Jay A. Garner, CEcD, CCE, FM, HLM
President & Founder
Jay Garner is the president and founder of Garner Economics, LLC, an economic development and site location consulting firm headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. Jay is a leader and innovator in the economic development profession, having served for 40 years as both an award-winning economic development, Chamber of Commerce CEO, and site location professional. His firm assists clients throughout the world on a wide variety of projects, offering innovative, yet real-world solutions to achieve success. Jay often lectures and provides counsel on creating and implementing proactive global business development strategies and tactics. His firm is also a leader in providing assistance to corporate clients in their site selection process, such as Anchor Glass, Academy Sports, Hatfield Quality Meats, Hill’s Pet Foods, Marel, Future Pipe Industries and others. He is a founding member and current chair of the board for the Site Selectors Guild, a prestigious group of the top site location consultants, globally. He is a co-author of the book, Economic Development Is Not For Amateurs!, a must-read for community leaders on how to achieve economic development success.
Jay is a graduate of West Virginia University with Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees. He is also a graduate of both the Economic Development Course at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma, where he is an instructor in international prospecting. Jay has led over 25 trade and business development missions on four continents leading to the creation of thousands of jobs and several billion dollars in capital investment. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a Fellow Member and an Honorary Life Member, the three highest professional designations awarded to those in the economic development profession by the International Economic Development Council. He is also a Certified Chamber Executive (CCE), a professional designation awarded to Chamber professionals by the Association for Chamber of Commerce Executives.
In 2009, the readers of Southern Business & Development magazine named Garner Economics as one of the best consulting firms in the U.S. In 2015, the same publication listed Jay as one of the “Ten people who made a difference” in economic development. As a practitioner, Jay was selected as one of ten outstanding leaders in economic development in the United States for six consecutive years by Site Selection magazine while leading the economic development program in Mobile, AL. The mayor and city council of Mobile declared July 29, 1994 as “Jay Garner Day” in the city for his nine years of exemplary service as chief economic development officer for the city/county. As CEO of the Asheville, NC Chamber of Commerce, the organization became the first Chamber in the U.S. to win a Quality Award by the North Carolina Quality Foundation based on the national Malcolm Baldrige criteria. He was honored in both 2002 and 2003 by his alma mater, West Virginia University with Distinguished Alumnus Awards within the Department of Political Science and the following year, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
Jay is a past chairman for the International Economic Development Council, the largest economic development professional trade organization in the world. An avid jazz drummer, he plays in a big band jazz orchestra in the Atlanta area.