expansions that also brought innovative robotics technology; completion of the largest strategic land purchase in state history; businesses new to our region choosing to establish themselves here; and innovative public-private partnerships with educators were formed. Even SEDA had a relocation of its own, moving into new offices near historic Forsyth Park. Launch, locate and grow. In 2021, business development checked all three boxes, and set new records along the way.

Savannah Regional Film Commission

The entertainment production industry in the Savannah region rebounded in 2021 with a recorded $114 million in direct spend - the second highest year to date.

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World Trade Center Savannah

Over the past 10 years, World Trade Center Savannah (WTCSav) has evolved to meet the needs of our partners and Coastal Georgia but our mission still stands true:

  • Help regional businesses do business internationally
  • Help facilitate direct investment opportunities for the region
  • Generate revenue to support these activities

Group of men and women holding an award smiling

Georgia Southern University President Dr. Kyle Marrero, Development Authority of Bryan County CEO Anna Chafin, Dorel Home Furnishings Vice President of Supply Chain Dwayne Carpenter, Canadian Ambassador Louise Blais, World Trade Centers Association Executive Director Robin van Puyenbroeck, World Trade Center Savannah President and CEO Trip Tollison.

“We are proud to name Dorel Home Furnishings as our 2021 International Business of the Year. Georgia Southern University’s relationships with our regional businesses are crucial to our mission and to the strength of Southeast Georgia, and we are proud to be the presenting sponsor of this award.”

- Kyle Marrero, Georgia Southern University President

In October, World Trade Center Savannah announced that Dorel Home Furnishings was the recipient of the 2021 World Trade Center Savannah International Business of the Year award. The award was given during the second annual Prosperity Through Trade Luncheon that featured financial journalist and bestselling author Ron Insana as the keynote speaker.

Dorel Home Furnishings is a Canadian company established in 1962 that located a distribution center in Bryan County in 2016. Dorel brands are recognized globally, and the company employs approximately 8,900 people in 25 countries. Two of Dorel’s three business segments perform distribution operations in Georgia via the Port of Savannah, and the local center employs more than 350 families in the area. The award was presented by Georgia Southern University’s President Dr. Kyle Marrero.

“We are proud to name Dorel Home Furnishings as our 2021 International Business of the Year,” said Marrero. “Georgia Southern University’s relationships with our regional businesses are crucial to our mission and to the strength of Southeast Georgia, and we are proud to be the presenting sponsor of this award.”

Given annually, the World Trade Center Savannah International Business of the Year award recognizes companies that excel in international trade and acknowledges the importance of trade to the region’s economy. This year’s award was sponsored by Georgia Southern University.

As a hybrid of both domestic and imported manufactured products, Dorel’s international suppliers are critical partners in their supply chain. With disruptions in the global supply chain, the most critical component of the business is a reliable infrastructure, which they find at the Georgia Ports Authority.

“One of the things we like at Dorel Home is the family atmosphere,” said Dorel Home Furnishings Vice President of Supply Chain Dwayne Carpenter. “We love being in Georgia. I think the values that are represented in the community resonate well with our company. We feel that we’re a proud partner in the great State of Georgia and we look forward to bigger and brighter things ahead.”

“They’re very engaged and always striving to find the best ways to hire employees and to keep employees,” said Development Authority of Bryan County Executive Director Anna Chafin. “They remain up to speed on tax credits and they work with the state to ensure they maximize the benefits offered there. It has been a true pleasure to work with Dorel.”

This award is presented to encourage and recognize exemplary corporate leadership for international business or trade that advances relations between the U.S. and other nations as well as creates quality jobs in the region.

Accountants/CPA Firms
Contract Furnishings/ Interior Design

The Work We Do Marketing and Events


Headshot of John Coleman

John Coleman

Chairman, Savannah Economic Development Authority
Bonitz of Georgia, Inc.

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Headshot of Trip Tollison

Hugh "Trip" Tollison

President and CEO, Savannah Economic Development Authority

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Headshot of John Petrino

John Petrino

Chairman, World Trade Center Savannah
Georgia Ports Authority

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The Financials

Independent Auditor’s Report

To the Board of Directors of
Savannah Economic Development Authority

We have audited the consolidated statements of net position of the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and affiliates, as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the related consolidated statements of revenues, expenses, and changes in fund net position and of cash flows for the years then ended. Our opinion on the audited consolidated financial statements was dated April 5, 2022.

The accompanying condensed financial information of SEDA as of and for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 is not a presentation in conformity with accounting standards generally accepted in the United States of America or government auditing standards. Reading the condensed financial information; therefore, is not a substitute for reading the audited financial statements of SEDA.

Management’s Responsibility
Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the consolidated financial statements and the condensed financial information.

Auditor’s Responsibility
Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the consolidated financial statements based on our audit.

In our opinion, the accompanying condensed financial information is fairly stated, in all material respects, in relation to the portion of the basic financial statements from which it has been derived.

Other Matters
SEDA has not presented the management’s discussion and analysis that the Governmental Auditing Standards Board has determined is necessary to supplement, although not required to be a part of, the basic financial statements.

Holland, Henry & Bromley, LLP
Holland, Bromley, Barnhill & Brett, LLP
Savannah, Georgia
April 20, 2022