NCEast Alliance Earns Support From Regional Partners

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A host of partners and investors have pledged their support to the NCEast Alliance (NCEA or Alliance) over the past year. At the December board meeting, the Alliance elected two new board members and reelected an existing member due to the growing support for the Alliance and its mission.

Greenville, NC – December 14, 2016 – A host of partners and investors have pledged their support to the NCEast Alliance (NCEA or Alliance) over the past year. At the December board meeting, the Alliance elected two new board members and reelected an existing member due to the growing support for the Alliance and its mission.

Paul Buchanan was unanimously reelected by the board to serve as the representative from Onslow County, one of the original member counties that supported the eastern region. Mr. Buchanan, an Onslow County Commissioner and Director of Law Enforcement Training at Coastal Carolina Community College, has been a staunch supporter of economic development for several years.  He recently supported the appropriation of Eastern Region trust funds allocated to Onslow County to begin construction on a 30,000-square foot shell building that will be used to attract industry to the area.  An Alliance industrial prospect visited Jacksonville to inspect the shell building site earlier this month.

The Alliance board also unanimously ratified the election of Mr. Bryan Smith, with Dominion Resources from the membership as well as Mr. Ray McKeithan of Potash Corp., a new member of the Alliance at the Regional Champion level (any entity investing $25,000 or more annually holds membership status).

Mr. Smith serves as Economic Development Manager for Dominion Resources representing northeastern North Carolina. Mr. Smith has been with Dominion (Power) since 1985, holding positions in customer service, design, operations, planning, engineering and key accounts manager.  He is a civil engineering graduate of VPI and earned an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Dominion is a key utility partner to the NCEast Alliance, assisting Alliance staff and partners with company recruitment and responding to the needs of existing industries. It is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 26,000 megawatts of generation, 14,400 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,500 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves more than 6 million utility and retail energy customers. It is also a partner in the joint venture to develop/build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through eastern North Carolina that will improve access to cheap natural gas that will increase opportunities for industrial development of the region.

PotashCorp’s investment will be used to further the mission of the NCEA, especially in promoting value-added agriculture development and STEM East (a regional science, technology, engineering and math initiative). PotashCorp is the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity, producing potash (K), nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P). These primary crop nutrients are vital to maintaining healthy and productive soils. With operations and business interests in seven countries, PotashCorp is an international enterprise and a key player in helping to feed the world. Potash operates and mining and manufacturing operation in Beaufort County, NC.

Potash named W. Ray McKeithan, its Manager of Public and Government Affairs as its member representative. Mr. McKeithan oversees government relations, serves as company spokesperson, and administers philanthropic community support exceeding $1 million annually. Mr. McKeithan joined PCS Phosphate in 2012 after an award-winning career in newspaper publishing.  He is a graduate of East Carolina University.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional, public/private, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving 28 counties and approximately 1.3 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas in eastern North Carolina from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides advocacy, community capacity building, marketing/lead generation, and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or visit one of our workforce development sites (www.ncworkready.org or www.stemeast.org).