North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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20 N o rt h C a r o l i N a E Co N o m i C D E v E lo p m E N t G u i D E tally, is across the street from the Innovation Center. Its executive director is Benham Pourdeyhimi, who also teaches chemical and molecular engineering and is associate dean for industry research and extension at the university's College of Textiles. "It was a feld that came out of industry. Academia had nothing to do with it. It has blossomed into a number of indus- tries. Automotive is a really big deal right now." Mann+Hummel frst landed in the U.S. in 1994, when it opened a flter- technology business in Illinois. It added Tennessee and Michigan factories and came to North Carolina in 2006, when it and German manufacturer Bosch Group jointly purchased the 660,800-square- foot former Purolator Products Inc. plant in Fayetteville. It wasn't the frst nor will it be the last international business to set up shop in North Carolina. The state's mix of talent, technology and transporta- tion is drawing international investment — $8.8 billion from 2003 to 2012, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce — that has created more than 260,000 jobs. The state's renowned universities and community colleges are training workers for laboratories, factories and boardrooms. Ports in Morehead City and Wilmington are gateways to the world, shipping wood pellets to European power plants seeking renewable fuel sources and sweet potatoes, poultry and pork for Asian consumers. German businesses are especially enamored with the Old North State. From 2008 to 2012, they invested about $1 billion and created 4,000 jobs here, according to London-based Financial Times. Global giants Siemens AG and Bayer AG are here, as are smaller compa- nies in industries from auto parts to instruments and gauges. "The state's brand continues to resonate with German companies," says Michael Almond, a former partner at Charlotte-based Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP who now serves as counsel to the frm. He also is a consultant, helping German companies settle in the Carolinas. "They came here, they prospered, and, more importantly, they told their friends in Germany about North Carolina." About 350 German companies have North Carolina opera- tions. Most are "mittelstand," privately held midsize businesses that were started or re-established after World War II. "There are tens of thousands of these companies in Germany, and they are the backbone of the German economy. Mittelstand companies make the little piece that goes into the bigger piece that goes into an even bigger piece." N.C. State's Nonwovens Institute was established in 2007, though its origins stretch to 1991, when the university opened the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center with funding from the state, National Science e Exper ms in Nor arolina. 's community-college system can train wor

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