Film industry is a game-changer for special effects company

Updated: Jan 15

Fifteen years ago, Nelson Burke pretty much was “The Engineer Guy,” working in a 5,000-square-feet building with a handful of employees. Back then, the largest customers for his plastics-material business were in the automotive and home-building industry.

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Fast-forward to today, and the company has triple the size of its space, more than tripled the number of employees, and crossed $4 million is sales.


“That’s what the film industry has done for us,” Nelson says. “We now do in one day the amount of sales that I used to consider a great month.”


There’s no doubt The Engineer Guy has hit its stride. The company started in 2003 when Nelson linked up with the folks at Smooth-On and became its distributor for Georgia. As his collection of vendors grew, so did his business, but nothing could have prepared him for tidal wave approaching shore — the film industry.


At the time, Nelson’s business was fueled by the automotive industry, to which he provided materials to make plastic parts for cars, and architects seeking more efficient materials for things like countertops. When his work began to grow in the film industry, it still only weighed in as his third biggest customer.


Fast-forward to second-quarter 2016: The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 alone was the company’s largest client. Up to 50 artists at a time were on-site at The Engineer Guy’s

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It’s all about the tax credit Georgia offers to the film industry. Numbers tell the story the industry’s impact on The Engineer Guy: Ten years ago the company did $800,000 a year in revenue. In 2016, it crossed $4.25 million.


“The effect of the tax credit for Georgians has been incredible,” Nelson says. “I know we are lucky to be in the place that we are, but luck can only take us so far. We’ve put together a great team and we are not assuming anything.”


Read more about The Engineer Guy in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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