North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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42 N o r t h C a r o l i N a E C o N o m i C D E v E l o p m E N t G u i D E s the executive director of Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, Kevin Baker gives a lot of presentations around the region and state. During each engagement, Baker reminisces back to about five years ago, when he had just taken over as the top exec at PTI. "What used to keep me awake," Baker tells his audience, "was the fear that some company would come [to the Triad] and say, 'We want to employ 1,000 people in your community, and we want to build airplanes. But in order to do so, we need to have 200 acres, and we need it next week.' We would have had to say no." The situation was reminiscent of the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams — "If you build it, he will come" — only the exact opposite: "They want to come, but you can't build it," Baker says. "I used to call that the field of nightmares." Baker sleeps much better these days. In 2017, the N.C. Department of Transportation will complete a $176 million, 9.4-mile highway project to connect U.S. 220 and N.C. 68. The project includes a new taxiway over the adjacent Interstate 73. The taxiway — paid for by the N.C. Mobility Fund, which finances transportation projects deemed necessary for the growth of the state or region — opens up access to nearly 1,000 acres of PTI property on the opposite side of I-73. "Our main function is to make sure that there's a product for the economic developers to be able to sell," Baker says. "The products in this case are sites — 100 acres, 200 acres right next to a runway and next to an interstate. They don't have any environmental problems and can be graded quickly — all the things a company is looking for when it's looking to locate a new facility. We've been making sure over the last five to six years that we are ready." PTI needed the extra room, because over the last several decades, the airport has become a popular place. In the early 1990s, PTI owned about 2,500 acres, offered two runways and housed an airplane maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider named TIMCO Aviation Services Inc. A talented workforce and local and state partnerships help HAECO and other Triad aerospace and aviation companies compete in a global marketplace. B y s p e n c e r c a m p B e l l c a s e s t u d y | a V I a T I O N taking flight a HAECO Americas maintains airframes and refurbishes cabin interiors at Piedmont Triad International Airport. In August, the company broke ground on its fifth hangar, which will be big enough to fit two Boeing 777Xs, the new twin-engine jet that will be the world's largest when it debuts in 2020. pr OVID e D B y H aec O

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