Georgia honors Columbus clinical trials company, Georgetown fishing lure maker

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 devices 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 Sporting 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.