Planning Session Draws Local Developers, Allies and Partners to Wilmington

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Some 32 economic developers, educational partners and business allies participated in North Carolina’s Southeast’s annual Technical Advisory Group (TAG) planning session on February 8-9, 2012. This year’s event was held at the Port of Wilmington and the new Wilmington Convention Center. Guest presenters covered a broad array of topic areas, including marketing tools, workforce development and transportation. Participants heard from Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding at the N.C. Department of Commerce, and Roberto Canales, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives for the N.C. Department of Transportation who is staffing the Governor’s Logistics Task Force. The TAG, which includes each of the local economic developers in the 11-county Southeast Region, also received a briefing on IMPLAN, an economic impact measurement application recently deployed by North Carolina’s Southeast’s staff. Participants discussed new ideas for lead-generation, project finance, international marketing and product development.

John Swope, who chairs the TAG, said the annual retreat is valuable on three levels. “The guest speakers are always very informative,” he says, especially professional site consultants who offer candid views of the region and its potential. Discussions about marketing are also useful to local developers, says Mr. Swope, who is executive director of the Sampson County Economic Development Commission. The two-day retreat also affords a chance for new and seasoned developers, partners and allies to meet, talk and discuss common challenges and opportunities, he adds. “N.C. Southeast continues to enable us to build really valuable relationships, not just with other local developers, but also with allies, partners and consultants,” says Mr. Swope.