ATLANTA–Georgia’s logistics industry contributed $33.5 billion and more than 181,000 jobs to the state’s economy in 2018. Alumnus Matt Markham works closely with the state’s most innovative logistics companies, helping them grow by introducing them to university researchers, potential clients and partners who connect them with manufacturing or trade opportunities.
Since 2017, Markham has been director of the Georgia Center for Innovation in Logistics, part of the Centers of Innovation (COI) program under the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The program encourages entrepreneurs and boosts growth for small- and medium-sized businesses. The state’s five Centers of Innovation are led by industry experts who help make companies’ new ideas, services and technologies commercially viable, contributing to Georgia’s economic growth.
Markham leads a team of three at the COI-Logistics. It provides a free service, helping Georgia entrepreneurs and midsize companies tackle common challenges in driving innovation, including technology, workforce, manufacturing, shipping, logistics, business/university connections and sales. It provides technical industry expertise, collaborative research and strategic partnerships. The center publishes reports on Georgia’s logistics and holds an annual, statewide logistics summit.
The center is unique, Markham said, because it is part of the state’s economic development strategy and focuses on helping existing companies grow.
“We often help early-stage companies make connections to improve their product and test market opportunities,” he said. “For example, an Atlanta startup developed a mobile application and software tool to help warehousing companies manage their temporary workforce, which many logistics companies rely on to fill jobs. We helped this startup test their product with partners in Savannah, where the ports have created a large warehousing presence. Their success encouraged them to establish a permanent office in Savannah.”
Markham’s career includes six years as director of external affairs of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the State Road and Tollway Authority, advocating for regional transportation planning. He worked in the private sector before earning his master’s degree in public administration, where he focused on public sector decision-making, particularly its impact on the transportation sector.
“I’m proud of my degree and encourage anyone looking at a career in the public sector to consider the well-respected program at the Andrew Young School,” he said. “I really liked that the school is in downtown Atlanta, in the heart of everything. Also, the program felt very intimate, and students are able to make good connections with faculty.
“Georgia State has a strong commitment to its professional students, and the flexibility of classes meant I was able to attend both full- and part-time. Because about half the students in my classes were already professionals, it was a good opportunity to learn from those students about possible career paths.
“The skills I learned at AYS have been invaluable in my work to help businesses grow in Georgia.”
Story by Alison Tyrer