North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2012

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Case studies He says Pittsburgh Glass appeared eager to make sure that the project was a good fit for Surry and that the incentives to recruit the company wouldn't cause long-term harm. "They helped us find the coveted win-win that everybody always talks about," he says. "And we think we got it." Returning home that evening, the project team was armed with a sound understanding of the company and its business, knowledge they could use in advocating for the county's continued aggressive recruiting. N.C. Deputy Commerce Secretary Dale Carroll, a veteran of the economic- development trenches, says such missions can be pivotal in site-selection contests. "Fact-finding trips are valuable in situa- tions where local officials may need a better understanding of the manufacturing process that's involved and a more complete picture of the company." Such flights are not inexpensive, he adds, but they can be the most efficient and effective way to keep the state in contention for competi- tive projects. "In this case, we felt it would be very important because this type of manufacturing is not very common in our state, and it wasn't something local officials were very familiar with." Carroll knew Surry had a serious shot at landing the factory when he attended a meeting that local leaders and com- pany reps had arranged in Elkin. "Every C-level executive from Pittsburgh Glass Works was at the table: the chairman and CEO, the CFO, the COO and the chief administrative officer," Carroll says. That day, he reckoned, would be a decisive one for the project. "I knew if we did our job and put together a competi- tive recruitment package, it would be well received by this company." To maintain the momentum, Gov. Beverly Perdue followed up a few days later with a personal phone call to James Wiggins, the company's CEO, expressing her interest in the project and pledging that the state would deliver a competitive proposal. The call meant a lot to Wiggins, 56 North Carolina Economic Development Guide he would later tell Carroll. Both Perdue and Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco joined Wiggins at the announcement ceremony a few months later. Complementing what Surry and Elkin were prepared to offer, the state's incentive proposal included a Job Development and Investment Grant, which could equal about $2 million in 10 years. The grant returns an amount equivalent to 65% of an employer's state personal-income-tax withholding once the state verifies that job creation and investment milestones have been met. North Carolina officials sweetened the deal with $500,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, a discretionary grant program created in 1993 to assist newly arriving and expanding companies. The grants are designed to prompt job growth in poor, rural counties such as Surry, which is classified as Tier 1 — among the neediest — by the state when determin- ing the generosity of financial-incentive offers. In designing such packages, state officials also factor in the assertiveness of other states courting the same project. In the case of Pittsburgh Glass Works, job-hungry South Carolina and Tennes- see were presenting aggressive proposals of their own. "We gauge the competition and then develop a competitive pack- age," Carroll says. "The competition from other states was very intense and got more intense as the company narrowed down the finalists." But the executives of Pittsburgh Glass Works took more than money into account. "The project is really about people," says Kevin Gallagher, manager of real-estate leasing for the company. "The people we encountered in Elkin and Surry County were good people." He especially was impressed with the enthusiasm of local leaders such as Johnston, Tucker, Hutchens and Schlender. "From early on, they demon- strated a willingness to work with us." The company, which traces its roots to the invention of the automobile, had conducted an exhaustive review of some

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