A New Day in Economic Development for ENC

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It is a new day in eastern NC as the NCEast Alliance, a private not-for-profit regional economic development organization has assumed the lead role for marketing and business recruitment activities. As the successor to the dissolved public economic development agency, North Carolina’s Eastern Region, the Alliance is a 501(c)4 organization.

Eastern NC – July 7, 2014 –It is a new day in eastern NC as the NCEast Alliance, a private not-for-profit regional economic development organization has assumed the lead role for marketing and business recruitment activities. As the successor to the dissolved public economic development agency, North Carolina’s Eastern Region, the Alliance is a 501(c)4 organization. To date, ten counties have aligned with NCEast and other communities are presently in discussions with the Alliance about joining.

The Alliance staff and board have been busy the past year establishing structure and strategies for the organization. Last summer, National Community Development Services (NCDS) conducted nearly 55 private face-to-face interviews with leaders throughout the region to vet a preliminary program of work for the Alliance. Key findings from the study made it clear that the region should focus on a few specific efforts which will have a transformational impact for eastern NC. An overwhelming majority, 90.6%, believe cluster-based marketing and regional branding are important or a must do. This was closely followed by a regional approach to workforce development (including the STEM East initiative) and a need for a common voice advocating for institutional, transportation and infrastructure needs. Additionally, four group strategy sessions were held with 70 regional stakeholders in the first quarter of 2014 to refine the plan. Thanks to the overwhelming support from the private business community, local government and a host of like-minded non-profits, the Alliance moves forward with a clear and bold plan for eastern NC.

“We are pleased to have received broad support from regional interests and look forward to serving eastern North Carolina,” said John D. Chaffee, CEO of the Alliance. “I’m excited about where we are and the progress we’re making on several fronts,” he added.  Chaffee just returned from an international life science conference at which he met executives of three companies with new projects that each plan investments in excess of $100 million that will employ over 200 employees at high wages. The Alliance will be working on these projects over the next 6-18 months.

The Alliance will serve as the primary, regional lead generation agency and will work closely with local and state development groups to bring investment to the region. Recruitment activity will focus on new and emerging industry clusters including: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace & Defense, Life Sciences, Logistics and Value Added Agriculture. The Alliance estimates that its activities will result in more than 5,000 direct jobs and will create new income in excess of $300 million over the next 5 years.

“It would be extremely difficult and very expensive for Carteret County to reach our economic development targets without the marketing efforts of the NCEast Alliance. It is an expensive but vital effort to track down prospects and identify projects…coming together as a region heightens the message and manages the cost,” said Myles Stempin, Executive Director of the Carteret Economic Development Council and Chairman of the NCEast Alliance Economic Developers Advisory Group.

“In addition, regional partnerships allow site seekers to obtain more upfront information with less effort and in a more confidential manner. Many factors, such as workforce availability and development, transcend county lines and need to be approached in a regional context. Carteret County has and will continue to benefit from a strong regional economic development strategy,” Stempin added.

The NCEast Alliance is a regional economic development corporation serving approximately 1 million 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 assistance including identification of available industrial sites and buildings. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or call 1-800-474-8499.