Norfolk Southern might be synonymous with transportation, but a new partnership between the railroad giant and ATDC (Georgia’s Advanced Tech Development Center) is set to highlight Norfolk Southern’s work in the sustainability space.
ATDC’s new sustainability-focused technology initiative, announced this week, will officially launch early next year thanks to a $750,000 commitment from Norfolk Southern.
Such a partnership is strategic for both the Atlanta-based corporation and ATDC, said director John Avery.
“The rail system is one of the most efficient ways to move things around in the world,” Avery told Hypepotamus. “Sustainability is an area that [Norfolk Southern] cares a lot about and they were the ones that proposed this direction for us. Everybody is impacted and needs to build in a sustainable way now. So [having] a partner here in Atlanta who has that mission and vision and is actually doing work at scale in that category really helps us.”
The goal is to help make ATDC’s Midtown Atlanta hub a “center of gravity” for sustainability-focused startups, be it attracting new ventures to the state or supporting local entrepreneurs getting their idea off the ground.
Miguel Granier, who joined ATDC’s staff in January of this year, will serve as the industry “catalyst” for startups building in the sustainability space.
ATDC’s Place In The Ecosystem
Georgia’s technology startup accelerator is already home to many sustainability-focused companies, having graduated startups in the sector as far back as 1996.
Some notable startups include energy companies Urjanet and Innovolt (Acquired by East West Mfg), solar-focused teams like Suniva, Quest Renewables, and Solar Inventions, and environmental engineering startup Emrgy.
Expansion into sustainability hasn’t been the only signs of growth for ATDC this year. The program announced robotics and supply chain logistics as additional focus areas over the course of 2022. The accelerator also landed new corporate sponsorships with industry titans like Visa and expanded its team with new industry leaders.
ATDC’s growth comes at a time when many startups are scaling back in response to uncertain economic conditions. But for Avery, uncertainty showcases ATDC’s value in the Atlanta tech ecosystem.
“It does feel like the tide is rising here,” Avery said while adding that ATDC has attracted a record-setting number of new startups this year.
“There has been a lot of doom and gloom, discussions about shrinking economies and inflation. Now, quality matters more. People are beginning to pay attention to revenue and companies that have support. That matters more when things get thin. And [I think] that might be one of the reasons that ATDC is having success. People recognize the resources that we bring to help companies succeed,” he added.