North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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14 North Carolina Economic Development Guide North of Yost's region are the 26 counties united under not- for-profi t Greenville-based NCEast Alliance, which replaced publicly funded North Carolina's Eastern Region in July 2014. NCEast coordinates its members' resources to attract companies from the advanced-manufacturing, life-science, logistics and value-added agriculture sectors. Defense and aerospace are important, too. The region is home to the state's largest military presence, including the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, the U.S. Army's Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro and U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City. About 6,000 military members transition out of the service in North Carolina each year, giving the workforce a shot of skill and discipline, traits employers covet. In Kinston, the Global TransPark has runway, rail and water access. That attracted Wichita-based Spirit Aerosystems Inc. about fi ve years ago. It now builds parts for commercial airliner manufacturers, including France- based Airbus SAS. The state's Research Triangle Region, which includes Raleigh, Durham and Research Triangle Park, is home to a highly educated workforce. A large percentage are graduates of its numerous community colleges and public and private universities, including Durham-based Duke University, Raleigh-based N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill. From 2012 to 2013, 28,137 college and university degrees were conferred in the region, and 10,223 associate degrees and certifi cates were earned. "That's a real asset to a company to have that talent pool to pull from every year," says Lee Anne Nance, Research Triangle Regional Partnership's executive vice president. It also attracts top-quality talent and research-and-development dollars. "Talent is a big part of the infrastructure that companies are looking for now. It creates a dif erentiator for us when we're competing for projects." The organization completed a fi ve-year initiative in June 2014 that helped add 85,228 jobs to the region. Nance calls it a good ef ort considering the region overcame 38,000 lost jobs during the initiative's fi rst year. It's now working on a two-year economic growth initiative. The shorter time frame will allow the group to reassess its ef orts once the statewide Economic Development Partnership gets its footing. Sectors eyed for growth include knowledge-based industries, such as clean technology, agricultural biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and data and analytics. The information technology and life science industries continue to grow in the region. Cooperation goes between organizational levels and neighbors. Economic-development groups can increase their competitiveness by leveraging resources next door. It's called "collaboratition." Many companies are headquartered in the Research Triangle region, for example, and have manufacturing locations elsewhere in the state. "Knowing how to do that well is a competitive advantage for North Carolina," Nance says. And there's always room for more help. Ronnie Bryant is CEO and president of Charlotte Regional Partnership, which represents 12 North Carolina counties. It's home to Fortune 500 company headquarters, a skilled workforce and high quality of life. They have attracted businesses from a variety of sectors, including energy, fi nance, aerospace and defense, health care, motorsports, international business and tourism. New business recruitment, expansion and retention of existing companies and entrepreneurship development are needed to keep them strong. That will require a mix of public and private assets. In January 2015, Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. announced its Google Fiber — 1,000 megabytes per second high-speed Internet service — is coming to Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. The North Carolina communities are among seven nationwide. "This particular Google Fiber announcement gives us another signifi cant advantage that we can highlight," Bryant says. "It's one more reason now for a company to look at us." A winning combination Christopher Chung's fi rst day as CEO of the Cary- based Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Inc. was Jan. 12, 2015. The partnership hired him because of his 17-year track record in industry- hunting work, including starting a similar, public- private group in Missouri. He shared his thoughts on the partnership and the role it will play in economic development statewide. His comments were edited for brevity and clarity. What is North Carolina's perception nationally? It's very formidable. One of the big draws for me is that I saw North Carolina having some good success, shown by its population and economic growth. If you look at the studies of business climate and how CEOs perceive dif erent states around the country, North Carolina does very well. Those rankings and perceptions get North Carolina into the mix, more so than Missouri or Ohio, where I previously worked. If the state has a good reputation, why are incentives still needed? Texas is a great example of how you can have a strong fundamental product but still need an aggressive toolbox. The state has no Q&A "Talent is a big part of the infrastructure that companies are looking for now. It creates a dif erentiator for us when we're competing for projects." — Lee Anne Nance executive vice president Research Triangle Regional Partnership

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