NCEast and North Carolina’s Northeast Finalize Merger

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A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was approved last week, Thursday, December 11 by the NCEast Alliance and NC’s Northeast Alliance (NCNE) to merge operations. The MOU will be effective January 1, 2015, with all 16 Northeast counties participating for free for 4 ½ years as a part of the agreement.

December 17, 2014 – Eastern NC – A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was approved last week, Thursday, December 11 by the NCEast Alliance and NC’s Northeast Alliance (NCNE) to merge operations. The MOU will be effective January 1, 2015, with all 16 Northeast counties participating for free for 4 ½ years as a part of the agreement.

The two areas share a distinctive heritage, have similar industry clusters and a rural landscape dotted with small cities, providing a synergy, that creates a stronger and more dynamic region. The linkage between the regions’ defense/homeland security, motor vehicle assembly and parts manufacturing, life science, aerospace, value-added agriculture, marine trades, and tourism industries as well as shared economic goals, will result in a stronger combined organization.

While there are many economic similarities across eastern NC, the NCEast Alliance utilizes a sub-regional approach to economic development in areas like the BioEast Alliance. The existing biopharma sector is principally located in a four county region of the Alliance centered on growth around East Carolina University and major life science employers along the Greenville, Wilson and Rocky Mount corridor. However, the biopharma supply chain extends to most counties in eastern NC. A sub-regional focus allows for unique economic synergies to develop on a micro level resulting in increased value for partners in such locations.

“This merger will allow the Northeast counties to be a part of a sustained regional marketing effort with NCNE providing funding to cover participation on behalf of NE counties and without depending on state funding,” said Vann Rogerson, current President & CEO of NCNE. “I can now focus on recruiting companies to the area and eastern North Carolina will have an even larger rural voice on issues important to us all. Working together, we expect to generate better results for all,” Rogerson added. Rogerson will become Senior Vice President of the NCEast Alliance and Hannah Jones will become the Special Projects Coordinator.

The NCEast Alliance will provide regional economic development services for NCNE counties and NCEast counties. NCNE counties will participate in all economic development activities of the merged region and become active affiliates.

“We are eager to begin partnering with those in the northeast in a new way,” said John D. Chaffee, NCEast Alliance President & CEO. “The combined staff members are already working to engage our new affiliates and we look forward to their participation in crafting our work plan and strategies in the new year,” Chaffee added.

NCEast staff is working with NCNE staff to schedule meetings with northeast partners to gain a sense of important issues to be addressed and obtain their input on marketing and other activities.

“While our marketing plan guides our strategies for branding and business recruitment, we are open to adapting and improving it to meet the needs of our new affiliates and larger geography. It is important to us that all of our partners have a voice,” said Chaffee.

The new NCEast Alliance region will include communities from Elizabeth City in the north (just outside of the Hampton Roads/Norfolk metro with 1.8 million people) to the Jacksonville and Morehead City/Beaufort corridor in the south and as far west as Rocky Mount, Wilson and Goldsboro. New counties joining the NCEast Alliance include: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington. Beaufort County had already elected to associate with the NCEast Alliance.

At least 3 representatives recommended by NCNE Board of Directors will be elected to the NCEast board.  NCEast will maintain an office in northeastern NC through the duration of the MOU. The Alliance headquarters will be located at 1020 Red Banks Road, Suite 202, Greenville, NC 27858.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building 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 (NCEast WorkReady Communities at www.ncworkready.org or STEM East at www.stemeast.org).