Columbus clinical trials company, Georgetown fishing lure maker honored by state


A couple of Columbus-area companies are among five across the state honored with Monday’s launch of Georgia Small Business Week.

The “Small Business Rock Stars,” as they are called, were recognized during a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Midtown Atlanta, with Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, on hand.

IACThealth, a decade-old company that employs about 35 people, is based on Talbotton Road, near the heart of the city’s medical hub, including Midtown Medical Center. The health-care firm — IACT is an acronym for Institute for the Advancement of Clinical Trials — has eight offices in Georgia. It does clinical research for various industries, including biotech, medical device and pharmaceuticals. It looks to fill 16 positions this year.

D&J Plastics, a fishing lure manufacturer based in Georgetown, Ga. — an hour south of Columbus and near Eufaula, Ala. — is the other area honoree. Employing 72, the nearly two-decade-old company reports annual sales of $6.3 million, with customers in 15 countries. It’s top-selling lure is Big Bite, with D&J capable of making 750,000 lures in 24 hours and now seeking a patent for a product developed for Dick’s Sport Goods.

The remaining three “Rock Stars” for 2016 are Vizitech USA in Putnam County, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in Athens, and Reformation Brewery in Cherokee County.

The criteria sought by the state in the program included innovation, increases in sales, revenues and exports, jobs and showing an “entrepreneurial spirit.” The five honored were chosen out of 69 nominees by a panel of judges.

“While 99 percent of Georgia’s companies are considered small businesses, they are anything but small,” Carr said in a statement. “These companies contribute greatly to our economy and are a prime reason that Georgia is the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business for a third consecutive year.”