Get to Know Clay Jones
Getting to know Clay Jones, GAM's Vice President and General Counsel
After a decade at one of Georgia’s leading law firms, Clay Jones joined GAM in July of 2006 as its Vice President and General Counsel. Clay leads GAM’s efforts on energy issues before the Georgia Public Service Commission, advocates for GAM members at the General Assembly and before multiple other state agencies, and develops and maintains the Association’s governance procedures and public policy positions.
Why he was attracted to the role:
I had developed a career as a regulatory lawyer representing a wide variety of clients, in particular in the areas of electricity, natural gas and telecommunications. When the opportunity was presented to join GAM I was excited to focus my efforts on representing some of our state’s largest and most impactful employers. I am a proud native of Georgia and have lived in many different places, including rural South Georgia, metropolitan Atlanta and in my hometown of Athens. Our state is incredibly diverse and our manufacturing industries reflect that diversity. Being an advocate for Georgia manufacturers has given me a chance to give back by supporting the industries that make things, creating jobs, wealth and opportunities for communities all across our state.
How he sees his role:
First and foremost I am an advocate. As the first and only lawyer ever to work for the Association in its history, I contribute significantly to the public policy positions that GAM takes to further the interests of our members and manufacturing generally. Working with the rest of our team and specifically with our member companies, I help develop those positions in order to promote the health of our manufacturing base, which is a major contributor to Georgia’s status as the number one state in America to do business. I have a special expertise in energy matters, leading our efforts in proceedings at the Georgia Public Service Commission to ensure that our members have access to reliably delivered and competitively priced energy. I also work in a variety of other public policy areas, from environmental to tax to issues impacting the employer / employee relationship – and everywhere in between. At the end of the day our advocacy efforts are economic development efforts – how do we attract, retain and grow manufacturing investment in Georgia? That is the question that drives everything we do.
In addition to my role as an advocate, I help manage the Association’s affairs from a governance perspective but also from a member education perspective. Our members have to operate in the present tense – making sure their employees are safe, that production is efficient, that they are able to flourish in the face of intense competition domestically and internationally. Part of GAM’s role is to operate in the future – what are the challenges that will impact the economic health of our members that are on the horizon? How can manufacturers be prepared to deal with those challenges or, better yet, how can they take advantage of the associated opportunities that present themselves?
How his role benefits the members of GAM:
First of all, speaking directly, we save our members money. Our advocacy on energy matters facilitates cost savings for GAM members versus what they would experience in the absence of our engagement. We demonstrate those savings for our members. Working with Brittney Hull, our Vice President of Government Affairs, I help ensure that the interests of manufacturers are represented with regard to all other public policy issues that may impact their operations. In short, I help make sure GAM members’ voices are heard by state leaders and public policymakers on the issues that matter most.
My role also benefits members by providing guidance and structure to our operations and facilitating a positive member experience. Having been in this role for as long as I have, I have developed a deep understanding of manufacturers and how they operate. It is an honor and a privilege to work for these fantastic companies that are the backbone of the Georgia economy.
How GAM has changed over the years since he joined:
I think it has changed in three primary ways: (1) the issues faced by manufacturers have become more complex as the world becomes smaller and more interconnected. Although we focus our efforts on laws, regulations and policies within the State of Georgia, the issues faced by our members around the country and the world have a direct impact on how we advocate for them here; (2) we have had to become much nimbler in addressing our members’ needs. For example, no one could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and during that time GAM quickly developed into an essential resource for manufacturers – not only in advocating for policies with the Governor and the General Assembly that would allow continued member operations – but also in educating our members about the constantly moving targets of the pandemic, including ever-changing executive orders and regulations as well as the impact of the public health crisis on everyday operations; and (3) over the past year, our Association has been transforming the way it operates and in particular we have grown our staff to provide more value to our members. It is an exciting time for manufacturing with many challenges and I am more confident than ever of the critical importance of GAM’s role as the advocate for Georgia manufacturers.