The Southeast Compass — Fall 2011

From the President….Global Economy Demands Globally Competitive Labor

In the span of only a few decades, North Carolina’s Southeast Region has evolved from a quiet collection of local economies into a regional business community working aggressively to compete in a noisy, fast-moving worldwide marketplace. The change can be seen across our industrial landscape as new infrastructure, industrial assets and commercial amenities have taken shape. All that essentially remains the same is our one greatest economic resource: our workers.  Read More>>


Consumer Foods Cluster Grows With Arrival of Stevens Robert Desserts

The Southeast’s strong traditions in manufacturing and agribusiness have yielded enviable success in an industry that combines both: consumer foods processing. As of 2010, for instance, the cluster employed 24,756 in the region. Earlier this year, Steven Roberts Original Desserts became the latest national name to join the region’s food industries, a list that includes familiar names like Smithfield, House of Raeford and Campbell Soup.  Read More>>


Advanced Textile Producers Opts for Columbus County

The Southeast Region’s efforts to attract advanced textile manufacturers continue to yield results as Discovery Textiles, the developer of an innovative new line of hospital bedsheets, has taken over a 6,000 sq.-ft. production bay at the Tabor City Small Business Development Center. The family-owned firm launched its manufacturing operations there after honing its product design at an R&D facility in the nearby community of Delco. Read More>>


Analysis of Regional Workforce Assets Nears Conclusion

A comprehensive study of the Southeast Region’s labor resources has concluded a critical phase of data-gathering from educators, economic developers and other regional shareholders. Chris Beacham, who is leading the study, presented a progress report in September to the Commission’s board of directors. The Commission is sponsoring the analysis with financial support from the North Carolina Workforce Commission and the federal government. Read More>>


Commission’s 2010-2011 Performance Report Shows Record Year for Client Visits

While the “Great Recession” continues to slow the pace of job-creation and industrial investment nationally, there are signs that corporate officials are eager to learn more about the Southeast Region as a business destination. Between July 2010 and June 2011, the Commission’s marketing staff met personally with 48 clients. “We had our best year ever for project visits to the region,” says Joe Melvin, the Commission’s marketing manager.  Read More>>


Two New Leaders Join Commission Board 

Two longtime leaders from business and government were sworn in this summer as members of North Carolina’s Southeast Commission’s board of directors. Beth Dawson of New Hanover County and Cleveland Simpson of Pender County have now begun their three-year terms on the Commission’s 15-member governing board. Read More>>


Region Positioned Well for Logistics Activity, Panel Concludes

Exports are playing an increasingly key role in the U.S. economy, and that spells good news as North Carolina’s Southeast Region continues to invest in its transportation networks and logistics workforce. That was among the conclusions of a three-member panel speaking at UNC Wilmington’s Annual Economic Outlook Conference in October. The discussion, which took place under the theme of “Trading Places: East Meets West,” was moderated by Walter Kemmsies, an economist with New York City-based Moffatt & Nichols. Read More>>


Modest Economic Growth Continues to Hamper Job Creation, Economists Say

First the good news: Economic growth in Greater Wilmington is moving ahead faster than North Carolina and the U.S. as a whole, with activity in retail and hospitality now reaching pre-recessionary levels. But problems persist, according to economist Woody Hall of UNC Wilmington’s Swain Center for Business and Economic Services. “We’re looking at just over a two percent growth rate in 2011,” Dr. Hall told the October 11th gathering of the University’s annual Economic Outlook Conference. “And we’re expecting something slightly less than that in 2012.”  Read More>>


S.E. Commission Partners with N.C. Biofuels Center in Study of Biomass Opportunities

 Alternative energy initiatives in the Southeast Region continue to burgeon as the nation moves toward cleaner, sustainable energy from domestic sources. Working with the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, the Southeast Commission is now surveying woody biofuels assets across its 11 county region. Woody biomass refers to trees, limbs, leaves and woody plants that are the by-products of forest management. Such materials can be harvested for use as energy, chemical compounds, and other commercial and industrial products. Read More>>