By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hinesville wins national innovation award
Honor stems from Global Auto Forum participation
Hinesville Global Auto Forum 2013
Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas examines an automobile on display at the Global Auto Forum in Wuhan, China, in October 2013. Participation in the project earned the city of Hinesville the 2014 Innovation Award for Economic Development from Sister Cities International. - photo by Photo provided.

The city of Hinesville recently was named the winner of the Sister Cities International 2014 Innovation Award — Economic Development for a city with a population less than 100,000. The announcement was made during the SCI’s 58th annual conference Aug. 2.

The award recognizes community accomplishments and individual sister-city programs that promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation, according to a news release from Hinesville public-relations manager Krystal Hart. The city won the award for its economic-development relationship with the city of Yichun, China.

Hinesville was invited by Wang Xia, chairman of the CCPIT Automotive Subcouncil and host of the Global Auto Forum, to attend the fourth annual GAF in October 2013 in Wuhan, China. Attending the GAF provided the city of Hinesville with an opportunity to meet key decision makers within the Chinese automotive industry, Hart said.

Through the efforts of Hinesville’s Chinese sister-city representative, Lily Yang, the Hinesville delegation was given a closed-door meeting with key executives from Chinese automakers. Mayor Jim Thomas and Liberty County Development Authority CEO Ron Tolley presented Hinesville and Liberty County as prime candidates for potential site locations as Chinese automakers look to expand to the U.S. market.

“As a result of our visits, we are confident that the established rapport with industry leaders and continuing relationships with current representatives will position Hinesville/Liberty County as a logistical center and prime prospect for Chinese industry entry into the U.S. market,” Thomas said.

In preparation for the forum, Hinesville city officials collaborated with representatives from International Auto Processing in Brunswick and the Liberty County Development Authority.

SCI is a national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties and states across the United States. According to its website,, the Washington, D.C.-based group strives to advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian and economic development exchanges.

Sign up for our e-newsletters