North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2016

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44 North Carolina Economic Development Guide personnel — many locally educated — to serve its 100 million customers in 50 countries. "That introduced a new dimension to the region's high-tech landscape," says Hayes, pointing to the emergence of the Triangle as a destination not only for technology companies but for the IT operations of companies in other industries. MetLife's move matches those made by Boston-based Fidelity Investments, Switzerland-based Credit Suisse Group and Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG. NCTA's research also revealed North Carolina's IT workforce is 36.5% women, which leads the nation. That doesn't surprise Olivia Gharsallah, a software as a service implementation manager at Avalara Inc., which has had of ces at Durham's American Tobacco Campus since 2014. The Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based company designs cloud- based accounting software that manages transaction tax obligations for small and midsized businesses. A native of Saint-Dizier, in France's Champagne region, Gharsallah, 37, arrived in Raleigh in 2007, courtesy of a French employment agency placement. After a few years as a translator, she switched career paths and joined the IT world. Though she harbored a desire to live in the U.S. since childhood, she admits the Research Triangle was unfamiliar. "I didn't choose Raleigh. Raleigh chose me." A steady stream of accolades helps explain why the Research Triangle is a popular destination for IT professionals. In April 2015, Forbes ranked Raleigh No. 2 for technology job creation in the nation. It beat out Silicon Valley and Seattle. That keeps phones ringing at the Raleigh of ce of Tampa, Fla.-based Veredus Corp., a technology staf ng agency. "We have candidates coming here from all over the U.S.," says Denise Jones, the location's managing director. "The Triangle's IT job market is booming. Candidates have lots of choices." It is not uncommon for IT workers to move to the Triangle sans job. "If they have a good skill set, they're going to fi nd a good job here." Hayes cites af ordable real estate and high quality of life as additional attractions for technology companies and their workers. "There's also [Raleigh Durham] International Airport. These companies can put their people on any number of daily nonstop fl ights and have them in New York or Boston in about an hour." The world- class educational opportunities don't go unnoticed, either. The Research Triangle Region is home to Raleigh- based N.C. State University, UNC Chapel Hill and Landy's beloved Duke in Durham. "Raleigh is rated so highly as a place to live, and the universities are a large part of it," Jones says. "That drives IT professionals to the area." They of er more than national championship caliber sports and performing arts events. Convenient continuing-education and professional-development opportunities keep workers' skills sharp and aligned with the latest technologies. That's a plus for companies, too. The universities also of er part-time teaching work. "I'm drawn to the educational institutions here." SAS's Landy serves as an adjunct faculty member at N.C. Central University, Durham Technical Community College and St. Augustine's University in Raleigh. The schools' high-quality graduates were a big reason behind the creation of Research Triangle Park almost 60 years ago. They still attract technology companies to the park today, and a recently unveiled redevelopment plan hopes to continue that well into the future. Robert Geolas, CEO of Research Triangle Park Foundation, which has overseen the park since its inception, is leading a renovation that will add a mixed-use development to the park. It will capitalize on young workers' desire to have their of ce, home and entertainment venues mere steps apart. Duke University in Durham is one of the region's many world-class universities and colleges.

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