Awards & Recognition

GEDA recognizes members, volunteers and other leaders for excellence in the field of economic development with five awards"

  • Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence
  • Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Zell Miller Public Policy Leadership Award
  • Honorary Life Member
  • Deal of the Year


Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence

The Rip Wiley Award for Professional Excellence recognizes a GEDA member with at least 10 years of economic development experience for professionalism, honor, integrity, leadership, hard work, and contributions to the profession. Current officers, directors, and committee chairs are not eligible for this award. Potential recipients are nominated by previous recipients, or by current officers, directors, and chairs. The selection of no more than one Rip Wiley Award recipient annually is made by the current Officers.

From the files of GEDA... H. W. "Rip" Wiley worked for the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism as Director of the Industry Division when he passed in October 1978. Rip's primary objective was to locate industry in the rural communities of Georgia. He also strived to help local communities initiate development efforts in their particular community which would enable the recruitment and retention of industry. He worked long and hard to ensure that his projects were not being "let go". An example of his commitment was once while in intensive care, he "ordered" his briefcase be brought to him so that he could work. He genuinely stood for the people of Georgia, politics and egos aside. In striving to serve Georgia, he represented the state as a shining example of honor, leadership, integrity, dedication, professionalism and hard work which impacted numerous persons in the industrial development field in Georgia. This award was established upon his death in 1978 to be presented to the person in economic development who best represents his spirit of excellence."

Rip Wiley Awards Recipients

Volunteer of the Year Award

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual economic development volunteer for outstanding service to an economic development organization or community. Nominations are solicited from all GEDA members. One statewide recipient is selected by the Board of Directors annually.

Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients





Governor Zell Miller Public Policy Leadership Award

The Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) believes that sound, progressive public policy is essential for sustaining quality economic development in Georgia. In consideration of his outstanding leadership as Governor, and his public service to Georgia for many years prior to becoming Governor, GEDA believes that Governor Zell Miller has been a model for the kind of public policy leadership that Georgia needs for its future. The economic success that Georgia has enjoyed these past several years can be traced to the policies and programs Governor Miller has championed as Georgia's chief economic developer.

GEDA has established an award for leadership in economic development policy. With Governor Miller's consent, GEDA has named that award The Governor Zell Miller Public Policy Leadership Award, which will be presented during the GEDA Annual Conference awards banquet in September.

It is the intent of GEDA that this award will serve to encourage many Georgians to exert strong leadership in economic development public policy. To assure the highest possible qualifications and most exemplary recipients, the GEDA Board of Directors may elect not to present this very special award every year.

Recipients must have clearly demonstrated by their work an enduring commitment, dedication, and leadership in advocating and implementing public policies that are essential for sustained quality economic development in Georgia.


Honorary Life Member

The Honorary Life Member Award recognizes individuals for long, exceptional and/or exemplary career and service to GEDA, or for extraordinary efforts directly related to the purposes of GEDA.


Deal of the Year

The Deal of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the location or expansion of new businesses in the state of Georgia that meet community economic development goals and involve significant community program support, such as financial or permitting assistance, workforce development, state financial support, etc.