Oconee and Athens-Clarke economic development officials are gleefully riding the waves created by Caterpillar as they lead the first-ever Perspective on Progress Tour. The two-day tour, which began Thursday, is an opportunity 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 Caterpillar's announcement in February.
"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."
"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 Athens Technical College, the Eaton Corporation, and the site of the new Caterpillar manufacturing plant. Guests enjoyed lunch at Chops and Hops and dinner at Hotel Indigo. 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 Georgia Museum of Art.
"We want to learn and grow from this event so we can repeat it." Williams said.