City honors businesses in Alpharetta



ALPHARETTA, Ga. — If an Alpharetta-based business was awarded, recognized or honored in 2012, there was an additional acknowledgment from the city.

For the first time, city of Alpharetta leaders held a breakfast March 26 to recognize about 100 small businesses and large corporations, aggregating them in one place with the purpose of building a stronger community.

“We are acknowledging them as a business of excellence for the city and saying, ‘We appreciate your over-achievement in business and dedication to excellency,’” said Peter Tokar, Alpharetta’s director of economic development. “It’s a way to let the existing businesses know that the city cares about them.”

Tokar said the efforts are part of the city’s business retention plan and would like to hold this recognition event yearly.

“I know there are businesses that we missed,” Tokar said. “We want to encourage businesses to let us know when they do something special.”

Ed Baker, publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, was the event’s keynote speaker. Baker asked businesses to connect with community through philanthropy and education.

“Mobilize your troops,” Baker said. “Get involved with youth.”

Mayor David Belle Isle said the city wanted to reach the entire business community. He urged companies to identify themselves as Alpharetta-based and move from being a guest in the city to being hosts.

“We are trying to create, not only a community among the citizens, but also a community among our businesses,” Belle Isle said.

To foster a stronger business community, Belle Isle has touted last year’s creation of the Alpharetta Technology Commission, which is made up of 10 legacy technology companies with at least 250 employees; five emerging companies with 150 employees or less; and five partners such as Gwinnett Tech and Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

“Although we have 600 to 800 tech companies, we have a lot of other companies,” Belle Isle said. “Part of making people feel like they are part of the community is acknowledging when they do things right.”

Mike Potts, president and CEO of Lancope, a computer network and security monitoring company, was among the businesses recognized. Last year, Lancope received the Technology Association of Georgia’s “Top 40 Innovative Companies” award. Potts, whose company came to the area 10 years ago, also serves on the Alpharetta Technology Commission.

“We’re just getting started here and getting Alpharetta on the map,” Potts said. “This has been a great market for us to hire, too.”

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