North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2014

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professionalism of our people and commented on the collaborative work," she says. "Our state's economic developers proved very capable of managing the project's unique requirements." The announcement was the culmination of 10 months of work by the company's sitesearch team and North Carolina economicdevelopment offcials — from the Commerce Department, chambers of commerce in Charlotte, Cary and Raleigh, Charlotte Regional Partnership, N.C. State University and UNC Charlotte. "What's important to understand about what MetLife is doing in the Triangle is that it isn't a one-off, out-ofthe-blue kind of deal," says Ken Atkins, who retired at the end of 2013 as executive director of Wake County Economic Development, part of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. "It was a followon to similar operations that have moved here over the last eight or nine years." Company offcials exploring relocation often seek perspective from peers in regions under consideration. "They identifed the top companies they wanted to talk to, and we made the arrangements," Swenson says. "In this case, they did a lot of company interviews." Jim Captain was among the Wake County business leaders who supported efforts to land MetLife. As Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG's managing director and top Raleigh executive, his perspective on Research Triangle Park is regularly sought by those considering moving their companies there. Credit Suisse came to RTP in 2005, building its global business center and creating 400 jobs. Supporting the region's continued economic success is good business for Credit Suisse, which needs well-educated workers with sophisticated fnancial, technical and other business skills. "We want to make sure this area stays vibrant and is able to attract talent," Captain says. RTP is better known to technology and life-science companies than those in fnancial services. MetLife and Credit Suisse used the same site-selection consultant, New York-based KLG Advisors, which counts top global fnancial and technology companies as clients. "Honestly, we didn't know much about the area," Captain says. Credit Suisse was drawn to RTP's proximity to New York City, about a one-hour fight away. "We knew we'd be going back and forth." While the business benefts were easy to see, persuading rank-and-fle employees to move took effort. "What we did early on was ask some of our folks to come down, spend some time here, tour the area, speak to Realtors and look at the quality of life — the restaurants, parks, museums, the great school system." Most moved and are still working at RTP. "You'd have a hard time convincing them to leave for another opportunity." N ort h C a r ol i N a E CoN om iC D E v E lo p m E N t Gu i D E

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