“Atlanta is home to the federal Centers for Disease Control, Georgia Tech University and literally thousands of IT and life sciences companies. Our technologists, researchers and business leaders will benefit from quicker connections to Atlanta and the southeast United States,” Still said.

Improved Green Bay service to Atlanta will begin Dec. 1 with flights on Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a Delta Connection carrier. Austin Straubel International is Wisconsin’s third largest airport.

Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta is the nation’s busiest airport, and the gateway to a region with 13 Fortune 500 and 24 Fortune 1000 headquarters. The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce estimates the Atlanta region, with a population of 4 million people, has 11,000 tech firms that employ 180,000 people.

Major companies headquartered or prominent in the Atlanta region include UPS, BellSouth, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Equifax, EMS Technologies, GE Health Care (which also has strong Wisconsin ties), Georgia Pacific Corp., Intel, Siemans, Unisys and Spectrum Brands, which is headquartered in Madison. In the life sciences field, leaders are Solvay, UCB Pharma, Merial and Serologicals.

Atlanta is also home to some leading technology institutions:

Metro Atlanta boasts 43 colleges and universities and nine technical colleges. The largest research institution is Georgia Tech, ranked ninth among all U.S. public universities by U.S. News & World Report. Georgia Tech is a leader in scientific and technological research and education, receiving more than $355 million in research awards in fiscal 2005. That’s about half the research spending at UW-Madison, one of the nation’s largest. Emory University in Atlanta is also renowned for its research programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta  is one of the 13 major operating components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is the principal federal agency for protecting the health and safety of all Americans. Since it was founded in 1946 to help control malaria, CDC has remained at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities and environmental health threats. It has a fiscal year 2005 budget of $7.7 billion.

“The Green Bay area and Wisconsin benefit every time we improve our connections to the nation and the world. Delta’s non-stop flights to Atlanta will help us accomplish both,” said Mark Bugher, director of Madison’s University Research Park and chairman of the Wisconsin Technology Council.