North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2014

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Q&A MAking gOOD greAt AgAin The new governor and his commerce secretary are putting a different spin on the "Dixie Dynamo." A fter former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory was elected governor of North Carolina in 2012, he named Sharon Decker secretary of commerce and charged her with updating the state's economic-development efforts. That includes transferring many Department of Commerce responsibilities to a new nonproft corporation. Similar to the public-private partnerships that have been created in at least 11 states, a 15-member board and a CEO will run it. McCrory and Decker believe the changes are needed to cut costs, improve customer service and regain the state's position as the place to do business. The two sat down at the state Capitol to discuss why they are making changes and what they expect from them. Special Projects Editor Peter Anderson moderated the conversation. The transcript was edited for brevity and clarity. Why did you decide to change how the state handles economic development? McCrory: One thing that I've learned from my business and political experiences is that you have to constantly update your brand. You can't live off past success. North Carolina was living off a past brand. The competition was catching up and, at certain points, surging ahead because North Carolina didn't have a 10- or 25-year plan for economic development, infrastructure and education. The state is doing what businesses are doing during these tough economic times — adapting, preparing and anticipating. I asked Sharon, as my commerce secretary, to update the brand with a plan that revolves around customer Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker and Gov. Pat McCrory were colleagues at Duke Energy Corp. in Charlotte. They are working together again, rebranding economic development in the state. 10 No rt h C arol i Na E CoNo mi C DE v Elo p mE N t Gu iDE

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