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UNG graduate delivers Atlanta's bid for Amazon's HQ2 to officials in Seattle

When Brittany Holtzclaw transferred to the University of North Georgia (UNG) in fall 2005 she thought she was going to be an accountant.

"I liked numbers," said the 2007 graduate of the Mike Cottrell College of Business. "I thought I was going into accounting."

But fate intervened, leading Holtzclaw from one job opportunity to another. In 2016, she landed the job as the director of Logistics, Energy, Agribusiness, and Food Processing (LEAF) with the Georgia Department of Economic Developmentnew window.

Then in October 2017, Holtzclaw found herself hand-delivering Atlanta's bidnew window to become the second headquarters for Amazon, an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company based in Seattle. Holtzclaw, 33, led the team that developed the proposal for Amazon.

"I'm still trying to figure out how that happened," she said, referring to being selected for the 24-hour whirlwind trip to deliver Atlanta's proposal to Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. "I felt excited because I was representing a whole team of people that worked really hard to put this response together."

Now, she and representatives of the other organizations — Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Power Co., Georgia EMC and Electric Cities of Georgia LLC — have to wait and see if their efforts will be rewarded. Amazon received 238 proposals from different cities in North America.

"They have the proposal in their hands," Holtzclaw said. "They are internally going through the bids."

She said the next step is for Amazon to narrow its choices and visit select cities before making a final decision. Recent reports indicate a short list will be compiled Dec. 1, with the decision being made next year.

"I hope we are in the next phase," Holtzclaw said. "But who knows where they want to go and what they are truly looking for that will put certain cities above the rest."

The Gwinnett County native explained the team spent six weeks producing a package highlighting Atlanta's assets, including the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the University System of Georgia, the educated workforce, and the business-friendly environment of Georgia's capital city.

"We are the No. 1 state for doing business," she said. "We hear from other states how well we partner together to help companies locate to Georgia."

That sentiment fuels Holtzclaw. Her job is to recruit companies to the capital city and the state by promoting the assets of each community. She also works to entice companies to expand in Georgia.

"I go to work every day knowing that I am helping to create jobs for Georgians," she said. "It's a big impact."

She is confident her team's proposal will impact Amazon.

"Everyone is speculating right now," she said. "We put a lot of hard work into it, or blood, sweat and tears as everyone says."

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