North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2016

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32 North Carolina Economic Development Guide position is enhanced by frequent fl ights to major U.S., European and Latin American cities available through Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Raleigh- Durham International Airport." Charlotte Douglas is the sixth-busiest airport in the country, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, with more than 545,000 takeof s and landings in 2014. Its international fl ights are important to Sealed Air, for example, which does business in 175 countries. "In Charlotte, you can work half a day, drive to the airport, get on a plane and arrive at your destination in time for a dinner meeting," Hynes says. "That's a pretty productive day." Chung believes companies hunting for a new headquarters also look closely at quality of life, such as climate, health care, cost of living and recreation. Arlington, Va.-based Council for Community and Economic Research ranked Charlotte 15th and Raleigh 7th on its cost of living index for the fi rst quarter of 2015. The ranking of U.S. cities put Atlanta 23rd and Manhattan 40th. "Quality of life is one reason North Carolina has become the ninth-most populous state in the country and remains among the fastest-growing ones," Chung says. "North Carolina of ers corporations a business-friendly tax structure, a high quality of life for employees, a pipeline of well-educated talent coming out of our top-notch universities and 58-campus community college system, and the location and logistics that support success." Headquarters aren't limited to North Carolina's biggest cities. Companies are fi nding other spots equally appealing. Wilmington-based Castle Branch Inc. is among the nation's largest background screening and compliance management companies. It performs 1.5 million searches for more than 25,000 organizations annually. When it arrived in Wilmington in 2002, it had 32 employees. In 2013, it had 200 and was announcing a $10.2 million expansion, which will add 420 jobs across sales, customer service and information technology by the end of 2017. It considered a site in Petaluma, Calif., for the expansion, but Wilmington quickly became the clear choice. "We're extremely connected here," says CEO Brett Martin, who founded the company in 1997. The company's growth plans, which include an of ce complex equipped with gym and microbrewery, are ahead of schedule. "Our decision was all about creating an environment where young technology professionals could thrive. Our expansion here has been fantastic." Business-savvy government of cials in Raleigh and Wilmington helped make it that way for Castle Branch. Complementing a Job Development Investment Grant award from the state valued at up to nearly $1.24 million over eight years, the company received $500,000 in grants Fortune 500 companies headquartered in North Carolina RANK COMPANY NAME CEO CITY INDUSTRY 23 Bank of America Brian T. Moynihan Charlotte Banking 50 Lowe's Home Improvement Robert A. Niblock Mooresville Retail 116 Duke Energy Lynn J. Good Charlotte Utilities 139 Nucor John J. Ferriola Charlotte Metals 248 VF Eric C. Wiseman Greensboro Apparel 292 BB&T Kelly S. King Winston-Salem Banking 315 Sonic Automotive B. Scott Smith Charlotte Automotive 336 Sealed Air Jerome A. Peribere Charlotte Materials 337 Reynolds American Susan M. Cameron Winston-Salem Tobacco 440 Laboratory Corp. of America David P. King Burlington Pharmaceuticals 476 Quintiles Thomas H. Pike Durham Pharmaceuticals 490 Hanesbrands Richard A. Noll Winston-Salem Apparel Source: Fortune, 2015

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