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Leigh Hopkins

Leigh Hopkins

Senior Project Manager, Center for Economic Development Research
Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI²)

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MCRP City and Regional Planning (2005), Georgia Institute of Technology
BSFR Forest Resources (1998), University of Georgia

Leigh Hopkins

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Leigh Hopkins is a Senior Project Manager with the Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR at Georgia Tech. As a planner specializing in economic and community development, Leigh empowers her clients with the tools to build strong and resilient regions, create a prepared and trained workforce, and help communities secure the resources they need to capitalize on their strengths.  Leigh works with her team at CEDR to help create competitive economic climates for communities and businesses to grow and thrive.  Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Leigh worked as a senior planner for the City of Atlanta with a focus on zoning and development compliance, and also in the private sector as a planning consultant with a focus on place-based economic development issues.

Since starting at Georgia Tech in 2008, Leigh has conducted numerous studies and plans for communities across Georgia.  A specialist in strategic planning and workforce development, Leigh managed the federal, multi-agency Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative for the 15-county Northwest Georgia region for five years, and the development and implementation of the first Advanced Manufacturing Strategy in the state. Leigh also co-managed a project to gauge the feasibility of developing an “innovation district” near Atlanta’s Westside, intended to spur collisions between industry and academia to create the environment for technological innovation and new partnerships.  Leigh has led a workforce development project for the Northwest Georgia region through the state’s High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) since 2017, developed strategic priorities assessments for rural communities across the state, and led a county-level impact assessment of covid-19 on the Northeast Georgia region.  Most recently, Leigh developed the first Economic Recovery + Resilience strategic plan for the largely rural 14-county Southwest Georgia region after it was impacted by Hurricane Michael in 2018 and is now working with that region to implement their five-year work plan.

Leigh was the course director (2014 – 2017 and 2019) for all of Georgia Tech’s economic development courses, including the Georgia Tech Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC), accredited through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  Leigh is an active member of the American Planning Association (APA)/Georgia Planning Association (GPA) and has held an American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification since 2010. She participates in regular professional development courses through membership with IEDC and GPA, and is also an active member of the Georgia Economic Development Association (GEDA). Leigh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia, and a Master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in City and Regional Planning.

  • Economic Development Data Research and Analysis
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Georgia Tech Supply Chain and
Logistics Institute
H. Milton Stewart School of
Industrial & Systems Engineering
765 Ferst Drive, NW, Suite 228
Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404.894.2343