North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2013

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Donna Jernigan From left, Prentis Trickett, Gary Patton, Keith Crisco, Mary Kuhn and Mark Treffnger. ���If the state grows the talent along with the infrastructure, companies will want to locate here. It will also be easier for them to expand here.��� 12 Describe the renewed interest in advanced manufacturing in the state. What are the benefts of bringing such operations here? Trickett: An interest in building in North Carolina, and in the U.S. in general, has come about recently. Just fve years ago, businesses were moving everything offshore. One of the key reasons we built our factory here is because it���s easy to attract talent to North Carolina because of the quality of life. We���ve doubled the number of people we employ in North Carolina over the past 24 months to about 1,600. There is also the growing infrastructure, such as highway development and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The infrastructure allows us to transport our products both within the U.S. as well as internationally through one of the deepwater ports. The third thing that brought us here was the talent pool. We���re affliated with both N.C. State University and UNC Charlotte. We also have a tight-knit relationship with the community colleges, which helped us develop training materials. Kuhn: It is more diffcult to establish an advanced-manufacturing operation, but its sustainable jobs are a beneft in the long run. I think North Carolina is headed in North Carolina Economic Development Guide the right direction by focusing on education to make sure the talent is here to start these types of companies. If we grow the talent along with the infrastructure, companies will want to locate here. It will also be easier for them to expand here. Crisco: While advanced-manufacturing jobs are more sustainable, they do require more of an investment. In the past, the state would invest $500,000 in a sewing plant that would employ 500 people. Today, the investment for an advanced-manufacturing plant with the same amount of jobs is going to be greater. These jobs offer a higher wage, but they require more education and skills. Treffnger: Linamar was attracted to North Carolina because its customers are moving here, and they want us to be close to them. Our largest customer, Caterpillar, opened a million-square-foot facility in Winston-Salem. I think it���s key that North Carolina looks after the top of the business food chain ��� the manufacturers. Once they are established, suppliers will follow and bring more jobs. What advantages do the universities in North Carolina offer? Trickett: We���re an engineering frm, and N.C. State is one of the top engineer-

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