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Full Speed Ahead
Ronnie Bryant, President & CEO, Charlotte USA
Charlotte Regional Partnership
February 3, 2014
The Charlotte Regional Partnership welcomed new board members and recognized longtime supporters during our Board of Directors meeting last week at the Gateway Conference Center in Richburg, S.C. The event, hosted by Chester County Economic Development, also allowed us to update our members on the Partnership’s continued financial momentum and its economic development strategies heading into 2014.
Even as the State of North Carolina decreases its support for regional economic development agencies, it was encouraging to see many of our public- and private-sector investors at the meeting. They play a crucial role in the Partnership’s ability to market Charlotte USA and recruit new companies to the region. These efforts include upcoming business development trips to Japan, Canada, and Europe.
It’s this kind of global outreach that puts us on the radar of international media outlets. During last week’s meeting, we showed a recent China Central Television (CCTV) news segment about Chinese investment in Charlotte. The story features David Swenson, our SVP of Economic Development, discussing what attracts these firms to the Charlotte region and the impact they’re having on the local economy in terms of jobs and capital investment. CCTV is China’s largest national broadcasting network with an audience of more than 100 million people. To see the segment, go here: http://charlotteusa.com/news-media/news/chinese-investment-on-the-rise-in-southeast-us/
Even as the Partnership embarks on exciting new projects, it’s important to recognize how we got here. Pete Acker, our Board Chairman, did just that when he presented an honorary plaque to Bayles Mack. Bayles oversees Fort Mill’s oldest continually operating law firm, Mack & Mack, and is known as someone who cares deeply about his community and the region. His role with the Partnership has been crucial. When the nonprofit was created in 1991, Bayles’ influence and stature in Fort Mill and York County helped expand the Partnership’s footprint into South Carolina and established crucial relationships that continue to grow and thrive. As anyone who knows Bayles might expect, he was humbled by the honor, but not at a loss for words.
Finally, the Partnership, along with Friends Underwriting Economic Development (FUED), a regional networking group, awarded five individuals with scholarships to help them offset costs associated with attending professional development classes. The 2014 scholarship recipients are: Elaine J. McKinney, director of business expansion, retention and grants, Lancaster County Economic Development Corp.; Stuart P. Hair, manager of existing industry relations, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership; Michael E. McNally, director of existing industry services, Catawba County Economic Development Corp.; Uconda R. Dunn, existing industry specialist, North Carolina Department of Commerce; Jessica Gaskill, marketing specialist, Rowan Works Economic Development.
It’s these kinds of collaborative efforts that enable the Partnership to strengthen the 16-county Charlotte USA brand and capitalize on the area’s assets to generate more business opportunities. We look forward to updating you on our mission’s continued success at the next Board of Directors meeting in April.
Locations, expansion, contractions
The Sumter, S.C-based Sumter Packaging Corp. is buying Iredell Container Corp. of Statesville. The company indicated it plans to keep the Statesville employees and expand its footprint in North Carolina, which already includes a plant in Charlotte. Michael Smith, executive director of Statesville Regional Development, said the deal will help the community retain good jobs and bolster capital investments.
The Charlotte region continues to see an influx of advanced manufacturing jobs. The latest announcement comes from the Canada-based Eclipse Automation Inc., which is opening Eclipse Automation Southeast, a regional production facility, in Whitehall Technology Park in south Charlotte. The new venture will create 50 jobs over the next three years, with an average annual salary of more than $75,000. Eclipse Automation is a leading supplier of custom automated manufacturing equipment for the solar, health sciences, transportation, mining, industrial and telecommunications industries. The company said its new 25,000-square-foot Charlotte facility will offer innovative, custom-automation solutions and enable it to better service customers.
German-based KSM Castings, an auto parts manufacturer, is hiring local workers at its Shelby plant in Cleveland County. KSM broke ground on the plant last summer, and company officials said they plan to hire 190 people by the end of 2018.
Red Ventures, a Fort Mill, S.C.-based marketing and sales company, is hiring 200 employees over the next two months at its South Carolina headquarters and its new Charlotte location. This is the just the latest expansion for Red Ventures, which created more than 700 jobs last year. The company is looking to fill position such as sales, web developers and designers, analysts, and marketing specialists.
The Kannapolis-based Ei Solution Works in Rowan County, a research and development company that manufactures skin care products, has laid off 11 employees. Company officials said they needed to eliminate the jobs in order to improve productivity. The company now has 204 employees.
Our investors’ commitment to regionalism allows us to continue and enhance our mission-critical efforts to generate qualified projects, create awareness of the many assets our region offers businesses, and assist communities in responding to projects requests. This week we highlight Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. When you see a member of the company, please thank them for their support of Charlotte USA.
Quality of life is one of the key factors that the Charlotte Regional Partnership uses to attract new companies to the area. Uptown Charlotte in particular has a host of amenities that make this area such a great place to work and live, including Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Opened in 1992, Blumenthal has grown into a vibrant and multi-faceted center that’s home to nearly a dozen arts organizations with multiple venues that host everything from Broadway productions and concerts to comedy shows. Moreover, there are a number of ongoing performances that are uniquely Charlotte and an important part of the city’ special appeal. The Tosco Music Party (scheduled for Feb. 8) is one such event. More than two decades ago, Charlottean John Tosco invited some friends over to his house for a jam session. Over the years these informal get-togethers outgrew John’s living room and moved into larger venues. Today the Tosco Music Party is a premier quarterly concert series known for its eclectic acts and rousing sing-alongs. And while the party may have gotten bigger, it still retains that homey, laid-back feel, which, if you think about it, can also be said of Charlotte. For details go to blumenthalarts.org.
Have a great week!
Ronnie L. Bryant, CEcD, FM, HLM
President & CEO
Activities and Events
IEDC Leadership Summit - February 2-4 - Irvine, Calif. - Details
Charlotte Regional Partnership business recruiting trip – Feb. 24-28, Tokyo, Japan
CONEXPO international construction industry trade show – March 4-8, Las Vegas
IEDC Federal Forum – March 23-25, Washington, DC
Charlotte Regional Partnership Jerry Awards - May 20, 2014, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Charlotte Convention Center - Details