DABC hires new director

Jonathan Lupo

Jonathan Lupo

Equipped with an expressive resume, the Development Authority’s new director Jonathan Lupo is ready to give Burke County a try.

Lupo served as director of Business Recruitment for the Douglas County Development Authority where his most notable business wins include Stitch Fix, an e-logistics facility that created 981 new jobs and BANG Energy, a manufacturing/ distribution operation that created 600 jobs.

“The county had a 600,000-sq. ft. building that had been vacant for a good bit and the Development Authority had been marketing it for food processing and possible pharmaceuticals and BANG Energy started looking at it through a developer and a site consultant and ultimately decided that the building was exactly what they needed to begin manufacturing of their cans and processing of drinks,” Lupo said.

Prior to that, he held the position of International Project Manager for the Office of International Commerce with Louisiana Economic Development. Lupo’s main responsibility included recruiting foreign companies into the State of Louisiana.

“I was there almost four years,” Lupo said. “We recruited from anywhere in the international sphere but mainly I focused on the Middle East and Asia markets.”

Lupo also served as International Trade Policy and Special Projects Manager with the Georgia Department of Economic Development. His focus included assisting Georgia companies with finding new places to market their products.

Most recently, Lupo served as President and CEO of the Waycross-Ware Development Authority, a stint that lasted approximately nine months. Lupo said he moved to the Waycross- Ware area with his wife and son around this time last year. The Development Authority has multiple business parks they are trying to fill and Lupo’s main responsibility included finding businesses that would call Waycross-Ware home. Lupo and his wife decided that the distance between their jobs was not feasible to raise a family. His wife, Ashley, goes on maternity leave next month and the couple are hoping to find housing in the region. They are not likely to move to Burke County.

“My intention is to move to the region,” Lupo said. “We would love to live in Burke County and live where we work, but with the current housing market, we are going to look wherever we can find a place. We understand homes, here in the county and around the United States and Georgia – there are not a lot. The housing market is tough. We are not limiting ourselves to just Burke County.”

Lupo’s annual salary is $97,000 and the DABC is not requiring him to live in the county. According to office manager, Stephanie Folker, the agency advertised that candidates must live within a 40-mile radius.

“We have such a housing issue here,” she said.

Lupo stepped into the role Monday, March 14, in time to attend the Masters Red Carpet event next month. He believes that Burke County has the potential to attract tier-2 and tier-3 automotive companies as the region continues to grow.

“With Fort Gordon and Cyber and the growth they are going through, I think that Burke County is in a great position to benefit from the Cyber Institute there,” he said. “Burke County has a good amount of publicly owned land, which always looks good to investors. You are able to provide more incentives when you have publicly owned land. So, I think regionally, as a whole, Burke County stands to benefit from the growth happening around it.”

Lupo grew up in Douglas County and graduated from Georgia College in Milledgeville.

The DABC’s former Chairman Preston Conner recently suggested that the DABC needed a director with connections in Atlanta.

“I know a majority of the consultants that are officed in Atlanta,” Lupo said. “I have dealt with a majority of the State project managers for the utilities and for the state.”

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