From the President: Strategic Planning Drives Region’s Economic Objectives


“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”
- Yogi Berra
In both turbulent and calm seas, sailors rely on the best navigational tools at their disposal. Similarly, economic development organizations need a credible roadmap when seeking to grow jobs in an uncertain economy. That’s why North Carolina’s Southeast recently began charting out a strategy that will detail how the organization can facilitate regional economic transformation in the coming years.
We expect this plan to set ambitious long-range performance objectives for our lead generation, client and consultant outreach, and job growth efforts. Within the vision will be the flexibility to adjust our programs and tactics as global economic conditions shift, new industries and technologies emerge, and the region enhances its physical and human assets. All that we hope to accomplish in the coming years rests on our organization’s capacity to collaborate with a broad spectrum of economic development partners and allies from education, government, business and the philanthropic community.
We hope to continue organizing our regional marketing programs around cluster targets such as energy, biotechnology, logistics, defense, consumer foods and other industries that are natural and lucrative fits in Southeastern North Carolina. Our marketing and promotion should also feature the assets and amenities that are unique to our region – the Port of Wilmington and Fort Bragg, for example. As the region’s lead economic development organization, North Carolina’s Southeast will support improvements to the infrastructure that growing companies seek when identifying locations. We can tighten the already-close working relationships we have with our state and local economic development partners in creating attractive, ready-to-go business and industrial properties aligned with the needs of 21st Century commerce. The region’s human assets – its laborforce and leadership resources – deserve the same attention if we hope to maximize the region’s talented, diligent people.
We will tap the latest, most credible business intelligence in embracing promising job growth and corporate investment opportunities. Strong, reliable market research will inform all our organization’s programs, assuring their continued quality and cost-effectiveness. As foreign direct investment drives more and more U.S. job growth, North Carolina’s Southeast will adopt a visible global marketing posture. Doing this affordably calls for close coordination with our partners at the N.C. Department of Commerce, the State Ports Authority and elsewhere. Effective international outreach will also facilitate participation and leadership from our region’s business community, which has been a vast but largely untapped resource in efforts to elevate the Southeast Region’s economic profile around the world.
Those are a few of the themes we intend to pursue as we sharpen organizational strategies, and I look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress in the months and years ahead.
Steve Yost